The Pier

Imagine that you are walking on a pier without a railing. The water on either side of you is deep and black and cold. Most of the time you walk down this pier without a problem, but once in awhile you slip and you fall in. Sometimes it takes awhile before you realize you hit the water and you sink so quickly that you are disoriented, you don’t know which was is up and you can’t trust any of your senses to tell you. Sometimes you realize you’re slipping and regain your balance. Sometimes it’s a slow descent and you watch the darkness swirl around you like a freezing fog, folding you in, protecting you even as it suffocates you. If you struggle back to the surface, you may not be able to find the pier right away. The pier is likely to be slippery and hard to grasp as you pull yourself out of water. If you are very lucky, someone will be there to put a hand out and pull you out, but you can’t rely on people to always be there unless you want to live a very limited life, and even then, sometimes their attention is diverted and you fall. Sometimes they fall first and you struggle together, desperately trying not to drown even as you seek to lift each other up.

No matter what, you’re always on the pier. No matter what, the water is always there, inky, frigid, sucking at your feet, trying to trick you into submersion.

Sometimes you get a life raft, but over time the raft can start to deflate and you start to sink again. Sometimes there is a railing on the pier. But it’s always breakable, and the black water is always waiting. You can look away at the sun for awhile, think about the flowers on shore, and maybe if you’re lucky you never slip again… but that doesn’t seem realistic when the water wants you and the water always wins.

That’s what depression feels like.

I’m struggling again.

One thought on “The Pier

  1. It doesn’t feel quite right to “like” this. I originally read the following quote in a Russian fairy tale:
    “All the world is a narrow, narrow bridge,
    A narrow, narrow bridge,
    But most important is not to be afraid,
    Never be afraid of anything.”

    When I went to search for this quote, I discovered that it is from something Jewish:
    Kol ha-o-lam ku-lo gesher tzar me’od
    V’ha-i-kar lo l’fached klal
    (Translation: The whole world is a very narrow bridge; the important thing is not to be afraid.)

    I always had trouble with the “not to be afraid” part (hello anxiety!), but I think the quote is a helpful illustration of life. For all of our lives, we stand on a knife’s edge, or a pier without railings, and all it takes is a slip to push us over the edge and through the liminal space into the realm of Death. Not preaching here, but I feel like we can live our lives afraid and let that fear paralyze us, or we can keep going through the fear and live anyway (like your “do it afraid”). 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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