I could only breathe in tiny gasps. I was drowning. My feet hit the bottom of the pool, and I sprung up as far as I could, my face making it barely above the surface. I desperately inhaled air with some water, then fell under again.
It happened over and over. Each time, I felt a little weaker and more hopeless. I was just a little kid, and I knew I was going to die.
Finally, someone noticed my predicament. My aunt jumped in the water, swam to me. Pulled me out.
Thank you for that, Aunt Linda.
As an adult who dances with cyclical depression, my memories often go back to that desperate feeling of nearly drowning. Falling under, launching up, falling under again. Over and over. Until someone saves me, or I learn to swim.
Sometimes I’ll have a solid day. Or a great week, even. That’s like getting above the surface. Being able to breathe.
Then, gravity does its thing. The ground pulls me towards it like it can’t live without me. I can’t breathe anymore. All I can do is wait to hit bottom, so I can spring back up again.
After repeating that process for so long, my muscles hurt. It’s strenuous, bouncing back up. I begin to wonder what the point is. Why jump back up if I am going to keep falling down? Is this life? Is that all there is? Maybe I should just drown…
Or hope for someone to save me. Sometimes, people show up like angels and part the black seas in my mind. Help me create some space, build positive momentum. It’s rare, but it happens.
And no angel stays forever. They have other people to save. When I’m on my own again, I tend to end up back in the mire. Back beneath the surface, unsure of if I’ll ever breathe again.
It’s up to me. My life is my responsibility.
When I was a kid, I didn’t know how to swim but I loved being in the water. You’d think nearly drowning would have catalyzed a desire to learn to swim. But it didn’t. I did not learn. I still do not really know how to swim to this day. I mean, I can froggy paddle, but that’s about it. It’s enough to keep me from close calls with drowning, at least.
That’s in actual water. When it comes to depression, what does learning to swim mean?
Just like with real swimming, there are many techniques for an assortment of situations and purposes. There are techniques like EFT, Piko Piko (an awesome breathing exercise that I highly recommend), yoga. Practicing mindfulness helps immensely. Creative visualization, spending time with positive, encouraging, attentive people. Cardiovascular exercises. Eating well, and making conscious choices instead of lumbering about on autopilot. Getting enough sleep. Falling in love. Meaningful sex. Re-framing self-limiting thoughts until they become wings. I could go on and on.
Knowing all that is a start, but it’s nothing without practice. Consistency. Determination. An attitude that definitively proclaims my own personal power, my authority to be one with my birthright as a peaceful warrior.
Here’s an idea I had while I was writing this. I’ll compile a list, of everything I know that works for mental health recovery. Put it in a book. Build a webinar. Do public talks and interactive demonstrations.
See, to compile the information and deliver it on that level, I’d have to practice. I’d have to turn my life into an all-you-can-eat buffet of what works. So by taking this on, I could turn a corner in my own life, while providing tremendous value to others.
Just an idea. We’ll see what happens…
After reading one of my recent posts, someone told me they felt deflated.
I know I get dark. I know I get weird. I know I write about drowning and wanting to die. I write about failure when I’d rather write about success. Like I’ve said, I don’t wanna be a downer.
What I wanna be is a writer. Which means, I write. Whether I’m up, down, or all around. Sometimes I’m sick, and sometimes I’ll shine. Sometimes swim, sometimes sink. No matter where I’m at, I just want to write.
And as I write, I will keep doing what I always do: Work on getting better every day.
Let’s teach each other to swim and ride waves.
Let’s build boats and be angels when we can.
Let’s fly right out of the water into the sky, and to other planets and dimensions.
Let’s be awesome.