Under the Surface

It is such a weird experience once you reach the surface. It feels as if you are suddenly able to breathe again after hours, days and sometimes weeks of suffocating. You need to get used to what was once a natural feeling. You’re afraid to even take a step. Is this real? Isn’t this some sort of illusion? Am I allowed to feel this way? You forgot what it is like to live above the surface.

I knew I wasn’t thinking clearly these past few days. I recognise it when I’m about to sink or when I’m on the border of falling down. I recognise it even more so once I’ve indeed gone under but being aware does not help to get out.

The scary thing about being under is that you lose a part of your usual senses. You do not care as much, you can’t feel as much for that person, you cannot do anything extra for anyone else. Hell, you can’t even get anything done that you’re supposed to. You can’t even manage to have a normal conversation. I mean, have you ever talked to someone while being underwater? It doesn’t work that well, does it? But just because you’re going under, that doesn’t mean the rest of the world is too. Everyone else seems to be enjoying the sun; time keeps on ticking although every minute is a struggle to get through. And in all those minutes, you do absolutely nothing but trying to prevent yourself from drowning.

If someone asks me what I’ve been doing, I have no answer to give. The days are blank. The days are black. The days aren’t really a part of my life because was I actually alive in these past few days? Am I alive at all, I ask myself then and I come to the conclusion that I am, otherwise, I wouldn’t feel this way. So then why am I alive, is the next thing that goes through my mind. But I can’t let this happen. I cannot ever think this way because this is the one thing I am not allowed to think. The thought continues to linger around until you somehow you manage to let it go and as you do, so does hope.

You begin to realise that maybe you’re a lost cause. Maybe this is simply how it is supposed to be. You have forgotten what it is like above the surface.

I know I will always reach the surface again but it strikes me how scary it is to lose yourself down there. It is scary to lose your senses and it is scary to lose yourself. And yet, I haven’t lost myself simply because I’m still here.

I think it’s important to know that you have not yet lost yourself if you struggle with the same thing. This happening does not define you; it does not change you as a person and you should know that you will always get out again.

One day the sun will shine again.
Every bad day passed is one less for the future.
Things get better, they really do.


Two years later: staying above the surface

One Reply to “Under the Surface”

  1. michael

    Hi Malou – you need to realize (if you haven’t already done so), that there are two people involved here. The one who is having the experience and the one who is witnessing the one who is having the experience. To witness or observe something, you must be able stand aside from it, above it. As the Welsh (!) poet Dylan Thomas wrote: “I, in my intricate image, stride on two levels”…

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