With the weight of expectation

One word

Brings an onslaught of self-doubt.

You felt good today. Productive, healthy. You felt yourself opening up, letting go, shedding ages of uncertainty and awaiting something new to lift you up and away. You saw the future. You felt control and purpose. You felt light and free, floating—but not aimlessly. You felt at ease with what was to come.

And in a moment. One. Single. Moment. All can falter. The air which gave you wings no longer supports you. You find they were crystalline, fragile—and you fall down. So far down.

 You were nearing the unattainable: peace, joy, acceptance.

So now, leaden, you plummet downwards. And that hole you’ve been digging all of these years is so deep. It is an abyss, it swallows you whole, and there is no more light. Not here. And you’ve become so accustomed to the dark that it feels more familiar than the surface. You convince yourself you can truly see the blurred phantasms that shift along the periphery of your vision.

It’s too bright up there anyway, blinding, unbearable. Here, you’ve fooled yourself into being comfortable with the shadows. Far too complacent, you no longer shrink away. They whisper to you. Thoughts of release. Serenity in letting go, I mean truly letting go and dissipating into that darkness.

They lie.

They tell you it would be better to give in to nothingness, to lose yourself irrevocably. Today it seems easier, you don’t shy away from the images of release. Relief. It seems. It feels more plausible, possible, than it did yesterday. The edges of the fantasy have begun to sharpen and take shape. Solidify. The part of you that fears it is dwindling. You’re becoming too friendly with the idea. Some part of you wonders if your thoughts are hanging with the wrong crowd, but more of you is beginning to buy the snake oil they peddle.

Death is becoming a more approachable face than those you see in the sunlight. It knows no doubt, for it is utter certainty. Inescapable.

You feel yourself grasping, with every ounce of your will, onto life. It’s a familiar sensation. In fact, it somehow transcends the mental state, the metaphorical imagined act, until you can actually feel the nerve impulse aching down your arms, and they reach out, fingers curling around some unseen anchor for stability. Some last desperate grip on the cliff’s edge. And you try to hold on, hold on, until someone somewhere pulls you up, gasping and nauseated, unsure if you are relieved or disappointed.

And then, for a time, you exist. Resurfaced from the brink. There is Euphoria. But beneath that, there is Fear. And that fear does not arise from uncertainty. No, this fear is rooted in the certainty that you will go tumbling down that dark ravine again. Will you throw yourself down? Who or what will push you?

At the core of this fear (or is it exhilaration?) is the thought that you might not reach out again to grasp the edge and hang on. Or maybe you will, but lose your grip. Maybe it won’t be strong enough this time. You can spend a long time suspended there, dangling over the abyss.

Dread and excitement are too intricately linked for my liking.

And all the while you’re suspended there, grasping—your soul vibrating with every cell within you that wants to stay alive—the mind attacks. It shows you images of eternal repose. It speaks softly at first, slowly, seductively, gradually gathering into a crescendo, until it consumes every thought.

And still you fight, and clasp, and struggle. Because you are not yet exhausted. Not yet, not yet…

But you can feel it coming.

And that, in itself, lends you a frantic desperation.

Your body is tense. Fists clenched until the knuckles are white as the bone beneath. And you exist like that for as long as it takes.

Or as long as you can.

Hold on. HOLD ON.

It must be worth it.

Else you wouldn’t grasp so desperately in the first place.

Help may not be coming. But you’ve weathered this before.

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