Drowning and Swimming for the Surface. Maybe.

Dearest Friends,

I’m drowning.

Optimistic.

And drowning.

Swimming for the surface.

And drowning.

Swimming in circles, maybe, actually, truthfully, since I can’t quite see the surface from here. But I believe in the surface, is what I’m saying. I believe it’s still there. Like I believe the dawn is coming. Always on the way, even in the darkest part of the night. And I’m swimming for it; the surface, the dawn. Whether I’m pointed in the right direction is almost superfluous, right? Almost? Just keep swimming. And swimming. And swimming. Except when I lie still here, under the water, in a dead man’s float where it’s quiet and cold and sort of peaceful in its own drowny way. I’ll swim again in a minute. For now I’ll rest.

I’m in no danger, I think, this time, while drowning. I’ve been in danger before, but not right now. I have lifelines. I’ve grown them, like tentacles, over time, and collected the lines I’ve been thrown. I have a few tied off, even now, and will climb some soon to see which lead to the surface this time. Those lifelines, though; they’re a labyrinth. Like the stairways at Hogwarts, always shifting. Still stairs. Still lifelines that lead somewhere; just not always where I necessarily need to go, and so I have to seek out different routes to the surface sometimes.

Depression lies. But for now I’m drowning. I’ll swim for the surface soon.

Waving in the dark,

Signature

 

 

 

P.S. Sorry this post is a little weird and dark. I’m OK. I swear it. It’s just that I decided a long time ago to not hide from you — or myself — when I’m “middling dark” instead of very, very happy or very, very depressed. The middle is a weird place to be. Sort of undefinable except in strange metaphors about water and nighttime and believing in the surface and the dawn which are easier for me to cling to sometimes than hope, which is too big and slippery to grab with my tentacles.

P.P.S. My parents and brother and husband have sent me away for a few days with my sister-in-law for respite. It’s a lifeline. GOD BLESS THEM. I’ll be writing more this week. That’s one of the respite goals to unclog my mind and heart and soul. And to rest. Life is challenging right now. And relentless always. I know you get it, friends. That’s why we need each other.

P.P.P.S. This…

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I love you with all my butt. I would say heart, but my butt is bigger.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
16 comments
  1. […] on my big girl pants today and crawling out from under my covers and thrusting a straw up from the depths of the Drowning Waters to try to suck enough oxygen to write something. Anything. Anything true anyway, which is my […]

  2. I was thinking about you. I took my two little girls to the pool and my 4 year old walked off the steps without realizing she was walking into where she couldn’t touch the bottom. She frantically sputtered and thrashed around and after a minute managed to get herself back to the steps (I was close enough to grab her but thought I would be Awesome Mom and see how she would manage on her own). She immediately exited the pool and sat with our stuff and cried. I hugged her and asked if she was okay and she said, “No! I just drownedED!” I told her, “But you didn’t drown! You swam back to the steps – you saved yourself when you thought you were drowning and you’re okay!” Convinced otherwise, she said she was never getting in the pool again and we enjoyed some fruit snacks together (well, I mostly enjoyed the cuddles). A few minutes later, she decided maybe she would try again and surprise surprise, I couldn’t get her out when it was time to leave.

    Maybe you are drowning. But you can save yourself. And if you can’t, you have people near enough to grab you. And maybe after a snack and some cuddles you will have a different perspective, or at least enough of a respite to go after it some more.

    Thanks for sharing your life, Beth.

  3. Hugs, love, and a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart for you, your realnees, honesty. I too struggle with depression, and man it can be so hard some days, and to reach out for the support we need can be so damn hard sometimes. I’ve been following your blog for a long time but never commented, but choose to today…….know I think you are amazing and wish you lived next door to me with your family, the good, the bad, the ugly, the awesome because well we all need more friends that are real and get it. Enjoy your respite. ❤️❤️❤️

  4. I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is when someone I look up to… someone I see as more accomplished than me feels the way I do. Thank you for sharing. I truly believe that knowing you aren’t alone helps. I have gathered lifelines too. And, I thank you for adding to them… even if only in my mind.

  5. […] margarita said they were dolphins, but I suspect they were mermaids or mommies or both who were drowning and surfacing and sometimes barely catching their breath and sometimes exuberantly celebrating their wild, weird […]

  6. Waving back to you. From my middling dark to yours. I hope we all see the surface soon.

  7. Love to you in the middle. From the middle and from the bottom of my heart. Even while you are drowning and swimming, you write, and your words are full of grace and lifelines for your fellow/sister swimmers. Thank you. Thank you, Beth.

  8. lots of us are in the middle. and not everyone believes how hard it is.

  9. Exactly this. Thank you for being so authentic. You put into words what I and I’m sure many of your readers feel. I thank you for your honesty. I’m really working on focusing forward. A bible verse I’m holding onto is Phillipians 4:8 whatever is true and lovely focus on that. Will be praying for you and your other readers. Keep swimming.

  10. Sending love and waving in the dark.

  11. I wrote practically the same thing. I have it somewhere. It’s not about me, so I’m not going to quote it, however… drowning?
    Excellent choice of words. I feel that feels. Hugs.

  12. Oh Beth! Thanks for putting into words what it feels like…the surface is there but it’s SO MUCH work to get there. I get it & I’m swimming with you. Thanks for sharing your journey so we know we aren’t alone.

  13. Yes, this. I used to feel like I could only tell my friends when I was doing awesome or when I was absolutely drowning with no belief that the surface existed, because to me, the middling dark felt like I just wasn’t trying hard enough. I still feel that way sometimes, but am comfortable enough that I can finally reach out and say, “Things suck, but I think I will be okay.”
    Holding you in my prayers and hoping you get to the surface soon.

  14. I have tears running down my face after reading this, because it so succinctly describes where I’m at. Except I’m not so sure about the surface more often than not. I usually describe it to myself in my head like trying to ride a bike, but the chain keeps not catching and slipping off. Some days I can actually feel it-the chain refusing to catch and allow me to move forward. Anyway, knowing that there’s someone else who knows what this feels like makes it a little easier to believe in the surface, and to keep swimming. <3

    1. Sometimes, when I say I believe in the surface, I mean I refuse to NOT believe in the surface, or I cling tenaciously to the concept of surface, or I long for a surface I’m not totally sure is there. It’s like tells myself depression lies; what I mean is, depression sure sounds convincing — I just refuse to believe it. Love to you, friend. xoxo

  15. Love you, kid. Miss you.

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