Drowning Lessons

by slighte   Apr 21, 2014

Drowning Lessons/Adventures in Depression

I had the drowning dream again.
It goes like this: my eyes close
and I start to sink.

The cold comes quickly. It doesn't warm
like they say it should. Instead the ice punctures my skin,
empties me out, and starts to carry me down.

I am swallowing an ocean that tastes of failure and sadness,
some kind of sick morose reflection of myself. I am
cold salt screaming. Sometimes it's like I can't wake up.
(Sometimes it's like I don't want to.)

And I know I should be able to swim but the pressure
nine hundred feet down is getting to me.
And the current is dragging me further
from safety, crackling and bursting and crushing and
I would be seasick if I wasn't already diseased.

I think my bones are going to break.

There are others here too - but they don't seem to see me.
They know how to swim, they know how to make peace
with the waves, they can talk to fish and laugh and breathe and,
oh god, I think. They look so happy. I am drowning
but I can see everyone else around me breathing.

But I'm not even trying to swim anymore; just letting it take me
to drown. And I know that I wouldn't mind
if it did take me over, because I know somehow
that I will never be able to breathe underwater.

You could take the water away but you wouldn't find me -
only the sickness that had me in the first place.

For an FOP contest quite a while back about senses (touch). Tried to describe how depression feels to me as a physical sensation.


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Latest Comments

  • 3 years ago

    by Maple Tree

    Slighte took me on a roller-coaster into depression with this poem; So powerfully so, that it took me to the days of my own, dealing with depression.. That is a powerful poem.
    Her wording is marvelous, which is why I could feel like I was actually drowning. True talent in this piece!!

  • 3 years ago

    by Poet on the Piano

    Judging comment:

    What captivated me in this write was how the author directly relayed this depression to the reader. I still think people don't want to talk or hear about depression as an illness, and I'm sure it can easily be misunderstood. But it is serious. I appreciate how the author, from such a personal standpoint, was committed to describing it in its reality. This read to me actually like a scene from a film, but was intimate, easy to imagine, and flowed. The opening reminded me of the scene in Titanic where Jack warns Rose about how cold the water is, and she tries to not let the realization of it get to her. There's a rawness in this piece, but also what I feel is reflective, where you give yourself time to realize sometimes you don't want to wake up, that you should be able to get back up yet you give in to those waves. There's also this awareness throughout the piece about the people surrounding this author, which I think is a good point to bring up in the fact that it's hard when you see others in control of life, creating happiness, yet you are not in reach of that. Amazing descriptions.... very thought-provoking about this illness and how it needs care, that one can't simply "get over" depression, in such simple terms. (4)