Sunday, July 17, 2011

Open Water

At the ending of the movie Open Water, as  lost diver "Susan" looks out over the vast expanse of ocean for any glimmer of rescue after nearly two days adrift, she realizes there is no sign of help on the horizon in any direction. It is at this moment she becomes aware also that sharks are circling her, and allows herself to slip under the water to drown before they attack her. This is how depression feels. The horrific realization that no one is coming for you – there is no rescue boat, no island to swim toward, no plane searching  for you, nothing except that vast expanse of seeming emptiness with silent terrors circling below the surface. It’s hopelessness, helplessness, fear, loneliness, sadness and emptiness all engulfing you without rhyme or reason. Worse, it’s overwhelming guilt for feeling those things and being so consumed by them that you’re unable to see past the darkness to what is hopeful, resilient, joyful, beautiful and wonderful, and the belief that somehow you don't deserve any good thing anyway. “Snapping out of it” and “being happy for what you have” are not, as many assume, necessarily options for one caught in the claws of depression. It’s an illness that is the deep blue sea of the psyche and is just as capable of drowning the spirit as the ocean is of drowning the body. How overwhelmingly frightening to look around and see no rescue boat, only dark and angry Open Water as far as the soul can see…

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