Stranglehold

I am sitting in the silent living room of the house where my brother and his wife are letting me live. Immobile.  In this house that is not my house.  This place that is a last resort.  That is not “home.”  
 
It is yet another gloomy, rainy day.  The air smells moldy and moist.  Though it is dark this morning, all the lights are out and blinds are closed.  My dogs sleep on my lap, curled into tight little balls, snoring lightly.  I am sitting quietly, remaining still, so as not to disturb them.  But inside, everything is churning. Everything is in turmoil.  A hurricane rages in my soul.
 
I am walking in quicksand.  It is sucking me ever downward.  It has me in a stranglehold.
 
The storm has destroyed my final dream.  Dreams are hard to come by.  I hung on to mine for a long time.  Tenacious.  Determined.  I believed that hard work would produce a happy ending and perseverance would pay off.  I also believed I could be made whole.  Restored.  Wanted. Worthy.  The storms that have decimated my life have proven me wrong, and then some.  One after another, they have swept through my world, laying waste all that was in their path.  Me. Every part of me.  All has been torn apart.   My hopes.  My will to live.  To go on.  My ability to believe in tomorrow.  All has been lost in fierce winds and beating rains.  Swept out to sea, I flail my arms, frantically clawing to reach the surface where I can grab a quick breath before being sucked down into the depths yet again.  The storm has me in a stranglehold.
 
I am growing weaker.
 
Time and the unrelenting storms have washed away all hope.  My world has been destroyed.  Dreams have been smashed and scattered on the wet, soggy ground, tossed by massive ocean waves, dashed on the rocks of experience.  The beating, driving rain is washing away what little is left of all that I was and all that I desired.  The quicksand takes most of the rest.  The quicksand of depression.  And the driving wind blows away whatever little crumbs are left behind.  Until there is nothing.
 
I’ve been struggling in the storms for my entire life.  I’ve been fighting off depression since I was a child. I have been battered and beaten, broken and bruised, bashed and banished for so long, I don’t know what it feels like to have my feet on solid ground.
 
Since the sale of my modest dream house, move to the city where I was raised, where the memories of my mother and father are in my face everywhere I turn, my depression has intensified.  Memories of their abuse of me are inescapable.  The loss of my independence is demeaning.  The end of my hope is demoralizing and dispiriting.  Returning, tail tucked, shamefully unemployed and unable to pay my way, is crushing.  I hate this place.  I hate the weather here.  The smallness of the city.  The backwardness.  The lack of opportunity.  The only good thing is my brother…and that’s very good.  But.
 
I’ve given my brother money I don’t have to try to help pay my way in spite of him telling me it wasn’t necessary.  Because words say one thing and all the other signs that are unconsciously communicated say another.  He and his wife want to be generous.  Their heart is in the right place.  But this is costing them…trying to rescue me.  And the cost is too high a price to pay.  For me.
 
I feel it; I’m nothing but a leach.  A worthless bum. 
 
For many years, I have dreamed of having value. I have attempted to believe I have worth, in spite of my experience, my upbringing, the rejection that has plagued me.  Yet, somehow, every time I try to get to my hands and knees hoping to eventually stand, my limbs are kicked out from under me again.  Every time I try to breathe a few breaths, the waves wash over me and carry me down once more.  I kick and strain and struggle to no avail.  I am weary.
 
Life has been strangling the life out of me for most of my life.  I have reached a point where all the fight has left my body and I can no longer breathe.  I feel myself being dragged ever downward into the mire, the depression, the discouragement.   I fear I will not be able to escape the stranglehold fate has on me.  Its harsh fingers are digging into my neck.  Its breath is hot upon my cheek.  Sucking the air out of my lungs.  Laughing, laughing crazily, as it takes me down into the darkness from which there is no return.
 
I am sitting quietly in the darkened living room of my brother’s house, watching over my sweet, innocent, sleeping dogs as they lay securely on my lap.  I am listening to them snore lightly as I am being drowned.    As I am being strangled.  I listen to them whimper and chase rabbits in their sleep…they are all that is left of my world.  They breathe in and out.  I breathe with them; slowly.  Painfully.  I don’t know how much longer I will have air.
 
 
 
 

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