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Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Swimming in the Dark

The best bit about swimming is the silence under water. At the surface everything is going on - kids splashing and shouting, adults doing lengths and kicking. It is pretty chaotic above the water. But when you immerse yourself in the water, it feels like silence is falling like a blanket over your head. You can see everything going on, but there is a stillness that pervades the air. That's my favourite part, when everything is crazy and loud but all it takes is ducking under the water and suddenly everything just slows down and there is near silence.

When things are crazy around me, I often try and escape in my head to that place under the water. I close my eyes and imagine the silence and stillness that makes me so calm. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. But when it does, I can escape to a place that no one else has access to. 

Sometimes life can be really isolating. Your experiences are yours and yours only, and although that means that you have within you a very specific and special set of tools, it also means that sometimes you get lonely. And sometimes you get so lonely that the whole world feels like it's filled up with water, and you're trapped inside a really big, lonely, swimming pool. But instead of feeling light and free, you feel scared and alone. Really really alone. 

The worst part of this feeling is that not only can no one access you, but you can't reach anyone either. It feels like everything around you is unreachable, locked. And the silence that you used to love begins to drive you mad, and makes you want to run in the rain or smash plates at a wall or scream into a pillow, just to break the boundary between sound and silence. 

And although you can't pinpoint the silence, or work out what is making you so sad, all you can do is wait until the feeling has surpassed, wait until your head comes up from the water, and you can breathe again. Sometimes this takes minutes, sometimes it takes days, or months and for some people it takes years. 

But when it feels like there are rocks in your stomach, or pains in your heart, like your ears are blocked or your head is filled with cotton wool, you should just know that sooner or later, you will regain feeling. You'll take a really deep breath one day and begin to hear your heart beating once more. So just hold on. 

You know, I write these posts to write the truth, to expose something to other people, and to educate. But more often than not, I write these posts to myself, because sometimes the words that are hardest to hear are the ones we feel the deepest. So to me, and to you, your head will come back out of the water soon, I promise.

LF, LR and MG xx