Escaping the Borderline Bermuda Triangle

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A sailor can only weather so many a storm in his small and fragile vessel before accepting his fate lies in the vast unknown below him. The first hint of smooth sailing may seem promising, but a long enough calm can make even the saltiest sea-dog go mad. Waiting for that front to come in, bringing in the single wave which will inevitably come down, deafening and devouring his tiny, safe world. No idea of his location, no concern for navigation, no desire to succumb to the seductive illusion that is the red sun setting. Instead he simply waits- surrounding himself within the only four walls he’s known for too long, heart quickening at every imagined sound or sign of danger…

…and waits…

A year ago I wrote this and shared it on Facebook as a sort of distress call. On the outside, things were calm. I was coming up on the fourth month of successful cessation of contact with Az and find myself at that same mile marker today, ironically.* I had forgiven myself for another failed attempt at obtaining (and subsequently maintaining) employment, and had begun reading an average of a book or two per week. Arguably, things were pretty okay; All’s well that ends well, right? In my cerebral cockpit however, I felt myself slowly losing control. I knew better than to trust in the calm before the storm, and that my feeble flare went unanswered only furthered my dissociative descent.

Fast forward to the present day. Through some serendipitous (read: cruel?) fate, the few passing storms I’ve battled have caused minimal damage to my already run-down craft. No Kraken has dragged me down to the murky depths. And, though I’ve certainly come close, I’ve yet to befriend a bloody-hand-print-faced volleyball. Still, like clockwork, I swear I can smell the onset of the tempest that will do me in once and for all. Out of desperation for solidarity- for someone to understand- I decide to reignite the water-logged and burnt out status, knowing full well it will sputter and fizzle out pathetically before it does exactly that.

But lo and behold, I see a ship on the horizon. It first appears on the first day of attending the pre-commitment group for DBT. Originally, I assure myself it’s a mirage- a figment of my fractured imagination, conjured up in a desperate attempt to pretend I’m not alone in this journey. That I’m not the only one traversing these unknown waters. That I’m not the only one who feels so utterly and completely lost and alone. Over the course of a month though, the dot on the horizon grows clearer. Suddenly there are more ships– a dozen, nearly. All of us hesitant to break the silence– terrified to be caught shouting out to the abyss, “Wiiiiilsoooon!”

It isn’t until the conclusion of our final meeting together before we’ll part to attend our respective treatment days that it happens. The therapists assure us that there’s land just beyond the horizon. That, like Native Americans who’ve never seen a ship, it will take time for us to process what we’re seeing. In faint flashes of light, that first ship signals in morse code what I’ve been trying to get across in limerick and metaphor for the past year and the 24 that’s preceded. “I’m scared to have hope.

And suddenly I don’t feel so very alone…

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*I would make it a year to the date before reaching out in a drunken rage, demanding answers after seeing him show up at a venue he was allegedly banned at (and then bragging about it) on my birthday. What a way to start off a quarter life crisis, no?

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