In my last blog entry I spoke about living with an ever present feeling of loss. I struggle each day with having lost control of the direction of my life, and having lost my self. These feelings are of course a huge part of the depression I fight with. In one of my original entries I mentioned that it felt like the depression and anxiety came crashing down out of nowhere, but hindsight had shown me that it had been there bubbling under the surface.
I have had little time to read or write this week, but I have had time to again be faced with the concept of loss, and continually being forced to make decisions that are “right” even if they aren’t right for me. In seems my life has become a series of choosing the poison that is going to kill me the slowest (I mean this figuratively). Its like a presidential election where most of us hold our nose and vote for who we hope will do the least damage, except these decisions have a more direct effect on the direction of my life and my mood.
I was flipping through some writing I had managed to save from when I was in college. Below I have added a short reflection I wrote when I was a junior in college. It wasn’t an assignment it was simply designed to help me organize the chaos in my brain. I don’t think anybody has ever seen it. This was written before I was actively fighting depression though I was probably already well on my way down. Its theme is difficult decisions. It shows how I struggled with them even back then before I really had to make any. I knew this was coming…
The Power of The Sea
It can be interesting sometimes to consider the strength of the sea. The power of the ocean has carved beautiful coastlines and destroyed entire cities, but its power is not contained solely in its physical strength. The sea’s power can also be measured in its impact on a man’s soul. Its draw is undeniable and once a man feels the spray in his face and the taste of salt permeates his lips he will never again be the same. To the individual the psychological power of the sea far outweighs its physical strength.
The draw of the sea is like that of a magnet, once the polarities are aligned its power is unquestionable. A man with the sea in his veins cannot be happy forever on land. The motion of the sea becomes necessary for sleep and the smell of salt as important as air. A sailor kept from the sea will slowly die inside.
In contrast with the sailors yearning for the freedom of the ocean lie the shackles of land. Life on the ocean and the taste of salt on ones lips does not readily mix with the expectations of those that have never been rocked to sleep by the gentle roll of a boats steady motion, and cannot be understood by those who have never felt the freedom born of the self reliance required to live far from the sight of land.
Striking a balance in this conflict is difficult. Responsibility once acquired is not easily shed, and it is after all the very chains of responsibility that while slowly killing the sailor’s spirit make any hope of journey on the sea possible.
The sailors lot is one of sacrifice. If the sailor is lucky his affair with his one true love will not cost him the love of those around him, but often he will be asked to choose and the choices are hard. Will he be standing on a rolling deck alone staring at the horizon thinking of loves lost while awaiting his next landfall, or will he be standing on the shore staring at the same sea thinking of another love lost and only dreaming about those same landfalls while he slowly dies inside?