Standing on the Cliff Edge of This Thing Called Living


A couple of months ago I took a flying leap into an ice-cold river, plunging deep down into shockingly cold and brilliantly clear water, losing my breath before I burst back up through the surface, sucking air and scrambling for shore. I did not expect that to be repeated so soon and with even less energy to swim.

I almost passed out while driving again this morning. That repeated itself twice more because apparently now driving is itself a trigger for me. I have no idea how I’m going to get through the next week.

Or the next two weeks.

Or the next month.

I am standing on a ledge, feeling like I need to – that I am being asked by invisible forces to – jump off and trust that I’ll land.

Everything about my life thus far tells me that this is a terrible idea, and not only won’t work out, but will be a horrible, life and brain-damaging experience from which I will never recover but end up broke and exhausted and constantly triggered and out of resources.

You may understand why the prospect of trust is a challenging one for me.

I lost my optimism a long time ago, but not my hope, and maybe it’s the hope that drives me forward, contemplating whether I can trust and jump, or if I will simply wither on the edge and collapse. I don’t think that’s an overdramatization, I really feel that I need to make some hard choices with my life – I need to get myself into a stable, predictable job (as much as that is possible) with known paychecks and conditions and requirements and with minimal stress, and build a life around a calm, quiet existence.

Or I need to take a flying leap off the ledge, embrace everything I have poured myself out for and trust that the work is going to pay off and I am going to land, brilliantly, still having to work hard to manage the never-ending symptoms of PTSD but doing it joyfully because I am LIVING, finally, and being fully present and engaged and available.

The crushing weight of PTSD is like a heel on my neck while everything else is telling me to stand up. Oh I want to stand up, I’m just having a hard time with it. And this past weekend as my boyfriend and I rumbled with how much reckoning we’re both going through and how hard it is to watch the stories we’ve told ourselves dissipate as we pick up the courage to face ourselves honestly and how hard it is to adjust to each other under these conditions and while feeling like we have very little stability and I have less trust and confidence that things between us will be better…it is that much more impossible.

I don’t actually know what will happen if I trust and leap. I don’t know how cold or deep it will be, if I will freeze or not, if I can get to shore quickly enough or if I can tolerate the icy depth long enough to shock myself back to life.

Better to live though, isn’t it?

underwater photography of woman
Photo by Engin Akyurt on

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