(A guide for those of you who are drowning. Also, see Dory, Finding Nemo)
I first started drowning in September of 2010, a few months into my first year in University. The waters came unexpectedly, and they came gradually enough that I didn’t notice. They were unexpected because I had just celebrated my 17th birthday in one of the happiest places in Manila. I celebrated it with some friends and family, and at that time I sincerely thought nothing could be more right with the world. I didn’t lack for anything. I was in the university that was my first choice, had a circle of friends, and was doing pretty well. I was perhaps the last person you’d think that this would happen to.
The waters came, anyway.
In the face of waters that are abyss-deep, I write this guide for all of us who are forced to swim in them.
- Letting yourself drown will be tempting. Do not be tempted. — Don’t do it. Don’t stop fighting. There will be days when you think that allowing yourself to be carried away by the waves is a good idea. You will think longingly of rest, of eternal respite. (Why fight the waves, when you’re too weak to go against them?) I beg you not to stop swimming. Fight. Every breath will be agonizing, but don’t fall to the temptation of letting yourself drown. Just keep swimming.
- Find your Lifebuoy. (Read: Jesus) — A Lifebuoy in the drowning deep is important. Your Lifebuoy will keep you afloat when the waves are crashing against you. Your Lifebuoy will keep you alive. Grab ahold of your Lifebuoy. You are not alone in the deep.
- Try to swim back to shore. — Now that you have your Lifebuoy, you must now find ways to swim back to shore. Google. Research. See people. See some lifeguards (Read: Professionals). Scream for help. Do anything you can to swim back to shore.
- Remember: you will not stay in the waters forever. — You will find yourself out of the deep, just as long as you keep fighting. You’ll find yourself ashore, and you will be so, so, so grateful that you didn’t allow yourself to be pulled under. You’ll walk on dry land again, dear swimmer. You have a Lifebuoy.
- Just keep swimming. — And sometimes, when we find ourselves back in the deep, see number 1.
Your fellow swimmer,
P.S. Here are some resources that help me when I’m swimming:
- God’s Work in Your Depression
- The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
- Romans 8:18
P.P.S. If you find this guide inadequate, please feel free to contact me, and we can talk. Or talk to anyone you trust. Or just talk to Jesus. His line is always open.