Author’s note: This is quite a bit more abstract than how I usually write. It describes what it feels like to be at the very bottom of existence. The ones who have been there will understand.
It’s always dark down here.
Even on days when the sun is shining brightly down upon the world around me, I remain enveloped in the creeping dark. It slithers and slides from every shadow around me until there is not even a sliver of light penetrating the veil. People around me can sense the darkness thrust upon me and avert their weary gaze. Even the ones who smile have had their mouths replaced with a gaping maw filled with nothing but more of the same cold dark.
It’s always cold down here. Sometimes I imagine that I’m getting pretty close to hell, but I feel as though I should be warmer if that were true. I can’t remember the last time I felt warmth. I walk on numb feet attached to cold and aching legs, leading me blindly to whichever unsavory destination awaits. The last remaining shreds of morality scream in my ear, wishing, hoping that they can sway the inevitable march toward death. But they can’t. And so my frozen body marches on my path alone.
It’s always lonely down here. Sometimes at night, I imagine the voices coming from my headphones are my friends. We go on grand adventures and relish in great conversation. But they are not my friends. I lost all of those. I know that I am a horrible candidate to be any kind of “quality” friend, so I simply have none. Carrying the crushing weight of my shame is so much more difficult when I am alone. And knowing that this is my fault causes the weight to nearly suffocate me. It feels like I can only catch enough air in my lungs to keep me alive. Nothing more.
It’s always terrifying down here. I live a life that has become darker than my darkest fears. I am afraid every waking moment of every single day. I’m afraid to run out. I’m afraid to get caught. I’m afraid to be around people, but it’s becoming horrifying to be alone. I am always on alert, which pushes my already well-worn psyche past the point of breaking. The fear invades all of my senses to the point where all I can taste is despair. It’s almost enough to bury me. The fear of dying just barely surpasses the fear of living, so I stumble on.
I’m always hungry down here. Not only in the physical sense. I hunger for everything. I am caught between always asking, thirsting, and wanting for more. And I hate myself for it. Nothing will ever be enough to satisfy my cravings. I feel the hunger as soon as I wake, entirely throughout the day, until my body finally comes to rest. Yelling, tearing, screaming to be fed. Once upon a time, I was convinced that I could quell their rebellion from within—silence them forever. Now I only wish to turn the screams into whispers long enough to fall asleep.
It’s always ugly down here. The faces that occasionally surround me look just as gaunt and hollow as my own. A hollow man stuck in the middle of a hollow existence in a world devoid of anything beautiful. The colors are muted until my surroundings are coated in a thick layer of ashen gray. The sounds of bustling cities and piercing silence share the same level of oppressive hate. All I can smell is the own slow decay of my body and soul. There is no beauty to be found in a world filtered through my distorted gaze. So I don’t even bother to look for it.
It’s always hopeless down here. I know just how miserable my life has become, but I can’t find the motivation to do anything about it. The mountain is far too steep, and the path far too long for me to even want to try. I wish I had the strength to do what needs to be done, but I begin to find comfort in the enveloping darkness that covers my lamentable existence. In the dark, no one can see who I have become.
Through it all, I continue on. I live off a tiny shred of light buried deep within my heart.
And I hope that it’s enough to save me.