Cruelty echoes in my mind, cruelty that is my own burden to bear. I feel it ripple through my body, up and down and up again. My chest aches as it strokes my beating heart, my shoulders shake as it brushes gently against my bones. I hear the same thoughts I've recited a million times, thoughts telling me the truth I wish I could run from. But it envelops me entirely, like a sea surrounding my sinking body. What word is there that can even begin to interpret this feeling? Lost, uncertain, afraid, helpless, hopeless, alone. For it is all of these things, and more. Broken, ashamed, anxious, spiteful, empty. So so empty. Is anybody here? I see shadows but I can't tell if it's all in my head. I dare not waste my strength and swim to them, afraid of drowning if I do. What if there's no one there to save me? Even worse, what if they are there and choose not to save me at all? Each time I try to swim to a figure in the distance, I become no closer to them than I was before. Are they swimming away? Or am I simply delusional? I'd rather close my eyes and drift to sleep, at least that way I wouldn't have to disappoint myself again and again and again. Is this what it feels like to be weak? If so I never want to try again. Is this what it feels like to be abandoned? If so, I never want to trust or love again. Is this what it feels like to lose hope? I never want to hope again. It's all too exhausting and I wish I could just be okay. But even that seems too much to even dream of.