It's Not Quite Like Drowning
It's more like the world is flooding. There is water a couple inches deep as far as the eye can see and no one seems too concerned about it. It's a little uncomfortable, sure, but you go about your business. You've been through this before and know the water will recede, just like the other times.
But it gets deeper. Before long you find yourself knee-deep in the murky water. No biggy, you think, I've been through worse. Sure, it's a pain trudging through the water, but it's fine. It'll recede eventually, like it always does.
And maybe it does for a little while. But as quickly as it falls, it rises. Before you know it, it's waist-deep. Not so bad, you think, I can manage.
Then it's chest-high. It's rough, absolutely, but you keep on. In a way, you take pride in pushing through, in the brave, quiet stoicism. Getting around is exhausting; you learn to live with it. You get by, just maybe do don't do as much as you used to. You simply don't have the energy. You give up some things. But, it will recede, you think, like it always does.
But still it rises and soon you find yourself treading water. Before long your arms are spent and on fire, but you learn coping strategies. You float on your back, which you can sustain with almost no effort. You give up anything non-essential. You try to remain still so as not disturb the water line, now inches from your face. It sucks, but you're not completely under and that's something. Besides, it's only temporary, only until the water recedes, like it always does.
Time passes. Maybe the water does recede; maybe it doesn't. You can't tell because you're floating on your back and it doesn't cross your mind to check. You could be floating just a few feet from the ground, but would never know. In some ways you don't want to know, because you're just sick of the disappointment. But you keep your head above the water, and that's the important thing, you guess. Eventually it will recede; it has to.
Then maybe, just maybe, the water crests and falls. You wake up and find yourself on your back on solid ground. The water is gone. It's dry. For the first time in who knows how long you feel tendrils of hope crawling through your chest. Cautiously you begin to stand up.
But your legs give out immediately and you collapse like a sack of old rags. You try again but have no strength. It's like you don't even remember how to stand up. And as you lay there utterly defeated, the water begins to trickle in again.