‘I Survived Drowning in Quicksand’

My canine Schuyler runs like she is an element dolphin. She lopes excessive over snowbanks, disappearing into the snow for a second, after which capturing proper up once more, at all times in the identical degree bounds.

Last 12 months was my first Boston winter as a pet proprietor, and I used to be particularly envious of my canine’s patter. The mounting nervousness and melancholy that plagued me from the time I woke as much as the time I lastly fell asleep in an uneven haze was unrelenting. On my prepare rides dwelling from work, I sat and cried because the undercurrent of being depressed would swell and canopy me, as a big wave. The melancholy pushed me out of myself and pulled me beneath like a fierce undertow.

One day after work in mid-April, I donned my knee-high wellington boots and piled Schuyler into the automotive and we headed to a seashore the place canine are allowed up till Memorial Day Weekend. There had been just a few different folks strolling alongside Quincy Shore, an inlet of Quincy Bay that empties into the Boston Harbor.

That afternoon was as untethered as I had felt for a really very long time. The wind whipping my hair, the solar glinting off the waves, the sand softly padding my steps. I let Schuyler off-leash as all she wished to do was chase seagulls.

As she neared part of the seashore the place a tiny yacht membership sits on stilts, she turned to see if I used to be following her beneath the pedestrian underpass. I acquired nearer to her and he or she pranced forward and that’s when she started to make her approach out throughout the shallow tidepools. Here the tide was very shallow, the seashore appeared to stretch for half a mile earlier than assembly the water. I adopted her however quickly I discovered that my canine was fortunately doing determine eights—whereas my toes had been sinking.

I noticed I wasn’t hitting a tough backside. As I yanked one foot up, the opposite sunk additional down. My boots, usually excellent for moist terrain, had been heavy and labored towards me. They had been successfully forming a seal round my pants in order that I couldn’t yank my toes out of the boots. Schuyler leaped and panted; she appeared to suppose this was a enjoyable sport I used to be taking part in. Her leash was in my hand, so she couldn’t pull a Lassie lifeguard and pull me out. (Rescue canine, my foot.)

There had been no different folks round that might be shut sufficient to listen to me yell. With quicksand as much as my thighs already, I used to be catching flashes of myself neck deep after which buried.

But then I used to be overcome by an anger that had been simmering nicely beneath the floor all winter. For so lengthy, I had felt solely unhappy. My husband would ask me, “You gonna be okay today?” as he left for work. I advised him every day that, in all sincerity, I used to be too depressed to even provide you with a plan to finish my life, a lot much less execute it. So when this volcanic burst of anger got here capturing out of me, it was each stunning and completely unsurprising. The anger had lastly reached a boiling level.

I felt my face develop sizzling and my neck sweat as I grit my tooth. I wiggled my hips and was capable of get simply sufficient traction that I might lean again. Somehow I used to be capable of push my physique up with my fingers on the sinking sand, like a drunkard making an attempt to tug herself backwards onto a barstool. Finally, I yanked my boots up and crawled towards the sandy space that was extra regular.

I regarded round as soon as I had caught my breath and managed to get Schuyler again on leash. My pants had been soaked in mud and coated in sand. I would wish to stroll some extra to shed a few of this particles and permit my pants to dry a little bit earlier than I acquired again in the automotive.

Drowning for months

I examine related incidents of individuals pulled into quicksand on Quincy Shore. One of the rescuers described how the combination of mud, sand, and water didn’t have sufficient consistency to help the load of an individual, however as soon as the suction round an individual’s physique takes maintain, it was very tough to interrupt. Rescuers discovered they may not pull too onerous on girls who had partially sunken into quicksand as a result of the suction made the resistance so painful. I learn elsewhere that the power crucial to tug a foot out of quicksand is tantamount to lifting a Honda Accord.

I had already been drowning for months, although. The unhappiness had been effervescent for six months on the floor, sinking down into the hollows of me. But after my self-rescue from the quicksand, it was as if the unhappiness might not discover a place to settle; it had washed out into the ocean the place all the emotions go to foam and splash.

Did the quicksand reboot my system? Had the sudden rush of anger I skilled in combating for my regular footing on the sand journey my mind’s energy wire? The panorama of my life, the place I spent my days, how I expended my power, remained precisely the identical. Schuyler was nonetheless the identical dolphin canine that we adopted some months prior.

Author Kendra Stanton Lee on the Boston seashore the place she narrowly survived drowning in quicksand, 2020.
Kendra Stanton Lee/Courtesy

I felt like I had been lent a brand new buoyancy, although. I did not understand how lengthy the buoyancy would final or when the melancholy would possibly revisit me. What I did know was that the climate would inevitably flip to longer, hotter days. I might be prepared, armed with a leash round my canine and the idea that I used to be one way or the other stronger than what might attempt to swallow me.

If you’ve got ideas of suicide, confidential assist is offered at no cost on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Call 1-800-273-8255. The line is offered 24 hours, each day.

Kendra Stanton Lee is a writing professor and freelance author in Boston. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and Slate, amongst others.

The views expressed in this text are the writer’s personal.

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