It’s three walls closing in around you and the only open exit is a cliff edge leading to a pit of spikes. But slowly. Creeping death as Metallica would have it. And it’s all the more tangible for being so slow, because you can see and feel and dread it coming, but there seems like no way to stop it without making everything exponentially worse.
So you freeze.
But just you.
The world still spins. And the walls keep inching closer and the ledge starts looking more and more promising…
But you’re still stuck. As more time passes and the situation gets inevitably more dire, you know you need to take action, really any action, so all at once you try to take all the actions. Contradicting ones, exaggerated ones, self-sabotaging ones, insane ones. Anything to keep the momentum going for fear of freezing again. Because what if next time, it’s the last time and you can’t un-freeze? Trapped in a moment of panic and chaos and terror perpetually, because as near as that cliff seems? It’s not nearly close enough to balance out how terrible it is to stay useless in a moment like the one before.
But that moment before? The standing stock still while life swirls and slices around you effortlessly? It always returns. It might be the only reliable thing in your life, but you don’t miss it in its absence, even if you always notice when it’s not around.
Some part of you is always waiting. For that moment, for when the walls finally close in, for when you have to decide between being crushed or plummeting. Inaction is still a choice, but one that is made for you by puppet strings disguised as brain chemistry.
The walls never go away. It’s just sometimes, you can see over them, briefly. A fleeting moment to give hope despite the before. So it seems that’s all there is.