Why Would You Call It The Symptoms of Drowning?

This is a question that I had already prepared myself to answer once I began writing The Symptoms of Drowning.

This was a story unlike any other that I had ever written and that was because this was my story. Not a fictional plot that I had created or a professionally written article that a client had paid for. This book was going to have me written all over the pages in such an intimate and vulnerable way.

The Symptoms of Drowning came to be during a tumultuous time in my life. I was living with an abusive family member and was in the middle of being diagnosed with health issues.

I remember repeating one phrase to myself when things would get at their worst and that was “I feel like I’m drowning, I feel like I’m drowning.” And that was how The Symptoms of Drowning came to be as I realized that one day, I would write about this. One day I would write about how it felt to be drowning from the inside out. Trapped in a seemingly inescapable situation in life.

I knew that one day I would write about the abandonment that I had experienced, the abuse I had felt, and the hopelessness that I was experiencing upon the realization that my body was breaking down.

Over time the story that I had in mind evolved because as my situation grew worse, I learned more about myself. I learned more about human nature and what it takes to survive a situation that feels entirely un-survivable. And I eventually realized how powerful a story of survival can be to those who feel trapped as well.

Author Abigail Jane The Symptoms of Drowning
Author of The Symptoms Of Drowning Abigail Jane

I wrote The Symptoms of Drowning years later as I was finally escaping that abusive situation. Writing it for myself, for my family, for strangers. Because I wanted to give a voice to the people who go through these kinds of situations silently. Because that was once me and I know how it feels to be trapped and suffocated. And I wanted others to know that they weren’t alone no matter how lonely they might feel.

I wanted The Symptoms of Drowning to be a love letter to the broken and the weary. To the people who think that it will never get better and that no one sees them. Because that was me and this was the kind of book that I needed to read during that time in my life.

The Symptoms of Drowning 

“There was such a great distance of water between us. An ocean made up entirely of judgment and misunderstanding. Ignorance and selfishness. And I was drowning in it. “

“I’ve gotten good at drowning silently. At sinking dangerously beneath the waves as silently as a leaf falling. Making sure not to bother anyone else with my despair. Making sure not to be an inconvenience “

An intimate, personal memoir full of powerful stories that show a glimpse into what it is like to need to stay silent.

Abigail had been struggling for as long as she could remember. Struggling to understand why she had been slowly drowning in silence from the inside out. All the while acting as though nothing was wrong. 
Why she felt all of these feelings when she had always been made to feel as though there was no reason for her unhappiness. No reason for her to feel hurt and neglected.

She had to go on a journey of self-exploration a journey of peeling herself apart to reveal secrets that she had always kept buried safely out of sight. Having to question herself and her actions as well as the actions of those around her.  

Viewing her life through fresh eyes in order to see what the reality was rather than what she had always been told was normal. 
Finally allowing herself to see the impact that other actions had on her. And how utterly broken she had become in her endeavours to keep everything hidden. 
Having to confront how utterly alone she had become and how silently she had fallen into the shadows in order to keep her secrets hidden.

Having to confront all of the feelings of depression, neglect and rejection that she had refused to see for years. Abigail’s journey isn’t just about what she has gone through or how she has gotten through it. Her story is about coming to term and seeing things for what they are.
It is about forgiveness of others and herself and learning how to continue on with life even after it has fallen apart. How to tear down walls and replace them with boundaries in order to let people in while removing toxic people from her life.

A journey of learning who she is at the core and finding herself and her voice. Of reclaiming her value and helping others to know that they can do the same. In the hopes that this can be one of the inspiring books for women to help them reclaim their voice.

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