Doubt by Sarah Corneliuson ’20


Doubt. Its claws gouge deep into his mind, his body, his heart. Its shadowy presence suffocates his thoughts, his words, his actions. Its soft murmurs push away his friends, his hobbies, his acquaintances.

It summons a vicious snowstorm in his mind. A storm that he has no protection against, a storm that, no matter how far he runs or how hard he fights it, he can never escape. As his bare feet stumble through the deep snow, with his hoarfrosted arms protecting his face, Doubt tears away bits and pieces of his self-confidence, self-worth, and self-esteem, leaving them behind in the deep trenches of his footprints in the snow-covered ground. It laps up his happiness, resilience, and optimism like rich wine as the whipping wind pierces his flesh down to the bone.

Rarely, there are moments where Doubt has receded––the wind is not as penetrating and the snow is not as thick. Doubt is not there to rip away his self-worth or drink his happiness––but he has been trapped in the storm for so long that he knows this is a ruse. Once he taps into his happiness or self-worth, Doubt will jump him, telling him of the greed he must possess for wanting to take back his friends, his self-esteem, his happiness. The storm will rush forwards with a gust of stabbing cold air and snow so thick he can’t see three feet ahead of him––his punishment for wanting to take back what Doubt so cruelly deprives him of.

Doubt dislikes the taste of his laziness, his anxiety, his depression––so it leaves those traits alone. Those undesirable traits are all he has, all he can cling to in the darkness of the storm. He allows those traits to fill in for his lost optimism and self-worth. He allows them to lead him, to take control.

He knows it is wrong. He knows he should not be depending on his depression to lead him through the storm, but he cannot fight Doubt. Its presence is overpowering, its influence too strong. So he takes what he can get. He clings to what he has left. He walks on.