From The Book of Jon by Eleni Sikelianos (which is a sort of ode to/biography of her heroin-addicted father):
When you are a drowning man, you need things that float. How can I explain this? For some people, all the objects of the world lose buoyancy; they pull you down. Bus schedules, chainsaws, belts, wallets, money, socks, liquor stores, trees—like lead weights around the wrists and ankles. You are moving through a vast lawless land of watery air. Gravity has new rules. A coffee cup is like a sinking freighter in your hands. My father was a fine swimmer; it was the world that got too heavy—a trick of science, like that water separated into its heaviest parts, or all the dark matter, the unknown weight of the universe, gathered in everything you touch.
After Jack relapsed the first time—which I found out about later; he’d been drinking and hiding it quite well for at least two or three weeks—I asked him why he didn’t just call someone when he woke up at 2am in the midst of a panic attack and all he knew about how to deal with it was walk to the 7-11 for cigarettes and vodka.
“The phone was too heavy,” he said. “I couldn’t bear to use it.”
It was a long time after he died that I began to understand how much fear Jack faced in his life. He was afraid both of losing what he had and not getting what he wanted. It saddens me to think that our relationship contributed to that fear, but it did. Most definitely it did. Until Jack I didn’t realize that people sometimes screw things up not because their lives are going badly but also because their lives are going along too happily, with too much love and light and energy. Jack lived in fear. It’s one of my biggest sorrows that I realized this only in retrospect, much too late to offer the sort of kindness such fears deserve.