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Warning: The following is a metaphorical expression of intense personal mental health struggles. It is dark and meant to help people understand how anxiety disorders can manifest in self-destructive and suicidal tendencies.

You are in a space ship deep in uncharted space. A phantom extraterrestrial force endangers everything, and you must keep it at bay. Suddenly, you hear that dreaded sound — klaxons blare throughout the ship.

“DANGER DANGER DANGER! EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY!”

You know what you have to do. There’s only one option. The only thing as red as those sirens is the button on the console. You feel sick to your stomach as you press it. Reluctantly. And immediately begin a mad dash to the emergency pods.

Within a minute of being jettisoned off into void, the ship is engulfed with flames. You sigh with relief that you were able to make it out in time. The pod puts you in stasis to save oxygen until you can reach another ship.

Sleep. Or maybe it’s just death. What does it matter?

You awaken on a ship you recognize well — one you and your friend practically built. Much to your relief, she’s aboard — an incredibly welcome face in a trying time. The trauma of what you just endured at least feels muted. Minimized. Masked.

The escape pod contains a copy of the flight recorder, which contained exabytes of data about the final days of the ship. You pour over it, eager to garnish any insights you can from the loss of the ship.

Nothing.

You can’t find evidence of any intrusion at all, let alone anything more than space dust within a parsec of the ship on any of its sensors. Surely it could not be a false alarm that led to so much loss? The most advanced neural networks in the world process that data to determine threats.

There were people still aboard when the ship destructed. So much death. For now, you decide all you can do once more is hope for more sleep.

DANGER DANGER DANGER!

You spring awake. Not again.

Your friend races into the room, knowing what you just escaped. “It’s nothing. False alarm. My crew is working hard on it. Just try to ignore it.”

You slip on a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, but you still cannot escape the sound. It seeps through the cracks. It vibrates your chest. It shakes your soul.

More and more time goes by. You furiously begin communicating with the computer, hoping for favorable information. You’re locked out of details. But the computer seems certain about one thing.

DANGER DANGER DANGER!

You know the ship all too well. You know where that red button is. You can’t endure it anymore.

In what feels like a flash, you’re once more drifting through space. The pod’s computer once again takes you into the void. Sleep. Space. What’s the difference?

Over the coming months, you do everything to fight the menace, but ship after ship falls. In many cases, you hold out as long as you can, trying to do whatever you can to justify saving it, but, in the end, you succumb to your orders: self-destruct.

Finally, you find yourself upon the last ship in the sector. Your only life boat. It’s small, but it’s cozy. You are alone. But you’re happy. Seeing other people is just a reminder of how many keep dying.

Surely your little space raft wouldn’t attract negative attention. Surely this place was too small to be a threat.

When the klaxons start blaring, all you can do for a few moments is laugh before the uncontrollable sobbing takes over you. The entirety of the ship could be searched in less than a minute by yourself. You can see with your own eyes there is no threat.

DANGER! DANGER! DANGER!

But you’re alone. There is no more escape. There is no more hope. There is no one in what feels like an infinite distance who can help you. You cannot shut off the alarms.

DANGER! DANGER! DANGER!

Eventually, you’re so worn down you do what feels like your only option. The button on this ship isn’t even red, just an unpolished black. You know there is nowhere else to go. But you can’t stay here.

DANGER! DANGER! DANGER!

You press it. Moments later, once more, all you see is black.

Software Engineer. NYT-Published Writer. Farmer. Trans Lesbian (She/her).

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