i was diagnosed with depression in march. it came as a shock, even though i had been joking about being depressed for years. years.
you see, whenever i didn’t have plans or a job to go to, i would just stay in bed or lay around and feel sad (this happened at least monthly, sometimes more ). and then i would feel like i was wasting my life by not using those moments productively or adventurously. when i was a kid, i slept in a lot and my parents always told me i was wasting that time… you should get up early to seize the day. but getting up early was never my thing, i couldn’t do it. so i beat myself up over it for years. years. like thinking what is wrong with me? why does everybody else have this figured out? (i know that’s not true but brains like to get dramatic, don’t they?)
i’ve always thought of myself as a melancholy person although others perceive me as sunshine. i’ve been called that many times by lovers, friends, family. i think i was trained as a child to project happy or maybe it is my true nature (sometimes i do feel that way). it’s definitely something that society requires of girls. SMILE! (if i had a nickle for every time someone said that to me, i would have a nice down payment on a house.) inside it has been a constant struggle to stay sunny. a constant struggle to function like i’m “supposed to.” i’ve always struggled to keep a clean house and bedroom–often getting overwhelmed and giving up (sleeping) because it felt impossible to get on top of. countless other things felt this way.
there’s much more to it… it’s a complex thing. it’s an avalanche of moments, conditions and experiences. i’m still learning what it means to me.
“Melancholy is the happiness of being sad.”
shortly after that diagnosis, i learned that that thing where i forget to breathe for a second, or need to sigh deeply to steady myself and talk myself down from feeling like i’m going to fall down, fall apart… ooooh, that’s anxiety.
i never thought of myself as an anxious person. it sent another shock wave through me, it made me look back on all the times i had just found a way to push through it. i just kept going. stuffed those feelings down until i could get through another minute, hour, day. learning these words in relation to me felt like i was waking up to myself. i always thought those were things other people had. i even felt like i couldn’t understand depression… how dense is that? like why can’t you just pull yourself out if it… like i do? but i wasn’t pulling myself out of it. i was drowning and doggy paddling and gulping air when i surfaced. i was deep in it myself. for years. years.
the words for these feelings… it’s given me a way to talk about and to understand these feelings that i have had for so long that i don’t remember when it started.
these photos were made over labor day weekend, 2011 :: during a camping trip to the dunes, south of florence, oregon. || Olympus OM-2N :: Kodak Ektar 100