It's not like when you get strep throat. You get a fever and a sore throat and you know it's coming. You know what it's like, how it's going to feel, how long it's gonna suck.
Depression for me is like the mean girl in high school who bullies you. You don't know where or when she's gonna sneak up on you, you just know she’s there. And at some point you're gonna be humiliated - taken down.
You'd think by 45 I'd be able to spot it coming but it still takes me by surprise every time. It's only in retrospect that I can see how it came up, how it started and how long it's been running underneath the current.
Last September I went down and bottomed out. Inertia. ….. no motion at all …..
Some things had happened, with a man I was in love with, with my family that I felt didn’t love me. I went to my therapist and told her I was not going to make it through this winter without some kind of serious help. She got me help.
(Shame and self-loathing play a big role in depression for me. I’ve always dealt with my pain by avoidance and distraction. Painting, running, exercising, studying… I’m good at those things because of the 45 years I’ve had practicing.)
During my recovery I brought a tripod and a remote for my i-phone and took pictures of myself, my body.
This is a page from my journal.
“I’m doing this because I want to accept myself for who I am. All I’ve done and how it looks, reflects physically. All of the manic exercising trying to avoid the pain of depression – how it is reflected back or outwardly. The hatred I felt for myself when I saw pictures from the race I ran with Rachel- how I looked like my mom and my brother- the two people who seem to not give a shit about me at all. My weird skin – that Polish, Italian, Irish mix. I see it in my brother too. It’s uncomfortable. I see my mother’s cold detached face when I look at mine. I see myself aging – wrinkles. I’m doing this to try to find myself again. To find me in there - just me. I want my back to relax. It looks so twisted and tortured – writhing- exactly how I’ve felt for so, so long. That I have so much on me – my back - literally, to fix, make up for, repair, figure out how to…. scares me. That no one’s really “got my back” except my Dad it seems- and it’s buckling under the pressure.
I wanna fix it and I think I'm starting to. I think it's gonna be a long road - and it's hard. I'm tired. I see all that I’ve done to myself to cope with the pain and it hurts to look at . What I wouldn’t do for a pretty, curvy soft backside. I have literally “worked” the pretty out of myself. It’s not who I thought I was.
I haven't gone to the gym much in the last couple of days because of this. I haven't gone to yoga much because my lower back is always so painful. I feel like I hurt myself - like I beat the pain out of me by physically beating myself up. I want to fix this. I want to heal my body. I want to heal my heart. I want to let the past go -go go- drift far away and forget it. I want to wake up every morning and not have to prepare myself mentally for the pain that is coming when I pull myself up”
The following pictures are in order of their creation. They are pretty loose and abstract at the start – when it was most painful. It got easier as it went on, and I’d like to think this is helping me heal from the emotional pain I was in. I’m okay now with my big butt. And the pain that’s been living in my back for over 2 years? –it’s finally starting to go away.
(Each thumbnail will open to a full size image when you click on it)