Plonked myself down in front of my camera yesterday to practice some lighting positions and poses. Quite a feat for me as I am definitely my own worst critic when confronting myself in photographs. It seemed quite the worst thing to do at this time since I am going through another bout of depression.
Yes. I struggle with depression and I struggle with admitting it here, in public. After all, aren’t we supposed to share the ideal image of who we’re supposed to be and look like? A professional, polished image of ourselves? I wasn’t going to, to be honest. But here I am.
The first photos I took of myself were awful…..
They rattled me. Shocked me actually. I looked ancient and…well … as depressed as I felt. I don’t know what urged me on and even where I got the energy to do what I was doing. But something told me to keep going. So I looked at those god-awful images and said, ok. This might be so at the moment, but it’s not really who I am. I truly didn’t recognise this person in the images. It wasn’t conscious, but rather than pick holes in myself I moved past the self-critic flaring up in me – or rather, I looked her in the eye, as she longed to make some stinging comments about me, acknowledged her presence, and, rather than succumb to that easy trap I, in effect, told her she had no power over me and pulled myself up, tidied myself up, brushed my hair, put on some makeup and got on with it.
Gradually I got more and more comfortable both with myself and with the camera and began to enjoy the process. As I got more comfortable and playful something weird and wonderful happened. Whereas, upon looking at those first photographs, I didn’t recognise myself at all I started catching glimpses of the little girl in me. I started remembering, recognising the girl looking back at me. The girl who knew how to laugh, play and have fun. “Lena the Loon” as I was fondly called amongst family and close friends…. I miss her…I miss her so badly…
People, depression is real. The struggle is always there. But it’s not the end. I know there are many who struggle with it. I’m not special because I’m admitting it here. I just feel compelled to share it and show you what the face of depression looks like and how I shifted it, even for a brief moment and that you are not your depression. You just need to find yourself again, under the surface of all that life has thrown at you. There are as many reasons for falling into depression as there are people. And sometimes it’s not even easy finding (or facing) what those reasons are.
I am aware that some people have the impression that I am successful, being so creative and doing and making all sorts of wonderful things. And it is tempting to carry on and cultivate that impression. After all, isn’t social media and a successful business all about impressions? But I’m not (successful -in the traditional sense- or going to lie).
There’s a lot more to this, I know… and maybe I will share more as I work on myself. As I said, I wasn’t even sure I would share this and I don’t want to make it too long and squeamy either….It’s not easy sharing the face of depression…but maybe it needs to be shared…for whatever reason, I’m not sure right now….
Things are not always what they appear to be….I think that’s essentially what I’m trying to say…