Depression. I’ve been reading a lot about it in the news lately, I’m not sure what to say about that, but until you experience depression first hand—and I sincerely hope that you never do—there is no way to fully comprehend what it feels like. What it feels to truly be depressed. I’ve been in and out of doctor’s offices for years. I’ve tried every possible medication, every possible combination of medications. Yet, I can honestly say that in my case there is no panacea for the pain. No miraculous concoction of meds that can heal my stubborn psyche. At first, it was manageable, the right cocktail of meds and I was fine; for a while. Then the panic attacks started. The first two were textbook, but the third one changed me. It changed everything. Since then, nothing has been the same. It was as if a mountain fell on my head. A mountain that crushed everything that I loved. My hopes, my ambitions, my raison d’etre, crushed by its weight. My very existence became pointless. All my hopes and dreams, pointless under its weight.
That was two years ago, and every day since has been a struggle. I spend most of my day thinking about reasons to live, reasons to persevere. I look for ways to distract myself. Ways to keep my mind busy. Busy until I can go back to sleep. I love to cook, but even that has soured.
In an effort to keep the sad thoughts at bay I use photography. I invent new projects that I can create and capture in my little studio, and in my home. This particular project is closer to home than any of the others. It is a series of images pertaining to my depression, most of which are self-portraits captured with a timed-release cord (camera on a tripod). For this project, I decided to shoot all of the images with film, not only because I love film, but also because I develop and process the images myself, a procedure that takes many hours. Many hours not thinking about how pointless my life is. Perhaps in my case photography is a “temporary” cure for depression.
However, photography is not an antidote for social anxiety, a “mood” disorder that has had a profound impact on all of my social interactions. Social Anxiety has plagued me for more than a decade. It is another hell and a topic for my next project.