Dealing with Darkness, a year later, two years in fact…

How many months or years can a photography project take?, is there a point where one can say “it’s done”?

Luckily in this dehumanized world some still keep their promises (though it took me longer than I expected).

Several weeks ago (in fact months) I told in a previous post I was going to share in this journal images about the toughest times since I suffered a second deep dive into the darkness of depression and anxiety which became the most evident around the end of November 2016 (to know more, please take a look at my post Taking off the Mask ). The hardest times I went through took place between the following December 2016 and January and February 2017. Two years later I’m still on the way to recovery, my life would seem normal from a distance however the process continues. Well, as part of this process here is the first group of images which was scheduled to appear months ago but, I really didn’t feel ready to take such an important step.

During those times the veil in my mind had not much place left for clarity, so most of the photos made during the hardest moments are not technically or visually good. This series of photos I now see as a visual essay of my experiences and struggles. Photography was and has been in the past weeks and months a way to cope with the extreme despair and desolation I was going through and my journey since then. Perhaps they are not pleasing to see, even now when I take a look at them two years later my soul gets down. More than that, while on the process of getting all of them into a visual and cohesive order I have found myself in a place really far from comfortable since they speak about an awful reality of tremendous suffering.

So, being around to 2 years after the darkest, and close to the holiday season of this 2018, though I’m far from being already free of my struggles with mental illness, having been through nice and bright times for some weeks, and through not really good ones (like the status I’m going through these days at times), but also with some signs of a certain degree of recovery (I’m able to write this in English and not in Spanish, my native language, for example), I now want to share this first group of images born between November and December 2016.

Before going ahead with the images, I’d really like to ask you to please stay tuned, I will be sharing more in following posts from the whole body of images. I’m seeing this as an exercise towards healing, an attempt to clean up my mind and soul a bit, as a means to exorcising some of the demons, trying to get my life to a new chapter, getting rid of the deepest shadows, really looking forward to better, healthier, brighter, happier times.

First days of November, a constant anxiety and a deep sadness are starting to be a constant presence in my mind and body.

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Despite heading out to search for some solace in nature and relief in alternative medicine with no results I had to be sent to ask for professional therapy. In the second pair of images: Me returning from my first date with the therapist whom in turn sent me to the psychiatrist for a very rigorous evaluation and medication, treatment for severe anxiety and very bad depression.

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Due to my condition I had no chance to go anywhere but to the therapist, sensory overload, sometimes a blurred connection with reality and anxiety made really hard for me to leave home, as a coping method I was using the camera to keep myself somewhat grounded, focusing on mundane motifs at home and in a field a couple of blocks away.

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December. Confinement, the side effects of medication and a desperation that burned the soul, I was eating almost nothing while living in a faded and distant world.

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The Holiday season, no true joy for me. I tried hard, I really tried.

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135 thoughts on “Dealing with Darkness, a year later, two years in fact…

  1. Alice

    You can really do good in life. You’ve come so far you’ll fly higher! This is life is all about, just like the black and white keys of a piano . But you got to be strong in the black days as well! Your photography is so fascinating,keep doing it and never stop , do not restrict yourself in life. There is someone out there who values your presence , keep healing for that person and spread love. Cheers to a good life and a good YOU 🙂

    Reply
    1. Eduardo Mendoza Post author

      I truly appreciate your words and good wishes. Real life here is sort of different though, life is restricted badly, in fact restricting me, as a consequence of depression I’ve been almost without any money income since 2016, now even parents and brother have abandoned me, no friends, just a dark void again…

      Reply
  2. Rucha

    Thank you for sharing your feelings as there are lot of people out there seeking a ray of hope through their darkest passing hours.. I have been through it and I know how important it is to feel connected at your hardest times when you doubt your own shadows.. Blessings n hugs..

    Reply
  3. motherofboysblogger

    I love this post. I love how you speak so openly of the times you have struggled. Some struggle to even comprehend their struggles. The photos, well I’m speechless. They truly are a very real visualisation of depression and anxiety. Amazing.

    Reply
  4. Pingback: Dealing with Darkness, a year later, two years in fact… — Ojo De Piedra – Eye of Stone. – Rebel Paigey

  5. surobhisarkar

    Hey there I was just scrolling down the feed here when I saw your post I also made a blog here and had made some posts while reading your work I came across this sentence “Taking off the Mask” and it just immediately struck me. I’ve made a post about the masks of depression as well. I’m a rookie writer from India trying to find my way in the blogging world. I made a blog to raise awareness on depression, mental health and social issues. https://thepurplediaryofsecrets.wordpress.com/

    Anyways nice post

    Reply
    1. Eduardo Mendoza Post author

      I just read your post about the masks, and I thank you for the great work with your blog, there can be no excess in talking about mental health, we need to fight the stigma and the desolation of those who live in pain! Thanks again! 🙏🏾🌟🙏🏾🌟👍🏾🌟👍🏾

      Reply
  6. leavearly

    It’s not the quality of the photos that’s important, it’s the content … great work… everyone, if they can truly reach into their heart, can relate … love the line: The Holiday season, no true joy for me. I tried hard, I really tried.
    So much external pressure is put on us at these times … we are individuals

    Reply
  7. fadedtransparency

    I resonate with this on three levels.
    Firstly, I love how you use Photography and documenting (writing) as part of your healing journey. For me, writing and photography have become vital part of my journey too. What I love about your images is that you allow everything to come through…they are filled with raw emotions which I can feel as well as sense. A great deal of openness and honesty.

    The second (although for me, the most difficult), ties in with the first and that is the courage to be seen, the courage to speak out about your struggles – breaking the silence. This, I feel is most helpful; for me sharing makes the burden seem lighter to bear, a sense of relief, and for others, a sense of reassurance that they are not alone.

    The third… well your words ‘living in a faded and distant world’ and ‘blurred connection with reality and anxiety’ sum up why I started Blogging and why my Blog is named ‘Faded Transparency: moving beyond the blur’. It is this faded and distant feeling sometimes to everything and everyone, that drives the need, the desire for transparency (clarity) beyond the murky turbulent waters or blurry existence.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Peace, Love and Light 💞

    Reply
      1. fadedtransparency

        Thanks to you too. You made me view my photographs in a new perspective and what I realised was the stark difference between my good days and not so good days….what a revelation! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  8. Joey365

    I think the pictures are really good.
    And I’m glad you’re able to share them. That’s a start to a healing path.
    A-lot of people are dealing with hard stuff and it’s hard for them to share..
    All the best…

    Reply
  9. Pingback: Dealing with Darkness, a year later, two years in fact… – Kristalin Davis' Musings on the Human Condition

  10. evayounger1895

    Mental illness is nothing new in the Bible, there was a man in the tombs crying out and cutting himself. Jesus came toward him and the demons cried out what are you doing did you come to torment us. Jesus ask the demons who are you and they cried out legion, which were hundreds, he said come out of him and they left him and the man was clothed and his right mind. I’m not saying all mental illness is demonic, but in this case it certainly was. I would give Jesus a chance and ask him to come in your heart and help you. He created everyone of us and knows exactly what we need. God bless you and I will be in prayer for you.

    Reply
  11. writingbyjess

    I can’t begin to tell you how much I connected with your post. Thank you for your vulnerability and opening up. The photos themselves brought out a lot of emotions. I hope you continue the photography part of your journey and share along the way. I will send good thoughts your way that you find what you need to get you through the dark days.

    Reply
  12. jonicaggiano

    I think your photography is beautiful. I love your use of black and white. I know what it is like to feel like I am drowning or so anxious that I feel as if my body with burst. Some anti-anxiety and antidepressant medication I hope will help you to get out of the storm. God has been my grounding faith since I was a young girl, with him in my life I always have hope.

    I truly wish you the best and am going to pray for better days a head for you right now. Take the best of care.

    God Bless You and Keep You in His Loving Arms. Joni

    Reply
  13. Brett Luke

    I constantly tell people my favorite photos I’ve never shown anyone and it’s for this reason. I use my photography as a way of self expression and analyzing myself.

    Reply
  14. ambitioussoulblog

    Thank you for sharing your history. The pictures really speaks from themselves. Depression and anxiety are difficult to understand. You are so brave for sharing your feelings. Sending love your way!

    Reply
  15. theunsocialbutterfly.1707

    I am so happy to see the honesty in you. The light is in the words you typed and believe me whwn i say this, You are amazing. I am not pitying you here, it is just that, i have seen many peoples living a life in shadows and yet they can not admit it but u did it dude…!
    And there is a mantra that i use for myself (i catched it on an inspirting video), I AM WHAT I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR, I AM THE PERSON WHO I TRULY LOVE AND I AM THE PERSON WHO I HAVE TO BE TOTALLY LOYAL WITH. I kniw it is a bit selfish but it was just that mantra that had kept me going through my hard days…

    Reply
  16. theunsocialbutterfly.1707

    I am so happy to see the lights in you. The light is in the words you typed and believe me whwn i say this, You are amazing. I am not pitying you here, it is just that, i have seen many peoples living a life in shadows and yet they can not admit it but u did it dude…!
    And there is a mantra that i use for myself (i catched it on an inspirting video), I AM WHAT I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR, I AM THE PERSON WHO I TRULY LOVE AND I AM THE PERSON WHO I HAVE TO BE TOTALLY LOYAL WITH. I kniw it is a bit selfish but it was just that mantra that had kept me going through my hard days…

    Reply
      1. theunsocialbutterfly.1707

        You know u are an inspiration for many of us even if you don’t know it. And you know what…! You have to fully cope up with this so that we can too, cause i know there weren’t many to show u the path in that darkness but now you have become the beacon for many of us….

      2. Eduardo Mendoza Post author

        Not an easy January here, so I apologize for not answering sooner. Again your beautiful words inspire me to keep fighting, I truly appreciate it! Lots of light for you 🌟🌟🌟🙏🏾🌟🙏🏾

  17. W. S. Oliver

    Flashlights were not invented because people were always in lit spaces. The darkness your in and coming out of will and has produce your own light source, use it to help find your way out. Be great and do great my brother.

    Reply
  18. Nicolas Blage

    Reading everything your pics make senses. They are amazing. You should be proud of you ! It’s not easy writing about pain and depression. Tomorrow will be better, trust me. I wish you the best and believe in yourself. That’s the way to be happy 😉

    Reply
  19. Phoenix

    Hey there! You expressed your opinion so beautifully. In today’s world,cases of depression is such a common case. Most certainly, your thoughts will create an impression on the minds of readers. It quite influential. Pretty impressive,I must say!

    Reply
  20. Misfit Wanders

    You’re photos are awesome! I’m glad you use the photos to express what is happening. It is doing just that. When I get depressed or start feeling lonely me giving up… I have found writing eases my feelings. Good luck on your endeavors in life!

    Reply
  21. Helen/encourages

    Hi I like how your photos tell your story about how you were feeling with mental illness, one of the things that has helped me being around nature I love capturing beautiful pictures of Gods Creation! It gives me Hope 😊am glad to see so many comments about people who deal with mental illness! Is very important to talk about it and to understand that there is no shame in talking about it 😊there is Hope your not alone! 🙏🏽 God Bless

    Reply
    1. Eduardo Mendoza Post author

      I really appreciate your encouraging words! For me it’s also being in Nature the best healer, It doesn’t happen often though. I hope that changes. 🙏🏾🌟🌟🌟

      Reply
  22. ennede

    Very nice photos. Very expressive.

    Hope things get better for you soon, or stay okay for you maybe. Glad to hear you get exercise – I believe that sometimes helps.

    Reply
  23. Femme_Fashion_Forward

    These images are very powerful. I’ve never thought to look at some of those objects (especially the pears and the dandelions) in the way that you did at that time. Thank you for sharing

    Reply
  24. Renu Saini

    Great images. Inspiring story. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s toughest to put our dark time in words and share with anyone but you do so well. I can also connected to your story and still I am trying to heal myself… God bless you and keep hope. My best wishes for you. The good time is on the way.

    Reply
  25. ricksmateo

    Thank you for sharing your experiences to others. I know it took a lot of courage to do that converting your thoughts into words and showing a visual images of how we view darkness. Proving that melancholy is just ephemeral.

    Reply
  26. Holly Fister

    Wow. Your phots are incredibly descriptive of depression. They capture the feelings so well. My relief from depression has come through writing, these past few months. I’ve been doing exactly what you’ve been doing- trying to get rid of the shadows with a creative outlet. Best of luck to you as you continue to heal.

    Reply
  27. simrankr

    Really inspirational…I appreciate how beautifully you have linked your agony with these Black and White photographs.

    Reply
  28. attunedcom

    Hurray! am so sorry to see the refection of your anxiety in (native) photography and extempore, it was indeed an eyeopener and a canvass for expression.Your so attuned to the things you want to convey to others and the Self-help groups – in your mundane kneeling down pose.Keep it up!

    Reply
  29. knsander97

    Thankyou for sharing your dark times with such honesty and openness. I too suffered from Depression and I am always feel brighter to know I am not alone and that there are people out there with it too.

    Reply
  30. norma foulds

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and images. Its really helped me see through my own struggles. Hope you are well today .

    Reply
    1. Eduardo Mendoza Post author

      One of the best things for me is exercise, and being surrounded by Nature specially with a camera at hand, I was doing some caving, but not lately. Also being with friends has been so good, when that happens.

      Reply
  31. lipsofly

    Hey. It’s inspiring how you can be so transparent in your struggles and sharing this to a lot of people. Salute! Sharing this to many. Thank you!

    Reply
  32. iloariadna

    Mire tus fotos, lei tus momentos. Veo los comentarios, tengo la sensación de que hay un hilo que nos va juntando, para que? Para saber que no estamos aislados por nuestra enfermedad, que podemos conectarnos entre nosotros , para poder apoyar nuestra cabeza en alguien que nos entiende de veras.
    Te felicito por encontrar donde canalizar esa oscuridad que nos arrastra por días.
    Soy Patricia tengo depresion melancolica crónica que salió de su cueva hace 20 años.
    Un beso y aquí estoy

    Reply
    1. Eduardo Mendoza Post author

      Es uno de los motivos que me han hecho mostrar esto al mundo, o a aquellos que se interesen, o se pueden identificar con una situación así, el encontrar la fuerza en el apoyo mutuo, y en el entendimiento que es justo que se logre en la comunidad en general, en la comprensión que nos permita evitar el aislamiento del resto de la sociedad, que su único efecto es hacer mas negras y profundas las sombras. Te agradezco mucho y si, aquí andamos, abrazos 🤗🌟🌟

      Reply
  33. Stephanie Eyles

    It takes courage this. I too can relate to the grey haze across your life. This is the first Christmas in a few years I am actually looking forward to. Keep facing up, the courage commendable and honesty treasured.

    Reply
  34. The Poetagraphist

    First off, I want to say thank you so much for sharing these photographs! I’m sure it took a lot of you to share how you see the world through a veil of depression and darkness, but it’s a powerful photo essay and I feel like I’ve gotten to know who you are through your photographs in this post. My favorite photograph is probably of the pills, but in general I greatly appreciated your ability to look at the mundane and photograph it in your perspective.

    I’m sorry to hear you went through such a rough time, but I’m glad to hear you’ve been recovering and it sounds like you’ve made strides and leaps since 2016. I look forward to your next set of photographs, and wish you good mental health and physical health in the new year.

    Take care,

    Ryan

    Reply
    1. Eduardo Mendoza Post author

      I also really appreciate your words a lot and your time for looking at my work, I just tried to portray my reality then. I’m better now, sometimes it has been not easy, but all your kind words a fuel for my soul, happy holidays and stay tuned! 👍🏽🙏🏽🌟🌟🌟

      Reply
  35. Letitia

    Thank you for sharing. Your images are poweful in their representation of your journey. I am a photo enthusiast and my camera helped me from circling the drain after a spinal cord injury in 2010. Please keep sharing!

    Reply
    1. Eduardo Mendoza Post author

      Thanks so much for your kind words! I hope you are much better now 🌟🌟🌟👍🏽 For sure I will be posting the rest of this photography essay, so stay tuned, and stay strong 💪🏽

      Reply
  36. invitationtothegarden

    Stunning beauty. These photographs belong in a portfolio as art as well as a story of your healing process out of the darkness. Some of these reveal a glimmer of hope, such as the rose stem, the Mary and lamb scene in the Nativity, the gourd vine (especially compelling to me with the shallow depth of field with fog). Thank you for sharing your story. May I offer a suggestion that I’ve learned about joy? Never seek it, or try so hard to attain it, but relinquish yourself and allow yourself to be surprised by joy! Blessings to you today, wherever you are.

    Reply
    1. Eduardo Mendoza Post author

      So thankful! A glimmer of hope… It’s so good to know that you are finding those things in my photos, I’m learning to see them in a different way. Blessings and beautiful surprises to you too!

      Reply
  37. thoughtsongod49855570

    Inspiring!! It is absolutely a great way to continue to heal by sharing your story.
    My deepest depression was brought on by alcoholism and it has been a 15 year learning process since then.
    Keep your head up!

    Reply
  38. TBMashiloane

    Thank you for sharing your story. As someone who has battled mental illness in the form of depression and anxiety, I really connected with your story and I’m a fan of your images as well. Keep believing that one day you will have this bad phase behind you. Much love.

    Reply
  39. pinkleaderboard

    Very interesting thought process… I see most of your photos are in black and white. is that your preference over color for coping. For myself color in my photography is life but black and white speaks to my soul. 😉

    Reply
    1. Eduardo Mendoza Post author

      Thanks!! The images were made during the hardest, and I feel B&W expresses better how I was feeling then, and you have a point, talking about speaking to the soul. When I’m not in such times I find color beautiful, but even then a simple color palette or B&W is where I’m better.

      Reply
  40. dapplegrey

    Thank you for sharing these images and for your courage and generosity in writing so openly about your darkest times. I find the pictures very moving, and feel a connection with the way I have felt myself when suffering from depression. They speak eloquently about disconnection and alienation. I hope that your path to healing and a brighter, connected reality will continue steadily to unfold. My very best wishes.

    Reply
  41. Citizen Who

    I’ve been there for a very long time. It’s very hard to explain in words that unspeakable and indescribable feeling tearing us apart from inside out and scattering your mind and soul in thousands of pieces. I think your pictures are simply perfect to explain a little bit about what we can see while we’re going slowly sinking into the darkest abyss ever seen before. Each one of us has an unique experience about how it goes. There is no going back over it since this strange journey through anxiety and depression start. It’s not easy get it over too. It takes a colossal personal effort to overcome small things as being alone in some place. And that blurred reality moving around making your brain freaking out as if it was stuck in another place not inside of this odd reality. You can’t explain properly, unfortunately. No one will feel what you feel. Your doctor will do some talk therapy and he can only manage your condition giving to you prescriptions based only in guessing and wait for you come back to the next appointment in 3 months to see how you’re doing.
    Even though, there is no lucid photographer able to capture what only you can see and feel under such conditions. Only those who had passed through this path will understand your photos because none can’t say anything about what they don’t understand. You can’t cheat truth in this case as you can do in other areas. It’s an astonishing genuine piece of art.

    Kind wishes.

    Reply
    1. Eduardo Mendoza Post author

      I’m just starting to read all the comments that are coming, in fact I’ve just finished reading yours, and all I can say is that I cannot tell how I really appreciate it! And perhaps you are so right, no one who has not gone through a similar situation will be able to understand. I truly hope that you get better, and keep strong!

      Reply
      1. Eduardo Mendoza Post author

        I understand, it’s still difficult for me to go there again, but I have to. The point here is to share and know that we’re not alone, even though these days I’m finding hard to believe that myself.

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