Category Archives: mental health

Dealing with Darkness, continues.

And, the saga continues…

I do hope it stays that way.

So… It’s evident I’ve been a little bit lost for sure in this endeavor of sharing my experiences and images from that span in time, mostly from November 2016 to March 2017 (if new to this blog, please take a read of Dealing with Darkness, a year later, two years in fact… ). Just as in the first weeks of 2017, this initial part of 2019 has been complicated, not in the same way as 2017 however -even though I haven’t been feeling so good lately- This previous weeks have been swarming with a lot of ideas, tasks of my soon to be released projects, and several decisions to be made.

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To keep telling the story about my struggles with depression and anxiety is one of the most important things in my life, truly!, the thing is that, after the great success of the previous chapter I found myself these weeks in between in kind of a shock and to be honest, I have not been sure about the best way to keep delivering the same level of quality, and also to be honest all the great support I’ve got through the very, very kind words I received in the comments section of the post and other places, while it’s been a great source of light to keep going, it has been also emotionally exhausting (keep that coming though!).

Putting into words my experiences, the things I went through is not easy, it also wasn’t easy the first time I tried to recall the details of things as they really happened and giving them the right order in time so I can explain myself better on how it all happened. I’ve taken a lot for this… well, I think the best way to get it done is by getting to work!

The previous chapter ends with 2016. With the advent of the new year I found myself (still far from recovering) with the will of transcending my mental health issues, to really fight back the demons, to connect deep within with my own light to strike the darkness I was in, to keep the strength to stay alive. The following months however, were not easy as you are about to see.

January.

The first days.

In the start of the year while at the same time I found myself looking hard for my inner strength I was still feeling in me the consequences -physical and psychological- of the darker previous months. I try hard to recognize myself, to plant the seed of a new being.

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The feel of a surrounding deep darkness still holds strong over me very often, the sensations of despair and of being locked inside by life itself is very much present, I wish I could be set free.

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January.

A regime of strenuous physical activity does not keep me from sensing that I’m immersed into a great void, anxiety is still overwhelming at times.

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January, towards the end.

I’m still yearning to find the light of life, some of the images I make are of myself surrounded by lights trying to fight the feel of being tired of living, sometimes I’d just like to say goodbye…

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I’ve used my bicycle for my outings here in the neighborhood for my exercise routines. While recovering from a fall several days ago, watching at the results I cannot help to think that damage to the skin and bones are just piece of cake next to the wounds that pierce the mind and the soul…

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I find myself really frustrated by the fact that being in such a bad need of exercise, having to stay in bed asleep til very late into the day gets in the way far too often, I feel stuck without any progress…

Still, the basic instinct of life makes me keep on fighting.

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February.

Highs and lows.

However I’m eating a lot better than the previous December and November, after several weeks I find my weight has not yet recovered enough, being 1.76m. tall my normal weight sits at around 70 kgs. I know I need to eat a lot better yet, I try, not easy though, my stomach does not agree completely.

Luckily something happens then, a very good friend (one of the very few friends left by now) invites me to go to the beach in there and her mom’s company, it was just for the weekend but the change of environment, exchanging the four walls of my room for the road views along the highway and later the tropical open air, the good company, some hours inside the swimming pool and the Sea are nothing short of nourishing. The most delightful moments are the two mornings I am so lucky to be able to run over the sand at the nearby beach. Finally, being there step by step, hearing my breath along the sound of the waves I feel life inside me again.

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Back at home the nourishing effects of the Sea vanish away soon, but not completely…

 

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A delayed post, struggling with blogging, and a LOOOT of thankfulness!

Writing here about my struggles and ups and downs can be therapeutic, well, in fact it is, but can also be a little difficult sometimes.

To be able to be the most honest and truthful with my words there is the need for a special state of mind and a deep connection with myself.

When I published my last post sharing my endeavor through my latest deep struggles with depression and anxiety through images and words I believed the second part would come soon after that, well, the months in between have proved me wrong. Winter had its toll on my mind (and body) and when I got to feel somewhat better at the middle of February there were a lot of things to do with some home improvements here at my parents house, where I have to live. Along with that some frequent visits of my nephews and the development of some projects to recover my professional life (urgent stuff by the way) were not the best environment to develop that very much needed connection, that silence where I could manage to dig into those dark days and my feelings back then and relate them to the photography that emanated from that.

I’m glad to say that I’ve put myself to the task and that Part 2 is finally finished.

Why do I feel not so comfortable for such a delay?, well, during most of the previous life of this blog my posts reached 20 likes at the highest, and more important, one or two comments here and there. The last one however has got looots of comments, and what I value the most, the support I read in them!

I have to say it!: there are not enough words to express how grateful I am for all the kind words I’ve received, they have been a great, really great dose of light for me in the past few months (and now, when I’m going through hard times again) and the strength to keep going!

And you know, there are even some comments that I still have to answer, they have been really a lot!, and I truly apologize for not answering to them already.

Well, Part 2 is as I said ready to be published and I will do it in the next few hours, if you are on vacation perhaps you would like to pay it a visit.

All I have to say to all of you is THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

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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My immediate.

A world of bits and bytes. Isn’t it hard for the common people to tell success posing profile pictures and happy fairy tales from true life?

For me it’s mandatory.

At my long days at home (I don’t go out that much you know) I have to spend time away from the internet world and specially social media. For the good of my mental health I have to keep a connection with the real world and be aware of my surroundings. An act of making links with the things and phenomena around me helps me cope with shadows, and what better way to deal with shadows than with light?, so observation and sensing of light, things and beings in my proximity are something enjoyable or at least a soothing of uneasiness in my day to day.

This contact is best expressed in a recently started essay I call “My immediate”. A lot of fresh images can fall into this essay but also many of my older images I’ve made at home. Here I share a few ones.

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Restlessness recharge.

Void is not always there, and it’s not always your worst company…

The unstoppable flow from the mind, the chimes of each and every chain link breaking through the forehead bones that leave no place for calmness, for some quiet; not even inside dreams thoughts seem to get tired of being too noisy, the cascade of worries is countlessly adding to the uneasy, sleepless hours…

I’d just love to get some rest.

My company.

My company, my love, my joy, two little beautiful living beings where I can find trust and the sense of being among those who will never betray me. That is how I feel about my two cats.

Both of them have been with me for more than ten years now, since they were just cute little kittens, I really am so, so fond of them. I’ve watched them eat, play, go to the bathroom, and sleep countless times, all with the look of love in my eyes.

Film connection.

I know, months ago I had promised not to make a post about photography here, but what can I do?, it’s part of my life.

Before the very tough end of December and almost all January I had some chance to load some film on a camera I had just acquired. Why film?, being used to shooting only digital for almost 12 years, getting back to film requires more attention from my mind, focusing more on what I want to include in the frame and what not, composing better, being more aware of light, being more in the present moment, something that is so refreshing for mind and soul, so good for mental health.

These few images are from the roll I used to test the camera so I was even more concentrated on the things I was doing to get consistent results and to use the most of the camera’s features. Since I haven’t had the chance to travel for several months now, I like to share with you this brief selection, most in line with the theme that gives more joy to my soul, little details of the closest to Nature I have at hand close to home.

If you want to see more of my photography, film or digital, please go to my photography blog.

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Almost normal. The struggle of going out.

Almost normal, like the life of everyone else.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be saying this, should I?

Mind and body playing tricky games with me lately, many of the things that should be on track are stuck, holidays are over, so the machine should be on full throttle right? Even here on the blog some posts should be already published by now, and they’re still pending… Inspiration, concentration, focus, energy, not very much on my side lately.

Now to the point.

Solitude, which turns into loneliness easily is something my psycho doc and my therapist have told me to strongly avoid. The latter has said: “don’t get locked at home, go out with some friends, to the movies, to museums, for a walk at a nice park…”. The idea is not bad at all, not so practical though: closer to where I live aside a few shopping malls there’s not much action, for that the Centro Historico (Downtown), Coyoacan or the areas between and close around from there are the way to go; talking about culture and art this area nearby is metaphorically speaking, dead really.

Not only that, I used to go to train rope access techniques one, two, or even three times weekly, the place is across the city from home, which can take, making use of suburban bus and subway, on the short, at least 1:45 hours, on the long, close to 3 hours!

I did it for years, never reluctantly, never feeling public transportation was not good enough for me, going training or other places, by myself.

Since late November 2016, for those who haven’t read about it here on this blog, when that bad depression and anxiety relapse came, the first months I remained locked at home with the exception of going with the doctor or the therapist, by car or with the aid of Uber once, just a few subway stations, picked up by friends and family on the way home. A couple of months later the idea of getting into the subway was still not pleasing at all, but I had to anyway.

Long before the darkest months, more than a year I think, taking the subway meant a small degree of uneasy, kind of anxious sensations, something to deal with… After the falling though it turned into a dark, confusing experience, a sordid trail. The long waits for the train to arrive, minute after minute after minute of facing somber thoughts and anxiety while surrounded, pushed, crushed by human masses, loud, really loud noises, the overwhelming load of people coming and going, chatting here and there, guys with huge loudspeakers selling “music”… unbearable cacophony…

Some degree of recovery has allowed me to go inside the dark alleys again but the fact is that getting in there is still not nice at all for me, so I try not to take the plunge that route. For months I’ve stayed at home most of the days, for me going out is a possibility of finding restlessness and exposing myself to very stressful moments, wether facing the city traffic while driving or making use of the “Metro” as we call Mexico City’s subway the sensory overload is something I’m not so used to anymore. In fact some have invited me to join them going making photos, to chat for a few hours or the like and I’ve had to decline more than once since the experience is not pleasing for me, nor is very healthy.

For long I’ve wanted to share this very short series of images of what that experience has been for me. I carry a camera almost everywhere I go, images are an easier way for me to communicate what I feel or think so I portrayed some of those anguishing moments months ago. The images are from February 2016.