Tag Archives: mental health

Still some of winter remains in August

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Now the summer is full on. Greens are everywhere, rainy nights, beautiful mornings, still inspired by a music album by great icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds, from whom I’ve come to know and listen his great music in the recent months, I have the ability to realise that there is some of the past Winter roaming in my bones, in my thoughts…

At times, the colours are not so bright, the Sun shines outside, but my skin filters some of its light and warmth…

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An hour and a half for feet fixing.

How long can it take to take care of a few toe nails?

No, my blog has not turned into a fashion-lifestyle kind of blog!!!

Simple life events can take on a new level in the mind and heart when seen in context. In a recent article I paid homage to my brother’s endurance and everyday strength coping with the sequels of his motorcycle accident long ago with a series of images from I think 2006 until the recent months. In a way, this is a follow up of 27 later.

The event that triggered the idea, well, what really put it in motion, ’cause the idea has been rolling in my mind for years, is the minutes I spent with him in one of his frequent visits to my parents’s house, where he spends one or two nights almost every week when his work implies him to visit some clients in Mexico City (my brother lives in Cuernavaca’s suburbs ) or further ahead to the north of the country, and in that way he can spend some time with us. On a morning at the beginning of last December he was taking the time needed to take care of his feet in order to still be able to walk, and get them rid of hard skin and calluses from certain areas, and mainly from his toe tips that are a consequence of some deformations caused by the way he walks since he had that awful accident 27 years ago. The task is by no means easy, and it takes time, he even has to be answering calls from his office and clients in the meantime!!

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For the majority going through feet care is nothing extraordinary, and what really struck me the deepest that morning (not that I don’t think about it every time I watch my brother struggling harder) is the extra effort and time that takes for him something most people take so easily for granted, something so easy as walking.

As I said  before, my brother’s spirit for life is a great inspiration for me, and when he comes and stays here it seems that days are clearer! When I made those pictures that day I was really deep into darkness, in a state of constant fear and confusion because of depression and anxiety even though I was already under the watch of a psychiatrist and a psychologist working in therapy. And again, he was here with his everyday life, so I was a little better, and to complement that, since one of my best therapies is photography I was carrying my camera here and there, and when I contemplated the scene, my brother’s actions, the light entering his room and falling on him, reflecting on what was going on at those moments, being more sensitive as I am, especially in times of mental crisis like that one, I grabbed some slices of that reality, from those I made a selection, which I’m really glad to share here.

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I’m so fortunate to make use of camera and images to deal with the world around me!!

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MHAM in the spotlight!

How I really think days should have 240 hours!!

I guess you are scratching your head wondering about the meaning of MHAM, just a minute!!!

Will to Live MHAM

Recently the days are passing by so fast, and with so many things to do!! Half of May is already gone! May is Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM) in the US, with lots going on, and the movement spreading around, still, there’s still so much to do!!

Raising awareness about mental health issues is of trascendental importance. The lack of understanding and the stigmas around the topic still make a lot harder already very hard lives, resulting in segregation, isolation, and even discrimination of those who live in darkness, making it so much more difficult to look forward recovery and healing. Many of the people who struggle with mental health disorders keep for themselves the suffering because of fear, fear of being misjudged, rejected and stigmatised, so they hide the pain and desolation inside until its no longer bearable and it becomes a dark monster so huge and uncontrollable that it devours the persons life, or takes it completely away, making it impossible to hide. Raising awareness also means helping society understand that mental health disorders, are just like diabetes, like cancer, like obesity, like allergic reactions…

During my last fall into darkness several months ago, I tied a green ribbon around my wrist, representing my will to live, to keep fighting, every day. A couple of weeks ago I learned that the green ribbon represents the mental health awareness movement (could it be coincidence?). I want this image to be a symbol of hope, of limitless endurance, of the importance of not living with pain in a silent loneliness and of the right we have of sharing our story and being embraced and understood, of the strength needed to fight everyday… a symbol of Life! With this image I want to raise my voice towards ending the stigmas around mental health disorders, in favor of a better comprehension, in favor of spreading the knowledge among the society so everyone finds that they are able to aid those living in pain and despair recover better and sooner, to live better lives, with empathy, love and compassion.

Less than the half of May left, and still so much to do!!!

27 later

Feet fix

On may the third its been 27 years that our family was deeply shaken. My brother, Octavio, had a motorcycle accident ironically a couple of blocks from home and ironically, he wasn’t driving fast that day. Since the first moment I found him lying on the ground he was not able to move any part of his body anymore but his eyes and mouth… he had simply broken his neck.

At the hospital they said he was going to die, there was nothing to do, however, he was taken into surgery on May 11th, eight days later!!! The odds were to dark, the procedure could result in 80% to 90% of chance of death, if not, a vegetative life, and at best, living but only able to move from the neck and upwards, for a time…

His case is archived as a miracle in the hospital, they are not sure how he was able to move his body again with some time, and even walk and lead a relatively normal life!!! His life and ours here at home was for months and months a tough struggle but it was for sure so worthy! Some muscle and organ sequels remained but really a piece of cake compared to the drawing that future gave us that May of 1990.

My brother has lived with the physiological and anatomical sequels really bravely, a true fighter all in all! Here I feel honoured to pay this homage to his endurance and strength, an acknowledgement from my part for being such an inspiration in my life, for keeping up with life with such a burden in his back. Those who have read this blog lately know that I have recently discovered I’ve carried my own burden for so long, one that is invisible, but real. My own struggle continues and sometimes almost unbearable, for those times watching at my brother’s spirit is the number one anchor to keep myself linked to life.

This homage made of images is born from becoming sensitive and reflecting about the essence of things taking into account the life my brother leads and a moment in his daily activities that happened here at home in one of his frequent visits, this idea came to me a few months ago, when I was at the bottom of my place in darkness, struggling with depression and anxiety, and even from there I was able to be struck by what was evident in my own images. From that day here I show only the image of the foot fixing, the others were made in previous years since 2006 (the ones from the days of the accident are somewhere else) trying to compile moments that show my brother’s quality as a life warrior.

Now, why after 27 years, why not wait for, let’s say the 30th anniversary?, what happened to him, and from my own experience, I surely know life can not be taken for granted, it can slip away in a fraction of second, and not me neither anyone else can be sure when our time here is over.

Duel of Fates

I’m my life there has almost always been the prescence of some sort of fatality. My dreams have been obscured by something that has gotten in the way, the causes are several and not completely clear to me, yet… Since my fall into darkness last November, when despair and desolation began to fade a little my mind and soul have had the chance to untie some knots in the deep, now I’m on the process of coming back to life and I’m working on finding the strength to build a different and much better future for myself. My fate until now, an almost continuum of failures, deceptions, broken projects and promises, that’s a fact, the dark branches of a twisted tree, against this fate, there’s another fate yet uncertain and somewhat diffused like leaves disappearing in the mist, but a fate that my will to live will shape solid and strong nonetheless! The duel between these two is soon about to begin…

The Right to reach for the Sky.

I’ll say it once again! Is anyone capable or with the right to judge someone else as “not normal” or “not worthy”?!

Calakmul, Mexico. Kingdom of the Divine Lords of the Snake.

Amazed by the inmense lushness of the forest surrounding the ancient Maya constructions and more than anything the trees growing on top, a special encounter inspired me the following thoughts:

Sitting, waiting, a turn of the head and there he was, twisted…

Awkwardly extending his trunk and branches upwards and sideways,

A messy and hairy cover that played with the clouds…


Weird he might seem to many, there by himself, with roots deep,

Below what human hands built centuries ago.

For sure I know, for my soul tells me, one of the special ones he is,

Different he is, and wise too, a lot he has been through,

And the right to reach for the Sky he has too.

Music, art for soothing and nourishing the mind and the soul.

Trying to find some solace from a stressful week, an unpleasant state of mind or even dealing with complex emotions?

I’ve liked classical music since I was a young child thanks to my father who used to play very nice recordings in vinyl (before its comeback) of Holst’s The Planets, Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, and many more pieces that inspired me and made grow feelings into myself. Along my life I’ve learned to appreciate the work of many other composers and pieces not always so easy to unveil for the ears and the mind, and I feel music specifically composed for cello fits into this box precisely, with some exceptions for sure. 

Some of you already know I’ve been dealing with a lot of confusion, that I’ve gone through a serious sensory overload for several weeks since last September, becoming worse in October and November, and that I’m working hard on my recovery from those and other health issues. In the days I’ve felt the worst I haven’t even been able to watch TV, listen to the radio or just any music but some easy and relaxing classical music and some recordings made for deep soothing of the brain, to help get some sleep, and counteract anxiety.

A few days ago I was fortunate enough to attend a cello live performance that was held at a museum that is really close to home so there was no need to go far using public transport, for which I still don’t feel ready to do yet. The experience was very rewarding and enjoyable, listening to Johan Sebastian Bach and other composers through the cellist skillful performance, the vibrating air motivated by the sound of the cello, those moments really help me feel a lot better, more alive, reaching some beautiful moments of peace at least for a while. I hope there will be more opportunities like that soon!

If you have a chance, you really should go and try it!

Pandora o Grillos por todas partes!!!

¿Es siempre posible distinguir fácilmente un color de otro, o, yendo mas allá, se le puede dar un nombre claro y específico sin temor a equivocarse o a entrar en polémica con alguien junto a nosotros que está viendo el mismo color pero disiente de nuestra opinión? Tal vez algunos piensen que sí, pero muchos mas estarán de acuerdo en que nadie ve los colores exactamente igual que los demás, entonces, si no podemos tener una certeza acerca de un simple color, ¿cómo es que podemos juzgar el valor de una persona por una mirada echada a su ropa, su entorno o circunstancias económicas, o algunos rasgos de su carácter o apariencia física?!

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Este artículo no trata sobre fotografía o viajes, o aventuras en cuevas como había venido siendo, esta vez escribo con el objeto de iniciar un proceso de sanación, de liberación, de sincerarme con la vida. No pretendo generar reacciones de ninguna naturaleza, mucho menos conmiseración, si acaso aspiro a un mejor entendimiento del transcurrir pasado y presente de mi vida por parte de aquéllos que puedan y les interese hacerlo, y principalmente a lograr yo mismo comprender un poco mas mi vida.

El animarme a compartir esto ha sido una muy dura y conflictiva decisión, lo que a continuación relato viene de lo mas hondo de mi persona, y tratándose de lo que se trata, prejuicios y estigmas no tardarán en incomodar a algunos. Ahora ya no me preocupa, si hay quienes cuya mente cerrada o ignorancia les impida comprender, ni modo.

Tarde o temprano el alma busca su camino, cuando la adversidad muestra su rostro más descarnado y nítido se pueden llegar a quebrar hasta los cimientos más profundos. Dicen que las situaciones difíciles son ocasiones que presentan oportunidades, así que tengo la esperanza de que la oportunidad sea enorme en el estado actual en que se encuentra mi vida.

De lo que sí se me presenta la oportunidad clara y oportuna es de prenderle fuego a la fachada que que obstruye la vista de mi verdadero Yo, ante mí y ante los demás. Llevar a cuestas el mantener ciertos secretos dentro de mí, aparentando ser una persona “normal” (¿quien puede decir qué es normal?) han cobrado una cuota muy alta, ya no puedo mas con esa carga así que llegó el momento de destapar la olla de los grillos, abrir la caja de pandora y mostrarme sin máscara ante todos, sobre todo ante mí mismo, enfrentando mis fantasmas.

La lucha cada día para encontrar motivos para levantarme y poner una sonrisa a los demás, tratar de aparecer como una persona normal llena de alegría y entusiasmo genera una batalla constante y cruenta en mi interior. Solo unos pocos saben que hace casi 10 años me vi sumergido en un mar de negrura sumamente densa, por parte de algunos que lo supieron recibí rechazo y discriminación, así que decidí ocultar una verdad que no puedo acallar mas, a pesar de las consecuencias que tenga el revelarla.

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En mayo de 2007, sin previo aviso me vi sumido por varias semanas en un abismo de completa oscuridad, angustia sin medida, momentos de terror y una continua ansiedad, una ansiedad que quema la carne y corroe el alma. Perdí en esos días casi por completo mi conexión con el mundo, arrastrándome por el fondo de un lugar lóbrego casi fuera de toda cordura del cual sentí que no regresaría jamás. Ya al extremo en que mi cuerpo no aceptaba casi alimento alguno, noches y noches en vela, recorrido continuamente por las escalofriantes sensaciones que generaban en mí los medicamentos con que intentaban sacarme de ese estado, solo una voz, un impulso de supervivencia, una voluntad primigenia, el mas básico instinto de vivir, de seguir respirando, me lanzó una cuerda para salir del abismo. Ese mismo impulso me hacía levantar temprano de la cama después de noches interminables de empapar las sábanas con el sudor que terrores sin forma exprimían de los poros de mi piel. No recuerdo bien cómo pasaba, sólo me llega la imagen de estar ya en el exterior de la casa con la necesidad imperiosa de percibir el cálido toque de los rayos del Sol, y buscando calmar una zozobra muy intensa trataba de recoger un poco del mundo con mis ojos, inhalando los aromas y colores, las texturas de las hojas, de las flores, recorriendo con una limitada y difusa visión como de túnel cada mínimo detalle, cada toque de luz en una hoja, recorriendo con la punta de los dedos los tallos, los pétalos, anhelando sentir algo de vida mientras luchaba por expulsar la desesperación, y el sentir de la muerte de cada una de  mis células.

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Tras días y semanas de intensa angustia, desolación y profunda confusión que habitaban mi mente y mi cuerpo, ante lo que los medicamentos no parecían ofrecer algún alivio, mas bien al contrario, cuando mi deseo de vivir disipó un poco las nubes decidí dejar la medicación y fui combatiendo la intensa ansiedad y un poco de la confusión, -una que se asemejaba a tener la sensación de tener la cabeza aprisionada entre unas enormes tenazas- con muchísima voluntad y rutinas extenuantes de ejercicio que de tan agotadoras me ayudaban a conciliar algunos ratos de sueño.

Al pasar de varias semanas mas hubo una leve mejoría, y aún con eso sabía que necesitaba algo mas para sacar adelante mi salud y mi vida. Meses antes de que se cimbrara mi existencia había decidido tomar un curso de montañismo, supe que ahí estaba una solución y me inscribí en octubre de ese mismo año a un curso de 3 meses. Los recorridos por bosques y ríos, el subir a nuestras montañas, escalar en roca, recorrer las profundidades de la Tierra, acampar en contacto con la Naturaleza, las dosis de adrenalina, todo eso fue para mí un salvavidas, y algo que desde entonces disfruto muchísimo, que amo hacer y sin lo cual no concibo mi vida. Otros cursos mas exigentes física y técnicamente siguieron y en meses consideré ya estar libre de tan duras experiencias, de ese temible fantasma, del cual en meses y años no quise escuchar ni leer nada al respecto por la experiencia tan cruenta que viví y los recuerdos tan terribles que venían a mi memoria. Igualmente tampoco quise hablar de eso en años pensando que ya era cosa del pasado, en donde pretendí enterrarlo para siempre.

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Acontecimientos del presente me han hecho ver que nunca sané del todo. Los hechos de los últimos meses me han confrontado con esa realidad, que por dura que sea el conocerla y enfrentarla me abre las puertas para poder ser libre al fin. ¿Cómo he llegado a esas conclusiones?, sin ser tan cruento como el episodio de 2007, he sufrido un reciente y muy duro retorno a las sombras, a la confusión y a volverme a ver cara a cara con el infame rostro de la angustia y la desolación. Meses hace ya que el descenso a la oscuridad se avecinaba, posiblemente mas de un año en el que dentro de mi ser se empezaba a gestar una impostergable rebelión contra la pesada e hiriente carga que he llevado tanto tiempo.

En 2007 el médico que me atendió fue muy parco y negligente en el estudio de mi caso, afortunadamente el siquiatra -si, siquiatra- que me ayuda desde noviembre, cuando acudir a uno ya era ineludible, ha hecho un análisis a fondo de muchos factores, físicos, fisiológicos, emocionales y de comportamiento a a lo largo de mi vida. De todo lo que pudimos deducir se destila una terrible pero posiblemente alentadora verdad: desde que era un niño muy pequeño he vivido bajo ese yugo, desde entonces ya, carente de esa alegría infantil, siempre con una ansiedad latente, un temor difuso, y sin poder reconocer la fuente de un peligro tangible.

¿Cuánto puede afectar la vida de alguien un desajuste en la química neuronal?!!! Serotonina, dopamina… palabras de salón de clase, inofensivas hasta que hacen eco en tus oídos en el consultorio del siquiatra cuando te plantea esa nada halagadora perpectiva, seguido de un frío silencio.

A forest near Jilotzingo, Mexico. November 2016. ©Eduardo Mendoza.

Si, las señales de un cuadro -crónico ya- de ansiedad y depresión han estado ahí gran parte de mi vida, la falta de ánimo, de concentración, escasos encuentros con el entusiasmo, y mas recientemente, mis distracciones, la falta de memoria, el lento pero continuo descenso de peso y masa muscular, cierto grado de confusión en algunas situaciones, dificultad para manejar bien la situaciones estresantes, desórdenes digestivos, dificultad para mantener una conversación, dolores de cabeza, y tantas otras cosas, la lista es larga y afecta tanto…

En 2007 traté de salir adelante por mi mismo con mucha voluntad, el deporte, y la mejor actitud de la que era capaz. Tras casi 10 años me he doy cuenta que esos esfuerzos no han sido suficientes, las sombras me han acompañado en mayor o menor grado todo este tiempo y que quizá tenga que tomar medicamentos que ayuden a mis neuronas el resto de mi vida. Ahora sé también que fantasmas de mi pasado agudizan ese desorden en mis neuronas, y que debo enfrentarlos, mandarles luz y dejarlos ir. Mas arriba dije que la verdad era también alentadora, si, ya que aunque se presenta ante mí una ruda batalla, sé que al final venceré y seré libre!

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También creo pertinente compartir que gran parte del quehacer fotográfico que he venido realizando, sobretodo el de fechas recientes tiene mucho de sus raíces enclavadas en estas experiencias. De la imperante necesidad de reconectarme con el mundo nació el contemplar y capturar en imágenes ese pequeño mundo, flores, detalles de hojas, insectos, lo que esconde el suelo de un bosque… aquél al que rara vez ponemos atención, pero que encierra maravillas a quien sabe mirar o necesita comprender el milagro de la vida. Asimismo deleitarme ante la vista de la inmensidad de las grandes montañas, de las planicies enormes hasta donde alcanza la vista, de los trazos de luz a través de las copas de los árboles, de un cielo poblado de nubes como algodón, o buscando la esencia de mi entorno en composiciones visuales que buscan, sea la simpleza y la sencillez, o la gran complejidad de la creación, llenan mi ser de algo especial que me impulsa a vivir y que busco captar y transmitir a través de mi visión, una visión sensible ya que sí, sí soy muy sensible a los estímulos, a lo que experimento del mundo y las personas, bueno y malo, lo que por un lado es una desventaja, pues lo rudo o agresivo me puede afectar mas que a otros, y por otro lado, es una bendición, pues me abre la conciencia ante lo bello, noble y admirable.

Facing the future.

La fotografía que está aquí arriba me parece muy adecuada a lo que estoy viviendo, la mayor parte de ese horizonte se oculta tras densas y oscuras nubes, y aún así se puede vislumbrar atrás un cielo claro y nítido, al cual tengo la esperanza de poder llegar tras desplegar finalmente mis alas, alzarme de las cenizas y librarme de las profundas sombras en las que he pasado la mayor parte de mi vida.

Ya no creo poder decir mas, en éstas semanas en que mi vida, mi mente y mi alma han tenido que reducirse a lo esencial, a lo más básico, y ahora que ha disminuido un poco la confusión he podido llegar a algunas conclusiones, a tomar algunas decisiones y a entender un poco mas del camino que he recorrido y algunos atisbos de hacia donde debo dirigir mis pasos de ahora en adelante. Lo que sigue siendo un misterio para mí, es cómo será esa persona, ese Eduardo libre de sombras y con un alma plena, el Eduardo brillante, lleno de luz. En verdad quisiera tener idea, esperaré hasta que eso suceda, espero poder ser paciente, hasta ahora nadie, en toda mi vida ni yo mismo lo he conocido!!!

Will to Live

Note: in order to read this content in your own language please chose it on the “Select Language” dropdown menu on the top right area. I’m finishing the version in English and I will post it very soon, thank you all!!

The not so diffused picture, my collaboration on Broken Light. 

When images are more than just pretty pictures, and say more than a lot of words.

Don’t you get excited when you or some of your relatives appear on TV??

Well, the following image means a lot to me, it’s my third contribution in the online gallery of the Broken Light Collective!! Let me tell you about it!!

Broken Light Collective is a nonprofit organisation founded in 2012 by Danielle Hark,  that strives to create safe and accepting environments where photographers of all levels who are affected by mental health challenges can display their work, as well as inspire one another to keep going and keep creating, despite the dark or scary places in which they may find themselves. The work of the collective is of trascendental importance towards fighting the stigma commonly associated with mental health issues and all the lack of understanding that surrounds it.

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I’ve been very lucky to have found about this community and get in touch with it, it has made me understand my own situation a little more and look at it from a not so dark a perspective, and helped me to lighten the heavy load of the deep loneliness and suffering I have been immersed into. I feel honoured that my work in images and words has already been featured in the online gallery three times until these day!! It really is so valuable for me to share part of myself with the other members who walk along similar paths.

Here I share my three first entries that are already on Broken Light’s online gallery:

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If there’s anything else I can say is that I’m so grateful with Danielle and all the team at Broken Light Collective for making me part of the community and sharing my thoughts, feelings and photographic work, it represents such an honest support for me!!

To find more about Broken Light Collective’s work and the contributions of the members please visit their website.

Healing waves, gift of the beauty of Life. 

Ever wondered how to regain the innocence and sense of wonder a child has? I got a clue a couple of days ago, perhaps it works for some of you too.

The Sea, always a mystery, always inspiring, always absolutely awesome, always the same and always different, one of the greatest forces of our Mother Earth!

In my healing and recovering journey going for a run has been one of the practices that really have helped me to fight the darkness. Running along the beach is even more rewarding!, next to where the waves brake, watching and feeling the Ocean’s vastness, filling up my lungs breathing deep the salty air, feeling the warmth of the Sun and the fresh touch of the water on my skin, the texture of the sand below my feet, all gifted me with a dose of the beauty of Life, and the things that really matter in it.

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No need to give up the dessert!

Always wondering how to loose weight without giving up the most exquisite foodie pleasures?, cannot avoid that sweet moment at the end of dinner?!!

Weight loss

I’ve found out the perfect way to achieve your weight loss goals, stay tuned on the blog, pretty soon I will share it with you in a following post!!