Tag Archives: Soul

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!!!

Sparks igniting the warmth of the Holiday season.

Among darkness the light shines brighter. During the past few weeks I didn’t make much connection with the Christmas spirit, inside some of the bitter cold that have left the hard times I went through several weeks repeatedly along the year was still very much present in my soul and, though feeling that way is something I don’t like at all, it was a fact, and not a lot to do about it.

A few days ago a really dearest person invited me to go to a Mexican posada, a festive gathering to celebrate the journey of Virgin Mary and Jose to Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus. The songs, the breaking of the piñata, the lights, those bright and sparkling lights burning… I started to feel some very nice joy, a very warm, enjoyable joy. All of that united to get myself , my soul, my heart, into the vibe of the season.

May this holiday season, whatever you believe in, bring a lot of warmth to you and your beloved ones’s lives.

Best wishes, and Merry Christmas!!!

A foot in front of the other 

Is it possible to see the light after being crawling into darkness?

It’s been about a year since a mind collapse struck me the hardest in November 2016 after almost another previous year the symptoms that something wrong was about to happen were arising. I’ve learnt so many things, I’ve been through several ups and downs, feeling better and then relapsing… at times I’ve felt as if I could fly, at times I remember that even placing one foot in front of the other is like hauling around a ton of iron chains…

Photography has been a translator of my mind and soul during the hardest times, in the following days I will be sharing here and on my personal instagram account a sort of photo essay which includes many of the images that tell my journey.

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…

Color and light among the remains.

Green traces of life emerging from the dead remains on the forest ground, in the like of which my mind and soul come out sometimes from obscurity to shine for a little while.

Finding scenes like this in Nature remind me of Life’s abilities to keep renovating itself one time after another. It also tells me that it’s possible to find light even in darker places, light that allows me to keep on going ahead through the deepest and most light deprived stages of my inward journey.

Taking off the mask.

(Posted previously in Spanish, now a version for my followers who do better with english since the google translator in some parts alter the meaning of what I truly like to convey to you)

What do you think? Is it always possible to easily distinguish one color from another, or, going even further, can anyone give this color a clear and specific name without fear of being mistaken or entering into controversy with someone next to us who is seeing the same color but dissents from our opinion ? Maybe some will think so, but many more will agree that no one sees the colours exactly the same way as the others, so, if we can not have a certainty about a simple color, how can we judge the value of a person by just taking a glance at their clothing, their way of living, their family members or economic circumstances, or some of their character features or physical appearance ?!

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This article is not about photography or travel, or adventures in caves as it had been in the past, this time I write in order to initiate a process of healing, liberation, sincerity with life. I do not pretend to generate reactions of any nature, much less commiseration, if anything, I aspire to a better understanding of the past and present course of my life from those who can and are interested in doing so, and mainly to achieve myself a somewhat deeper understanding of my life.

Encouraging myself to share this has been a very hard and conflicting decision, the following I write comes from the deepest of my own self, and being about what it is about, prejudices and stigmas will soon disturb some. Now I’m not worried about it anymore, if there are those whose short sight, closed mind or ignorance prevents them from understanding, I really don’t care.

Sooner or later the soul seeks its way, when adversity shows its meanest and most eroded face it can break down even to the deepest foundations. They say that difficult situations are when opportunities present in their greatest, so I do have the hope that the opportunity is enormous in the current state that my life is in.

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The clear and timely opportunity that does present to me is to set fire to the facade that obstructs the view of my true Self, before me and before the others. The continuos burden of keeping to myself some secrets, pretending to be a “normal” (who has the right to give a definition of what normal means?) person have charged a very high fee on me, I can no longer carry that load so it’s time to uncover the “crickets pot”, open the Pandora’s box and show myself with no mask before everybody, and above everything else before myself, facing all my ghosts.

The struggle every day to find reasons to get out of bed and show a smile on my face to others, trying to appear like a normal person full of joy and enthusiasm generates a constant and harsh battle inside me. Only a few ones know that almost 10 years ago I found myself submerged in a sea of extremely dense blackness, from some people who knew about it I received rejection and discrimination, so I decided to hide a truth that I can not silence anymore, despite the consequences that revealing it now may bring.

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In May 2007, without warning, I fell for several weeks in an abyss of complete darkness, anguish without measure, moments of terror and a continuous anxiety, an anxiety that burns the flesh and corrodes the soul. In those days I lost almost completely my connection with the world, crawling through the bottom of a murky, dark place almost out of all sanity from where I felt I would never return. Being almost to the point where my body did not accept any food, night after night with no sleep at all, going through the creepy sensations that generated the medication in me, then, only a voice, a survival impulse, a primitive will, the most basic instinct to live, to keep breathing threw me a rope to get out of the abyss. That same impulse made me get up early from bed after endless nights of soaking the sheets with the sweat that shapeless terrors squeezed from the pores of my skin. I do not remember well how it happened, I only recall the image of being already outside the house with the imperious need to perceive the warm touch of the rays of the Sun, and trying to calm a very intense anxiety I tried to pick up some of the world with my eyes, breathing in the aromas and colours, the textures of the leaves, the flowers, watching with a limited and diffused vision as if standing into a dark a tunnel the smallest detail, every touch of light on a leaf, following with my fingertips the plant’s stems, the petals, longing to feel some life as I struggled to expel the despair and the feel of death from each of my cells.

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I lived days and weeks of intense anguish, desolation and deep confusion that inhabited my mind and my body, however against all of those symptoms the medication did not seem to offer some relief, rather on the contrary, so, when my desire to live dissipated the clouds a little I decided to leave the medication and started fighting the anguish and some of the confusion – a feel that was similar to having the sensation of having the head imprisoned between some great pliers- with a lot of willpower and strenuous routines of exercise, routines so exhausting that helped me to get a few hours of sleep.

After several weeks more there was a slight improvement, and even then I knew I needed something more to get my health and my life ahead. Months before my existence crumbled to the ground I had already decided to take a mountaineering course, I knew that there was a path for improving and healing, and I signed that October to a course of 3 months. Trekking and hiking through forests and rivers, climbing our mountains, rock climbing, going through the depths of the Earth, camping in contact with Nature, the doses of adrenaline, all that was for me a lifesaver, and something that since then I enjoy really a lot, that I love doing, and something that I can’t think of living without. Other more physically and technically demanding courses followed and in months I considered to be free of that terrible stage in my life, that fearsome ghost, of which in months and years I did not want to hear or read anything about because of the such a cruel experience I lived and the terrible memories that came to my mind. Nor did I want to talk about that in years thinking that it was already a thing of the past, where I tried to bury it forever.

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Events of the present have made me realise that I never fully healed. The facts of the last months have confronted me with this reality, which, however hard it is to know and face, it opens the door for me to be free at last. How did I come to those conclusions?, without being as cruel as the episode of 2007, I have suffered a recent and very hard return to the shadows, to the confusion and to stand again in front of the infamous face of anguish and desolation. It has been months ago that the descent into darkness was coming, possibly more than a year in which within my being it began to spring an unavoidable rebellion against the heavy and hurting burden I have been carrying for so long.

In 2007 the doctor who attended me was too meager and negligent in the study of my case, fortunately the psychiatrist – yes, psychiatrist – who helps me since November, when seeking the help of one was already unavoidable, has done an in-depth analysis of many factors, physical, physiological, emotional and behavioral along my life. From everything the Dr. and I could deduce, it came to light a terrible but likely encouraging truth: since I was a very young child, or perhaps since I was born I have been living under that yoke, since then, lacking that childlike joy, always with a latent anxiety, a diffused fear without being able to recognise the source of a tangible danger.

How much can a person’s life be affected by a neural chemistry mismatch? !!! Serotonin, dopamine … a medicine school’s classroom words, harmless until they echo in your ears in the psychiatrist’s office, when he puts before you that fearsome statement, followed by a cold silence…

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

Yes, the signs of a condition -chronic already- of anxiety and depression have been there for most of my life, lack of concentration, too few encounters with enthusiasm, and more recently, my distractions, the lack of memory, slow but steady weight loss and muscle mass, a certain degree of confusion in some situations, difficulty in handling stressful situations, digestive disorders, difficulties to keep a conversation going on, headaches, and many other things, the list is long and affects so much …

In 2007 I tried to get ahead by myself with a lot of will, a sport lifestyle, and the best attitude I was capable of. After almost 10 years I have realised that these efforts have not been enough, that the shadow has been always along with me to a greater or lesser extent all this time and that I may have to take medicines that will help my mind for the rest of my life. Now I also know that many ghosts that come out from my past make worse that disorder in my brain, and that I must confront them, send them light and let them go. I said above that the truth was also encouraging, yes, since although a hard battle appears before me, I know that in the end I will win and I will be free at last!

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I also think it is pertinent to share that much of the photographic work that I have been doing, especially the one I’ve done in recent times has much of its roots embedded in these experiences. From the prevailing need to reconnect with the world was born contemplating and capturing in images that little world, flowers, details of leaves, insects, what lies hidden on a forest ground… that one we rarely pay attention to, but that it keeps wonders to those who know how to look or is in need to understand the miracle of Life. Likewise, finding delight in staring at the immensity of the great mountains, at the huge plains as far as the eye can see, at the strokes of light through the trees canopy, at a sky crowded with cotton-like clouds , or looking for the essence of my surroundings in visual compositions that seek to convey, be it simplicity and minimalism, or the great complexity of Nature’s Creation, all of this fills my being with something special that drives me to live and that I seek to capture and transmit through my vision, a sensitive vision since yes, I am very sensitive to the stimuli, to what I experience of the world and the people, good and bad, which on one hand it’s a disadvantage, since the rough or aggressive can affect me more than it affects other people, and on the other hand, it is a blessing, because it opens my conscience to the beautiful, noble and admirable.

Facing the future.

The picture above seems to me to be very adequate to what I am going through now, most of that horizon is hidden behind dense and dark clouds, and yet it is possible to discover beyond the clouds a clear bright sky, to which I hope I will be able to get after finally unfolding my wings, rising from the ashes and getting rid of the deep shadows in which I have spent most of my life.

I do not think I can say anything else, in these weeks when my life, my mind and my soul have had to be reduced to the essential, the most basic, and now that the confusion has diminished a little, I have been able to get to some conclusions, to make some decisions and understand a little more of the road I have traveled in my life and some glimpses of what direction I should direct my footsteps from now on. What it does remain a mystery to me, is how will be that person, that Eduardo free of shadows and with a fulfilled soul, the bright and shiny Eduardo, full of Light. I really would love to have an idea, a small clue about it, I will wait until that happens, I hope I will be able to be patient, until now nobody has met him, in my whole life not even myself has met Him!!!

Will to Live

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!

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.

Among trees

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

Walking among trees, again in the quest to remember the very basic breath of life, looking for the essential and struggling to find again myself and my way back out of darkness, trying to understand the wisdom that lies in the forest, breathing deep the cool and fresh air, walking slowly step after step, camera in hand, sometimes raised to my eye, some attempts to interprete the experience in an image, in deep listening, watching the sunlight pass trough the branches and revealing bits of life on the ground, inhaling the greens and the touches of golden light. Yes, it’s something that touches my soul.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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