In my dreams there are sometimes that Life seems a bit real, a vanishing, ephemeral illusion…
I cannot linger…
In my dreams there are sometimes that Life seems a bit real, a vanishing, ephemeral illusion…
I cannot linger…
It seems that there could be the possibility of a small light appearing in the sky, it seemed so before, the light faded away…
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 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.
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.
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.
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!!
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.
I’m so fortunate to make use of camera and images to deal with the world around me!!
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.
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.
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 ?!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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!
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.
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!!!