I began this blog because I’m a self-help junkie who wants to share my collection of (mostly) books. Believe me, I’ve given away more than I’ve kept! That’s how much I’ve read over the years.
I wouldn’t have amassed such a wealth of knowledge had I not been in search of an answer… a reason… a cure… for my depression and anxiety, most of all. Yeah, I have lots of other big-and-little issues. Some flare, some hurt, some hurt all the time. And some, like depression and anxiety, do their damage under the cloak of darkness. I don’t always know (cognitively speaking) that they’re behind the scenes, in the wings, wreaking havoc.
And so begins today. It was typical, as far as below-freezing winter days go. It is, of course, the week between Christmas and New Year’s. I have plenty to be thankful, grateful and downright praise-y about. But that’s not the point. Not today.
I was driving home and stopping along the side of the road to take photos. They were beautiful. I’ll share one with you in a moment. The sun is shining on the snow, the wind is brisk (understatement: it actually *is* below freezing!) and I felt wonderful. As I drove home, I thought of doing a “Photography as self-help” post and what I’d say about the time I was outside.
I’m going to share one the photos here and tell you that it’s wicked cool for several reasons. First of all… that’s all water. You can see ships at the horizon. The white stuff in front of them is ice on top of the water. In the foreground is a harbor. There are empty boat slips because the water itself is frozen. Solid. And there are ice fishermen out there! See them with their tent? Is that neat, or what? Anyway, I enjoyed my time outside.
I planned on stopping by a market I love to pick up dinner and some banana bread. They make a low-sugar one that my husband and I adore. It’s a bit out of the way but not too much. As I neared the store, I felt something weird… and lo and behold… the store was closed. Not for a day or two or for the holiday or the season. Forever. There’s a For Sale sign in front. What the???
I was going the opposite direction of home and had to go blocks further than expected to find a way to get back around. So, I had to go up and over and down other streets… and ended up at the grocery store. It was jammed-effing-packed and parking was a nightmare. Long story short, by the time I got in the store, it had been over an hour since I’d left work. My stomach hurt because I hadn’t eaten today (note to self: that’s not very self-helpy!). The store was crowded and some stuff that I needed was picked through and/ or gone. The checkout lines were mammoth. My loyalty card wasn’t working. Blah, blah, anxiety, blah.
Then, as I was walking out, I passed an older man walking in… hobbling, really… and I thought, “I wonder if that’s how Dad’s walking?” because he is still in hospital (see post about what happened to him HERE) and I’m worried about him. Plus, I miss him. I want to go see him but can’t yet.
My eyes welled with tears and by the time I got to my car, I knew it was bad. I got into the driver’s seat and one word crossed my mind: crash. Yep, I was crashing.
If you have depression, you’ll understand. Because we know… though we forget in the “in-between’s”… that depression is not about being garden-variety sad.
This wasn’t just about my dad. This wasn’t about winter or Christmastime without my family or the freezing temps. This wasn’t about what I was thankful for (so much!) or angry/ hurt/ guilty or sad about (very little, truly!). This is about something snapping in my brain, like an old pinball machine, and shooting that metal ball right to the pit of my stomach, where it’s been bouncing around ever since.
So, here’s the thing. I couldn’t, in all good consciousness, come here and write about photography as self-help… you know, like I’m actually practicing what I preach. I have no desire to paste on a happy smile and I know you aren’t asking me to. And maybe that’s my take-away today. It’s my own perfectionist tendencies… my own expectations. And I need to stop with all that nonsense.
Yep, that sounds about right.