I’ve been suffering from depression for the last few months. I’m someone who is normally inclined to being less than happy, but in all fairness the vast majority of the time, I am content and that is more than enough for me. I have quite a lot of good stuff in my life and very little to complain about. But life is also about dealing with death and grief, which I’m terrible at coping with: I was dreadfully ill after my grandmother died and this time it started before my grandfather passed away at the beginning of last month.
Depression is a very odd experience, and I know it will be different for everyone, but as a writer I do try and make note of how I’m feeling so that I can then portray this experience for any characters I create. For the last few months in trying to figure this out I’ve been at a complete loss. Sometimes I’m angry; sometimes I’m sad and not sure what triggered it; other times I’m anxious; and then other times I’m completely numb and empty, and it this experience that troubles me the most.
Normally I’m so full of ideas, feelings, creativity and wonder of the world around me; feeling nothing, having no drive to create anything is what makes me feel less than human. I haven’t had the desire to read, to write, to crochet, to listen to music, to learn from the online courses I’ve signed up for, to do my job well, to get myself out of bed in the morning.
The only interests I’ve had is in going swimming and taking photographs on my phone camera. I’m obsessed with swimming because once I’ve been to the pool I feel normal, which I crave, even if that doesn’t spark any desires to do other things, it has got me through the day and helped my waistline a bit.
Taking photographs though became a bit of an obsession. There is a tree on my commute that I have been photographing since the spring, and it has become a habit to capture it. And then I discovered the noir filter on my phone camera, and I gained a great deal of satisfaction one morning when it was foggy and got some great photos. So the next day when it was sunny I took the following picture of my favourite tree with the noir filter.
It was a bright sunny morning, and I suddenly realised that this was how I was seeing the world. There was no colour, no texture, no substance to anything. I just wasn’t registering it anymore. It was a massive revelation for me, as I had never properly realised before just how much attention I pay to the world around me. This was the empty feeling I was experiencing and I now had a way of explaining it to myself neither mind to any one else.
And once I realised this it made being mindful and finding joy in the world a lot easier. I still have depression, but it’s a lot less of an uphill struggle now. Knowing what I was missing has made recovering easier, and while I will miss my grandfather for the rest of my life, like I do my grandmother, I know in my heart they would much prefer me to be full of life. Wish it was that easy though.