One of things I've always found it hard to admit is the random crap I've suffered from over the years. Its kinda hard to explain why, but I feel like it would help, just make people judge me in one of those ways. So it was only a month or so ago in a rather heated conversation with a co-worker that I for the first time admitted out loud that I have suffered from depression twice in my life now. Each time sticks out as a void that I fell into and nothing, no ropes thrown down by family and friends could pull me out. And this past year I suffered from one of my worst ever, that sent me so deep I stopped all things I enjoyed in life. And this is the first time outside of family and friends I will be talking about this.
I was doing so well in photography in the summer of 2013; I was keeping up with daily photos and had increased both my equipment quality and skill set. I was heading towards a future where photography might be my career. Then something happened that stopped me dead in my tracks. At the time I was in denial, I told myself that it wasn't happening and that it would all blow over. What I was running from was the fact that my Grandfather, the man that I had lived with my entire life and was the only male father figure I ever had (dad left before I was born), was diagnosed with Stage IV skin cancer. It had metastasized to much of his body.
I hid away in a mobile game simply because I could hide who I was and what was going on. And I got to take out all the anger that comes from something like that on strangers. Oh and did I attack them with venom and anger. I have always said I'm a bit of a troll, but only to other trolls. And dear lord did I assault all the trolls on the games global chat. I said things that were wrong just to hurt others. I told myself it was ok because they were doing the same to other people. But it wasn't.
Even that stopped working once he started to succumb to the chemotherapy treatments. We three (my mom, sister, and myself) became his full time caretakers, having to help him out of bed and to the bathroom, with things only declining steadily throughout 2014. Our lives came to a halt, and I did not touch my camera or play games, or do really anything. My mom had it the worst as she towards the end was the only one who could handle what was going on, and usually kicked us out of the room. Every night was a struggle to sleep as I shared a wall with him, and would hear his cries for my mom every night. I gained so much more weight, finally breaking a barrier I said I never would. I also moved through denial, as well as anger and all the other stages. I was just depressed and knew it.
I'll never forget the day it all finally ended. I had come home with a massive headache and hadn't slept much as he was now unable to, even with our help, get out of bed. I got home from work on a Saturday night and passed out pretty quick. I woke up sometime around 4 am, and noticing the late hour went and checked on him. It was very rare at this point, but there were times he would actually sleep through most of a night. I went to check on him and sure enough, he was asleep and still breathing. So I went back to bed to try and get as many hours as I could.
I awoke to my sister frantic, telling me he stopped breathing and that they had called 911. I got up dazed and confused and still asleep, and saw an image of my mom over him doing CPR, guided by the 911 operator, that will never leave my mind. I was off work for a few days and chain smoked heavily that week, developing bronchitis in the following weeks. It was a hard month, that December of 2014. Christmas just didn't feel the same, and neither did the house.
Since then I've had so many false starts trying to get life moving, and then I was again injured with a disc in my back blowing out right as I was getting ready to jump back into my old hobbies. I've found it so hard to get moving, and I admit to using it all as an excuse. And recently I've realized why; I never really left this void, this hole I dug in my mind. I was still suffering from depression, yet I had fooled myself into thinking I was fine. Painting had nearly pulled me out but the back injury stopped that.
Now I'm painting again, and my camera gear is out and ready to go. I want to get back to living, I can't honor him any other way. And now to share something that I made for the memorial we had, remembering the old man:
This is the only place outside of facebook I have ever posted this. I hope all those who got behind me back with ApertureSeven, and all the projects I was doing here can understand and forgive me for so abruptly leaving. I hope to restart that, in a new guise, here in the near future. And I thank you to anyone who is still subscribed, and who is reading this right now.