A conversation with myself
When I look at the collage that you made about your depression, the biggest piece that stands out is the “I’m Fine” pictures, you have two of them. When someone asks you how you are, do you always say, “I’m fine.” Are you really?
Not always, when I say “I’m Fine” or the “I’m Fine, I’m just really tired.” Sometimes I am just really tired and I just have no energy to get into a conversation. But most of the time, I am probably feeling one of these emotions – Broken • Unhappy • Scared • Hurt • Mad • Confused • Heartbroken • Sick • Terrible • Depressed • Lonely • Sad • Pissed • Angry • Unloved • Lost • Empty • Trapped • Stuck.
For me, “I’m Fine” is my general response because I have said it for so long. Now that I am really working on getting healthy, I am trying to get into the habit of using a different phrase but it is not a habit yet, so when someone gets “I’m good” or “Great” then I am having a really good day.
What about the man rolling the ball up the hill?
All of my life I have felt that I am consistently struggling, even if I am not. My life has been such an uphill battle, from my childhood, teenage years, through the years of raising my family. Even today, I feel like I am on an uphill battle and when I am in a depressive episode it is even worse. It is like trying to walk in knee-deep mud vs. just walking up a hill.
Ok, that makes sense, what about Professor Snape on that collage?
I have never really liked Professor Snape, but he is so right about life not being fair. My life did not turn out the way I thought it would and I believe that is because I have never been able to accept it. I will have these temper tantrums in my head screaming at myself and the world “It’s not fair!” and I think that is one of the reasons I have depression. I have to learn to let it go, let go of that childhood vision of what life should have been. Professor Snape reminded me of myself, someone that is really unhappy and angry inside that is screaming in their head, “Life is not fair.” Just because I scream though, does not mean that I can’t have a good life. I have learned over the past few months that I am in control of my happiness and I am trying to take the control back, not an easy journey but one I am willing to take.
Interesting, I see that you have portrayed yourself in a cage, why don’t you tell me about that?
Because I am not very accepting of how everything has turned out in my life, I consistently feel like I am so caged and scared. Never mind the fact that I have a great life. I am living the American Dream. I have a great marriage; I actually married my high school sweetheart. I have three beautiful children who have all grown up to be awesome adults. I have a great career and I have worked hard to get there. For some reason though, I have just never been able to shake the caged feelings. It is something that I am now recognizing and will deal with day by day.
Wow, you have recognized that there is something there with that caged feeling. Now you can start to work that out mentally and emotionally. What about the colorful lady with the quote?
When I went searching for pictures, that one just really stood out. She has her mouth covered with her hand and the quote says, “Always speak the truth even if your voice shakes.” Well, there have been many times that I have just stayed silent, even if it did not benefit me. So much of my life is different then what I thought it would be because I let myself get influenced by others even when it was not what I wanted. So, my advice to those reading this letter is …
The last picture that I see is a woman that it walking away with a suitcase down a road. What does that mean to you?
Well, that final picture of my college is me walking away from it all. It is one of my internal fantasies that I have when I am feeling really down and out. So often in my life I have felt like walking away, but I just have way too many responsibilities and people that I love to really run away. I just get to this point where I am just done. I have nothing left to give to anyone and so I just want to run away, it is my coping mechanism. Usually, when I get like this, I will find a way to get away for a day or even a night, sometimes more if I can afford it, I need it so I can just recharge. Sometimes it helps me come of the depression and sometimes it doesn’t.
That is what depression looks like through my eyes, right now in my life. Everyone is different and depression can change. I have good days and I have really bad ones. I am hoping that by using Expressive Art or other therapies that I can find myself again.