Depression Self Portraits

Reading time | 3 mins

Your perception has one of the greatest impacts on your life, the choices you make, and your reality.

This is what makes depression so difficult.

In my experience, depression skews your perception of yourself and the world around you. Just like blinders on a race horse, you can start to develop tunnel vision toward a story that isn’t really you. Or, you may focus only on the negative thoughts in your mind. Instead of keeping your mind and eyes focused on the finish line, you can get caught up in worst-case scenarios.

It can become really perplexing to get past that mindset with all of the other aspects of depression coming into play. After all, how often do we usually step back and really think about how we’re seeing things — and seeing ourselves?

Photography may have the ability to pull these thoughts, stories, or feelings from our minds using the power of words and images. The moment these thoughts are outside of yourself, you’re given the opportunity to see them from a third-person perspective. You can even benefit by getting someone else’s perspective.

Best of all, while you’re working through your own process, it can help to provide new perspectives or insights for others, further bringing clarity to what depression is really like and decreasing stigma.

These are my depression self-portraits, from my perspective to yours.

Gradual gradient

As you continue to struggle silently, you can become lost within the thoughts of your mind. Every “what if” blurs further, the motivation to reach out lessens, and the person you knew yourself to be without depression fades out of memory.

Everything becomes blurry and you start to fall apart, too slowly to notice or be shocked into action. You’ll have to work through a few layers to find the truth on the inside, but it’s there.

Dull, fuzzy, and numb

When depression hits, I feel like I’m fading away. My senses seem dulled, emotions numbed, and everything around me becomes fuzzy.

I set an alarm in my mind to catch when this begins so that I can pull everything back into focus. I do what I can to get my heart going faster, change my environment, or force myself into a conversation.

Do what you love

What was once a treat can become a horrible chore. With depression, any motivation or enjoyment you once got from the activities you love can evaporate away.

It can be so easy to let those activities fall away along with the other aspects of your life that you can’t seem to keep up with anymore. But that extra push that you need to get back into your hobby — no matter how hard it seems — is the only barrier holding you back.

Even when you don’t want to and it feels pointless, pick up the camera.

The take away

It’s important to remember that there’s no “normal” way to experience depression. Everyone experiences these issues differently, despite the common threads that tie us together.

As you start to express and explore what you’re going through, you can turn the process around so that you’re looking toward the future and creating who you want to be, rather than looking back at who you were.

DEPR-US-NP-00025 JULY 2018