I love looking through pictures... the power that they so often have to take you back to a time and places that you had almost forgotten all about...
Memories of happier days, sadder days, those who have left us either through choice (ours or theirs) or through their passing. All of these faces looking up from the computer screen, a moment frozen in time.
One of the things that stuns me however, is how when you look properly you get to see a whole new image to that which initially presents. When we scratch below the surface we can see what is really going on.
2012 and 2013 were nightmare years for the my wife and I... Whilst we were very much together as a couple but at the same time were being torn apart professionally. Unscrupulous employers who were making life difficult and causing chaos with our mental health and wellbeing. For both of us who already suffered with anxiety and depression it was a challenging time (whilst we both get depressed we deal with our feelings very differently)
At the time outwardly we portrayed the happy couple. We smiled for the camera. We continued with life as if the weight of the world was not on out shoulders. We planned our wedding. We planned holidays. We even attended adoption training as despite everything we were looking to grow our family. We put on our masks and acted as the world would expect whilst silently feeling like we were falling apart.
One of the people I talked to a lot at that time was my GP. I spoke to her about my feelings, my insecurities, my hopes and dreams but also the things that were terrifying me. I remember telling her that it had got to a point when I didn't want to be here anymore (and then feeling the need to clarify that I meant I just didn't want to be living where I was working for my employer…rather than being suicidal as my words implied). Also at that time I self harmed, due to stress I'd feel as if I was itching all over... I'd use my nails, sharp objects, you name it... anything that may help to relieve the pressure.
Looking at old photos brought many of these memories back, as whilst I thought we were doing such a good job there was clearly a deep sadness that however, much we masked just could not be hidden,
Pictures of my wife's birthday in 2013 show her presenting initially as smily and happy but look a bit harder and you realise that she is flat and deflated by all that is going on. Then there are the pictures of a meal out where despite the smile on my face I looked as if I was going to burst out crying.
Life moves on though. Those photos now serve as a reminder of how we survived it once and how we can get through it again. They remind me of how despite everything that was happening we managed to survive with our integrity and values intact. Yes they may have tried to defeat us but despite feeling like we wanted to quit we kept at it. we challenged, we fought and ultimately we won,
Next time however, I hope that I can be more open about what's going on. I've made some amazing friends over the last couple of years who have made me realise that my depression is nothing to be ashamed of. Yes I hate those dark feelings, yes I hate the sadness that just sits there, yes I hate the not knowing what's going on in my mind but I know that I can get through it again.
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