I’m not one who finds themselves propelled by some great inner force to interact with people. With or without my social anxiety, I prefer solitude. I engage with people when I need to because I have to; there are times I’m entertained by and wish to aid them and there are times I’m enraged by them (the latter being the most prevalent reaction) but most of the time I just tolerate them. That being said, I’d like to take a moment from this godforsaken integration practice (got the first exam of the semester tomorrow) to honor the art of one California man who lets his photography describe the truth of his depression.
Here’s a few shots (Obviously all credit goes to Edward Honaker):
Words are practically worthless when held in comparison to a visual representation. That’s the non-cliche way of saying a picture is worth a thousand words. At any rate, I feel he’s conveyed a feeling so many of us often have trouble describing to others without tossing in a thousand metaphors that end up sounding better in our heads than aloud. I know in my depression I’m absolutely smothered by what I can only characterize as an internal decaying of mind, soul and spirit, a distortion of where I am, who I am, what I’m doing, and most importantly why I’m doing anything at all. Through a tunnel of blackness I see no end and have no recollection of a beginning. Time fades into the vacuum of space, no longer an instrument for my disposal or enjoyment. Joy itself, happiness, and the ability to see life as an experience worth taking advantage of only exists as crumpled, disfigured versions of themselves. They weep in as much terror and obscurity as I do. A friend pleads for me to see the radiance in the world they have no difficulty seeing and I can plainly observe the discontent reflected in their eyes when the only thing I can do is curl on the bed, pull the blankets over my head, and savor the thought of a barrel against my temple.
And then I pop back into existence like:
So when at any point someone can turn those words into a photograph or illustration a mind of any attention span can interpret, I am immensely appreciative of the artist and take pleasure from his work. As a beginner photographer, I am inspired by this portfolio as I have always planned on photographing the same theme, but in a different way. First I need to upgrade my camera. Which requires a little more money than I had anticipated. Okay, a lot more.
Don’t think I’ll be ordering online from best buy again, that was a nightmare.
But I digress.
I believe artwork is one way for us, as people who suffer under the crocodile jaws of our own mentality, to show the rest of the world the internal truth of the fights we fight. It’s a way to reduce stigma without confrontation, without feeding anymore stereotypes of violence, anger, craziness, and destructive tendencies portrayed about us in the media. Instead, they for once get to see the confusion, the hurt, the inexplicable horror of being inside of our minds through a medium that will also make them feel it. And as we all know, we think with our emotions, not with our thoughts. We learn through the emotions in our experiences, not through the experiences on their own. We are humans and that’s the easiest way for us to understand our world. So for those of us suffering through mental disorders, let us take advantage of the rest of humanity’s desperate attachment to their emotional stability and shake them up a bit; they might learn something.