Take A Walk With Me: Part 1

by - 9:54 PM

I have been using photography as my outlet for over 7 years now.  And I can count on the fact that no matter how I feel physically or emotionally feel it will find its way into my work.  I've been physically in pain since 8 and exposed to tick-borne disease at 13.  Needless to say, I have looked for an outlet that fit who I was, where I was and allowed me to tell the stories I could not say in words.  I struggled with depression, anxiety, Neuropsychiatric Lyme, Bluesy Days, Paranoia, Derealization, and Depersonalization.  These are never easy topics to share or talk about with others since the stigma around mental health and lyme still exist to this day.  So my voice of this world has been pictures.

If you are a spoonie, you see this picture and pretty much can write a synopsis for me on what I was trying to convey here.  So many patients I know suffer from some level of Sensory Process Disorder.  I have always felt on overload.  Like I needed to hide away to get some kind of relief.  I used the reflection off my woodstove door and held my Iphone just out of frame.  I feel this way so often and I know in public no one has any idea this is how I really feel.  I have also felt separate from myself.  Like one part was suffering in silence while the public side was just trying to survive life but look normal.

Depersonalization Disorder is marked by periods of feeling disconnected or detached from one's body and thoughts.  The disorder is sometimes described as feeling like you are observing yourself from outside your body or like being in a dream. ~ WebMD  I felt cut off from who I really was.  It was the most severe when my lyme/co-infections were at their worst.  I still have periods of this when I flare, feel exhausted, spent and I am not doing self care.  When my nervous system is done it will go to this place.

Derealization is an alteration in the perception or experience of the external world so that it seems unreal.  Other symptoms include feeling as though one's environment is lacking in spontaneity, emotional colouring, and depth.  It is a dissociative symptom of many conditions. ~Wikipedia  These are fireworks that had just been released into the night sky.  It was loud!  When my nervous system is on overload it feels like electricity running from my head to my toes and can result in restless legs, internal shakes, or partial/full body twitches/jerks.

I have often felt vacant.

Its like living in a haunted house.  Only an echo of a memory of who I used to be or who I was when I felt okay/stable.

I see the shadows even though I am surrounded by light.

I feel I often confuse people.  They have no idea who or what I am.  Its like I'm the walking dead.  How do you explain so much internal mess to strangers? Family? Friends?  I find this is why so many patients purposely isolate. 

To go from such severe symptoms to some level of recovery has been an episode from the Twilight Zone.  I have been sick for most of my life.  I am not so sure about this land of the living some days.  But I am slowly finding my way back into the light.

I have more days in the light than the dark.  But I still have days that I feel like I live in the shadows.  And it is this place that has made me.  People talk about suffering artists.  Pablo Picaso suffered some level of mental illness and so on.  It was a part of him but because of that part it influenced his art.  Its his blunt honesty in his work that I appreciate and relate to most.  ~Angele

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