This post has been a long time coming. I think I technically started drafting it on/around June 1st, five days into the challenge.
It’s safe to say I’ve felt pretty challenged throughout this, well, challenge. Some days were easier than others, and I could just say “okay, thing x or situation y made me pretty happy”, snap a picture, and be done. Other days were much harder–like the days I just couldn’t come up with a way to visually represent something happy. Or, you know, the days where I was having a hard time feeling happy at all. Still, it has helped me at least look for the good in every day, even if I end up not being able to see it right away.
The extra writing has been good for me too, at least in some respects. Once I got in the habit of writing more detailed blogs, I started writing a little more for my eyes only–things I wanted out of my head. I’m still working on letting those things go out of my head and quit bothering me once I’ve written them out, but I suspect that’s a place I’ll never quite reach.
I guess the writing has been the problem for me, not the photo challenge. I might not have gotten back into the swing of writing if I hadn’t decided this was a good opportunity to come up with blog posts to accompany my photographs. The problem with cathartic writing, at least in my life, is that it’s really hard to stop once you start. I’d sit down to write in my “journal” (an OpenOffice document that lives in a password-protected disk image on my MacBook, because technology is neat), and six, seven, eight pages later I’d realize I was crying or had become so tense that my hands and feet were going numb. Once the tears quit running and the pins and needles feeling told me that my blood was flowing again, it felt pretty good, but at what cost?
I’ve noticed a substantial increase in my day-to-day anxiety levels over these past several months, but I don’t think it’s because I’m writing more. There are a lot of other things going on behind the scenes. Mentally, I’m not in a great place right now, and it’s an ongoing problem I haven’t been able to break free of yet. It probably doesn’t help that I am finally writing some of these things down, things I’ve been hiding in the deepest, darkest corners of my brain for several years, memories and fears I’ve never spoken of to anyone else–writing them down makes them real again. Maybe someday I’ll feel comfortable sharing some of it, but not now.
I have a doctor’s appointment next Friday and plan on bringing some of this up then–I’ve finally gotten to the point where I’m willing to admit that I need help managing my anxiety and the depression that comes with it. At this point, I’m hoping the doctor will have some suggestions or ideas…I’m definitely willing to try an antidepressant. Hopefully I won’t need to see a psychiatrist, at least not right away; it’s been hard enough for Dallas to get an appointment with a new one since his last one doesn’t take his new insurance. I didn’t want him going back to that psychiatrist, anyway–he made what I’d consider some pretty irresponsible alterations to Dallas’ treatment plan when he was getting ready to head back to Michigan for his second year of grad school and he didn’t have a doctor up there. It was definitely not a good situation. At any rate, we felt pretty fortunate Dallas could get an appointment with one doctor here in town a mere six weeks out from when he called, because the doctor he was going to try to see couldn’t see him until January.
In all honesty, though, the photo challenge itself was good for me. Having to actively consider what makes me happy on any given day has made me appreciate what I have even more than I already did. Even though I’ve officially finished the challenge, I still want to make sure I find something to appreciate in every day, even when it’s been awful overall.