Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Struggle

My dear friend Margaret Jacobsen has been publicly open about her struggle with depression and gluten allergy and the pain in brings her, in a very honest and relatable way. The thing I admire most about Margaret is that she is honest about her feelings and she lets herself be emotional. It shows in her amazing photography. Every time I see one of her photographs I can feel her spirit and I can see the subjects. It's like they have a radiation of love and happiness around them. Sometimes, sadness. 

My favorite photo's that Margaret ever took were of herself. She was some where wild, in tall grass I think. She was sad in her photos and she admitted that she was. Her sadness was so beautiful portrayed that if made my heart hurt with understanding. 

I struggle with depression and fibromyalgia. They usually rear their ugly heads one after the other. The flare ups come leaving me in pain and utterly exhausted and useless and that's when the depression soon follows. Today, I wanted to take a self portrait. Something happy. A good, updated, profile picture. But as I tried taking the photos I struggled with a true smile. I struggled with even finding a happy thought to help me give a genuine smile. So instead, inspired by my friend Margaret, I was just honest with the camera. I took pictures of me in my moment of discomfort. My ribs feel like they are being pulled from my body, my face is red and inflamed, my arms and legs feel like they've been beaten with a bat. So why put on a forced smile? 

 I'm no photographer but my husbands nice camera has an auto setting that makes it pretty easy to use and the tripod and timer made taking the pictures less awkward. Kind of..

This is one of the first pictures I took. I am physically struggling to smile.  

I like this picture of me. It's a nice one. But when I looked at it I felt silly inside and a little miffed. You know what they worst thing about having a chronic pain disorder/disease and depression is? People can't see it. Even your loved ones, who know you are struggling, they forget. So when all you can do is lay on the couch and shower every two days. When all you can do is the bare minimum until the horrible cycle ends, well, they can get critical and upset with you. And understandably so. 

So looking at this picture of me with my hair and make up done and a smile on my face is a little irritating to me because if some one doesn't understand your invisible struggle when you are in your sweats and without makeup, then they straight up feel annoyed with you when you look like this but act like roadkill. It's true. Doing my hair and makeup makes me feel better on the rough days but it doesn't exactly convey sickness does it?

there is the weariness. 

how I honestly feel.
Here is a picture a few moments after feeling silly for even trying to take happy, done up pictures. It's about 5 minutes after I started and I'm already too mentally exhausted with trying to keep up the smile and I've pulled off my head scarf. 

It's been a rough week for me. I've been pushing through this flare up harder than usual. I've been working on the shop, staying busy with yard work and getting out of the house nearly every day despite painful, sleepless nights. My sweet husband and son are the two people that motivate me and keep me moving while I struggle. Their patience is saintly since sometimes I can feel like this for weeks at a time. 

At the end of my photo session my son woke up from his nap and his little feet pattered into the living room where I was sitting. He wanted to sit and take a picture with me. I redid my hair in a style that is more typical for my bad days and put in a pair of earrings that I never wear and together we smiled for the camera.

This is a genuine smile. He pulls me from the deepest part of my sadness and pain and makes it better. 

He is my Henry, he is my Healer.


  1. I love this post. Its true, we forget when people are struggling if we can't see it our selves.

    By the way - you are absolutely beautiful in all your pictures.

  2. Thank you so much Melissa!


  3. I love this honey. I'm sorry you're hurting.. You are the most beautiful