Faces of Depression, Day 20

Today has been better. Had work projects to keep my mind occupied and some quiet time on the back porch, including cat cuddles, eased the stress and anxiety on the fringes of my brain. Today is a 5 out of 10.

While I think I look a tad grumpy in this photo, I'm actually on an even keel, making this a 5 day.

While I think I look a tad grumpy in this photo, I’m actually on an even keel, making this a 5 day.

Faces of Depression, Day 19

Woke up on the late side this morning, but got to work on a couple tasks that distracted me from my anxiety and then did some journaling that gave me much needed clarity about some of my bigger issues regarding self-worth, validation and self-assessment. After that, I felt confident enough to negotiate some deals and the end result lead me to a much calmer state of mind.

Rooney was my buddy for part of the afternoon, so I decided to include him in today’s selfie. Today started at a 3 and got up to a 5.

Can't see that much of me, but I was trying to get a good angle to show Rooney being my coworker. He's very supportive but not always as helpful as he thinks he is. Today is a 5 out of 10.

Can’t see that much of me, but I was trying to get a good angle to show Rooney being my coworker. He’s very supportive but not always as helpful as he thinks he is. Today is a 5 out of 10.

Faces of Depression, Day 18

This is what it looks like when you get up late because you don’t want to deal with anyone, but you shower, put on makeup and do your hair because you are supposed to go to an event tonight that you’ve been anticipating for months, then you find out the financial hole you’re in just got even deeper and you see no way out of it and you start crying so hard you cannot breathe, but you still try not to mess up your makeup too much because you might feel better enough to go in a few hours.

This is depression and anxiety, folks. Today started at 4 and is now down to 2.

What it looks like when you are battling severe anxiety and depression and trying not to cry before your phone takes the picture. Today started at 4 but went down to a 2 out of 10.

What it looks like when you are battling severe anxiety and depression and trying not to cry before your phone takes the picture. Today started at 4 but went down to a 2 out of 10.

Faces of Depression, Day 17

I had a feeling that several 7-plus days in a row meant a crash was coming, and sure enough, today was pretty craptacular. Client issues, my living situation and financial stressors compounded to make me extra agitated and irritable…which leads me to something I’ve been meaning to discuss: anger. Many people may not realize that anger is closely tied to depression. I’ve heard it said that depression is anger turned inwards, and that makes perfect sense to me: at the core of all my negative self-talk and beliefs is a profound, rarely expressed anger. Sometimes it’s a flicker, a match that’s barely lit; other times it is a conflagration threatening to consume everything in its path. When I’m financially able to get back into therapy, it’s something I want to address, as the anger is the most challenging part of my depressive episodes.

Today I dealt with my anger by journaling, venting to a few trusted friends, and getting outside for a bit. The day’s not over yet, though, and I just want to lay low until bedtime.

Today is a 4 out of 10.

Today's photo was taken in the late afternoon. It reminds me of how my grandma would look when she would purse her lips in frustration or anger. Today is a 4 out of 10.

Today’s photo was taken in the late afternoon. It reminds me of how my grandma would look when she would purse her lips in frustration or anger. Today is a 4 out of 10.

Faces of Depression, Day 16

We’re now a little past the halfway point for the month and I’ve learned a lot over the past couple weeks. It doesn’t matter too much how I look – or how anyone looks, for that matter – when depression is present. If I do my hair and makeup, it can deftly conceal the fact that maybe on that particular day I’m really struggling. But on a day when I look tired and I haven’t bothered to do much to modify my appearance, I might look more depressed than I actually am. To me, this proves the adage is true: you can’t judge a book by its cover.

A number of you have reached out to say you have been following this series with great interest. Some have reached out on days when I’ve been feeling particularly low. I appreciate your support and compassion.

The past few days have been quite good. I’ve felt more energetic and upbeat, and as a result I’ve been getting more done, whether it is work tasks, personal administration, cleaning, or getting out and being social. When I’m at one extreme or the other, I have to remind myself to take the photo and actually post it. Even though I took the photo early in the day, I got busy with doing various things, so now it’s nearly 11 p.m. and I’m finally posting it.  Suffice it to say, staying busy is good: it keeps me out of my head. Today was a 9 out of 10.

Was mildly annoyed by an email I'd received when I took this, but otherwise I felt good today. 9 out of 10.

Was mildly annoyed by an email I’d received when I took this, but otherwise I felt good today. 9 out of 10.

 

Faces of Depression, Day 15

Long day but a good one. Spent several hours at the AAA service center getting the car checked out, but had letter writing, journaling and a little urban exploration to keep me entertained. Then went to Pops’ house to hang out and look for old stuff of mine in the attic. Went to the movies with him, which was fun. Today was a 9 out of 10.

Took this around 11:45 a.m. A little tired but feel upbeat. Day 15 was a 9 out of 10.

Took this around 11:45 a.m. A little tired but feel upbeat. Day 15 was a 9 out of 10.

Faces of Depression, Day 14

Busy day with client work, a subject interview for an article, and a new contract (yay!). Took this photo a few minutes ago using the crappy front facing camera on my tablet, so it’s blurry and dim. I’ve been cold today, so been wearing a beanie and scarf my cousin Sasha knitted for me. Feeling positive and upbeat. Today was a 8 out of 10.

Blurry, dim photo but in a good mental space. 8 out of 10.

Blurry, dim photo but in a good mental space. 8 out of 10.

 

Faces of Depression, Day 13

Took this photo around 3 p.m. Woke up feeling much more positive about everything, and the annoyances that popped up over the course of the day disappeared quickly. I felt restless and distracted most of the day, but by the evening I felt more focused and was able to complete a few items that had been on my to-do list for over a week. Today ranks a 6 out of 10.

Bright colors definitely help elevate my mood. Today's rank: 6 out of 10.

Bright colors definitely help elevate my mood. Today’s rank: 6 out of 10.

Faces of Depression, Day 12

Woke up at 4:30 am and couldn’t fall back asleep, so I read a book until I got sleepy. With that auspicious start to the day, I thought it might end up not being all that great. But it turned out to be much more serendipitous than I could have hoped for, and I am very grateful. Today’s rank: 5 out of 10.

Tired and sans makeup, but feeling hopeful in a way I haven’t in a few days. Today was a 5 out of 10.

Faces of Depression, Day 11

Today marks the seven year anniversary of Momcat’s death. Funny, I expected to be much more of an emotional wreck, but yesterday was way more difficult. Today I woke up and didn’t feel miserable, just sad and preoccupied. Maybe it’s because I’ve been thinking a lot about what the leader of a bereavement counseling group would tell group attendees all the time: “let the day be the day.” He was talking about holidays, but it’s applicable to any anniversary associated with someone who has died.

Day 11. Anniversary of Momcat's death. Sad and pensive, but not a complete emotional wreck. Today is a 4 out of 10.

Day 11. Anniversary of Momcat’s death. Sad and pensive, but not a complete emotional wreck. Today is a 4 out of 10.