I’m reading a book by Brene’ Brown called Daring Greatly. And the parts about shame are getting me right in the feels. It reminded me of when my depression was at it’s all time worst. I would have days where I went completely dark, panicked that no one was there. That no one would understand. Out of control, like it was never going to get better.
I hid deeper and deeper. I barely came out of my room, despite having four children who needed me. I did what absolutely had to be done and that was it. I had a good friend in another state who was basically my lifeline. That relationship felt safe, being online and distant, but without it, I don’t want to think what would have become of me. And even though what I wanted most was to hide from everyone, this person encouraged me to pick up my camera and document it. Even during those days when I wanted to lay on the floor and sob. I often wondered why I would even bother. No one would want to see that. I certainly didn’t want people I knew around town to find them. What would happen to my business if locals knew I was so depressed? I was so ashamed.
I was ashamed that my strong, creative mind was seemingly gone. I was ashamed that I was a terrible mother. I was ashamed that my marriage of 15 years had failed. I was ashamed that I’d ever married a person who treated me so badly. I felt unworthy because it felt like everyone I loved abandoned me. I felt ashamed for feeling ashamed.
this was taken on an extremely dark day in my mind
But I did take those photos. And I started this blog. I kept it fairly hidden for a long time. But as I opened it up, something amazing happened. People connected to my words and my images. Dark as they were. People called me brave, which always made me cringe. Didn’t they realize how I second guessed everything I posted, worried about the reaction of those I knew in real life?
Brown says in her book, “Only when we’re brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
She also says,
“Shame hates having words wrapped around it…language and story bring light to shame and destroy it. “
I’d also like to add that images do as well. I still have a hard time sharing this time in my life. It seems much easier to share my darkness with the faceless internet than the people I know in “real life.” But the more I do, the more I am amazed at the rewards of being vulnerable and honest. Depression is nothing to be ashamed of. We have to change that kind of thinking. We have to share our story.