(Note: I accidentally deleted the original version of this post, along with the rest of the site. So I'm re-writing this from memory, because. I think it's important to have this out there and be open and honest about these types of things) I'm back. But things are different. Or at least, I'm accepting that things have to be different. Here's the thing: I have clinical anxiety and depression. I've had it for quite some time. As long as I can remember, in fact.
The thing about anxiety and depression is that they can strike you at any time, and in unpredictable ways. So for most of the time - almost all the time, in fact - I'm absolutely fine. But very occasionally, and without warning, I get a bad episode. This can manifest in many different ways, and similarly I react in very different ways. Maybe I eat too much, or I drink too much, or I lash out at other people. It's impossible to predict.
Well, a couple of weeks ago, I lashed out. I did and said a lot of things that I am absolutely ashamed of having done. I have already reached out to many of the affected individuals to apologize and ask for their forgiveness. Amazingly, they have been uniformly understanding and forgiving.
The thing about depression and anxiety is that it's not just "worry" or "sadness". It's unproductive, irrational worry mixed with - for me at least - distortions in my perception of other people's actions in relation to me. An action that to most people would seem harmless or funny or not worth thinking about all of a sudden becomes overwhelmingly important and takes on numerous other meanings. In those moments, I get angry very easily. What comes next is where things get vague. Sometimes nothing happens. Sometimes I just get sad and suffer a lovely bout of anhedonia. Sometimes I get angry at myself or the world, and stop caring about what I or anyone else thinks of me.
And then, as quickly as it starts, these episodes go away. It's very difficult to explain the feeling when things are good; it's hard to remember how bad things can get. Which is part of why I wanted to write this post; to have a record of what this affliction feels like, to establish a jumping off point, so to speak, for talking about this openly, and to remind me, when things do get bad, that they're not always going to be that way.
I have been receiving clinical and pharmacological help for this for several years, and that has helped enormously. Medication is an important part of the therapy (since the problem is largely chemical to begin with), but it's not the only pillar. Counselling is critical to develop strategies for coping.
But despite all of this, bad days/weeks happen. Not as often as they used to, but they do happen. And this time, in particular, my reaction to a bad week was completely inappropriate. Once again, I'm very thankful for all of the understanding I have received, especially from those directly affected by my behaviour, who were under no obligation to forgive me - and could not have been faulted had they chosen to react differently.
Photography-wise, I'm good. My Leicas, my Hasselblad, and my Mamiya 7 are sold.
I bought an X100T with all the trimmings to serve as my primary small format camera, although I still see a Leica M3 or M2 in my future.
I re-purchased a Mamiya 7(ii) and an 80 f/4, because that combo is just too spectacular. I may add the 43/4.5 or 50/4.5 to that. Or maybe not. A one lens kit is awfully appealing.
And I'm shooting a lot more large format, which I find very meditative and calming.
So there it is.