What pains me most about mental illness in the art world is when I see it discussed as a romantic part of one’s process. To see someone seemingly pouring their heart out only to gain a like or a comment from someone saying, Wow, so beautiful- so raw. Is it that? Is speaking openly about struggles without any drive to free one’s self from them really beautiful? Is it really raw? To me beauty comes from fight and perseverance. I recognize my struggles but I go through depression and in these times, I do not share my writings because it is not beautiful, it is not raw. It is clouded by disgust of self and poison of the mind. Depression is not a state of mind rather something that creeps on you like a sickness. It’s something that can stay dormant for months and surprise you on a rainy day. My friend told me, Danielle you are not depressed, you feel depressed. I am not what I feel. I am more than that.
So when I see someone saying, I give everything only to have it backfire. I love and love only to hurt and hurt. This is not beautiful, this is not raw. This is a scapegoat. This is someone saying, I am too weak to admit my flaws and because I struggle with mental illness, because I can’t control my anxiety, I am forgiven, those actions are dismissed. This is wrong, this is hurtful and to dismiss those actions that you have put onto someone else is a slap in the face in a way you could never see but feel deeper than any physical interaction could begin to touch. And I see you all praising these people, congratulating them on their bravery and I look at you and I look at them and I wonder how they can put this out there, knowing who they’ve hurt and still feel confident in what they write. Still feel pride in accepting false love from strangers. It’s false because you’re false, because you can say you tried but when these words are only ever seen on the internet, you didn’t try for shit.
I’ve learned that the beauty I seek and the passion I have almost always comes after my depression has passed, after I’ve begun the fight and struggle out of my hole. Out of my cozy home depression makes for me. I love these times, where I am blooming, becoming, growing but I know that to get there, I go through the worst of times, and that’s something I could never wish upon myself or anyone else. When depression hits me, I do not think of the blooming to come, I think of the destruction I’m in and that is how you stay there. I am blessed to know myself and have people around me who know and love me deeper than I could have ever imaged as a child and that’s what pulls me out. That is what helps me bloom. I could never do this alone. Strength is accumulative and every soul I’ve ever met has added to who I am now and who I will become.
So to end this on a different note, thank you. Thank you to those I love and those that love me. Those that speak openly with me. To those who are honest, even when it’s hard. Those who fight, for me and against when need be. I love you and thank you. Thank you for inspiring me and pushing me. I will never give up. I will never stop fighting. I will never romanticize this illness because it is not beautiful, it is not raw. It is clouded and misdirected. It is a lie. I am not depressed, but at times, I do carry depression. That is one truth, but nowhere close to the entirety of me.
Real beauty on 35mm film