How Can a Photograph Capture the Image of a Person Falling Apart?

I stared at the black and white photograph, “Is this how unhappy I look like?” I hadn’t realized it before. I was never beautiful, but looking at this picture.. This is not me. This can’t be me. This is far from the remark of “Oh. I look so ugly”

I took the photograph, studied a bit more closely. Is this how people see me? Since when did I look this empty?

Day by day, for years, I’ve watched confidence fade away. I’ve cut my hair short. I’ve given up on any pity attempt to look pretty. I neglected myself for a very long time. I look so dull and wasted, tired and drained. This hopeless face can never be covered up. This depressing, decaying body cannot be dressed up. Look a little more closely, you’ll cringe. You’ll cringe at the person beneath this veneer body.

Hate reflects. I didn’t know it reflects. People can actually see through me. How can I not know? I’ve been hiding all of this. I’ve been hiding. I’ve been hiding all this time.

How can a decent photograph capture the image of a person falling apart?

How farther can I descent?

What will I look like next year?

Where will shame and insecurities lead me to?

Is this photograph my cry for help?

Look at what you’ve done.

What have you done to yourself?


“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!”― Ted Grant

photograph-blog-2
Actual photograph

The photograph was taken by our Photojournalism professor. It will be shown at our university’s photo exhibit next week. It is a black and white portrait of me. I have seen the photograph just a few minutes before writing this. It is like meeting my self for the very first time. A revelation of how I’ve let myself down. A potential wake-up call to pull myself up.

Prison of Truth

(This is how you lose your youth)

You started to wonder, how you’ve lost your voice
Was it the day you ceased speaking?
Or was it the day you started repeating,
repeating the chant everyone else is saying

You’ve lost your point of view, honey, it was all you.
You are always ready to bend and mold,
To conform, and nod. To find the truth
From different set of lies laid in front of you.
You always choose whatever it is that can fool you.

For years, you’ve been complaining about your lost freedom,
For twenty-two years you have been living,
Six years spent grieving,
Every persona you wore were lined up in a shelf
Six fucking years, spent building a prison for yourself

The next time rage fill you,
While you clasp and shake and grip the bars that surround you,
Remember this, the only thing that can set you free
Is the very thing that confines you.

With Blank Eyes, You Wait

The thing is, it’s a cycle.

You don’t know the reason behind the cycle,
but if you are going to observe it, there is.
For the past few months, you were doing good.
You thought you have finally became stable, okay;
ready to grab any optimism life has to offer.
You were so proud of yourself.

Then there’s this shift.

Slowly, or drastically,
it pulled you again to that pit,
that same pit you fought really hard to escape from.

But you’re at it again,
and this time you don’t know what to do.
It just swallows you.

You have no idea, there is no reason.
There is no clear reason.

You tried to talk to people, for normality’s sake, and it feels fake.
You don’t really feel like talking, but you have to at least try..
You can’t move, everything is forced.

At first, you thought it’s just a bad morning.
You just woke up on the wrong side of your bed.
Then it becomes a bad day.
Then you try to cheer yourself up,
you told yourself, tomorrow is another day.
Then the next day came, and you’re dragging yourself up again.
Then you hadn’t noticed it has been a month, it has been months.
You feel defeated without knowing what you are fighting against.

So you just wait…
With blank eyes, you wait.


Written in August, during the early days of the shift.

(Featured photo was from Pixabay.com) 

Fighting the Cycle of Depression

Depression has become a universal battle, and the one were fighting against with is ourselves; each of us is our own silent opponent, stealing our own identity, ruining established relationships, putting away  our own opportunities.

I have tried everything that I could to avoid the dark clump of clouds hovering on the back of my head. Last semester, my hard work finally paid off. I’ve finally become my most productive self; I was able to do my schoolwork on time, I was able to help my mom at home, I did a clerical job on the side. Yes, finally, I was able to fight it! Or maybe ignore it, live above it. All the while, Depression is still beside me, like a known enemy, sitting at the corner, relaxing at my side, puffing his smoke with his feet up high, and his usual companion, Anxiety, is there, too. They are taking their time.

This morning, these two caught my full attention again. I found myself zipping up my humane mask back on.  Depression just stands in there, smirking at me, mouthing the words “Welcome back”. The heavy feeling is here again.

This is the tricky part, it had you again and you have to start from square one. I figured, if there is one thing that actually worked during my 4 year battle with persistent depression cycle, it’s developing my own routine. I thought, the only thing that could fight this cycle, is also a cycle and I have to make my own.

Whenever the shift comes, this has become my cycle:

 1. Hibernation – This is the time where I ceased fighting it. I let myself submit to it, lie down in my bed, pretending I’m dead. Usually, during hibernation, I get  overwhelmed with the feeling of absolute nothing. It’s like climbing down to a deep and empty well, and when you’ve finally reached the bottom, all you do is stare at the opening, your slightest source of light.

2. Shower & Contemplation – After a day of two of succumbing to my emotions and lack of emotions, I will force myself to get-up. I’ll go to a long and nice shower, to think. To control my thinking. To think over and over, until my mind gives way to a new perspective. The after shower feeling helps, too. The light sensation of just-came-out-of-the-shower freshness makes me feel a little better.

3. Conquering the clutter – I’ve got this from a Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-up Bird Chronicle. Whenever Toru Okada feels restless, he would iron his shirts until his mind clear-up. I know, it is a productive way of taming the mind.

I know how hard it is to move when you are feeling depressed, but I always give this a try. I start with chunks, from small things, to organizing the cluttered desk, until I get to that piling plates on the sink. It is not a fun thing to do, but it gives me more time to think. I am always stressing about thinking. You see, I am battling with my own thoughts. I have to think, to change these thoughts. And conquering my clutter usually works, it even gives me the feeling of relief once I’ve made my place neat and comfy.  A clean place, can bring peace. And peace, in the moment of darkness, is exactly what I need.

4. Proper Rest – This is something I cannot do right now. You see, I’ve been writing a midnight diary, and midnight diaries can only be written during midnight. Hah! But having a good night sleep can be helpful. It gives the brain a time to rest (so it has more energy to fuck with you in the morning). But in all seriousness, the relationship between sleep and depressive illness is complex – depression may cause sleep problems and sleep problems may cause or contribute to depressive disorders. As much as possible, I want to cross this one out, I don’t need any more depressive contributors.

5. Making my own morning routine – Mornings are for happy people! I believe in “fake it till you make it” and I will try to pretend I am happy this morning, until I can be truly happy the next morning.

I go for a jog, exert my energy, rage, self-hatred, into running. Some days, I really have no interest in anything at all,  I’ll just give myself a simple breakfast, and by simple, I mean the easiest one to cook. Maybe a bowl of cereals. Not much, but progress is progress. One of the ways to fight depression is to continue fighting it, it is fighting to do something against my will. So serve I myself a decent breakfast, even if I don’t feel like it.


When I am feeling a little better after this full cycle, I’ll continue with it, but I skip Hibernation, I’ll proceed to step 2. Going back to step 1 is my last resort. Never let yourself fall apart over and over again, it’ll be a habit. This is certainly not a good habit.

Remember, only cycle can break a cycle. I will keep on establishing new cycle, as long as I can fight myself, as long as I have the will to fight myself.

If you find yourself facing a battle with yourself, you might wanna give this cycle a try. Let’s surpass this, I will keep on encouraging myself, and I will keep encouraging you. Depression can be persistent but I will never lose hope, and I will share this hope with you.