Everyone gets sad. Everyone has days when they are down, when they don’t want to do anything, when they get depressed. But it gets better, you find fulfillment, the feeling passes and all is good. But sometimes, you don’t feel better.
When a medical professional told me I was depressed for the first time I felt weak, I felt like I should be able to get over this, I felt like I didn’t need medication I just needed to tell myself to feel better and I would feel better. But that was wrong.
At the end of December 2016 I hitched a ride down to Banff with a couple of friends. Like so many times before, I grabbed my camera bag, some junk food and headed out for a night of photography. My camera, the mountains, and me; this is my church, this is my sanctuary; this is where the world makes sense.
I drive up to a lookout, take a short walk over the barrier and Banff is alive beneath me, the mountains stand stoic as a winter storm rolls in dusting the world with perfect flakes of snow, and I feel nothing. No joy, no sense of awe, just nothing. A void. A deep dark hole now fills where my passions use to be.
Depression robbed me. It took the things that I loved and made them invisible to me. It filled my heart and soul with sadness that I could not articulate and it made me feel like nothing in the world was worthwhile. It made me angry, it made me lash out, it made me unreachable to my parents, uncaring towards my friends, and menacing towards my sisters.
I look at this picture and I think of all the opportunities I had over the last 15 years to tell someone, to ask for help, to say that I was unhappy. Thousands of moments, thousands of missed opportunities. I waited too long; I let the mental illness win because I was too proud, too embarrassed, and too busy trying to be something I was not. 15 days after I took this photo, I would attempt to end my life.