Photo: May 16, 2014. Smokin’ one of Dad’s stogies on the beach.
My life as I knew it was over. Retreat into oblivion, nothingness. I was nobody and I had no agenda. My parents wrapped me up into their cocoon for safe hibernation. For what felt like forever.
I took this selfie at my family’s cabin, a place I spent much of my time when I was recovering. Genuinely embarrassed to be taking a break from life, I itched to start working again. But my mind wasn’t ready. I couldn’t be productive, normal. I was a shell of my former self, hollow and highly medicated. .
Mom and Dad sat me down several times to reiterate. If I had been in a serious car accident there would be no question. I wouldn’t work. This was just as serious. I needed to let my mind heal. It was ok to take a break. I had permission to do nothing.
I was grateful but anxious. All my friends were working. Did this make me lazy? Would anyone ever hire me after again? Also, I was bored out of my goddam mind. Cigarettes eased my pain and kept me company. .
I wore beanies all the time that summer. They made me feel safe. My skin broke out, I gained weight, my face was swollen with water weight… all side effects of my medication. I was also sad. Really really sad. I shut down from social media almost entirely and stopped taking photos. I didn’t want to make memories. This is one of the only photos I have from this time. Part of me hated myself. I just wanted to hide.
The summer of 2014 was the loneliest and most painful period of my life. Before, suicidal depression haunted me, but it was fleeting. This was different. I was supposed to be healing, but I was grieving. Deep down I knew I could be OK someday, but I didn’t know how or when. I relied on my family and closest friends, the ones who could still love me kindly and deeply at my lowest low.
It got better, way way better. But it took time. As hard as it was, I’m glad I took time off. I believe it helped me in the long run. It gave me time to hide.