PICTURE- Creating a Picture of Happiness with Mental Illness
“This makes me happy.”
‘Picture’ is Middle English from the 15th century, stemming from the Latin word pictura.
“A description so vivid or graphic as to suggest a mental image or give an accurate idea of something.”
I am 24, almost 25 living in this modern era. I have had or have taken my picture a million times and without fail I hate every single one. I have thoughts like these for example:
“Ewww, I have a double chin.”
“Look at all those tires I am carrying around my waist.”
“I am so wide.”
“I look like a monster compared to all these people in the picture.”
These are just a few things that haunt me for the rest of the day. I have to choose to not look at any pictures that are taken of me because I know that it will ruin my day. I’m very sensitive to how I look and how I see myself because no matter how many times people around me look like I am crazy for voicing my concerns, I think they sound just as crazy.
I believe that mental illness, more specifically depression, has a specific core or trigger as it were. For me, my biggest problem is body image and I try to do things that forces me to try to be okay with it.
I have been making memes for a while and to be honest it has helped me a bit to be okay with how I look. I can’t change my skeleton or proportions. I can’t change my height nor shoe size. I can’t change my Scandinavian heritage which includes a round head with soft features. There are other things I can change about myself, but I don’t have money for that, nor would it be me.
Me. I need to learn to be okay with myself. I need to learn to love myself. I need to learn that how I think about myself is what shows and what people react to. I need to treat and talk to myself as I talk to others.
Every day is an internal struggle against pictures, mirrors, and window reflections. If I walk up to a building with glass or window doors I don’t look. If there are mirrors, I look at my face and not the rest of me. When I go shopping, I let the people around me tell me if certain clothes look good or not because I can’t tell and would probably leave the store empty handed; which would be unfortunate because we all need clothes.
There is so much to life that one shouldn’t waste their time thinking about things that cause self-destruction. Every day is a day that you will never get back ever again. Now I am not saying to live every day as if it is your last, but think about how you are responsible for how you live every day. Every day is too precious to be worried about demons of all shapes, sizes, and colors.
Every day is worth fighting for the “happy”. Look for the happy and if you can’t see it. Say it. When people tell me things that are positive about themselves or something that went right in their day I will say out loud to them: “That makes me happy.” You will be surprised what the response is and how in turn you can feed off of their happiness. If you do it enough, you can convince yourself that there is happiness and that you deserve and can feel that way.
Depression is an interesting beast. I think that there are millions of healthy ways to fight it, you just have to find what works for you, which takes time. My life may seem limited as I have to do things to protect myself from pictures or reflections, but for right now that is what I need to do so I can live happily right now. NOW. Because I want to be happy now.
The memes that I make is me dipping my toe in the water, understanding that I am a real person who is living their life to be happy. Life has been difficult and painful and it will continue to be so. That is just how life is. But I don’t need to let it hurt me. I can work every day to practice skills that let it roll of my back and let the smile stay on my face with a laugh ready to go.
The best sign of healing is being able to laugh and smile with yourself in the pictures. I try to be brave when I look at the printed memory. Because that is what it is, a memory of an event of my life. It doesn’t have to reflect the inner struggle. I hope that one day I’ll be able to look at my photos on the same day they are taken and say,
“That makes me happy.”
YouTube Episode Available: Click to Watch — 44. PICTURE- Facing Bad Body Image Positively in Photos