I took this photo more than four years ago while suffering from a bout of depression. I was rebelling against the work, the psychological work of uncovering the dark stuff within me, stuff that I often projected onto others. We all do this though we don’t realise it, nor would we admit it if we were cornered.
It is hard for me to understand which came first, the tendency towards depression, or the traumata that was visited upon me during my childhood, boyhood and youth. I guess it doesn’t really matter. But at times I wonder. Did I have a genetic inheritance of depression? Was that predisposition to depression a factor in marking me as a candidate for abuse by others? Or, was the realities of being abused the root source of depression? I am lucky; I survived where many others didn’t including one of my brothers who couldn’t handle the shame and the pain.
I say I am lucky even though I continue to cycle through bouts of depression. Thankfully, the depressive cycles are becoming shorter in terms of duration. I bounce out of these descents due to a number of things, the first of which is an abiding love for me by my wife. When I suffer, she suffers. Yet rather than running away in order to save her sanity and claim a better life, she chooses me. As well.
Nudity is a second reason for being able to navigate through depression and emerge back into the light, that is the choice to make time for myself, clothes-free time. I learned this strategy at an early age, somewhere around the age of seventeen. The third piece of the puzzle that has allowed me to better manage was an immersion into depth psychology, training to become a therapist and a good number of years serving as a guide as clients came for help to my office. And finally, the work of writing, telling my stories, listening to the words I have written that seemed to come from outside of me. With grace and patience, I find myself still here, still breathing, and knowing how to offer love back.