So I can’t stop thinking about this photography project I read about on Slate. In it, the artist tries to capture the reality of living with mental illness: what people see when you put on your brave face for the world, and what it looks like when you’re at home and at the mercy of your symptoms. I don’t want to say “the real [x]” because, as far as I can tell, both sides are just as much as, and a part of, “the real me”.
You’re right: this one isn’t just about a photography project. Mine would show that busy writer lady who flits in and out of events; who never shows at your event but makes somewhere else on social media talking like it’s the best thing ever; and me in my bed with my hair pushed back in a band, missing my best friend’s band’s anniversary show and instead watching a line of plastic bottles half-filled with refrigerated tap water threatening to overtake my living space.
I think I’ve lost a couple of friends to this double life, although you could argue that anybody who thinks that the story I tell of my semi-professional life on Twitter is the unedited truth probably wasn’t that good for me anyway. There was the one I used to see a lot of myself in, who I think got fed up of me saying I’d call when it looked as though I was busy calling everybody else. It’s been years since she broke up with me in that most 21st century of ways, but I still think about her a lot.
I’m doing – if I do say so myself – a heroic job of keeping up appearances at the moment, so much so that I seem to be shooting myself in the proverbials in certain aspects of my life. And while I don’t believe that anybody with a mental health problem owes it to anybody but themselves to be honest when they don’t want to be, I always promised you lot I’d check in from time to time. So: hi.