On November 11, I started a #100DaysofDepression selfie project on Instagram. I photograph myself once a day while battling Seasonal Affective Disorder. This isn’t an original idea. I got the “inspiration” from Maria Yagoda, who called her project 100 Depressed Days. I just think #100DaysofDepression has a better rhythm. Yagoda was tired of hiding her depression “amid a social media climate that demands and expects we present our best selves.” I’m pretty matter-of-fact about being a person with depression and chronic health conditions, but I’m not very transparent about how and when I suffer. I don’t want to burden others. And why would they want to want to know, when they have their own problems and emotions?
Like this, I can leave my sadness here, and you can come and go as you please. For a moment, I worried that people would think I wanted to wallow in my depression, something I was accused of in my teenage years. If you think this, it’s your problem, not mine. I am not determined to be depressed for 100 days. I won’t be depressed for 100 days. There will be better and worse days. Some days I’ll be happy. No one wants or tries to be depressed. Disabuse yourself of the idea; it’s false. It’s biochemistry. This project is sense of purpose, a countdown to better days. In 100 days we will be past the winter solstice. The days will be getting longer. We will not yet be to the spring equinox, but Portland allows greenery and crocuses in February.
I lived in Japan when I was 23 and was lonely. I learned how to use Photoshop and did a 365 Days project, in which I took a photo of myself and posted it on Flickr once a day for an entire year. Back then, we didn’t use the word selfie as often, but it existed, and phone camera photos were pretty lousy. I used a half-broken Nikon E4300 point-and-shoot camera.
For my #100DaysofDepression project on Instagram, I don’t spot edit my zits and splotches, but I do use filters. I’m seven years older than that last time I did a long-term selfie project. My rosacea is better controlled. I no longer have tiny bumps on my skin to blur, but my skin has gotten redder and possibly thicker. I’ve gained weight and no longer have the perfect acorn-shaped face. The creases around my eyes, mouth, and between my brows show up more often and deeper. But I think I look beautiful, at least with a filter that takes away the angry rosacea red.
I already forgot to take a photo on one day, Day 17. Today is Day 19. I haven’t taken it yet.