Dimensions of depression: ‘Four Walls’

3 Mins read

In the past, there was never a home, a town, it was just an open road filled with new possibilities.

My parents divorced when I was nine, and thinking back to the time, I would never have guessed how my journey would have been. I had wished for it, on that balmy Christmas morning.

Subjected to it, my mother packed the clothes of my brother and I into a suitcase and vanished for three years, away from the sight of my father.

Hearing my mother cry herself to sleep every night would haunt my dreams, and I would play the radio to my brother, loud and clear, for him to not live in a world of utter misery. For him to be saved.

© Isabelle Andarakis

To this day, whenever my mother rings me, I hear her drowning in her own words, but she has never been the one to give up. But the more I listen, the more in tune I am to believing that since my youth, I am becoming her.

Depression is an illness that is subdued, and only those who have experienced it can relate. Others push it aside and believe it to be only a fragment of a fragile mind.

My father laughs it off, saying because I am a woman, we are oversensitive, and it’s only what I make of it. The classic “is the glass half full or half empty?”.

I could be like the walls of your doctors clinic, listing out the signs and symptoms, but only the personal accounts could possibly make you understand reader.

If I am boring you, turn back and diminish this article from your sights.

© Isabelle Andarakis

I remember being diagnosed at sixteen with bipolar disorder, after an attempted suicide. I rushed out of the hospital in tears and fighting against what they were all saying.

I felt like I was in one of those films, the beautiful and broken; the troubled heroine living fast and dying young, taking whatever comes and making it bigger and better, taking my sights off the manifest of the inner self.

Life wasn’t easy though.

Following my mother, after she abandoned me in Sydney after just turned sixteen, four months went by without a word or money coming in to help me.

I had to drop out of high school and hope to find a home to stay in.

She had left me on the other side of the world, in care of a foster family, that somehow cared for me despite their circumstances – a father as an ex-convict and an alcoholic mother, taking care of twelve runaways on their farmland. I had to be brawny to carry on during those times.

© Isabelle Andarakis

© Isabelle AndarakisI finally met my mother in Belgium, after she fled her home with her newly husband who was accused of fraud, leaving my eleven year old brother behind.

Suitcases, yet again. A recurring motif.

We lived amongst halfway houses, anywhere we could until we could get back on our feet.

My stepfather decided to clean out my mother’s savings which could have made ends meet. But they were always Bonnie and Clyde.

You can understand why I left home at seventeen.

Living with a failed musician of a mother, who had suffered depression since I was born, and a sociopath of a stepfather, but no matter what, I always hold them close to me.

I thought that if I left home, so would my troubles, but that is never the case, they only creep up; like ghosts, they leave echoes.

I’ve been lucky in a sense that I never lived in a country for more than two years at a time; people would never be able to scratch the surface. Masks will always veil.

© Isabelle Andarakis

© Isabelle AndarakisBut when at night, you lay in the bathtub, whilst the world is asleep, beneath the waters edge is where I’ll only find my peace.

No breathing, just looking up into the tungsten light, drowning your own thoughts. Muffled emotions, bare flesh just desperate to feel a thing.

Eyelids blackened by the months of depression that piles up, abashed by the imaginative waves. Whitewash that’s left upon the shoreline of your life, leaving only hearsay fragments of yesterday.

This made me realise that things are never usually clear cut, black or white. People are never good or bad, they all just change, or rather undergo a transformation.

What counts is seeing and understanding what they become. Like fingerprints, no destiny is ever the same.

We all lose suitcases, loves, friends. We all lose countries, cities, lost letters, embraces. But loss does not exist, there is only movement.

Depression should not just subject itself to shutting itself into the darkest abyss, but shine into a different light of understanding. It could be anyone, confiding within the dimension.


Photography by Isabelle Andarakis

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