Words of Buddhism 

courtesy of Tibet House USA

8.15.2016

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What In The Hell Is Going On In My Cover Photo?

A little explanation of this:

cropped-dsc0131.jpg

This photo was taken in Rome, Italy in 2011 in the Quirinale section of the city. I was studying there and was taking a digital photography class along with Italian language, sketching, and Italian literature, which was for my major, which was literature.

The digital photography was a 100-level class and by that semester, my first in my senior year, I was at 300-level photography. Since the 100-level class was the only digital photo class being offered there in Rome, I said what the hell and signed up for it.

The benefit of taking a lower level class was that my photo professor was really laid back and let me pretty much do my own thing when it came to assignments although it was boring when I had to sit through lessons about photography and cameras when I already knew the information being taught. But as they say in Italy, allora.

This photo was taken during the self-portrait assignment (yes, I said self-portrait and not selfie; the term selfie wasn’t in the mainstream colloquialism at that time). I’ve always struggled with taking photos of people and even more so taking them of myself. I was always looking for creative ways to get around taking photos of myself and one day, during class, as we were walking around Quirinale, I saw the rear-view mirrors of a Vespa, took a look at it, angled my face and then my camera a certain way, and snapped the photograph you see before you.

And there you go.


 

Nikon D90; digital; November 2011


 

-Matthew A. Sandusky

8.12.2016

My July 28, 2016 Facebook Post

“Hello FB friends. I wanted to send you all a message for some time now explaining my current situation but I currently do not have access to FB. There is a reason for this.

On Saturday 23 July [2016], the battle in my brain between reason, sensibility, and my own sense of humanity against the depression, anxiety, and OCD finally came to a point that I felt like I broke. I had two options: One, jump off the George Washington Bridge; Two, check myself into the hospital. Not knowing which I was going [to] choose, I went to say goodbye to my cat and as I did, I knew I wanted to hear my sister’s voice one last time. It was during that conversation with her that she made me promise her that I would go to the hospital and I wouldn’t harm myself. I love and cherish my sister very much and that promise was unbreakable no matter what. I hopped on the subway and checked myself in to the hospital and since Saturday, I have been hospitalized.

01I don’t know why I want to make this information public to the 50 or 60 people who follow me on FB. There are only two plausible reasons for sharing this that come close to any sense of reason. One would be that I love you all and I feel it’s just the decent thing to do. The other possible reason is simply because I hate the stigma that surrounds mental health and [that it] very much dictates the behaviors of those with mental health issues. Essentially, telling you all that I am hospitalized for my mental health is a way to normalize mental health issues. No one would question or think strangely of a person being hospitalized with a broken bone or having had a heart attack, so why do we think otherwise with mental health?

There are many places I would like to be right now but I cannot think of any other place I should be.

This is looking like it will be a long process of healing thus a long period of hospitalization. I’m in an environment where I literally have a team of people working for me and invested for me to live a life free of the depression and anxiety I’ve lived with for nearly 23 years; a life I cannot, as of right now, possibly imagine existing.

To conclude, I am doing okay. I am safe. Please do not respond to this post on FB since I cannot access FB from the hospital. If you’d like to stay in touch, please feel free to email me at m———@gmail.com and, to be honest, it would be nice to hear from you all. I will state that I may not respond to all emails or, if I do respond, they may not be timely responses but I will say I will read them all, I promise.

Take care of yourselves, love the world you live in, love the people who are in your life, and if you have good mental health, feel blessed that you do.

Until we meet again.
-M”

Note:

The proxys on the computers in the hospital blocked social media sites. In order to circumnavigate that issue, I wrote the Facebook post as an email that I sent to my girlfriend at the time and asked her to log into my Facebook account and post it on my behalf.

I had talked to my mother on the phone while I was in the hospital and she told me that doctors had seen signs of depression in me as young as the age of four. Basically, I have been suffering from depression for 32 years of my life. I am 36 as of 2016. I have been diagnosed with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) as well as Social Anxiety Disorder by different doctors and therapists of mine over the years, thus my interchanging use of both disorders in the Facebook post.

All changes made to the Facebook post have been inserted into brackets in this website’s post, which I did to make the content clearer.


-Matthew A. Sandusky

8.12.2016