My lost month: Stress + anxiety + Instagram.

I know, I know. Actually, I don’t know. I don’t know how people manage to keep themselves together and get things done when they’re overwhelmed. It’s been more than a month (!!) since my last post, which is totally absurd. I don’t know what happened to the month of May. It just…disappeared. And now it’s the middle of June? 2014????? I can’t keep up.

The past month has been tough. A lot of special people in my life—friends and family—have been going through bad stuff, and I’ve been trying to cope with some ongoing health problems and trying to figure out how make things better. I wish I felt like writing when that kind of thing is going on, but it always seems totally impossible—not so much because of time, but because slowing down enough to collect my thoughts feels way too overwhelming. Everything feels too overwhelming.

One thing I noticed this past month is that I’ve really come to rely on Instagram as a visual diary and not just a collection of images. So many of the photos I take are connected to moments in ways that don’t make it into the captions—but that shot of cracked floor tile is enough for me to remember where I was and why I was doing whatever I was doing when I took the picture. I’m so glad to have that. Pre-iPhone, I never felt inclined to record memories that way. For someone who sometimes has a hard time finding the happy medium between wanting to document everything and never wanting to commit anything to paper/screen again, it’s exactly the right solution.

Anyway. I’m putting this here mostly for me, because I know when I look back on May–June 2014 sometime in the future I’m not going to want to face a void. I’ll be back with a real post tomorrow next week. Until then, thanks for indulging me.

doorsixteen_lostmonth_instagram1

1. Morrissey’s US tour started. 2. Bruno!! 3. I bought a bunch of ’70s-looking plants for the apartment (still haven’t potted them, though). 4., 5., 6. I spent a lot of time in Red Hook. 7. I finished fixing a window! Still gotta blog about that. 8. Summer kinda arrived and I kinda put on summery shoes. 9. I checked out the Navy Yard/Wallabout neighborhood in Clinton Hill, and went to Brooklyn Roasting Company while I was there. 10. I first moved to Brooklyn 17 years ago, and I’m still totally in love. 11., 15. My friends Lisa and Clay came to visit, and we had a great time. 12. We went to Opus 40, one of my most favorite places in the world. 13., 14. We went to dia:Beacon, too—another of my most favorite places!

doorsixteen_lostmonth_instagram2

1. I really like Red Hook. I wish I’d appreciated it more when I lived there. 2. Evan and I got dressed up for Tina’s 1992-themed prom. This is pretty much exactly what I looked like at my actual prom in 1992. It was fun to wear that much eyeliner and to bust out the rat-tail comb again. 3. My subway went out of service, so I walked home across the Brooklyn Bridge at midnight. 4. I went to Makeshift Society’s Brooklyn launch party, but I was so riddled with anxiety from being surrounded by strangers that I left and ate pizza alone instead. 5. The honed marble hex tiles at One Mile House are very beautiful. 6. We went to see Sean Lennon and his band, Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger. It was a great show! Yoko was there, too. We didn’t hang out. 7. Bruno!! 8. We went up to Kingston to visit Daniel and Max. Their house is so beautiful…even the parts they haven’t fixed up yet. 9. I’m always the first one up. Always. 10. Fritz!! 11. We went to see Peter Murphy again! Wonderful as always. If you can go, go. 12. Alas, we did not and will not go to see Morrissey this time around. I took that photo the morning the inevitable sadly happened, hoping beyond hope that I would be proven wrong. Get well, Moz. See you again when you’re ready.

Now that I’ve collected these pictures and gone through and captioned them all, I’m starting to question whether I was right when I said that Instagram serves as a visual diary. Maybe it doesn’t…at least not accurately. Where is my angst? Where are the sleepless nights and the tears and the worry? Where is the uncertainty and anger? It all gets washed away in favor of aesthetics, I guess. Maybe that’s a good thing. When I look at this list of events in my life from the past month, I feel like it’s all going to be OK.

It’s good to be back. xo

51 comments
  1. SimoneJun 12, 20143:34 am

    Hi Anna; Glad that I am not alone in losing a month now and then. And glad you did not for example fall off a ladder repairing your windows or something like that.
    Whenever I run into fear I do what Eckhart Tolle says (sorry to go Oprah-Yvon you) is breathe through it and look at the fear (it will pass). For me that makes it happen less frequent and less intense. Good luck getting back-up on your feet. It does look like you had a good time while going through that.
    I have a quote in my office: “Beauty is the promise of happiness” -Stendal-
    Have a wonderful day!

    [Reply]

  2. ColleenJun 12, 20147:01 am

    I feel ya, I haven’t posted in a long time either. With summer starting it’s just SO BUSY. Where does the time go?

    [Reply]

  3. Alex - Hydrangea GirlJun 12, 20147:18 am

    I don’t know if this is an inappropriate thing to say, but thank you for writing about this, Anna. I suffer from a lot of anxiety, and it’s been getting increasingly worse over the past couple of months. You were the first blogger I followed that openly talked about anxiety as well as being an introvert. I’ve met a lot of bloggers here in Dublin recently and they’re all so bloody outgoing with rainbows shooting out of their faces, have no problem approaching people to do projects and are experts at self promotion. It made me feel inadequate for so long. Until I realized that’s not who I am and I’m becoming comfortable not forcing it.

    I too had a ‘Makeshift Society’ moment last week when I was much more comfortable talking to the cat in the next room than the people, so I later snuck out (sans cat). Wow, I’m feeling surprisingly emo writing this. Anyways, just wanted to say thank you for making me feel like I might not suck as much as I think I do.

    xx A

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Oh Alex, I know. I know. Feeling inadequate is a constant when anxiety is in play, because you know what’s going on and you know you should be able to get a grip and just DO the things you need to DO…but you can’t. You want to so badly, but you simply can’t. And it’s impossible to explain this to people who haven’t experienced it themselves.

    Have you seen this comic by Gemma Correll?
    http://gemma-correll.blogspot.com/2011/11/party-season.html

    Alex - Hydrangea Girl /

    Ahhhhhh that comic is a spectrum of awesome! I think I may have seen some of Gemma’s stuff before. She is neat. Thanks Anna xx

  4. KristaJun 12, 20148:06 am

    You’ve been sorely missed. Glad to see you back and hope this month is a lot less tough than the last.

    [Reply]

  5. AnetteJun 12, 20148:57 am

    Maybe a sidenote to this post, but I really like your Instagram photos. I think you have a great eye for capturing details and your surroundings that I admire. If you consider selling some of your IG photos on Society6, I will be first in line to buy them.

    Also, one of the reasons I really like your blog is posts like this (not that I like that you’ve had a crappy time, but that you share more than just beautiful interior pictures).

    Hope you’re feeling better soon.

    Anette

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    Thanks, Anette, that’s nice to hear—and I know what you meant. ;)

    I think Instagram photos are probably best left online, since the quality isn’t really good enough for print. Or at least that’s the case with mine, since I take them with my iPhone and don’t save a high resolution version!

  6. Laura CJun 12, 20149:56 am

    Hope things look up, soon – I’ve missed your posts!

    Glad you snuck in some pictures of Dia…I got yelled at for taking photos there.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    I was very discreet. ;)

  7. DusaJun 12, 201410:16 am

    Hugs back to you Anna! Thanks for letting us know you are OK for now. And I think it’s perfectly OK to have a visual of the everydayness and good things of your life during stressful periods. I tend to dwell on the heartaches and the anxiety, so much so that I forget the other moments of my life like friends’ visits, going to favorite places, and of course the attention of my furry friends.

    So keep those pics coming!

    [Reply]

  8. sarahJun 12, 201410:26 am

    Glad you’re back. :)
    I have checked every day
    Your clever friend Daniel Kanter has been keeping us entertained in the interim.

    [Reply]

  9. the cape on the cornerJun 12, 201410:29 am

    i’m sorry for all the difficulties you said are going on with your loved ones. and is it sad that this is what is prompting me to post-the morrissey cancellations. this is two years in a row he has cancelled his philadelphia area concerts (and other east coast venues that affect you), i think we are owed that he begin here, or is here early on, for the next tour so that this doesn’t become a trifecta of disappointment! b/c it’s moz, i don’t think i’ll ever give up, but my lord, is it aggravating.

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    I get it, believe me—amid everything else, the disappointment over the canceled dates is really tough. I do not and have never felt that I’m owed anything, though (and honestly, this coast has seen far fewer cancellations over the years than the rest of the country—and world). He has already given us everything. If he’s not well enough to perform, he’s not well enough to perform. That’s the end of it. The money loss for him must be staggering, not to mention insurance situations that I can’t even begin to speculate about. As sad as this is for his fans, I’m sure it’s a million times more horrible for him. I want him to get better, and if that means I never see him on stage again, so be it. I don’t feel aggravated, I’m just very sad and very worried.

    I can’t imagine there will ever be another tour, but the next time there’s a one-off or a festival somewhere in the world, I’ll be there.

  10. KarenJun 12, 201410:55 am

    I’m sorry you’re struggling through some difficulties, but maybe it’s nice to have the IG photos to maybe remember some of the highlights & help ease the tension?

    I hope the rest of the summer gets easier for you. I suffer from alot of anxiety, too, which has been fairly extreme lately. Is mercury in retrograde or something?

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    It IS nice. I know Instagram gets some media flack for being yet another means for people to pretend they have perfect lives, but anything we do to record our day to day is going to wind up being our own interpretation of what’s important to remember.

    Jennifer /

    Yes, it is (Mercury in retrograde, that is)! Until July 7th.

  11. PhillyLassJun 12, 201411:28 am

    Sending you good vibes and the hope that this rough patch will soon be behind you!

    [Reply]

  12. ClareJun 12, 20141:02 pm

    Welcome back Anna! I was in the shower this morning and thinking, man I love my claw foot tub and shower and thank the Lord that Anna at door sixteen suggested Vintage Tub and Bath (and that they actually ship to Canada) or I would not be enjoying this restorative, sudsy and aesthetically pleasing moment. Not sure I ever said thanks at the time :)

    [Reply]

    Anna @ D16 /

    You’re welcome, Clare. :)

  13. Lizzie ModernJun 12, 20142:24 pm

    You saying that it was the mid of June made me really nervous… I started saying in my head, “no no, I have THREE more days technically…” Ha. But really, stuff happens, and time goes by fast. Hope things get better for you! You take some of the best iPhone photos I’ve ever seen, it doesn’t even seem like you’re using a phone.

    [Reply]

  14. VeronicaJun 12, 20142:39 pm

    Glad your back! Was just thinking yesterday when I saw a before/after post somewhere…I wonder if D16 has any cool home inspiration or project updates? Hope everything is well. I have noticed my anxiety has been getting worse lately. Besides things going on, I wonder if it’s seasonal? Blergh…

    [Reply]

  15. JaneJun 12, 20142:47 pm

    So glad that you posted today! You have been missed by many. Sending you good vibes, hoping things improve and that you can enjoy a great summer (after that horrendous winter.)

    [Reply]

  16. Chelsea TJun 12, 20144:11 pm

    You posted an instagram a few days ago (for what was probably one second) reiterating the same general theme of this post, and so I’ve been checking every day, just to be sure everything is okay. I love following you, and a couple other of my favorite bloggers, on Instagram for that very reason, tho. While I realize social media is a very carefully curated slice of life, I feel like blogs are even more so – so I appreciate those who let us in just a little bit more. I’m a designer too, and so it’s nice to have someone to relate to beyond the DIY addiction.

    Hoping the rest of the summer will be gentle to you and yours.

    <3 Chelsea (@seestrong on insta)

    [Reply]

  17. NoorJun 12, 20144:32 pm

    I am sorry that you’re feeling bad and I really hope you feel better soon and get back into writing. It is okay to step back and just allow your stress to go away. Have a great Summer!

    [Reply]

  18. TeresaJun 12, 20144:47 pm

    I really, really, really missed you and your posts. I do love your photos. Your feet always look the same in your “feet” pictures which is comforting somehow. I feel by your absence the way I feel about the absence of “Mad Men” during the 45 weeks of the year when it’s not on. (No explanation needed.) You should be Woody Allen movie. Welcome back. [This was a very snap-shotty list of comments.]

    [Reply]

  19. MMJun 12, 20145:55 pm

    I like the photo retrospective – sweet cracked tile, pretty toes, a snowball dog, prom – all sprinkled with a little sadness here and there. Photos can capture moments of grief and the not-so-good, but I am often struck when I look back on my own. Maybe aesthetic presentation is just a trick — the photos almost always look better than the reality I thought I was capturing. Take a blogging break whenever you need to and come back when it feels right. The time-in-a-vortex month is over and there are still many days in June. Thinking of you and a good start to Official Summer, coming right up.

    [Reply]

  20. LJun 12, 20146:12 pm

    Very glad you are back!
    Someday Instagram will be explored/categorized/debated over the same way 17th century diaries are. It reflects the aesthetics and sensibilities of its time. You are the S. Pepys of Instagram; thanks for sharing.

    [Reply]

  21. LouiseJun 12, 20146:13 pm

    And it’s good to have you back ~

    [Reply]

  22. lauJun 12, 20147:43 pm

    <3

    [Reply]

  23. Caroline BedardJun 12, 20149:29 pm

    Yay you are back! I’ve missed you so.
    I was worried that you were not doing well, and I’m glad things are better.
    I love your eye – whatever you are doing – graphic design, fashion, interiors, instagram. Thank you.

    Like so many people, I too have an anxiety/depression thing going on. Wish I’d known that’s what it was during my childhood and adolescence and young adulthood, but I didn’t. Even with meds, things are not always ok. At least I’m not bipolar like my father and brother, or schizophrenic like my mother and sister. Yup, I’m the “lucky” one.

    [Reply]

  24. ChrisJun 12, 201410:07 pm

    Anxiety. Ugh. Totally relate…

    This post inspired me because I’ve had total inertia for months now, creatively, and your IG shots and captions reminded me of how much more solid I feel emotionally when I journal. It’s time to return to that.

    Here’s sending mojo to you and your people :)

    [Reply]

  25. JulieJun 13, 20142:20 am

    Thanks for keeping it real, Anna. I’m sorry you’re going through challenging times. Sometimes all you can do is grit your teeth, put one foot in front of the other (or not), and hang on for better days. I’m a big fan of yours, and I’m just sorry life sucks for you right now. Take care.

    [Reply]

  26. VanessaJun 13, 20142:22 am

    Oh, man, I’m jealous that you saw GOASTT. I haven’t seen Sean Lennon since his Friendly Fire tour. He’s awesome, and I love how chill he is.

    [Reply]

  27. juliaJun 13, 20149:37 am

    I am so glad you are feeling better. Know that you are cherished by people you don’t even know.

    [Reply]

  28. jaclynJun 13, 201410:17 am

    1. Anxiety. It’s such a bitch.
    2. Gemma Correll speaks to my SOUL.
    3. I know there’s a certain untruth to only posting the “pretty” stuff on social media but I find myself flipping through my own feed sometimes and it makes me feel better to know that I managed to post something good or beautiful at a certain moment even though seconds prior I was feeling like my whole world was going to come crashing down. It also helps to compartmentalize the shitty stuff into one corner of your brain so you can shut that out for a bit when it’s more beneficial to focus on the good for a while.
    And sometimes I think it’s OK to “fake it ’til you make it” in terms of a getting a grip and coming back into ourselves and for me Instagram is definitely a tool that helps me realize that not every. single. second. of my entire life is total shit. But oh shit, do I know those moments where you just feel stuck in space/time feeling like you want to run away but not knowing where you’d run to….

    Hang in there and just wait for the upswing. There’s ALWAYS an upswing.

    [Reply]

  29. susan // fleurishingJun 13, 201410:45 am

    Instagram is a great visual diary…although I agree, aesthetics usually win over angst + depth there (for us all). Those feelings are better expressed in blog form, in my opinion. I’m sorry you’ve been so stressed + dealing with health issues…sending good vibes your way.

    [Reply]

  30. SarahJun 13, 20143:47 pm

    Anna, hang in there! It’s great to see everyone here supporting you and relating so deeply. I’m another one of your readers that struggles with anxiety. (I was actually relieved that I was out of town so I didn’t have to feel guilty about skipping the Makeshift party with a lousy excuse as I so often do for those sorts of events.) Those periods tend to ebb, don’t they? Sometimes it’s just a lot of hiding on the couch. I’ve learned to embrace that, know when enough is enough to balance out the stressful experiences, the challenging situations.

    When it comes to your photos, it’s so hard to tell just from snapshots what’s going on with somebody’s mind. I guess what I mean to say is that it’s refreshing when things are so frazzled and scary for me to see that someone who has it together goes through those feelings, too. We’re all struggling in our own way. Thanks for sharing and be well!

    [Reply]

  31. JenniferJun 13, 20146:37 pm

    Not to worry, Anna. It’s hard keeping up your life, let alone a really detailed and time-consuming blog. Just hang in there, take care of your loved ones and yourself. We’ll be here when you’re ready!

    [Reply]

  32. CGJun 14, 20142:50 pm

    I agree that instagram isn’t “accurate” in that it doesn’t capture everything, but I like that. I INTENTIONALLY use it to document just the happiest bits of my life. When things are boring, or sad, or stressful, I use instagram to remind myself that it’s not always like that. I look back at old pictures to remind me good stuff DOES happen. And I take a new picture of something little (a really good cup of coffee? a beautiful sky?), and that helps me to notice the beautiful and extraordinary in the everyday, the little adventures.

    Your feed is one that inspires me, so I’m wishing you the best!

    [Reply]

  33. ombiaJun 14, 20143:59 pm

    Thank your for this post. I feel exactly the same last months. Plus have to search for a new job, again, since the stuff I am doing goes alonge with projects contracts only. I follow you on Instagram too :-)
    Last weeks I was just horrified where the time after christmas went?!?

    [Reply]

  34. MarlenaJun 15, 20141:42 pm

    Sorry it has been a rough month. It can be bad in the moment, and when I have those times, I then beat myself up *more* afterwards. Hopefully life is long and there are more months of real calm to balance the yuck. Thank you for being one of the few bloggers that keeps it real.

    [Reply]

  35. EBJun 15, 20142:58 pm

    I have nothing new or ground-breaking to add, just that I hope you are ok and thanks for writing a blog that isn’t about cupcakes and “vintage” floral prints. Door Sixteen is a (consistently reliable) breath of fresh air for me. You have such good taste and your desire to sympathetically improve and look after your Victorian property (while not being afraid to get your hands dirty) is something that I really respect and follow avidly. Anxiety sucks, feel better soon (that is a direct order, by the way). Sending you lots of good vibes from the UK!

    PS I am just coming to the end of Morrissey’s autobiography. I am really enjoying it. It is not really like anything I have read before, I love the way he tells his story. If you have already shared your thoughts on it, I hope I haven’t missed that.

    [Reply]

  36. michelleJun 15, 20148:10 pm

    I too have felt instagram is my memory keeper.

    I hope you are in a better place. I too am dealing with some health stuff and all I want to do is stay in and watch Wes Anderson films.

    Take care.

    [Reply]

  37. MaritaJun 16, 201411:15 am

    Hey Anna! Just wanted to comment to say that I’m really, really glad that you’re back. Since I follow you on instagram I knew you were alive, but I figured that something was going on, and that things were rough. We all have those times in our lives, and you need to take as much space and time to process as you need. Of course, you know this. I just wanted to say that I missed your posts, and I will eagerly look forward to reading whatever you write about when you’re feeling like you want to be back at it!

    [Reply]

  38. RaquelJun 17, 20146:19 pm

    Hi Anna,

    thanks for sharing your thoughts with us with such honesty. I love your posts. And I couldn ‘t agree more with Eb, just two comment’s above, that we are so glad that your blog isn’t about cupcakes and vintage floral prints. So true! haha. Too many of those allready.

    I had to laugh when I saw the Morrissey poster with Cliff Richard!! My mum is a die hard fan of Cliff. When I was little I would go through my mum’s collection of Cliff’s records again and again sitting on the floor next to the record player. I remember I used to ask her “Mummy, which singer is more important; Elvis or Cliff?” (she had a lot of Elvis too). She would always answer “Cliff of course!!”. hahaha. i never thought I would see my favorite artist and my mum’s favorite artist on the same poster!

    Take care.
    xxxxx

    [Reply]

  39. mariaJun 17, 20146:53 pm

    Hi Anna- I’ve been following your blog for a few years & I, sort of, figured out that when you are silent for a certain amount of time, it usually means there’s something going on in your life. So I was already sending you good vibes. :) Glad you are feeling better and I hope it continues.
    <3 <3

    [Reply]

  40. Charish~JJun 21, 20143:52 am

    You don’t have to sound uncertain.. this is completely fine! See there is this simply logic, look at this month MAY, it has such an uncertain name and it is crazy :D
    I am sure you can manage a couple of things together but may be it was about time and sometime about hard time. I loved those Instagram clicks, they made me smile. Keep spreading happiness!

    [Reply]

  41. JayJun 22, 201411:25 am

    This year has really gone by terribly fast! I can’t believe it is almost July now!

    [Reply]

  42. LisaJun 26, 201410:19 am

    Glad, glad, glad to have you back.

    [Reply]

  43. EmtommoJun 29, 20149:03 am

    It’s good to have you back!!!!
    I Made my first trip to NYC over memorial day weekend for four days and checked everyday to see if you had posted something new.
    I love your city, even though my favorite t-shirt is “Go (heart) your own city”. (Mine is Minneapolis, and I do (heart) it!)
    My daughter’s Great Great Great Great Grandfather was J.B. Cornell who started the Cornell Iron works with his brother. They did a lot of the ornamental iron work around your city in the mid-1800’s including the Statue of Liberty, The Flat Iron Building, Brooklyn Bridge, Chelsea Hotel, and the last remaining (I think) iron bridge located in the southwest corner of Central Park. (The one from the snowball fight in “Elf”)
    We went to Washington Square on the Subway and got off at the 4th St. and Washington Square Station, which I noticed after I got home is the exact station that Louie C.K. runs up out of at the beginning of each episode.
    I stumbled onto your blog while researching “how to repair cracked tile” last January, and will tell you that it is the only Blog that I have ever followed to date. I love your photo’s and everything you’ve done with your house. I especially love the plywood solution for the kitchen floor! That kicked ass!!
    And finally, “Moonstruck” has always been one of my favorite movies : )
    I’m a Union Painter here in Minneapolis.
    Thanks for doing what you do!!!

    [Reply]

Your comment

Comment

Door Sixteen is a hate-free, drama-free, spam-free zone.
Wanna be startin' somethin'? Beat it.

Want a little picture to show up next to your comments? Go get a Gravatar!