I guess this is a series of posts. This is #3 about the same thing and moving from the same ideas, so if it doesn't make sense you may want to back up a little.
I pulled out the photo album of my last year at the camp. Strangely I learned that there isn't a thing in that book that shows what was going to happen within months of leaving. My journal that year was part of my internship so it wasn't personal. The only difference from other years is that I took many fewer pictures. Perhaps my camera broke. This was nearly 20 years ago so it was a film camera and a highlight of the summer was always getting pictures back from a mail-in developer and passing out duplicates to the staff mailboxes. Maybe I thought I had taken all the pictures I needed. Perhaps I was too busy. My last session has only one picture. I didn't take pictures of the scenery or my trip to Philadelphia that year. I did take a few at Niagara Falls. The next spring I went back for a family camp one weekend. Then I did take many pictures of the scenery and even of my special places, like a place in the woods that I liked to sit and write or read my Bible or numerous other things. I did not even take picture of my poor nose. During an activity called "The Ugliest Counselor Contest" the kids dressed us up and we had to do a gross talent. Because I was pretty fearless and totally grossed the kids out by eating "worms" (gummi worms but so many of them fell for it that I used to wonder how crazy about nature they really though the nature counselor was) I often won. One session that I took few pictures of also I let them go pretty crazy. My hair at the time was nearly to my butt and the ringlet curls that are normal for me were tangled and knotted by humidity and dryness from a summer of heavily chlorinated swimming. Not realizing this I showed them how to tease my hair out and spray it and we laced spider rings through it. I closed my eyes and let them apply make-up, not realizing until it was on my face that they had orange nail polish. There was only a streak on my nose and I let it stay there, assuming it would come off easily. After narrowly missing a win which all the other staff said should have been mine I discovered a few problems. After 3 showers and a full bottle of conditioner my hair was still terribly tangled. And the nail polish wouldn't come off my nose. I finally rubbed at it until it came off, peeling all the skin off my nose in the process. For 2 months I had first a scab and then a red streak on my nose to tell that story of stupidity. I don't even remember when I finally didn't have to explain that story but I do remember how hard the others laughed, as did I. It was one of the goofiest things I've ever done; I truly just did not think. Another thing missing is the practical jokes. A couple of us pulled numerous pranks throughout the summer. Once we stole every right shoe from a male staffer except for leaving him one left shoe and from that pair we took the right one. We hung all those shoes from rafters in the bowling alley and he walked past them about 6 times before noticing. We hid the camp director's golf cart in the woods. He somehow figured it out (probably followed us while we did it) and somewhere I have an award on napkins for that one. We used yarn and "spider-webbed" the art room so that getting in required scissors and a lot of patience. There were more. I have no pictures of any of them.
I do remember when the picture taking stopped. One of my co-workers was named Brenda. I don't usually use real names but this time I did because if she ever finds this I want her to know that she hurt me as much as anyone ever did in my life and she hurt me because I was becoming sick. She was in year 2 when I was in year 3. The year before we'd been really good friends and had shared a cabin once or twice. We had a lot of fun together and she even came to my home with me and a few other friends for a festival that happens every year. The 3rd year started the same and truly I didn't really notice problems with her although about mid-summer I thought she was pulling back a little. She was leaving early to finish things for her upcoming wedding and I assumed the long-agreed plan that I'd be invited and come out to go with another friend who lived on the way was intact. Instead she left and I found all these mean things she'd set up. I still thought she was my friend, right up until her wedding day came and I wasn't invited. I know I worried when she didn't answer emails, but when I realized she had lied to me and been deceitful in pretending to be friends when she hated me, that hurt, more than she probably intended. There was another situation with a guy and me and another person on staff and she may have perceived that differently than it occurred. If you assumed I knew more than I did I really looked kind of evil. But nobody else assumed such a thing, even the other girl to my knowledge. But the pictures stop about the time I think I started worrying about the situation a little. I think things deteriorated with the boy about then too but I'm not sure. I don't think that I knew that it was a false, bad situation until a phone call from a friend once I was back at college told me that the other girl was pregnant. Somewhere in there would also be the humiliating experience of punching him when he tried to kiss me, something I was quite glad about later. As Dr. Mind the first pointed out at the time my instincts were good. Granted, PTSD drove those instincts but they were accurate. I just wish that I'd listened to some of the others warn me from the very beginning that he was a player. They were right. I'd put his name here but I don't remember it. Steve something. I'm sure he hasn't thought of me since I mailed back his shoe that we'd played hide and seek with all summer and that I accidentally left with.
The point is that I can't believe that I look in those pictures and see myself and I don't see what was happening to me. That summer was very manic but it doesn't show in my pictures. Within a few months I'd become so depressed that I gave in and took antidepressants after refusing them for some time. And a few months after that was the first time my depression was severe enough to be dangerous. It would take another 5 years from that summer before I was diagnosed and I had 3 more years that were relatively normal before the summer of 2000 when I knew something was wrong. But that summer was when it all became different in my world. It's so strange that I had no idea what was happening nor did I notice that my own actions were different (like the pictures. Unless my camera did break and I sort of think it did).
Still, strange that this is the first time in all these years I've thought much about this.