Because I can and they’re freakin’ awesome!
You want the long story?
Well… long-er story?
At a time when I could barely get out of the house to do my groceries - photography was my saviour. I didn’t even think I was creative. In fact, I had an art teacher who told me I wasn’t creative.
So when I tell you that photography saved me - it was a surprise to me more than anyone.
But let me back up, just a tad…
You see, somewhere in my life I’d picked up these messages, from where, I don’t know…
You’re not successful unless everyone can see how stressed you are
You’re not successful unless you are wholeheartedly throwing yourself into a project and leaving the rest of your life to sort itself out
You don’t need hobbies, they just stop you from being successful
And the most dangerous of all....
If you’re going to do something right, do it perfectly (I know that’s not how the saying actually goes but somehow this is how I interpreted it)
Combine this with a lack of confidence and people pleasing personality and you get someone who says ‘Yes’ to darn near everything, tries to make it all perfect before even getting started and then generally never does anything but stress.
It wasn’t healthy and it led to a particularly spectacular downfall… a mid-life crisis decades before one would expect (I always was an overachiever)
What happens, when your worst fear comes true and you kind of fail spectacularly at everything all at once?
You have to learn how to pick yourself up again and not do it all again.
A difficult task in the midst of depression.
For anyone that’s never suffered from it. I often describe my experience as a darkness. It seems like a cliched euphemism, but it feels like an accurate way to describe it for outsiders.
There was a cloud hovering over me. Everything I looked at was touched by this cloud. There was nothing good or positive in my world.
Having a shower was an achievement similar to completing a multi-million dollar project. Except the happiness from that success only lasts a fraction of a second before the darkness descends again.
Trying to do anything was like moving through a muddy pond where the mud is up to your neck.
It’s like being wrapped in a feeling of ‘Why even bother?’
No amount of ‘just force yourself’ or ‘pushing through it’ was going to work because that was what I’d been doing for far too long.
In the middle of dealing with this, my father was diagnosed with late stage cancer. I won’t delve into the painful details but it had an interesting effect on me.
You’d think it would only make the depression worse, but instead it ignited in me this will to live my life. I suddenly realised how lucky I was to be alive.
It was a small kernel of an idea that didn’t truly take hold, but it was enough to set things up for later.
Dealing with my father’s death, my husband bought me a camera and this, coupled with a need to feel something other than sadness allowed me to find a sliver of light in my life.
Gosh - I’m full of cliches….
Hiding behind humour is a long-term coping mechanism too.
Through the lens of the camera, I could focus on the small tiny, beautiful details of the world around me.
As I learnt more about photography, my self-confidence grew and I was able to start building a more balanced life than before.
I work part-time, I have hobbies, I do more exercise and even keep the house tidier than ever before (which is still pretty darn messy).
Because photography continues helping me keep my mental health in check, I want to pass on a little something from everything I sell.
The best place I can think of right now, is Beyond Blue, an Australian charity dedicated to helping those suffering with mental health issues and illness.
While they didn’t help me directly, it just seems right and I hope that in the future I’ll be able to do more.