In my mind, I’ve begun this post a million times, and in just as many ways, but now that I’m actually writing it, my mind’s gone blank so I’m winging it.
Photography saved me. It’s plain and simple. The act of creating a beautiful photo is what drew me out of the hardest bout of depression I’ve yet dealt with.
I was diagnosed with chronic depression at the young age of 21 years old, while planning my own wedding. It should have been one of the happiest times of my life- it wasn’t. But, that’s a different story.
After I delivered Joshua- our second son- I had a really tough recovery, which ended up with postpartum depression. It was horrible! I would cry at the drop of, well anything. I was beyond upset and embarrassed about not being in control of my emotions. I couldn’t cope with much of anything.
A few months went by, and as things settled down, I found I was still unable to feel happy. In an attempt to do something about it, I purchased my very first DSLR camera. I had always enjoyed taking photos as a child and teen, and I figured I could at least learn to take decent photos of my kids. Before I knew it, I had a business to go along with my camera.
Having the challenge of learning new skills and techniques and creating art for friends and family helped to pull me out of myself. It forced me to use different parts of my brain and to interact with others again. Suddenly, I began to notice I was smiling again, and that having my camera in hand helped me have courage to join in again (for those that don’t have depression, those of us that do can easily convince ourselves that no one cares, we’re just a bother, and we have nothing to add). This simple thing made all the difference in my fight with depression.
While my battle with depression has been aided by finding the proper medication with the help of my doctor, it is still photography that is the biggest help. When I pick up my camera, it’s almost as if a physical switch is flipped; my brain goes to a place where I can function on a much higher, depression-free level. All I can say to those of you who are still trying to find this place is, keep going. I got lucky in finding my thing. Keep trying to find this mental space for yourself. And know that I am here to support you in any way you need.