“I’m so inspired by your drive to continually and creatively produce!”
This is what my friend Angela commented on one my photos on Instagram. This made me incredibly happy and humble. And it made me think for a moment.
The truth is I don’t know how to *not* create, it’s the only thing that keeps me going and not lose my mind. I have been very open about my depression and the hard times I have been dealing with last year. One of the things I have realised is that creating and taking pictures is part of my healing process. Depression is very tricky… it makes you stop doing what you love because you don’t have the energy, but you are even more depressed because you are not doing what you love. It’s a vicious circle and it’s hard to break the circle.
There were days where I could not even leave my bed because I was too tired and too depressed. I would avoid any human interactions because just the idea of having someone asking me “how are you?” would lead to unexpected and inexplicable tears. I would cancel meetings because I did not have the energy to drive to the city. I would not go to events because I could not stand the small talk and the questions, and also the advice people would give me, thinking they could solve my depression with some comforting words and a tap on the shoulder.
But photography was that silent friend who would not ask any question, not give unsolicited advice and would just sit with you while you cry your heart out.
That’s when I decided it was time I shoot for myself because this is what my brain needed. I scheduled shoots after shoots, found models, sometimes without any specific idea in mind. The only thing I knew is that I want to take photos, photograph people and lose myself in it.
During a photo session, I would forget all my issues, my doubts, my insecurities, my anger, my stress. I would forget the world and just focus on what I love. This was very therapeutic. Photography helped me getting better in a way I was not expecting. I can’t imagine what it is for people who are going through depression but have nothing to keep them going.
I know my depression was not too severe, and the goal here is not to play comparisons and try to decide whose depression sucked more. Depression is depression and it sucks. But what I am trying to say is that I am very grateful that I had this thing in my life which helped me survive these awful months of loneliness and despair.
Here’s a self portrait of me taken last week… I was experimenting, so forgive the out of focus image.
Edited with ELMT Water from Tribe Red Leaf.