Recovery

It is no secret on this blog how much I struggle with my self esteem, in nearly all of my blogs there is the thread of self doubt about what I am displaying. So i’m assuming if I were to write about my anxiety and depression it wouldn’t really be a surprise for anybody to read.

I’ve ummed and arred for ages about whether to include my mental health on previous blog posts, I am scared that it may put people off reading my posts in the future but leaving out that side of myself makes me a bit of a fraud, I want these blogs to be authentic, a genuine expression of my life, how can I truly manage that if I am hiding a huge section of myself?

I have seriously struggled with anxiety and depression for the past 3 years. At its worse I will have frequent panic attacks, be unable to leave the house, I will withdraw from myself and from those around me, I worry constantly over nothing in particular, it causes me to be forgetful, I am constantly filled with guilt, and on more than one occasion I have come extremely close to feeling like I shouldn’t be around at all.

I am so very lucky to have a great support network around me, they have been there through my worst and I will be eternally grateful that they feel I am worth helping. From the close family that have to put up with my bad days, to the friends that check in, just to see how I am doing, these things can make such a difference when you are feeling detached from everything.

From my own experience; I would honestly recommend if you have anyone in your life that struggles with their mental health, a simple message just to say Hi or a phone call to check in could help enormously.

You may now be wandering what does this have to do with a photography journal?

Photography, for me, alongside my support network is one of my saviours, it’s part of my recovery. Photography gives me a reason/ purpose to get out of the house, when in reality all I want to do is hide.

It allows me a creative outlet, being able to try and share how I’ve seen a scene or the atmosphere from what/where I’d been shooting. I enjoy trying to think of new ways of shooting subjects and it pushes me to experiment.

I love how photography gets me to look at the world, it helps me focus on something other than the anxiety/depression (this is more so when I am in recovery, unfortunately not when I am at my lowest ebb, at that point I am unable to focus on anything).

I took a week off from the blog last week because of my anxiety/depression. Self care is so important and I am getting better at allowing myself time to recuperate, to hopefully negate full breakdowns.

I am realistic; I am always going to struggle with my mental health but I want to try and avoid the worst because I’ve been there before and it’s horrendous getting out of it. Like my self esteem, my mental health is going to be something I am constantly working to improve.

Feeling brighter this past weekend, I visited the Weir Garden, Hereford (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-weir-garden). A beautiful stretch alongside the river Wye, this garden/walkway was laden with snowdrops. Thankfully on the day I visited, we were blessed with winter sunshine and bright blue skies. I did have a few issues with getting my exposures right but overall I am happy with the photos I captured.

There is a bird hide at the weir garden, with feeders set out in front of it. The shot I managed to capture of the squirrel from the hide was my favourite from the day. The squirrel was aware I was in the hide but it didn’t scare them off, they were a very accommodating model, for which I am very grateful for.

I recently became a member of the National trust and look forward to visiting more properties similar to the Weir garden.

A Quiet Beginning

I hope you are all enjoying a great start to the new year and the return to normality after the festive season has not been too arduous. 2020 is now well and truly underway.

My new year has started quietly, which is in no way a negative thing. It is way too easy to get swept up in the wave of feeling like you have to change dramatically because of a new year.

I am very optimistic with the goals I set myself for the year ahead. I am taking my time to not rush through them, to do them properly. In turn, this should hopefully help negate feelings that I am not achieving enough, or feeling like a failure when more likely than not, a resolution is broken.

Following on from last week, I continued photographing the birds that had visited the garden.

House sparrows have always been a constant visiter, I do sometimes wonder how they feel, now that there is a lot more competition at the feeders.

One of the newest visitors, who I had mentioned in last weeks post; the Long Tailed Tit returned. Thankfully, I had my camera in hand to get more pictures of this cute, round fluff ball.

Moving on from the garden, this week saw me go to a local landmark. I don’t know if this happens to others, but I struggle to photograph landmarks/places I am very familiar with. I am always more comfortable with new destinations.

I wish I could offer a coherent explanation for this, but it has definitely gone onto my list of things to learn upon.

I have provided the only picture of the cathedral I was happy with from that shoot. Maybe later in the year I will try this location out again, to see if I have improved or have overcome the uncomfortableness of shooting locally.

The cathedral is located next to the River Severn, and it provided me with a subject I am more comfortable with. It wouldn’t of felt right if I had left the river without a swan shot.

The week finished as it had began with bird photography. I look forward to seeing what the next week has in store for me.