I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to write a blog which incorporates my usual top 5 hints and tips on a photography subject with my personal experiences with mental illness. It’s the longest blog I’ve written but I hope at least one of these points will help any future budding entrepreneurs
1. Own it
2. Direct it
3. Occupy it
4. Don't believe it.
5. Despite it
1. Own it
There are so many Facebook posts nowadays about mental health awareness, 10 years ago not so much. It was a small world back then and the options which were open to people with depression were smaller still. Not knowing what options are out there makes it easy to retreat into yourself like I did. I can only really speak for myself but there was always a difficulty to apprehend that other people can be just as depressed or be affected by the things you do or say.
If opportunities aren’t taken to help yourself it’s easy to stumble into a dark hole that’s difficult to get out of which not only affects you but the ones you love too. It doesn't help anyone to hide from your own mind and retreat into it like a blanket that will suffocate you. To stop hurting myself and those around me I tried to own it and sought help, now that there are so many options available to people with mental health issues you can start to open up too and when you start to open up you start to realise that you’re not alone. This by itself will help you grow and help you to start to take charge of your emotions.
However you can't always tell if someone else has depression so if you are with clients or staff use your empathy and your personal experiences with your depression and use that to be able to relate and deliver that extra mile that they just might need.
2. Direct it
It could be argued that the mind of people with mental illness can work a little differently. Sometimes there’s so much emotion that it feels like there’s a ball within you that becomes unbearable to keep inside. If you’re lucky this ball can explode into a nuclear bomb of creativity, sometimes it unfortunately doesn’t. Sometimes you don’t know how to direct it and you don’t think that picking up a pencil will do so it can implode and cause so much more harm than good
Talking to people about how you feel is always a healthy option but for all those times that what you feel can’t be put into words please know (and I can’t stress this enough) that no one can get rid of that ball before you know what to do with it so know where to direct it.
Picking up a pencil will do, in fact it doesn’t have to be a pencil. You don't have to draw something you could paint something, write something, listen to something, if you've tried to be creative and it isn't for you then read or run, pick anything that will help you express yourself! To succeed in whatever business you do I really recommend concentrating that ball of emotion and throw it all into whatever you decide to do Street Fighter style and use it to your advantage.
Turning photography into a business, creating my website, hours spent on research and marketing gave me a direction and a purpose I never had before and it was the start of the realisation that I can get through this.
3. Occupy it
Depression and lethargy are like inseparable cousins that are bad influences on each other, but like most people they only play up when they have nothing to do.
I found that keeping myself occupied was one of the best cures for me. I’m not saying to bury your emotions in work but I found that the more I picked up my camera and the more time I spent playing around with the editing the less time I spent wallowing. Having my full-time job as well as my photography business means for me I can keep my photography a part of my life as well as having that daily social interaction that keeps me grounded. Social interactions can be hard a lot of the time and although it's healthy to take a breather by yourself I forced myself to make it a part of my lifestyle because the more insular you become the more lethargic you become and the more they both will have a stronger hold on you.
4. Don't believe it
Short and simple. Depression can be mean, it will tell you you're not good enough and there's no point in trying. Friends and family know you and if they tell you they believe in you and that you can do it; believe them. Believe them because if you suffer from depression it’s not something you can easily say to yourself. If you struggle to talk to them you could try to create a scale from 1-10 so they can determine if you’re doing ok or if you need to be left alone. This way they can understand that it’s not them and you just need some space. Listen to their support and let that glitter of positivity light up your day!
5. Despite it
It’s so hard to not give up, the overwhelming sense of nothing being worth it can restrain you. I genuinely believe having a goal no matter how big or small, or something to aim towards or achieve is one of the best ways to conquer depression. What a lot of people don’t realise is that sometimes just getting out of bed can be the hardest part of your day but when you convince yourself to get up and face the day, which you will, there’s such a unique sense of accomplishment. A sense of accomplishment that can only be achieved when you know you’ve done it despite it. Despite all the odds thrown against you, despite that monster in your head telling you it’s not worth it. It’s knowing that although depression will always be a part of your life you are stronger than your depression makes you feel and knowing that you can conquer this beast regardless, it will give you the strength and the reason to never give up.