How Photography Helped My Mental Health

Depression makes for some real angsty selfies, though.

Depression makes for some real angsty selfies, though.

Mental health seems to be a buzzword that’s thrown around a lot these days. So many of us battle with depression and anxiety, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to allow ourselves to think positively on a consistent basis. There’s still a stigma around it and it’s not talked about in normal conversation enough.

For many years I was lost. I didn’t know where I belonged or what I was supposed to do with my life. Everything needed to be decided immediately, I needed to be working hard to be successful and earn lots of money so that I could be happy. My thoughts were governed by this simple, yet deflating, reality. I wasn’t working to my full potential and I knew I was wasting time in degrees I didn’t care about.

Looking back, I realise that there were many moments that should have stuck out to me - I was always taking photos, editing them, posting them. There was a deeper desire to please others, to make the people around me happy. If I could make someone feel happy, perhaps I would feel some happiness, too.

There came a moment when I knew I needed to drop out of my degree to start my own business. That was a heart stopping, intensely frightening realisation. Photography was calling me, and I had ignored it and brushed it aside for too long. I dropped out and Orange & Poppyseed began.

Connecting with the world.

Connecting with the world.

Immediately after the fear of that life changing decision, something else filled me with an energy I’d never before experienced. Something awoke in me like the turn of the tide - the magnitude of the pull could only be attributed to some otherworldly power. I’m not spiritual - I’m not even religious. But those first few days after I made that decision filled me with such excitement, joy and passion, I finally knew. This is where I was meant to be.

That desire to please others is still in me. The only difference is that now I capture memories for others to hold on to. I now understand why photography is so important to me. When the bad days come and you’re fighting a battle with your own mind, the happy memories can help lift you. To be reminded of your loved ones or a happy moment in your life is cleansing after the weight of depression. It’s a small light in the dark to help us find our way back again.

Giving joy to others.

Giving joy to others.

Photography gave me a purpose. It gave me a way to explore a deeper connection to the world around me when life gets too fast. It allowed me to give others the best present anyone can receive - joy. Photography isn’t just a job for me. It’s how I connect with the world, and how the world connects with me. I still get depressed. But the passion, purpose and joy of knowing what I’m supposed to do has changed my life for the better.

 

If you are suffering from depression and/or anxiety, please contact these support services. You’re not alone, please speak up and get help.