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Hi fellow EPZ'ers.
I have been toying with posting this for some time, and I now feel ready too - please bear with me here, and note that I am not fishing for sympathy. Its just something I feel I need to share - sorry if its long!!
18 months ago, I was diagnosed with severe depression, OCD and anxiety. I went through several months of CBT therapy (finished that in April this year), and am now on anti-depressants, something I didn't really want to do, but actually seem to be doing some good I think. To sum it up, work has caused me nearly 3 years of stress, with 'at risk' letters coming in each quarter, and no support from management - you know the story! I know most people deal with this, but I seemed to have reached a breaking point, which resulted in a nervous breakdown of sorts. I won't go into details, but it was a very dark time.
All through this, and as part of my CBT I was encouraged to do things I used to enjoy before, and try and find some time for myself. I put myself in a bubble - not wanting to go out from home, not socialising with friends, and not pursuing any of my hobbies. I just didn't want too. I felt safe in my bubble, and didn't want to leave. I forced myself to go to a party with my other half earlier this year, but left early as I was physically sick. I still haven't been out with my camera 'properly' for a year or more.
To cap it all off, on October 5th this year, my mum passed away after a very short 3 month battle with cancer. I was very close to my mum (my dad and I have not spoken in 23 years, despite my efforts), and losing her has devastated me and my immediate family. My partner has been hugely supportive, and I would not have got through the last 18/24 months without her. I thank my lucky stars I have her. I am still grieving, and undoubtedly will be for some time to come. I am having difficulty accepting whats happened, and am puzzled that I have only cried once since her funeral 6 weeks ago.
So - the reason for this post. I now need to get my life back on track. Taking the first step is difficult, and the last 8 weeks have really tested me. However, I need to start, and now is the time, and this post is to let as many people know as possible - if I don't talk about this with people other than family, then there is more chance I will fail.
So, I have made the first steps already. I have been clearing out my photo folders on my HD's. So far deleted about 1500 images, none of which I, or anyone else will miss. Obviously not the family ones, but early landscapes, and any my other 'experiments' etc!!
I am going to start a Blog, here on EPZ to document my progress, as much for me as anyone else, so I can look back and see how I am improving. I will post a link when its up and running. I aim to post one picture a week on it that I am happy with. Will also post same pic on the main EPZ gallery, with a summary of what got me to the final image.
I have signed up to Blipfoto (user NigelWB) and want to try and complete a Project 365. Many people say don't force yourself into things, but part of the CBT i did was to MAKE myself do these things, and then the enjoyment will return in time.
So there you have it. These are my photo related aims - the others may appear on my Blog!! I got myself a new lens last week - out of necessity, as my old Sigma 17-70mm lost its battle with the sand introduced to it by my son in August! (Got a Canon EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 BTW) and am hoping this will kick start the process.
Sorry to have rambled on - as I said, I needed to say this, and here seemed a good a place as any.
Thanks for reading guys and gals,
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Sometimes it's good to get things off your chest and hopefully you'll feel better after doing this. Maybe now, you will be able to mix with friends etc and be able to talk about it face to face with them. I would suggest taking a break, away from your normal routine and surroundings. Why not book a lodge or house, maybe in the Lake district or Scotland. Somewhere nice and quiet, where you can get your camera out and go for long walks with your partner and hopefully get some nice shots as well. Rent a place that is a short walking distance to the pub. I rented a house in the Village of Greystoke, in the Lake District, which was a 5 minute stroll to the Boot & Shoe pub. The food and ale was to die for. If you like bitter, get the Black Sheep, it's nectar. Let me know if you are interested and I'll give you the details of the house, which is 3 bedrooms and is in a beautiful setting.
It's a very easy hole to fall into, Nige, but a hell of a difficult uphill task to get out of again.
I think your idea of a blog is very good. It will record your thoughts and feelings and over time can be therapeutic, especially when you look back at what you have written.
Very brave to post this, I also suffer from severe depression, very few people really understand this problem.
I look forward to reading you blog, by the way some great images in your PF.
Sorry to hear about your recent journey , and agree with the guys above - brave steps.
Incidentally you can also use your epz blog to post 365 images if that helps - several members do so.
Sorry to hear about your recent troubles but I hope you have now turned a corner and life will improve.
Good luck for the future and I look forward to reading your blog.
I luckily do not suffer from depression so can not imagine what you are going through but share with you the loss of my dear mother two years ago, I too was extremely close to her and miss her so much, to my shame I have never been able to cry, I have been told by many that there is no need to feel ashamed as we all cope in different ways but I feel I should, I never stop thinking of her.
I hope your recovery continues and with the support of your loving family I am sure it will.
I am adding you to my favourites so I can keep up to date with your progress.
Regards. - gary
So sorry to hear of loss of your mum, I think several of us can relate to some of the points that you have raised regarding stress & depression etc, Hopefully you will have the inner strength to move your recovery forward at your pace, & maybe the camera can become your friend again, I wish you all the luck in the world, You have taken a very brave step, I'm sure the first of many.
Sorry to hear about your situation and very brave to share it.
Hopefully you see a light at the end of the tunnel now and can continue recovering.
Best of luck with everything
You've made a good start Nige, depression is a very lonely illness and one that others can find difficult to understand (even if they have suffered themselves, we all have different experiences and journeys out from under that heavy cloud)
Keep on posting, if only as a record for yourself so that you can chart your recovery and see how far you have come
Having escaped from my bout some 17 years ago I shall watch with interest and share you journey with you, even if very much at second hand
I'm one of the fortunate ones not to have suffered from this, however it is rife within my family and I know first hand what a crippling and awful illness this is and as Brian says not everyone understands. In fact few do which makes it so difficult. It's good to see you are fighting it and how better than to use photography as a help. Good luck to you.
Sorry to hear about your problems ,
lets hope the light at the end of the tunnel is just round the corner..
As a sufferer of Bi-Polar, PTSD and a host of other problems you have my sympathies in every respect......But glad to see you're on the long road to recovery.
Here's a quote from Bill Clinton of all people which I ask you to keep in mind......"Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all."
Good luck and here's a quote from me......"How do you eat an elephant? A bite at a time"
Thank you all for your kind comments - it means a lot to me, it really does. I needed to put this out there, and try and kick start my recovery. My mum would hate to see my like this, so for her, and my family I need to start fighting.
Do it for your dear mum, even though like you my mam is no longer with me she still gives me great strength as I am sure yours does too.
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