One of the greatest outlets I found in expressing what I was feeling, the good and bad, was expressing myself creatively. While I was accustomed writing and had kept a journal for years, other creative outlets were also available. I found there was more freedom and opportunities to express myself and create something that could be shared with others. I’ve always been a creative person; books were my refuge growing up, and writing was my way of expressing myself and making sense of the thoughts that would lodge themselves in my mind.
In time, I realized I could put the two together, adding words what I was seeing either through a drawing, or more often photography. While I tried my hand at drawing, I knew rather quickly it was not my forte, a talent I was not given. The camera, however, let me express myself, how I see the world and at the same time help me focus my energy on something positive. It intrigued me and became a passion.
I could take my camera and see what I was missing, I mean really missing. The sunrise, sunset, the way the water moved across the river or the waves crashed onto the beach during a storm. Each picture told a story, held an image that could explain a feeling, a thought, a memory, hope and promise of a new tomorrow.
There are many mornings when the last thing I want to do was get out of bed, but I get up, grab my camera and I'm out the door. Often I merely throw on a pair of sweat pants and a sweatshirt, glamorous I know, but I say this to show that it’s not easy; I would be horrified for someone to see me. However, as the sun would rise, I began to shoot, moving from one spot to another to catch the reflection of the sky on the water, or the seagulls taking flight against the sunrise. I would stand in one spot for 10 minutes or more waiting for the waves to crash on the rocks in just the right way. Excitement was suddenly driving me to find something that no one had seen before.
Once I returned home, I would put the memory card in my computer and find I took 200 or more photos. Then the real fun began – looking at each one hoping I could achieve what I had set out to do. The pictures would give me a sense of purpose.
Some may say I am still hiding, using my writing and photography as a cover, but what I see is a way to bring joy to others, along with showing that sometimes even on the darkest days, pen and paper, or a camera could be just what the doctor ordered.
With some apprehension, I have begun to my photos on social media (www.instagram.com/minds.eye.photo) and have been surprised by the response. What began as a way to clear my mind and battle my depression, is becoming a business and one I hope to be able to use to show, not only those with mental illness, but everyone, that there is hope and that there are many positive ways to combat the demons we face and see the beauty in life. Let's be honest, whether you have an illness or not, there are days when you may find yourself depressed and frustrated, we are all the same.
I don’t claim to have all the answers, I know what has helped for me, and I hope it can work for others. It is not fool proof, yes there are days when it gets the best of me, and I may not move from the couch, but I also know that there is hope, and it is possible to beat what takes away our lives.