This post originally appeared here.
I wanted to wait.
I was (and still kinda am) unsure of the “right words”… But, I told myself eventually they would come and… they seem to be flowing, so I won’t let my fear be a hindrance any further.
I mentioned earlier this year that I was dealing with health issues and as a result, scaled back on work and travel. But I purposely didn’t go into detail… And honestly, the more time passed, it wasn’t so much that I felt like I “owed” anyone an explanation, but it was that I felt that my silence was further feeding into the stigma surrounding mental health and I didn’t like that.
For some reason in our society, physical illness is treated a lot more sympathetically than mental illness. I guess because it’s often accompanied by symptoms you can see. Mental illness on the other hand is often manifest in ways that can be (and often are) misinterpreted. Sometimes as laziness, simply not trying hard enough, just being pessimistic… personality “flaws” if you will. While the cause of such symptoms is actually rooted in abnormal brain function.
Just as physical illness can be hereditary, caused by injury, or simply develop over time, the same is true for mental illness. I feel like I have a combination of all three honestly lol. I may have been genetically predisposed already, but who knows. I’m dealing with it now and that’s all that matters.
Living with depression and being on the bipolar spectrum is interesting… to say the least. It is really difficult dealing with mental illness in a society that constantly tells you to “just try harder”. It is really difficult dealing with mental illness and running your own business. It is really difficult being depressed and literally being unable to do the things that will make you feel better.
I don’t know what writing this means… I’m not writing this just to say how hard it is. And I’m certainly not writing to say that I’m all better.
A lot of posts I see where someone’s struggle with depression is shared, it’s from an “I overcame this” perspective. And while that is certainly encouraging, I know a lot of people are still in the midst of their struggle. It’s a lot more complicated than just feeling bad for a little and then being all better.
I guess I wrote this as more of a “hey this is a little of what’s been (and is) going on”.
Honestly, I felt compelled to write because I often hear how inspiring I am to fellow photographers and business owners wondering how I “keep it all together”… well the truth is that I don’t! Lol I literally do not have it all together. Maybe it appears that way, but it certainly was not an intentionally crafted facade. I thoroughly appreciate transparency so if this helps in any way, I hope it helps you see past what appears to “be all together”.
I am human, just like you. A human trying to manage and navigate this space as best I can.
I also want to say that if you too are dealing with mental illness (or suspect that you may be), please don’t feel bad about getting help. It’s important to find out what you’re dealing with so that you can learn how best to cope with it. Whether it’s therapy, eating better and exercise, supplements, medication, meditation, or a combination of all of the above, it is so important. Your mental health… your brain’s health is the root of you. Your decision making, your mood processing, your emotional balance… If that’s off, you’re off and there should be no shame in getting the assistance required to help you be your best you.
Even if you may not suffer personally, please remember that everybody is dealing with something. So try to be a little kinder, supportive, and understanding when you can.
Til next time,