I’ve been interested in cameras and photography ever since I was a young child. I remember playing with my mom’s old Polaroid camera, so much so that she eventually refused to continue buying the instant film refills. Fast forward from my childhood to three months ago – March 2015. That period of time will forever be burned into my memory as the time my life changed completely. I will not go into detail as to what changed or what happened, but let’s just say that I hit rock bottom. I was in a very low point in my life. I had lost nearly everything I held dear to me. I lost everything that defined who I was. Everywhere I looked, there was no way out of the dark place in my mind and in my life that resulted from certain events that occurred in March 2015.
“Hitting bottom isn’t a weekend retreat. It’s not a God-damned seminar. Stop trying to control everything and just let go.”
– Tyler Durden (Fight Club, 1999)
On April 1, 2015, I decided to do something about my melancholy state and do something about my interest in photography. I wanted to feel the creativity that I know I possess. I didn’t grab my Canon 7D – no – I grabbed my phone of all things. I challenged myself to post a picture on Instagram every day during the month of April. Even though I didn’t completely fulfill my 30 day challenge, I still feel good that I did something for myself and now I have a body of work to show my accomplishment for the month. When I was out taking photographs, I noticed that my depression and anxiety had left me. For me, photography became something therapeutic and helped regulate my sanity. In a way, I let photography control my life. I let go of my problems and thoughts and focused only on the moment that I was trying to capture. On top of physically going out and taking photographs, I looked up articles and watched videos about the technical mechanics of my camera and composition rules of photography. These activities were a great distraction from the Hell that I felt was consuming my thoughts and life.
If it wasn’t for photography, I would still be in a dark place in my mind. I would probably still be stuck in my bed refusing to do anything for myself. I truly believe that photography saved my life.
My advice to you if you’re feeling depressed or in a poor mental state is to find a hobby. I know first-hand that depression will keep you from finding joy in anything, but trust me when I tell you that there is something out there that will shine light on the darkness. At one point in time my hobby was podcasting, of which I now consider myself a professional. Now my hobby is photography. Maybe your hobby could be writing, photography or podcasting. Maybe your hobby could be painting or working out or something else. Just please don’t get yourself into anything destructive or look for happiness within another person, it will only cause you more pain.
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