The way I felt about myself fuelled my anxiety and depression.
And depression and anxiety fuelled how I felt about myself.
I’d brave it and make some big changes in my life, like get a new job or move house, and it helped for a short while – like as a nice distraction and something to focus on for a bit but then this empty feeling would eventually creep back in.
It went on for years.
Little did I know that picking up a camera would be the start of putting this life long cycle to bed.
You see I never planned to become a photographer – it just sort of happened… a happy accident, a fluke.
I picked up a camera to help me remember things.
Due to a childhood trauma, my little yet awesome brain developed a little differently and the connections to my memory kinda got jumbled up. This left me unable to remember huge parts of my life – not only the bad bits but also the adventures, the experiences, the stuff worth living for.
As well as being an epic tool to remind myself of all the good things in my life, like a visual gratitude diary, I started using photography to explore emotions, like spotting patterns in my thinking or using it as a way to express how I felt, like when I was going through a painful break up. I wasn’t really a ‘talker’ back then.
I never expected the camera to take me on a journey to escaping the 9-5 and setting up my first business (FlukePhotography) – it was a success… well, for a few years anyway.
It wasn’t until I realised I’d slipped back into feeling deeply unhappy again that I knew I had to work out what was going on.
How could I be unhappy again? Was there something wrong with me?
I worked out that I didn’t trust myself.
I didn’t believe in myself.
And I couldn’t see myself for who I really was.
When it boils down to it, the truth was that I didn’t accept myself.
I thought by stepping out of the into the world of self employment that I’d be taking life and stuff more into my own hands, but that couldn’t have been further away from the truth.
You see when you do a thing, if all of you isn’t aligned to that thing – your words, your actions, your beliefs, you soon find yourself bumping head first into walls and you won’t know why. It will start to drive you insane.
Taking the plunge and doing a brave to follow my heart only highlighted just how bad I felt about myself. I didn’t know what I was doing and I didn’t believe in myself enough so I just starting doing what I thought I should. No one teaches you how to run a business, so I looked at what everyone else was doing.
And then it hit me smack in the face.
I had slipped back into exactly the same cycle I thought I’d broken free from.
Doing what I ‘should’ be doing – what was expected of me.