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Photo taken by Caroline, 49 years old from Market Harborough, UK. She has a 17 year old son, and is married to an Iranian. She works full-time and travels a lot with her job and all this means whilst life is very interesting it can be challenging and tiring at times when trying to cope with thankfully lessening bouts of depression which have plagued her all of her adult life.
Two years ago, tired of hiding my depression and wasting my precious energy on pretending to “be fine” I decided to admit to having depression and tell my personal story. I had no idea at the time just how powerful being so open and honest about mental illness is. I am now in a position where I can help and support others who are experiencing similar difficulties-watch out for a feature about working women with mental illness appearing in the Sunday Telegraph magazine “Stella” in a few weeks time. I started to write my blog Poppyposts to show others that you can recover sufficiently from depression to live a fulfilling and varied life and learn to deal with depression when it strikes. It is not easy and I have undoubtedly been exceptionally lucky with the medical care I have received over the years. I still have to work on the depression survival basics and positive thinking every day but channeling my energy into living and doing things I enjoy with the people I love instead of hiding the depression has been the biggest impact on my moods.
For many, many years I didn’t have the energy or time to indulge my creativity but since relieving myself of the burden of secrecy, I am energised and free to create. Ideas seem to flow freely and whether it be painting, crafting or photography, it is the joy of being creative that has helped me to improve and stabilise my moods and I have now been “depression free” and off medication for more than 6 months. Long may it continue, but at least I am better prepared if it doesn’t.
About this photo: I took this photograph of the dome of the Sheikh Lotfallah Mosque in Esfahan, Iran on a recent visit. I have chosen this photograph as I like to look at it when my mood starts to drop and it reminds me that “blue” can be beautiful. The brilliant and clear blue sky combined with the amazing beauty of the mosaics never fails to lift my spirits and also makes me reflect that I am part of a big wide world. It is too easy to snuggle into a cocoon and hide yourself away when you are feeling low so for me, trying to look outward instead of inward helps me to keep things in perspective until I am ready to reach out to the world. Islam is not my religion but I can’t help but find comfort and solace when visiting the mosques of Esfahan and, as my visits to Iran have always been very happy ones, this picture always makes me smile.