Thursday, 28 August 2014

Summer in Scarbs I

Some photos I don't know what to do with. All taken in Scarborough this spring/summer. I didn't feel like uploading them to flickr. Let me know if you think I should though or if you like them :) 

Sunrise in July.  The seagulls woke me up one morning and I decided to get up. I wasn't disappointed.

Hayley's chicken noodles.


L x.

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Monday, 25 August 2014

Summer's Ending

I graduated university in July, which was both fun and upsetting. I said goodbye to my friends, and to the town I called home for 3 years. My university experience wasn't really the crazy social life that most people have, I was one of those boring sensible types who had mental breakdowns in the uni library when I had 3 essays due in one week (seriously we all nearly died). Even though I didn't go to many parties I did make some really good friends, friends I miss a lot now we've all left the little seaside town we spent university in. I learnt how to do so many things, such as cook and use a washing machine, go to appointments on time and live on my own. I gained confidence and skills I might not have otherwise, and made so many mistakes I couldn't even count them! (Maybe I'll share some with you one time...)

I stayed in Scarborough for the rest of my flat tenancy and then moved back down south to my brother's house, as he's let me stay with him a few months. My parents house wasn't really an option.

Right now, it's been raining all day and I can see the drops splashing on the patio. The shrubs in the garden are so green, so lush, so obviously English. I'm moving abroad. In six weeks I'll be in Lanzarote, working as a photographer for a hotel. Me! In the Canary Islands! As a photographer!

Wish me luck!

L x
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Friday, 15 August 2014

Let's Talk About: Mental Health

I spend far too much time on tumblr so here are some tags/triggers so you can go on reading safely - contains: #suicide, #depression, #self-harm mention, #anxiety 

So, as you probably are already aware, Robin Williams passed away recently (suspected suicide) and it really shocked and upset myself and many of my friends, as it has Williams' family, friends, colleagues, and admirers. I, for one, was unaware of Robin Williams depression, as were many, and it really highlights how "invisible" an illness depression is. Robin Williams was a great part of my childhood, playing in Mrs Doubtfire, Hook, Flubber, Dead Poets Society and many other favourites. The perhaps fortunate thing to have come from the media coverage of this is that it's triggered a surge in conversation about mental health (yes, I am also aware of how the media has wondered whether covering suicide somehow glorifies it, but I'm not getting into that today). 

My friend Faith has written a very insightful article on the situation and depression in general, and puts many of my own thoughts more succinctly than I would have written them. To add to that, depression is often a chemical imbalance of the brain, meaning that outside circumstances have no effect whatsoever on that person's wellbeing or perspective. From the NHS health website: "Some people still think that depression is trivial and not a genuine health condition. They're wrong. Depression is a real illness with real symptoms, and it's not a sign of weakness or something you can "snap out of" by "pulling yourself together"."

This in particular, has made me consider my own mental health, as I have Seasonal Affective Disorder (Winter Depression), and anxiety. I have had SAD (What a beautiful acronym, right?) for about 5 years, but I've only had treatment for it in the last three. Depression is very very horrible, and since I suffer it most in the winter, I particularly dread the run-up to Autumn since I know it'll be coming. I have it to the point that even in the summer months, if the weather is bad, I'll find it hard to get out of bed. 
Before I was diagnosed with it, I heard a lot of nasty comments about my behaviour, from calling me lazy for not getting out of bed or doing anything; antisocial and moody for not interacting with people or activities, and I know I got people down by struggling to be positive or even smile. People would say, "you can't be depressed, you're laughing now" and I would question it myself. I would google seasonal affective disorder in my school breaks and be convinced I had it (self diagnosis does work sometimes!) yet nobody would take me seriously. When I did finally go to the doctors about it, I got turned away from several, muttering, "Well you do have the symptoms of depression, but we don't think you have it, because you don't seem to." 
Stigmatisation of depression extends to when you're on medication for it as well. I constantly get tutters and 'advice' such as "Anti-depressants are bad for you, you shouldn't be on them, take vitamins instead." If I were to get out of bed each morning, brush my hair and walk out my door without them, don't you think I would be doing that? Do you think I chose this?? Do you think Robin Williams chose this? 
Thankfully, thank God, I have never been anywhere near suicidal, or self-harmed, but I know people personally who have, or have attempted either, and it is heart-breaking. If you or someone you know feels like this, PLEASE TELL SOMEONE. Someone will always be able to help you, from a friend or family member or doctor/therapist/counselor or teacher. 

My photography archives, interestingly, don't go back past 2011 (What a shame. I had my pictures from 2009-2011 on my college harddrive and I forgot to take them off the system when I left so they were wiped :c), so here are some photos I've taken in the past which were about depression.  

2011: While I was doing my A-Levels, when my depression was particularly bad. I got an A* for this piece in my photography class, because it conveyed "so much emotion."

2012: When I got diagnosed with SAD. Wilted.

2012: The alternate edit is on my Flickr, named "Winter Kind of Washes Me Out."

2013: This autumn coincided with a break-up from a long term relationship. Everything suffered.

2013: I tried experimenting with a technique here (sort of failed oops). I couldn't think or speak that winter. 

2013: Probably my most visual expression? I drew and painted a personification for depression and scanned him into the photo. A lot of people were upset and exasperated with me, but I think after this photo they kind of understood without my having to say anything (I couldn't say anything.)

EXCLUSIVE! >>> Unpublished photo I did 2014. Named "rainy day". I tend to think of depressed days as "blue" or "rainy days". I like to use pixelation to convey wrongness or anxiety/sadness. I didn't upload it to flickr because people I previewed it to didn't like it.

L x.

[Sorry this is so rushed, I've been so so busy recently and I have to go out tonight, so apologies! This has been on my mind for a couple of days but I only just got time to sit down and write it! xxx]
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