So here I'm expressing lots of feelings I've had inside for a while but also stating how things are still okay in my life. *Picture taken, edited and comissioned superbly by Jamie Flack (Cat&Crown Artwork)* <3
As you may have guessed that besides living with Aspergers Syndrome and Crohn's Disease, I've developed Social Anxiety over the last couple years which I've been balancing like a see-saw where somedays people and myself don't let it get to me and somedays I feel alone and every single thing gets to me.
I've felt a whirlpool of mixed emotions and I've been pondering again and again if all of this is in my head, or I'm seeing things the wrong way, or are people just being nice to me or am I just tired and over-reacting to everything on that particular day?
I've felt selfish sometimes when it comes to wanting to be relieved of pain even if that meant chasing people on social media to get answers or questioning them the truth on certain matters and in general, just lacking patience to realise that everybody have lives and can't cater to my attention 24/7, you know.
So I began to research Anxiety Photography and saw loads of creative and artistic examples on how people captured and acted out different representations on Anxiety and other forms of Mental Health. It got me thinking that this is a creative, powerful and very different approach to portraying messages across to viewers instead of just writing a Facebook post that will someday be lost on my timeline.
I vowed to try and mimic one of the examples (to a certain extent) because I wanted to see how the reaction would turn out and if I'm honest, I think this medium would be helpful on rare occasions to express my feelings out to everyone. It would also get people thinking and maybe even inspire other photographers to do the same or even ask people to help me help them express themselves too, if you understand what I'm trying to say.
And I hope people won't take offence to what I'm trying to do, if anything I'm trying to explore a Photography field that sounds morbid but I'd like to try and create some artistic and meaningful work within reason as I can't go overboard that it looks horrific. I just want to get my feelings across and to use photography as the medium to do it on a rare occasion as I don't want people to get the wrong ideas on my mood at the time.
Anxiety - I'm always feeling nervous and worried about something and how outcomes will unfold.
Impatient - I'm impatient with people's responses on Facebook and my blog events. I dont understand how people can read something and not respond or react there and then.
Gullible - I believe fake promises so easily on people saying we could do this but sometimes it never happens.
Alone - The fact I've been single all my life besides one time makes me feel inferior to others in confidence and experience around women.
Nervous - I'm not able to stop worrying about the things that are inside my head and turn my attention to much better things and remembering how lucky I truly am and how far I've come.
Sensitive - I become easily aggresive / sad over things that really shouldn't be that important and then have to apologise and say sorry that I acted odd.
Doubtful - I doubt that I can stop being this way and learn to see things better since it's so easy to fall back into these feelings instead of countering them so easily.
I'm not exactly setting myself up here as a catch but these are the words I feel when things have become too much for me to handle and I begin to over-analyse everything to the point where I worry about worrying and dunno how to crawl back out of this hole I've dug myself into.
But it's not always like this which is what I will gladly explain later on below.
But on another cool note, I did also get some fitness shots done by Jamie too for me to have as reminders of how strong I really am and how far I've come and secretly look when I don't tense. He really knows how to work his magic and keep me entertained and chill when doing shoots as well as teaching me how to use Photoshop whenever I go round his.
Even as a Photographer, it’s interesting to step in front of the camera for someone else and if I’ve got it, show it!
I think this all started so severely back in July last year. I was stuck in a dark place where I had nightmares every night and struggled to be happy in general. I think it had something to do with annual memories
But thanks to that fantastic day out in Hyde Park in August 2017, my spirits were lifted and restored after enduring July.
And truth be told as much fun as last year was, sometimes I was at war with myself because I kept on letting everything get to me and I'd take things seriously and become impatient with people's effort at communication and honesty on social media.
I began to relate to them because I wanted to sort myself out however I was also annoyed that I'd turned out this way despite everything else good in my life that didn't really feel as much to me back then.
And then one day, I discovered Jamie Lawson - Sometimes It's Hard which was like an epiphany for me. This song about struggling with Mental Health helped start me on the path to try and speak to some professional people about my thoughts. I even found Bring Me The Horizon's songs Avalanche and Drown to be songs about Anxiety / Mental Health too.
One thing that I’ve learnt last week was how I come across trying to communicate with people I may have only met once especially from Comic-Con. I try to get conversations going and asking them about themselves and what they have planned and even if they want to do a Photoshoot with me in the future. But what I should do is try and take a step back to realise that these people do like me since we’re Facebook friends but I should be more patient and understand that in time and after meeting up again, then that friendship and trust can grow more instead of trying to rush into things because I’m anxious or fear I won’t be as good / popular as other Photographers.
Another moment when I feel triggered is when people on Facebook but mainly Snapchat, read my comments I post under their stories and it sometimes doesn't get responded to. Now I know this seems selfish in me demanding attention back but actually what I am trying to do is start a conversation or compliment them so that we can start talking. I begin to doubt and question myself if I had said what I meant to say the wrong way or that they aren't intersted in talking to me. When I should really understand that they are either busy at that moment or just not up for talking. But it would still help to be acknowledged instead of ignored.
I can't even feel confident sometimes when out in public without thinking that people are looking at me or I can't look at women without blushing and putting myself down on not even thinking I could ever say Hello to them or even how to. But that's an entire different matter.
I sometimes believe that the root of all of this is tiredness, now as simple as that is, it's not easy to resolve or be able to fix. I have lots of responsibilities and duties in my life that sometimes I can't go to bed at sensible times because life gets in the way. Perhaps it's why when I'm tired from lack of sleep that I'm on the first step in this staircase to these feelings occasionally.
It even makes me feel unbalanced at timekeeping and dedicating my time to either trying to have fun at home or focus on editing Photography or even going to the gym. If I'm doing one thing and not the other, I feel I'm procrastinating and can't seem to equally balance out time for multi-tasking or even acknowledging that it's okay that I didn't do what I had hoped to do because of the way I feeling and thinking. Eventually it gets resolved (sometimes the next day) but it's really annoying that sometimes I can't even go with the flow and just accept how things turn out in the end.
And sadly we've lost loads of talented actors and singers over the last year and a half including Avicii and Chester Bennington, who music in the band Linkin Park has been there for me since I entered college and was learning to adapt around people and learn social interactions.
The Real You was the first video I witnessed to help me understand life a bit better and I began to eagerly listen to more of his words of wisdom when I wanted to hear his voice and discover more.
"So then, when you're in the way of waking up
and finding out what you really are, what you do is what
the whole universe is doing at the place you call here and now.
You are something that the whole universe is doing in the same way
that a wave is something that the whole ocean is doing.
The real you is not a puppet which life pushes around.
The real deep down you is the whole universe."
"But since worrying takes away your appetite and your sleep
it's not good for you.
But you can't stop worrying
and therefore you get additionally worried that you are worrying.
And then furthermore because that is quite absurd
and your mad at yourself because you do it,
you are worried because you worry because you worry
That is a vicious circle"
"That doesn’t mean that you’re always going to be a great hero,
that you won’t jump when you hear a bang, that you won’t worry occasionally,
that you won’t lose your temper.
It means though that fundamentally deep, deep, deep down within you,
you will be able to be human... in the pains, difficulties and struggles that naturally go with human existence."
I've seen and read other Photographers and friends come forward this year about their Mental Health which I would have never guessed comparing to myself on confidence, popularity and talent (not that I doubt them at all). It was really inspiring to see how honest and brave they are for coming forward with their own stories and sadly some even not being able to make May's MCM Comic-Con anymore because of it. It's helped me understand how behind faces that people can be feeling totally different views and feelings all together. It's truly amazing and really something to see how people come together in supporting and understanding others. Which is what I'm hoping to gain from this blog post and my Facebook one especially. And looking at my first Tattoo that I got last December is a little milestone and reminder for me to remember how far I've come an still moving forward.
In the words of Walt Disney from that special film Saving Mr Banks, "I don't tell you this to make you sad, Mrs. Travers. I don't. I love my life, I think it's a miracle" and in that scentence I too emplore you all to understand that the last thing I want is to have my reputation tarnished due to honesty emitting from me. I don't know what to gain from all of this, I just feel that words will cause more action in my life and can help remedy my own head when I struggle.
On a more reassuring note, I wish to point out how things really have gotten better over last and this year. I've managed to shake off these feelings on some days and weeks when things have been going so good. The endorphins within me have taken control after fantastic weekends with true friends, sharing unforgettable memories with others and even just having a chill, fun or meaningful conversation with certain people.
I also try to be like all these funny actors we admire like Ryan Reynolds, I try to mock myself and be able to laugh at myself and about it since it can help counter negativity and make others laugh in the same way that you can sometimes laugh at jokes about them. It's why I use sarcasm and try to do Snapchat stories every day to counter these feelings I feel creeping up on me and to show people as well as prove to myself that I'm not always like this, I am much more.
And I’ve got May’s MCM London Comic-Con next weekend with so many people who are all looking forward to hanging out and doing some pics with me because of who I am and what I can do as I’ve learnt through patience and practise.
It's these facts that help shatter this persona of myself and can prove how different I can be when things are going much better. This can be said for anyone instead of just for me!
All you have to do is endure the hardship and not let it win against you, there is so much in life to look forward to doing and be grateful for even when you fail to see it this way.
One of the morals from this is for me to remember that even if I don't get back the same level of care, attention and support as I try to give, I shouldn't change my whole personality since it's gotten me this far already. But maybe I can tone down a bit on some other things so that I won't get hurt so easily like high hopes until the thing actually begins to happen.
I may be like this for a long time in my life or it might come and go like an illness, but I think that I am strong for what I do and who I am, I prevail over not letting all these illnesses I have to stop me from leading a life of my own even if I am biologically different to many people I know. And I can only keep moving forward even if sometimes I feel the wrong things. I will do myself and everybody else proud and someday, I will look back on these memories and realise how much further I have come instead of letting everything overwhelm and consume me.
Please if you are reading this to the very end, understand that as easy as it is to just want to give up because all seems hopeless and worthless, never forget how valued and important you are on this planet. In time, you will see how things can only get better in your pursuit for happiness. Always talk to people about your emotions and thoughts because so much good can be gained from just talking to friends, family and the right people. And always be there for others whe they need it as much as you want them to be there for you!