I was diagnosed with Postpartum Depression (PPD) a little over a year ago. My reaction to the diagnosis was mixed. At that point in my life, I was completely numb to everything that was going on around me, detached from my little girls, my husband, my friends. I guess I could say I was relieved by the news, slightly comforted by the fact that I had an excuse for how I was acting. The depression wasn’t me; it was something that was happening to me.
Unfortunately, all that came with the diagnosis was a bottle of little blue pills and a handful of books. I needed help, and I thought I had asked for it. I couldn’t find support groups or therapists because I would have a panic attack just thinking about having to pick up the phone. The “what ifs” were incessant, and I was drowning in them. I had to completely depend on the help of those around me, primarily my husband who truly became my knight-in-shining-armor. Not only was I numb, detached, and anxious, I felt that I had absolutely no control over what was happening to me. I would try to talk to myself rationally, convince myself I’d be ok, but emotionally I was consumed. I felt like my life had stalled. I kept trying to start it back up again, but something just wasn’t making a connection.
Slowly, things started to get better, and as they did, I realized that I needed an outlet. I needed a way to document what was happening, what I was seeing, how I was feeling. I needed to put myself out there so others could see and understand what was going on in my life. I picked up my camera and began a 365 day project. I decided that if I made myself pick up my camera everyday to learn something new about it, or about taking pictures, or about post-processing, then I would be spending less time feeling sorry for myself and I would start a new process of growth.
I failed miserably at my project, only making it 1/3 of the way through, but that was only as far as I needed to go. Along the way I discovered some pretty amazing people, and they inspired me over and over again, though they may not have even realized it. Not only that, but I was encouraged to try new things, to set goals, and to take risks. Most importantly, I found myself surrounded by a community of strong and wise women who brought me back from something dark and scary. I’m finally at a place, one year later, that I feel I’m on top of things (though we all have our down days). All it took was working up the nerve to pick up my camera.
What has your camera done for you?
**Cross-posted at Shutter Sisters**