Mental health affects 1 in 4 people each year, and I’ve chosen to focus this particular project on depression. It's a project that's very close to my heart, having suffered with depression for over 6 years so I know only too well the emotions and struggles of living with depression. About 6 months ago a strolled into the doctors office and nearly knocked the doctor off their chair as I told her I finally felt safe enough to come off my antidepressants. I did, and I look back on that day as being one of the greatest achievements of my life.
Life can seriously suck sometimes, I'm sure we all know that, but when you're suddenly faced with a mental health disorder things can go from bad to worse. I remember when I was first diagnosed, I was embarrassed. Embarrassed? I cannot believe I even thought that feeling embarrassed was something I should feel. No way. You should NOT be embarrassed, it should be something we should be able to talk openly about and feel confident about getting the support and help we all deserve. I remember being told that I "don't look like the kind of person who would have depression". I mean WOW! I didn't realise people with depression had a certain "look".
I had quite a positive experience actually, I mean yes I hated my life, everything was completely and utterly the dark and wanted to disappear on many many MANY occasions, but I mean positive in the sense that I had a ridiculously supportive network of family and friends and I had some wonderful doctors and therapists. I realise this isn't the case for everyone but I know for most people we are lucky enough to have this support network.
Which brings me to my project, when you look for images around the term ‘depression’ they really are just that – depressing. Which is fine if that’s what you’re trying to get across to people but I wanted to take a different approach. Depression is tough, I am not denying that at all, but it can actually end up being a wonderfully positive thing.
It can make you stronger, more aware and generally a totally new and improved person. It can create much stronger friendships, it can filter out the bad from the wonderful; it can even create new friendships! I wanted to do something aesthetically pleasing to represent these positive sides to depression. So I’ve taken a feeling or emotion one might have when suffering with depression and used the medium of photography, hair and makeup to represent these.
HUGE huge huge thank you's go out to the lovely lovely ladies who modelled. Jenn and Nat from Jenn Edwards Hair and Makeup for all their incredible help and, I think you'll admit, amazing skills which I would be lost without. T from Campbell's Flowers for her imagination and tremendously creative mind to create THAT afro and Grace from Wildwood for her beautifully creative help with the butterflies.