I've been interested in photography for about 11 years, ever since I bought my first digital camera. I've had mental health problems for 9 years - a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder and depression. I haven't been well enough to have a paid job for some time but have just about managed to complete 2 adult education courses in photography in the past 3 years.
Having BPD takes over your life. You lead a chaotic lifestyle, living from one crisis to the next, on a roller coaster, spiralling from extreme negativity, intense emotional pain, self-destruction, turmoil, unrest and despair - contrasted with over optimism and unrealistic expectations and goals. When I'm low I lose interest and enjoyment in photography but when my mood switches I get in a really creative and inspired mindset. Indeed, perhaps some of my more quirky images are inspired by my extreme moods in their very essence.
Photography gives me a purpose and focus, and capturing a single moment in time is a way of providing a narrative and documenting the world around me - whether based in reality or creatively setting up images in a construed fantasy world. I believe self expression is of fundamental importance to recovery from mental illness and I'm passionate about ending stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health.
Photography puts things in perspective and helps me focus on the bigger picture of life and overcome my individual problems. It is a bridge between the inner mind and external world, promoting initiative, meaning and self expression. Photography is cathartic and has saved me from the depths of despair.