This post will emphasize depression, as this is the mental health struggle I have experience with.
Depression is the great isolator – it strains or diminishes the sufferer’s relationship with others and one’s self. It strangles hope, and decimates one’s ability to make goals and plans for the future. Depression is an inward-focused disorder – a sufferer is overwhelmed with emotional pain and retreats deeper and deeper into his/herself. The colors of life fade, and the heart grows dull and weak.
Enter photography, an art that requires one to focus on the outside world – to search out and find pleasant or interesting subjects to photograph. This is a beautiful and healthy thing.
In the midst of a photography shoot, one can forget the pain for a while, and focus on the art of photography. One gets wrapped up in the process, and sometimes a photoshoot becomes one of the few escapes from persistent depression.
Photography – like all worthwhile arts – requires practice. It takes time and several duds to get results worth posting. Yet, as a photographer makes that upward climb, a sense of pride and assurance emerges.
Photography has the benefit of the improvement being obvious as one studies one’s photo journey over time. Seeing the improvement enhances one’s sense of self-worth and competence. Every bit of self-esteem is valuable to a sufferer of depression.
It is common knowledge that exercise can help ease depression. Yet summoning the will to just move can be too much.
Photography requires one to move – it can motivate the depressed and otherwise lethargic soul to get up and go. The call of adventure – and the chance to capture as yet unseen beauty – can be just the push one needs.
Connecting with God
Divinely designed beauty is everywhere (particularly in Montana!). In nature, free of the distractions and pollution of the urban atmosphere, God’s presence is magnified. Surrounded by the the sweet serenity of nature, I can hear God most clearly. I recharge and connect to my source of Strength, and I am empowered to make it through tomorrow.
Exercise, adventure, and connecting to Creator God combined makes photography an excellent coping mechanism for anyone who loves it. So get out there and shoot, and just maybe, photography will be the coping strategy you need.