It is so easy when you have a mental illness to feel like a failure, its apart of the disease, its part of the crippling thinking……it is something that I have faced and felt for most of my life and continues to this very day. In the last 9 or so months it has been something that I have thought often, too often. After my contract was not renewed in May last year I was physically and mentally worn out and sick, my insomnia was extreme, my depression was back and I physically could not face or do anything. Some months later I took to my passion of photography with my thinking that if I could not face life then i would face it through a camera lens, capturing happiness in everything other than me. Eventually I wanted this to be my job, my business and my income.
Starting a new business is hard. The first couple of years the hardest with set backs, joy and a lot of hard work. I started out wanting to focus on portraits but seemed to move into equestrian photography after being give the opportunity to photograph a few events. Portrait photography particularly in Melbourne is hard to get into the market and start and maintain a good client base. There are a lot of photographers doing it and a lot who have been successfully operating for many years. I have never been able to crack into this market despite constant marketing! Failure!!
I have been photographing regular equestrian events over the last three months with few weekends off. Everyone would think “Yay” but in truth it is hard work with little reward. You stand out in the elements, this time of year the heat, for hours on end, most of the day, without lunch and without the ability to sit down to rest. You get home exhausted and sore and then straight onto the computer to upload images, usually 1000s, with the promise to competitors and event organisers that you will have a sneak peek ready tonight. Then for days after you sit at your computer editing 1000s of photographs ready to sell, most of which you don’t sell. Event organisers frown when you talk about a fee to attend so for the sake of just photographing you don’t charge a fee so you are completely reliant on competitors and their families buying photographs. Then you have the event organisers that seem to think because you are a photographer you are well off so they expect you to make a donation or sponsor part of their event if you want to attend and photograph. You do all this and your sales are okay but at the end of it all, the hours upon hours, the mileage, the editing, donations and sponsorship, it add ups to not really worth your time, energy, mental and physical stress. Failure!!
Then you think maybe I should just go back to working in government back to where I am experienced and qualified. So you open up the job apps, start to scroll through and you start crying. Years upon years i faced stress, mental and physical, I faced negativity, politics, bullying and the list goes on. Working was not enjoyable for me. Yes I was passionate about what i did, yes i wanted to make a difference but I was alone. Bosses, workplaces and others in the sector did not share in my passion, were often very critical not because they didn’t think what I was doing was wrong but because they felt threatened by my initiative, my drive, my ability to come up with the plan, do the research and have the drive to make it happen. Then you have the beuacracy of government and of organisations not wanting to support what you have to do, even when it is a legislative requirement, you push for change, for support and for the ability to get the job done but all you are faced with is politics, negativity, bullying, isolation and then finally you just want to and eventually give up! Failure!!
Often I just think it is me, its my fault that I can’t get where I want to go. I am not the right person, I aren’t talented or smart enough, people don’t like me, its because mentally I am vulnerable therefore I can’t handle the stress. Its me, my fault! Failure!!
Through it all I do keep trying, i get back up and try again but this time i can’t. I can’t face looking at jobs let alone apply and start another job with the knowledge that mentally it will test me, affect me and put me on a downhill slope to depression, stress, insomnia and FAILURE!! I think I have just run out of what I need to face the world again, to work with other people and mentally I feel broken, trapped and yep a FAILURE!!
My battle with mental illness has been a long one, a journey that has nearly claimed my life more than once, that has broken me to the point of no return but some how i have got back to a level of normality, whatever that is when you have severe depression, bipolar and anxiety. I have previously talked about in my blog posts of recovery and the journey i took to get rid of the Black Dog but looking back i don’t think the Black Dog ever left me, he was just quieter than normal. Not a week goes by when I don’t feel the affects of depression, some are just moments, some are for a day, some for days that sometime never seem to end. But mostly I have learnt to live with it, it is what it is! I have often thought of myself as a failure because of IT and maybe I am because I don’t have the strength, what it takes to overcome it and live a normal life, a happy life and one where I feel positive, happy and successful but I don’t and probably never will! FAILURE!!
If mental illness is not enough then there is the insomnia keeping me awake for most of the night for days upon days. There a few days, maybe i can count them on one hand when i have gone to sleep straight away, slept through the night and woke up feeling refreshed and well. Most of the time I am awake for hours, get a some sleep, maybe 3 hours, 4 at the most, then i wake up feeling exhausted, headachy and just blah! I mean how hard can it be to just sleep, for gods sake, seriously we have all been doing it all our lives how hard can it be! FAILURE!!
Then there is the whole thing of being fat, overweight, probably obese and now womens issues with the whole once a month hell and last but least yesterday’s news that I need to go on blood pressure medication for high blood pressure! Christ, could there be anything else that is wrong with me! Can’t I just be normal, feel okay, and just want to get on with life instead of feeling like shit every single day! FAILURE!!
So that is it at the moment. One big fat FAILURE!!!!! Mental, physical and occupational FAILURE!!