I didn’t go outside before I got my camera. My anxiety was so high that I couldn’t. I didn’t talk with people. I stayed home – afraid.

I got a camera as a reason to go out. 10 minutes lead to half an hour, which lead to an hour, and now I can shoot an event, approach a homeless person, talk with them an ask to take their photo. I can even approach a shopping centre manager and ask to photo in their premises – on a good day.

Most days I struggle to get out for an hour as my anxiety is so high, and even on a day when I can mindfully observe anxiety I struggle. Often anxiety turns into paranoia and then I know I’m being followed.

Today was my day for counselling, and I struggle for two or three days afterwards. So I take my camera. I took a few photos for a series I’m making on mental illness and mental health – There is a difference. It was also an opportunity to begin to create a series for exercise 1.9 Soft Light Landscape.

Photography gets me so focused on the moment, the presence of being a creator and director, that I lose the image of a paranoid and anxious person. What is self if everything is transitory and impermanent?

I won’t go out tomorrow. I don’t go out the day after counselling, I stay at home as I don’t feel safe with intense feelings.

Tomorrow is my Lightroom day, and I will be developing some macro photography. Developing my photography is also an exercise in mindfulness. It takes me over and requires my full attention, it becomes a safety release valve. To give up on photography would be an act of self harm. It would be to give up on living, to give up on me.

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