Creatives Against Depression: How it feels and how to progress

Jun 14, 2016

Joseph Parry

Joseph Parry is a Commercial and Editorial photographer based in the UK that provides cinematic photography and ounces of humour. Follow him on Instagram for stories and kick ass imagery.

Creatives Against Depression: How it feels and how to progress

Jun 14, 2016

Joseph Parry

Joseph Parry is a Commercial and Editorial photographer based in the UK that provides cinematic photography and ounces of humour. Follow him on Instagram for stories and kick ass imagery.

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Depression? In order to make this hit home what it’s like living with depression I’ve written this article twice. The first half is during my mindset when I’ve been depressed, how I feel, what I think. The latter is my reflection upon the previous article when I’m in a better mindset.

It took me 9 days to turn around my mindset for some brief rest.

DEPRESSED:

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“It’ll be alright man, chin up, it’ll pass, it’s a phase, it’ll go if you want it to, just believe in yourself, stop feeling sorry for yourself, grow up, you’re pathetic”.

Take your pick, it’s the usual tool slung into the belt of the unknown. Those who care enough to say a word and fix a problem yet not enough to fix the source. Similar to those who wish they could solve world hunger yet won’t travel abroad anytime soon.

If you have to ask what’s wrong, you don’t understand depression.

If you expect an answer to your question to cure the deep rooted issue, you don’t understand depression.

If you think you had depression once, you don’t understand depression.

It never leaves, it never rests of it’s own accord, it never lets you progress. Depression is a literal fucking beast, a demon that sits inside with a Cheshire cat smile and a cigar. It tries nothing to change because it knows you’ve already lost.

It’s like trying to push a boulder up a hill, you’re fighting in the wrong direction and you’re just too small to make it happen alone. I’ve often wondered to myself what could I possibly add to the realm of articles, depression, emotion, the mind, the process.

And upon refection of this, I’m currently so depressed I see no point in continuing to write this fucking article, but I am. Because who knows, perhaps when this moment passes and I manage to wrestle the ominous fuck back into the trap door, perhaps people may have connected somewhere along the lines.

I’ve stopped writing music, I’ve stopped taking pictures, I’ve stopped editing old pictures, I’ve become short with people, I’m sick of life, existing, routine. I’m so sick of routine, I go out of my way to fuck it up by ironically creating a new routine that doesn’t conform to the old one.

It used to be eating a brownie with ice cream everyday at 3pm for about 2 weeks. Then it was eating just a salad everyday for a week, now it’s eating nothing at all.

Weight isn’t dropping off me, my mind is fracturing, my happiness has dissolved, I’m lonely, breaking, stressed, confused, lost, yet absurdly focused on self destruction.

I can’t let anyone in to help because I know they can’t. I can’t be bothered to go through the example lines above over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again and again and again and again and again over and over until you realise that nobody can help you alone because they don’t care / understand ENOUGH.

People care up to a point. That point being that you become an inconvenience to their lives. When you’re bringing them down, making them late, making other people judge them, associate them with you, when people talk about you and make them feel uncomfortable etc.

People care as long as the fix is an already resting nail in some soft wood and they just drop the hammer.

Am I pissed off? You bet I’m fucking pissed off. I’m pissed off that I’m too weak to break the monotonous cycle I’m stuck in. Sick of the fact that I go out of my way to not get help. Sick of the fact that the help that does get offered is well meaning, full of love, yet ultimately unable to help due to lack of understanding.

I’m sick of a society that allows how I feel to exist. I’m sick of living in a society that breeds what I am. What most of you reading this probably are.

I’m sick of abusing myself, sick of hating myself, sick of being shit at everything, sick of slaving away at photography and music for no sense of progress financially.

I’m 25, living with my mum, single, cheated on by every partner I’ve ever had (or left for somebody else immediately), flat broke, dead end job, depressed, overweight, fucked.

HAPPY:

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Man, it’s been 9 days since this and right now I feel so disconnected from it, it’s almost like it’s not even me. I read back through this and it’s like a distant cousin you remember from your youth that you’re no longer in touch with.

How I feel right now is, for lack of a better term. Complete.

Rational, happy, relaxed, a little excited about the future, motivated, productive. It truly makes me wonder what has changed in order to trigger this. I found out what it was.

Human connection, communication.

A friend of mine is dying of cancer and as of today he’s looking like he has a few days left at best. In some strange, mind fuck of events. Because of his connection to depression and sadness throughout my life I feel almost like his death is an external ripcord tugging my pain away with him.

Like his death is the death of depression in my life.

And it feels so odd to say that, I have to clarify, in no way is my friend a source of depression or sadness in my life (other than his unfortunate circumstance). In fact he’s given me some of the best laughs I’ve ever had.

It’s simply the fact that being a manic depressive, which he lived with his whole life to date, he imparted a LOT of thought and knowledge to me on the subject and together I felt like he helped me put things subconsciously into perspective to a point where I no longer feel as out of control as I used to, even on my worst days.

I feel like him dying is a catalyst to be happy in his memory, almost like seeing the pain he lived with his entire life, how I want to fight that, beat it, destroy it from within and live the happiest life humanely possible for myself and those around me to honour what he couldn’t achieve.

But on that same vice, a part of me NEEDS depression, my creative juices work best on sadness, pain, fear, anger, isolation. Or at least they have, so in a way it’s really fucking odd to sit here and think about how to impart myself in a way that exudes not only clarity but inspiration.

In no way whatsoever am I attempting to suggest that I have what some other people do not, I’m simply saying that I require happiness more than I do depression, but I can’t see myself living without it.

When Stephen Fry was asked if he could push a big red button and be rid of depression he said he wouldn’t do it, because it’s part of what makes him who he is. I completely get that. Completely.

But the point of this article is 2 fold, firstly to show how genuinely insane someone’s mental attitude can be in their lows an highs to show you that if you feel this way, you are NOT alone, but also to show you that if you cannot seem to get these highs I want to help you.

You know, when I was younger. I used to think it was as simple as this: Some people are just born able to be happy and some people (like me) aren’t.

In reality and through excruciating self analysis I’ve found it to be a complete falsehood.

Happiness is a choice, smiling is a choice, just as much as feeling the opposite is. The problem is we are so comfortably numb (thanks Pink F) that we are genuinely in love with this beast.

We are legitimately trapped into thinking that we are happiest when we are saddest, that we are incapable, undeserving of achieving happiness. That’s bullshit.

Life is exactly what you make it, and if you’re reading this there’s a high chance that you’re living in modern society, with a smart phone, Internet connection and a roof over your head.

For those of you not in that position I truly feel your pain, and I hope that this can bring some hope to you.

Trust me. PLEASE. Trust me when I sit here and tell you that it is possible to be happy, to be loved, to deserve everything you have in your dreams. But at the same token please also understand that things not only take time to progress, but they take hard work, passion, and most of all desire.

If you have no desire to be happy, nothing Will change that for you. You’re selling your life short of what you can truly experience.

Your parents, their parents, their parents, and on and on and on for so many years we cannot count, all made decisions in such a wonderful way that it ended up in you being here right now.

That in itself is such an extraordinary event that you can literally believe that you owe it to yourself to get out there and take on the fucking world. THERE IS NOBODY ELSE OUT THERE EXACTLY LIKE YOU! But there are definitely enough out there to connect with on similar, close terms, to trust, love, put faith in and grow.

You need to sit where you are, breathe and tell yourself, Happiness is a choice.

Say it to yourself: Happiness…. Is a choice.

Make that choice, everyday, every single day find a way even if it ls for 2 minutes at first, just smile, force yourself to smile, to laugh, to lift your head up and take pride in who you are. Because you’re unique, beautiful and powerful. Capable of taking over the world if you fight for it.

And you want to know the kicker that puts this all into perspective?

“You are only worth to the world what you offer it”.

If you were the nicest man on earth and had no experience of first aid at all, someone got shot and you showed up trying to help, do you expect the person to want your help or the medical practitioner next to you?

Now imagine before you move out of the way and let the medic in you start to rattle off everything you’re great at “I’m nice guy / girl, I pay my bills, I love my family, I’m genuine etc etc etc”.

Does this person care while they are dying? No, because in that world you offer nothing.

Bring this back to relationships, work, career, life… change the context to suit. If you shoot weddings and try to sell your services to people who aren’t into weddings or at your price point and you fail to realise this, you’ll be sat there quickly building this idea of “I’m shit, I’m worth nothing, nobody cares about my work”.

In reality you’re fucking awesome, you’re just firing in the wrong direction at the wrong people.

If I can give you some pieces of advice that I’ve learned so far at 25 it’s these:

  1. Happiness is a choice, make that choice everyday and work hard at it. It’s as easy as you believe it to be.
  2. You are only worth to the world what you offer it, so offer something and make sure it’s to the right world / audience.
  3. The world owes you nothing. So get off your fucking ass and take it. MAKE IT HAPPEN!
  4. You become your company, I cannot say this clearly enough. Choose to be alone rather than people who make you feel like shit. Sever negativity out of your life like a cyst or a tumor. GET RID OF IT IMMEDIATELY.
  5. Work hard, play hard.
  6. Be genuine. You WILL be rewarded if you combine it with hard, consistent work.

I really hope this helps you guys, it’s not much, but it’s what I’ve learned so far from a lot of pain and the last 10 years of depression.

It does get better. I promise.

Love.

-JP

If you find yourself struggling, contact creatives against depression, they’ve been there and know how to help.

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Joseph Parry

Joseph Parry

Joseph Parry is a Commercial and Editorial photographer based in the UK that provides cinematic photography and ounces of humour. Follow him on Instagram for stories and kick ass imagery.

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16 responses to “Creatives Against Depression: How it feels and how to progress”

  1. Vertex Avatar
    Vertex

    so maybe you just switched to sony because you were depressed and need some new gear to make your endorphines flowing.
    because logically there is no reason to switch camera brands.
    ok maybe when you are that bad at exposing that you need to push shadows 5 stops instead of 3 regulary.
    and when you want all your image look like pseudo HDR you had a reason to switch to sony.
    but as most pros still use canon and are happy with it (lets ignore the troll noise and internet DRrones) there is no real benefit in switching….

    1. Joseph Parry Avatar
      Joseph Parry

      Are you serious? You are seriously suggesting that after writing a detailed account with plenty of examples as to why something was better for myself to use as a tool, I simply bought gear for the sake of it instead of focusing on what this article is about?

      You’re making an ill educated mockery of a mental health issue and situation which has cost us the lives of people such as Robin Williams, Heath Ledger, Kurt Cobain, Vincent Van Gogh and more, at the expense of trying to insinuate a gear choice of mine you don’t agree with.

      You should be ashamed of yourself.

      There’s a time and place for mockery and an article about a subject that costs people’s lives is not it.

    2. sam Avatar
      sam

      You know what they say, “if you have nothing smart to say… SHUT UP!”

  2. Cynthia Shepherd Avatar
    Cynthia Shepherd

    Sorry to disagree about the “happiness is a choice” thing, but having stopped taking antidepressants because I felt good and ending up in the hospital as a result, sometimes all the wanting to be happy doesn’t change the reality of a chemical imbalance.

    1. Joseph Parry Avatar
      Joseph Parry

      Yeah, it’s really unfortunate that something as complex and vast as depression can’t always be fixed by sheer will power. I guess what I’m trying to say is being happy still has to be a desire of the person in order for it to happen.

      Otherwise there is really no leaving that place. Drugs or not, it’s just patching the wound, not fixing it you know?

      Stay strong sister.

  3. bassalop Avatar
    bassalop

    I deal with depression, may not be as bad as you. My Dad was manic depressive and it runs in the family. Tough stuff and would like to make note: Being happy means you are content, complacent, OK with things (even your creative abilities). But those that are not happy are not content with most everything and very much so with themselves…depressives. But they are the ones that judge themselves the hardest and constantly work harder to be overachievers. I’m that way, not happy at all with my photography of late but I keep pushing to improve. Being driven by my depressive tendencies is making me better at what I do (though not better at whom I am), and channeling my focus helps with my depression. Most creatives in the past deal with such tendencies and it is who we are and getting a grip on it can be an asset. Happiness is a relative term to everyone, not a place or thing but a state of mind. I’m most happy it seems when I’m challenged, pushed beyond my abilities. Seems you have found a way to focus your depression. Embrace it and work with it. Do not let it control you. It is an asset. Best of luck and you are not alone.

    1. Joseph Parry Avatar
      Joseph Parry

      All depression is bad brother. Definitely using it as a source for good creation is a must for healthy survival.

      Thanks for your words, stay strong!

  4. Chris Cameron Avatar
    Chris Cameron

    Great words, Thanks JP.

    1. Joseph Parry Avatar
      Joseph Parry

      NP Chris, just trying to help where I can.

  5. Ian Hecht Avatar
    Ian Hecht

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Joseph Parry Avatar
      Joseph Parry

      Thank you for reading.

  6. Jan Leah Avatar
    Jan Leah

    I will never be off antidepressants. I tried. It didn’t work. I am now seeing a professional which seems to help for awhile, but then I start going down the slippery slope and then I feel stuck. I have made many changes in my life, which I thought were the building blocks of my depression. Even with those changes in place, it’s not enough. I don’t know where to go from here. Everything hurts.

    1. Joseph Parry Avatar
      Joseph Parry

      Just never give up. What I do is force myself to see the goal, keep it in my mind and slowly, actively focus on achieving it. It’s hard sometimes, but just keeping walking towards positive. No other choice sister.

  7. Kelly Barnes Avatar
    Kelly Barnes

    I feel like you have taken the words right out of my mouth :) couldn’t have been written better.
    I am happy you have had such a life changing and positive epiphany.
    You wise words have not gone unnoticed :)

    1. Joseph Parry Avatar
      Joseph Parry

      That’s really REALLY kind Kelly. I just hope to be able to help those around me. Thanks for your time!

  8. Elize Meijer Avatar
    Elize Meijer

    thank you so very much for sharing. You are not alone. :)