I struggle with anxiety. Like, legit anxiety diagnosed by my doctor. It feels weird to write about anxiety here as the first paragraph on this brand new blog, as I try to explain how I arrived here at Mom Photo Balm. Stick with me as I tie this together.
I began seeking healing for my physical body when my health suddenly started crumbling just two weeks after my 30th birthday. After three doctors and dozens of tests & procedures, 2016 brought a diagnosis, lots of medication, and dramatic diet/lifestyle changes. I learned that not only was my physical body sick, but my mind was not well either. Anxiety & depression were words that took a little longer for me to accept as parts of me that needed attention just as much as lupus, fibromyalgia, migraines, and IBS. 2016 was hard.
I had to ask myself some hard questions that only I could answer. Am I anxious? Why? Am I depressed? Why? What can I control? What's beyond my control? Can I do something to not feel so anxious? If depression isn't sadness, what is it exactly? Am I depressed? What does that mean? Am I going to take all this medicine? Do I believe it will help? Do I trust my doctor? As I learn to recognize the physical manifestations of anxiety in my body, how can I take control of my response even if I can't control the situation I'm in? What am I afraid of? Ugh! I have so much good in my life, why am I struggling with all of this? Am I crazy? Does anyone else struggle with this? Am I a bad Christian? Does all of this mean I don't trust God? Do I? Where is my faith? Can my friends see that I'm drowning in all these thoughts & questions? Can my children see?
During all this questioning & introspection, I looked back & could see a visible manifestation of something not being right...
I quit taking pictures.
After our home was broken into and all my pictures stolen (laptop & external hard drives), I became cynical thinking, Why should I take any photos? Someone could just come in and steal them all tomorrow. I kept homeschooling my children, leading Bible study, singing in my pew, but, without even realizing at the time, I was unraveling deep inside. My stomach physically raged as my spirit wrestled. I was a mess. In the fall of 2014, I walked away from my camera. I didn't pick it up again until over a year later, when I started asking myself those hard questions.
One day in the spring of 2016, I decided to pick up my camera again and try to document where I was and how I was feeling right then in life. And each day since, I've done just that. It has been therapeutic and medicinal to my spirit to have visual markers of my struggle and growth. And I believe, it's helped me be healthier. Photography has been a balm to my soul and the instrument for my song.
It's 2017 and I am here stronger, both in body & spirit. I'm confident in who I am and where I'm going. I continue to ask the hard questions and do the hard work as I do the heart-work of mothering. I've found strength in the journey with a camera in my hand.
I'd be honored to share this balm with you, friend. I'm so glad you're here.
Friendship is the finest balm,