Dear Jasmine : I’m Depressed


Dear Jasmine,
You had mentioned that you were depressed when you started photography and I want to know how did you deal with that… how do you book clients, shoot people when you just don’t feel like doing it. I mean, I want to and I need this job but I just can’t ….
I feel like when I started photography I was so excited and omg… I booked so many weddings without advertising and somehow this year I lost everything. I don’t even like myself … and I just don’t want to tell anyone. People think I’m strong and I am, in a way… because I don’t show any feeling and I never complain about anything. I guess I just don’t want my family and friends to be worried.
Anyway, don’t want to bother you with my life just want to see how you did it… how did you make it this far when at some point in your life, you were depressed.
I Can’t

Dear I Can’t,
It’s taken me a while to respond because, well, this is a really personal part of my life. A part I don’t like to show, a crevice I’d like to cover with grout in the form of ambition, success, and drive. But if I were to peel back those layers–much like a stinking onion–you’d see a person who still battles with sadness, sometimes with a sword that feels impossibly dull.

When I started my business, I was reeling from a bout with depression because my mother had stopped her chemotherapy (doctors gave up hope and told my family to make funeral arrangements), I left law school, and I was completely lost in life. These circumstances would leave anyone depressed, but I was left feeling raw, almost like every fiber of my body was chapped and if you were to touch me, I’d collapse. Thankfully, I was able to walk away from that dark period in my life (with the help of many amazing people) and–looking back–many wonderful things transpired during this painful time, namely my photography business.

This battle, however, left me weak. Very weak, if I was being honest. I find myself inordinately sensitive to downward swings in personal and professional aspects of my life. I ache from old wounds and I crumble under the weight of my dreams and expectations. This lethal cocktail leaves me desperate some days…days when getting out of bed is my biggest triumph.

But here’s what I hold to be true: I am blessed.

My mother is {amazingly} alive.
   I have food in my fridge.
      I love the loofa in my shower.
         My husband loves me (a fact I’m still baffled by daily).
      I lay on clean sheets.
         My dog thinks I’m awesome.
   I have perfect friends.
I’m alive.

My business has opened doors for me, but the harder I fight to stay in control of it, the more frustrated I become, and this usually leads to sadness. And sadness leads to a dark depression. That point? The teetering precipice between sadness and depression? That’s where I draw the line and beg God to reel me back in. Because I’ve been on the dark side…and it left me raw.

So where does this leave you, I Can’t? Firstly, you are strong. Don’t ever doubt that. Emailing me and admitting your fears took obscene strength, so I have no doubt you can work through your depression. Your depression could be linked to the sudden swing in your business, or a myriad of other factors in your life. What I strongly suggest you do is find a wonderful person you can talk to. Speaking with a therapist (or a pastor, priest, wise friend, etc) will help put things in perspective and you can begin to work on ways to bring yourself back into the light. Don’t let the darkness hide your pain…it steals the things you love the most…things for which you should be most thankful.

Stay Fabulous,