Anxiety and a strong artistic impulse to create have always been part of me. It took me years to recognize both for what they are and for a long long time, they seemed to be in separate departments of my life. Anxiety would break me down, whilst creating would build me up, give me a purpose, give me a private safe world where I could dictate the rules. In a way, they were both my reaction to a world that felt unsafe, threatening and demanding, but they remained separated, one representing the evil, the other one representing a safe haven.
Until one day, I finally joined them together and let photography be the channel to express my feelings of inadequacy. Instead of sitting in the middle of my living room, heart racing, my breathing way too fast and out of control, my body paralyzed, my mind numb, I turned to the one thing never seems to let me down: creativity. I felt inadequate, unable to deal with the real world, but I was fed up with that feeling taking me lower and lower. I had to do something with it, so I took myself and all my strong feelings into my bedroom, and with the help of a tripod and my camera, I started taking self-portraits.
I took all these photos through a long winter. I run a small outdoor portrait photography business in the town of Llanelli, South Wales. Though being outdoors, in contact with nature, is my passion, through the long and wet Welsh winters it is often hard to find the weather to photograph outdoors. So each time everything felt a little bit too much, I took a couple of hours to myself and locked myself into my bedroom, with my camera. Bit by bit, I started to feel I could put into photographs what I couldn't put into words. Feeling stuck inside me. The tension between all the emotions I carry inside and the calm and controlled way I carry myself in my everyday life. The feelings of not being able to breathe, not having enough air. The constant fear of never being enough. The pressure of wanting to be perfect all the time, for everyone, but constantly feeling I'm falling short. I wanted to turn my feelings into images, images that hopefully other people could relate to, images that in turn would make other people, going through similar struggles, understand they are not alone. There are many of us out there struggling with mental health issues, anxiety being one of many. It's hard to put it into words, so I used a language, that for me, expresses what words can't say: photography.
Not only this gave me a whole new way of using my anxiety, making me acknowledge it instead of denying it, it also made it possible for me to be creative without the use of any means at all. I did it all standing on my bed, over a spread white sheet, in a messy bedroom with hardly any space available. It made me realize that getting things done is often just a case of taking the first step and let the others step follow, no matter how small each step is.