Anxiety train! All aboard

issue/79

hello friend

I’m Pete Carr. I'm a photographer and this isn't a photography newsletter. This is a form of "Rubber Duck Debugging". Writing helps me process thoughts and work through problems. So I write to my computer about issues relating to mental health and being autistic. I then share it with you fine folk. There's nice photos too. 🖖


hello computer

Sorry a day late again. I was working on another video and I couldn't get it finished in time and then I got wrapped up in prep for a big photo job. All this free time over the past year and I've not nailed time management 🤦

You can get prints of the photos in this weeks newsletter on my print store or you can tip me on Ko-Fi so I can buy film for my camera.

This week has been complicated. I tried to edit some photos for my Instagram feed and ended up breaking in two. To make sense of it all I poured the anxiety into a text document. It came out quite long and I didn't really want to overly edit it. I wanted the raw panic to be there. Heart racing "I just can't do this!" panic. I'm slowly coming back from that and for next week's newsletter I'm going to analyse what helped and what I can do to try and avoid this in the future. 

Meh

I’m sat here eating breakfast, cinnamon raisin baggle, reading the news and it seems the entire country is fine now they can go inside for a pint and a hug. Strange offer but if it works then fine. The post COVID-19 mental health crisis averted by an indoor pint and a hug. Phew! 

I’m sat here obviously being sarcastic. I say obviously because it’s obvious for me but my fellow autistics might not get that I was being sarcastic so I’m pointing it out just in case. 

I’m sat here being sarcastic because I’m angry at the idea that everything is awesome now we have pints and hugs back. Is that all it takes? It can’t be. Is that the temperature of the UK? “Give me a pint and a hug and that’ll cure what ails ya.” Really? To be honest I haven’t tried it so maybe it works? Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. 

I’m sat here angry because I’m really jealous. How much do I wish this was actually a thing? I 100% wish mental health was this easy. A beer and a hug and I’m fine again? Make it 2 beers and I’ll build a house! Gosh I wish that’s all it took. 

I’m sat here jealous because I’m absolutely exhausted by depression created by anxiety created by an inability to make a decision. “Should this photo be this way or that way?” Simple right? It is a sentence that rips me apart every time. It rips my entire being apart to the point where I can no longer be a photographer. 

I’m sat here unable to make a decision on a simple photo of the sea and sky. What is right? Right is subjective. There is no right. If there’s no right there’s no wrong. So I can’t be wrong and I can’t fail. Yet I can’t decide. I can’t leave it for now and come back because I’ve been doing that for over 10 years and it’s not worked yet. I’ve got all the time in the world to fix this now COVID has killed my client base yet I can’t. So what does that mean? Despite the logic that I can’t be wrong I can still not move forward in case…? I don’t know. I simply can’t. 

I’m sat here faced with a classic autistic response to a situation. An inability to make a decision and I become stuck. 

I’m sat here over thinking and become more and more anxious as the day goes on. I google a distraction that somehow makes me end up depressed. The distraction was about video game photography. I end up on a YouTubers page where he’s got a good audience and income from doing what I’m trying to do. Yet I’m failing. So my anxiety has created depression. 

I’m sat here depressed. Again I’m sat here depressed for the same reasons that affect me on a daily/weekly/monthly/yearly basis. I should challenge it with positive thoughts and yet it’s right. I keep having this fight and I can’t figure it out. It’s right. Others have built things while I’ve been going round and round in circles unable to make a decision. But others aren’t autistic so I should cut myself some slack, right? I should but I’m running out of time. I can’t be having this discussion when I retire because I’ll have had no career to retire from and nothing to sustain me through retirement. I won’t be able to afford the pint and hug. 

I’m sat here thinking if I were a builder it would be like aspiring to build a village but at the first wall I can’t decide whether to use brick A or B. Both technically right but different looks. I look over the road and see someone else has built using brick A and are generating income. I look over another road and see someone built with brick B and is generating an income. I tell myself just do something. I build with brick A and mid way through a house look at brick B and think it’s better. So I restart. Mid way through I think brick A is better. So I restart. I may get a house built and it may look goof but then I burn it down and start over. People will tell me the house looked great but I only see it’s flaws. Build. Break. Rebuild. Break. 

I’m sat here and I’m thinking I simply make for a terrible client. I don’t know what I want. It’s easy when an actual client hires me. They tell me what they want. I do it. All is good. But me as a client? Nope. 

I’m sat here. I’m always sat here staring at my work and hating it. I’m wasting the day with depression and anxiety. I should go out and make the most of it. The most of it being I should be out taking more photos that put more pressure on me to work this nonsense out because I haven’t posted anything good on Instagram in months and if I can’t do that simple thing maybe I’m not a photographer and if I’m not a photographer I can’t make money and I die. 

I’m sat here unable to connect with nature because I’ll want to photograph it but I can’t. 

I’m sat here a fraud because I’ve spent nearly 2 years writing about mental health and I’m no better so who am I to be writing this? I can’t help myself so what use is this to others? 

I’m sat here angry, depressed, anxious, jealous and just tired. A week ago I was outside in a storm fully energised and loving it. I was taking photos and it was great. Now those photos are a curse. My personal work is a constant weight dragging me down when it’s supposed to be my foundation for doing good. 

I’m sad here. I’m tired here. I’m depressed here. I’m anxious here. It will pass but for now I’m sat here in this moment. 


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beam out


end

“Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous.” Christopher Pike, Captain USS Discovery.

Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter. I’ll be back. Feel free to subscribe or send to a friend.

petes out

I'm streaming photography in various forms on Twitch.tv/petecarr. Stream schedule is Tues/Wed/Fri at 7:30PM GMT and Monday at 2PM GMT. Photography focused but accessible. Friday is a look at art events I've photographed. You can also ask me about autism and there's cat cam too.

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