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. Are you ok? I hope you're ok. hugs
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I'm streaming Mondays/Tuesdays/Wednesdays and Fridays on https://twitch.tv/petecarr or http://petecarr.live. Tonight, Friday, is 'Think Different' night from 7:30pm. Come chat in a positive space about how great it is to be different. I'll be doing my nails and playing video games.
You be you
I started 2020 running a 5k, 30 minutes, every day I could. I enjoyed the days when it was raining and the prom was empty. I liked the idea that people would see me, a normal human, getting out there because this geek can. Yet I never felt alive. I never felt like I was out running my depression. Instead I was taking it for a run and letting it ruin a good morning.
In the 15 years of being a photographer I found it caused great levels of anxiety that were rarely washed away by getting out there with my camera. Again, the opposite. I've spent years learning how to see as a photographer that I cannot undo it. If I stood naked with no cameras, no phones, nothing at all to capture a scene I would still see the photograph. I cannot not be a photographer. When it becomes a source of anxiety I cannot escape it by doing more photography. Worth a try though? I mean there's a fudge-ton of articles out there telling me it works.
How This Photographer is Using His Camera to Combat Depression
Using Photography to Battle Anxiety and Depression
Photographers Will Relate to This Filmmaker’s Thoughts on Depression
Photographer Talks Depression, Creativity, and What It Means to Be Human
Photographer Creates Emotive Images to Help Cope with Depression
Photographers on Facing Up to Mental Health in a Pandemic
These Photos Imagine What Tangible Anxiety Would Look Like
Mental Health Help for Photographers (And Everyone Else)
How Nature Photography Brought Me Back from the Brink of Suicide
Photography is an Antidepressant
How LEGO Helped Me Overcome Professional Burnout
I wrestled with Death Twice To Live For Photography
WHY ISN'T PHOTOGRAPHY FIXING ME! blerg I constantly compared myself to others and felt like a failure.
I tried other things. Yoga, dance, weights, colouring in, Lego, chocolate and meditation. Nothing. Why? They fixed other people. Was I that broken? Yes. Obviously. It's all my fault for not being good enough at something and I should just get in the fudging sea. No. I'm being silly. breatheschecks twittersees post about how just 10 minutes outdoors can do wonders for your mental healtheats phone
This was my life for years before I found open water swimming. Am I fixed? Well... No. I have an activity that I can do for free on my doorstep that connects me with nature and the local community. An activity that is non-competitive so I can't compare myself to how others are better than me. An activity that forces me to be present in the moment. I have something that works for me. Me. That's the key thing here. I forgot that I'm an individual made up of my own life experience.
It is important to remember that you are an individual. You haven't failed if something did not work for you. It is terribly important to remember that because if you don't your mental health will suffer and the act of trying new things could become a trigger. "Well that never worked. Nothing ever works. I should give up." Nooooo. It's just that it wasn't for you. Totally fine. On to the next thing.
11 years. It took 11 years to get to this point. That's an annoyingly long time but that is the way problem solving goes sometimes. I can't beat myself up for taking a long time to learn something about myself. That would be stupid. "Oh hey I'm enlightened now. Yay! Why did it take so long? I hate myself." breathes
All this got me thinking about what are the underlying factors at work here. Is it as easy telling someone to take up open water swimming or is it a much more complicated issue where swimming is a trigger for the positive mental health boosts I need. If I could better understand what I need then maybe colouring in or Lego could work under different circumstances. If so then perhaps there's an equation that works for us all that allows us the freedom, time and space to find which activity is beneficial to our mental health. Instead of articles saying "This thing fixed me!" we could have articles saying "This way of thinking helped me."
Look at it this way. A man got naked and joyfully played in the mud in a forrest during lockdown claiming it helped his mental health. I'm not suggesting we all do this but look at what he said.
‘It was total freedom and a huge adrenaline rush. I was not thinking about anything else. ‘Usually, at this point, there were so many things whizzing though our heads. But for that moment, we were in the woods having a laugh, just the two of us. ‘It was about completely getting away from everything and clearing our heads.’
That's not too dissimilar from my experience in the water. Freedom and head clearing. A bit of a laugh. Could the formula for good mental health include something like that? Freedom? An activity that allows us the freedom to have a guilt free laugh? Something that doesn't cost money, doesn't harm anyone, is consensual, is a bit silly because we need to be a bit silly now and then, something outdoors in nature and something sociable to stave off isolationism. You hear it from older people now and then when they do something like ride a motorbike at ludicrous speed or bungee jump. "I feel young. Alive." I'm not saying we need to climb a mountain naked while singing show tunes. We all need something that makes us feel young and something that boosts our mental health. We need the time to find it and positive re-enforcement not shaming to find it.
No shame. No judgement. No stress. No worries. Go find that thing that makes you happy. You haven't failed if something isn't right for you. Try something else.
Go forth and be you. You're awesome.
You can get prints of the photos in this weeks newsletter on my print store.
I have a limited selection prints for sale on my archive print shop. Featuring Liverpool, New York, Venice, The Wirral, and beyond (starscapes!)
Use the coupon code : HelloComputer for 10% off. Also works on newsletter prints. Valid till 31 Jan 2021
A few photos from my random walks along the coast. Every day is different. The light changes the landscape and the clouds never look the same. I never tire of the view here.
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“Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous.” Christopher Pike, Captain USS Discovery.
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