A Photographer’s Diary, Face to Face With My PastBy
Earlier in the week I visited some hotels in the area local to the new premises, checking them out for perspective clients. As I walked into one and met with the reception manager, she began to tell me all about her anxiety problems. As I did my best to help she burst into tears explaining what I all to easily remembered, that when you have depression life is like a rollercoaster, some days you are up others you are down.
The following part of this article is something that I wrote this week for the people in my community, however, so many of us know or have experienced depression and I thought it was worth bringing to an ever wider audience. Even if you don’t consider this relevant to yourself, with one in three people suffering with depression, there’s a fair chance that someone around you might be, and hopefully this will help you to understand a bit more and support them.
Let Them Cry
One of the greatest gifts that you can give to anyone who is suffering with depression is to just be there without trying to make yourself feel better when they start to get emotional. Most people who are suffering from depression will describe life as a rollercoaster ride. Some days you are really high and you’re really happy, and you cherish these days and hope they last forever, and other days you are really low, very sad, and very emotional and burst into tears easily for any given reason.
It’s automatic for the people who are with them, friends, family, the people that care about them to rush in and try and comfort them; to make you both feel better. Yet if you have a friend a colleague or a loved one who is suffering in this way, tearing up seemingly at a drop of hat, resist that urge to rush in. The reaction to rush in and cuddle or smoother them with affection is more about the discomfort that you are feeling when you see someone upset. This is completely different to when someone is grieving for someone that has died then you all need the comfort.
However with depression, the greatest gift that you can give someone is to just be there and hold that space for them, to give them the freedom to cry, without rushing in to try and fix them. They aren’t broken, just in that moment they need to release the tears.
As you try to comfort them to make them ‘better’, you subconsciously send out a message that what they are doing is wrong, that they shouldn’t be crying. Yet sometimes it’s the best way for them to get that emotion out of their system right there and then.During or after the emotional outpouring, when they start to apologise for being so upset, for looking foolish, it’s important that you don’t make them feel that they need to apologise.
The greatest gift that I received when I was struggling like that was from a friend. We were having a conversation and I was talking about something that triggered me and I suddenly started to well up and cry; and she let me, she didn’t reach out to try and stop me. I knew she was there listening, I knew that I had her compassion and that gift of being given the space to cry and not feel ashamed or guilty was very healing.
I remembered this incident this week when I was out vetting hotels for people who might like to stay overnight for my courses. The lady who showed me round the hotel, when she discovered what I did for a job, began to tell me about her ‘rollercoaster’ emotional ride. As I listened to her story and tried my best to help her, she began to cry, slowly at first then in great floods.
She rushed off to get a tissue and then apologised for being unprofessional, I reassured that she had nothing to apologise for and to feel comfortable continuing. I resisted the urge to reach out and rub her arm; I just let her cry until it was all out. Apart from time spent with a counsellor, it’s rare to find someone who will let you cry. Try and give that gift to anyone you know who is suffering with their emotions in this way.
Living in the beautiful rural county of Yorkshire it was perhaps natural for Ruth to have an affinity with the countryside and its wildlife. Creativity is Ruth’s driving force finding an outlet in television & radio she worked for many years as producer for BBC & ITV.
However a love of photography and for being surrounded by nature called her to go back to her photography training and bring pleasure and joy to people through her connection with our planet.
Staying in the moment when taking her images allows her to experience the natural magnificence unfolding before her eyes. It is this moment of mediation, of gratitude, that she evocatively conveys through her images.
Company: Ruth Bayley Landscape Photography
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