How A Daily Photo Keeps Me Sane

Despite a wobbly brain I'm doing just fine. Circumstances ebb and flow, work fluctuates, the weight goes up but mostly down, and the black dog seems to have taken itself off for a long overdue deep sleep.

How can this be, surely once depressed / suicidal then forever that. I'll be honest, I thought that when it first dawned on me that maybe this is something that is with me forever, requires constant managing, but could also go away, and certainly not define me.

(wanna know a secret, it also felt like a special power, a thing that made me different and shiny. But also that if it did ever go away then there would either be nothing left of me or that I would be a sliver of who I wanted to be ... these thoughts are all bollocks, that's the secret)

So how did I get here? No surprises that it's through the same old 4 pillars I've leant on since it all went BOOM!
  1. Drugs
  2. Counselling
  3. Exercise
  4. Support
I'd like to add in another small but extremely powerful for me, action that probably comes under '4. Support'. Every morning I give myself anywhere between 10 to 30 minutes of me doing something that takes me far far away from it all.

Let me go back a bit.
During the dark days of May 2016 I reached out to some close friends an in essence I said, "Help me I'm drowning". Amongst all the love and advice was something KK passed on this, "Try and do something creative", she said, "A little something that you can regularly lose yourself inside that will make you smile." At the time KK suggested writing but, whilst I do love writing, I was a wee bit over words. 

A few hour later I happened to be staring at some photos 'on' my phone - I have everything I've ever taken stored in Google Photos and so going back to the earliest ones is a doddle. I was perusing them before one struck my eye and I thought, "Hmmm, that's not bad". I downloaded, popped it into Instagram (I think), edited it, farted around with some filters and shared.

The next morning, I did it again.

And that was it - find one daily photo from the archive, download, edit (for no longer than 30 mins or so), and share it out. One rule, I could not backtrack having to always scroll forward in time, once I got to the newest photo I could then start again back in 1999.

And so I have done that every day for the past 3 years.
I now share via Twitter (the latest is always pinned to my profile), and add to a Google Photo album called "Mike's art farty photos" that anyone can go look at.

So what does it do for me?
It's all about self care. I care about myself to give me the time to do something that makes me smile. It also minutely adds to my self esteem, "Yes, I can take some pretty snazzy photos".

Choosing the daily photo lets me play, lets me choose, lets me be totally and utterly me, I am lost in the memories but I am finding something that connects with me. I liken this to the times at kindy and playing in the sandpit, when the whole universe was everything you needed right there. It's called by growed-ups as "being in the zone".

Additionally, editing the photo gives me time to learn, to try things, to see what else I can do which also says, "You're ok kid, I reckon you can make that a little better with a wee bit more of a push, see what more you can do ..."

It is such a part of my routine that my kids will now say / shout, "DAAAAD! Dad, I can't find my ... oh you doing your photo, that's ok, I'll look myself" ... or more normally "... that's ok, I'll wait" (so you can then go look for me ;)

So it's about me being me and the world can just wait for a bit because, despite earlier false evidence to the contrary, I am worth it.

So, thank you KK, I'm not sure I've ever told you how much a difference that your suggestion has made for me ❤

Interestingly over on Access Granted NZ podcast late last year we chatted with Adrian Owen, a man all about self care, and he mentioned something similar - give yourself some "you time" in the morning, to reset, get the day going tje way you want. Raj even titled the episode, "Make time for YOU"
Listen to "Adrian Owen - Make time for YOU" on Spreaker.

Some of my favourite photos ... as I write this, it changes each time I look :)
Sorry there's a lot, I couldn't decide what not to share .. and I am proud of them all.


  1. You are amazing Mike! Good on you for trying it out, and making it work for you. Big hugs. KK


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