3 Ways Photography Helps Me Fight Depression

Note: I have never officially been diagnosed but more often than not I wake up pessimistic than optimistic.

Now that we have that disclaimer out the way, my name is Demetri Wilright. I’m 26 years old at the time of writing this and I work in the IT industry. For understanding, here is why I believe I suffer from depression. When I was 5 years old I decided to be an engineer. I knew exactly what I wanted to be and from a 5 year old’s dream to now I made it in all senses of the word. But yet day after day in my career I’ve felt something missing. I end up feeling down on myself about what I don’t have rather than the blessings I’ve received. I’m harder on myself than anyone else and that leads my thoughts to a negative place.

Enter photography! From the day I got my camera in December of 2016, I’ve had a huge up swing of positivity in my life. In the past year I went from a lot of “down days” to so far only 2 I can remember in the past year. That’s a great shift for me! I went from why and what am I doing, to how can I get better and do more. Photography changed my perspective on life. Here are 3 reasons why I believe photography helps me do that:

1. It forces me to look at the best qualities of my environment

Now if you’ve ever taken a photo then you know you only snap your best. All social media nowadays is a reflection of that. So think about it if you are constantly searching for the best where you are, how can you think negatively? I know I can’t!

2. It forces me to look my best

For work, I do a lot of solo traveling so instead of snapping portraits of friends and family, I have to snap portraits of myself. I used to run track and my mom told me this, “Look good, run good.” Now the same thing applies to portraits, “ Look good, portrait good.” When I am my best outfits or my best looks that’s when I take the best selfies. So I have to be on point even the days when I don’t want to get dressed or do anything. You never know when a perfect photo opportunity will arrive!

3. It forces me to learn

Instead of hours wallowing in self-pity, I look for ways to get better at taking photos. It gives me something to study and get better at with actionable steps. For example, today I focused on getting beautiful landscape shots with different apertures. Also, instead of looking at Instagram with the man I wish I could do that or look like that, my approach is now how’d they get that shot, how can I do a shot like that or another like it? I look at others looking to learn not with envy. It’s a very different feeling. I even will reach out to other photographers and ask about how they got their shot. It’s creating a community type of feeling. That in itself is phenomenal!

4. (Bonus) It has reconnected me with my friends and family

In one of the two “down days” I’ve had I decided to represent how I felt with a photo. I shared that photo with my friends and family. The responses I got were phenomenal. I could not help but feel grateful. It took time to completely get past it but knowing I had so much support I didn’t realize I had, healed me faster. Again thank you everyone!

(This is the photo I shot that day)

So here is what I have noticed in my first full year of photography, negativity is at an all time low. Positivity is at an all time high. I’m loving the skin I was born into more every day. I’m willing to reach out and ask others for help. I’m learning to connect with my environment and others around me, in a world that is slowly getting less connected personally and more digitally. Overall, I feel empowered and I wouldn’t trade that feeling for the world.

Instagram: @photosbydemy

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