Last week I was asked to send some recent photos of myself for the press to use. They felt my professional photos were too polished – they wanted something real. I totally understood and I obliged, setting off into my iPhone archives to dig for images.
But that was when the panic set in. I almost had a full-on panic attack – I had to take myself off and have a couple of hours breathing space before I finally revisited the task and made a shortlist with the help of my friends and family. This is because photos are a bit of an issue for me – and have been ever since the birth of the selfie and my part-time modelling career.
I became obsessed with having ‘perfect’ photos taken of myself. This became more of an issue as the fire was fuelled by social media – which is full of ‘perfect’ images of unattainability.
I found myself constantly constructing scenarios in order to have photographs taken, missing (or not enjoying) great life events because I was worried about how photos would turn out, then comparing my photos to those of others and feeling inadequate. This unhelpful, harmful cycle made me incredibly miserable. So I cut down on modelling and banned myself from social media.
I still take photos of course, just not so many. The real problem comes with the many obsessive selfies I take. And the fact that I am shit with technology, so I have three devices filled with pictures that I’m terrified of losing (for obsessive reasons).
Because of this, going back through old photos stresses me out. I’m reminded that I need to store these precious memories. I’m also reminded that really they should be plastered all over social media (until my brain reminds me that they don’t). It also stresses me out because I start to compare myself back then to myself now – and (even though at the time I felt critical about myself even more than I do now) the contemporary me comes off worse. On top of that
So I was in a world of stress picking these images. I don’t have a solution for this one yet guys – I’m stll trying to figure it out myself. But I wanted to share the story to give a little insight into my journey. My post ‘why I never say I’m better’ is coming up in a couple of weeks, but before that I just wanted to demonstrate that few people ‘lose’ or ‘shed’ their demons completely. And recovery isn’t always about being ‘better’ or ‘free of mental illness’ (as I mention in this post for Blue With A Clue here) – it’s actually often about learning to live with yourself in a way that allows you to breathe and enjoy, and doesn’t hold you back from your life.
There are lots of things I’ve managed to improve, but my relationship with photos unfortunately isn’t one of them. In time however I’m confident that’ll change. Continue to follow my journey and let’s see together!
Do you feel the same about photos? Share your stories (anonymously) here.