Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Is it time to change your lens?

When I'm in the depths of a low, I can't help focusing on elements of myself and my life which, through the lens of depression, appear terminally horrendous. If I am able to share my feelings with close ones, they often try to draw my attention to the good things in my life, but it's no use. My lens is fixed on the bad stuff, and it's not going away.

Looking through a lens and focusing on elements of other people's lives is in fact, what I do for a living. I've just spent the entire winter inside a maximum security women's prison, getting to know six women there, filming their day to day lives and listening to their stories. Some of those stories are truly horrific, often involving abandonment, abuse and mental illness.

One might imagine that immersing myself in their worlds would be the worst thing for depression, but instead, it actually lifted me out of a low.

Some of these women have lost everything, and have nothing. Many of them have watched their lives out there disintegrate while they languish helplessly inside: their husbands moving on, their children being removed.

But never in my life have I seen such a capacity for hope, love, laughter and determination in the face of such damning circumstances. They support each other, they grow and they find ways to enjoy their days in prison. Ultimately they attempt to focus on the good things and deal with the bad things as best they can.

These women made me realise that it was time to change my lens.

What kind of lens are you looking through today?

Anna
A Moodscope member.