I believe this is my first blog post in two years. And for that, I apologize. I’ve been off the radar for a long, long time. I wanted to take some time to explain that and, hopefully, explain how I’m moving forward.
I’ve spent the last several years, more or less, in a bit of a mental health crisis. It started in 2018 with depression, and while I struggled through it, I was fighting a losing battle most days. I had a really hard time finding motivation to do much of anything, and my work suffered because of it. 2019 was better, kind of, but there were still a lot of ups and downs and I felt like I had lost my passion.
Things had started looking up in early 2020 and then COVID-19 happened. Any progress I was making was completely lost and I spiraled into the lowest point I’ve ever been in my life. I stopped doing… anything. I felt lost, my heart ached, and I was completely hopeless. At one point, I considered ending my life.
In an effort to re-stabilize myself, I cut back on almost all of my work. There was a month where I only made $300 for the entire month, because I was struggling so much with myself that I decided my mental health and wellbeing had to come first. And while setting solid boundaries and working less did help a bit, they never quite got me back to “normal”.
Finally, early this year, I received professional mental health help. And a diagnosis. Turns out I wasn’t just struggling with depression, nor was I just having a regular ole rough time because of COVID. For the last several years, I’ve been dealing with untreated bipolar disorder.
I’ve been in treatment since March, and it’s making a world of difference. Between medication and therapy I’m finally beginning to feel like a whole person again. I have motivation! I can put in a full day of work! I’m not absolutely miserable or so hyper I can’t focus! It’s a dramatic change, and it has me feeling really optimistic for the future.
I’m still going easy on myself. I’ve spent a long time being Not Okay™, I’m still working my way back to where I was before everything went sour. And, to be honest, I spent so long being unwell that feeling “normal” is an adjustment. I’m still figuring myself out.
However, I do have a rough idea of what the future holds. First of all, I’ve partnered with Anania Bailey as a part of their web development team. This partnership has allowed me to work on projects that excite me, has allowed me to continue to be creative while having a team to connect with and some structure – two things that have been invaluable to my recovery.
Second, I’ve been focusing on photography quite a bit. While I’m not, by any means, a professional photographer, I’d like to start expanding my services to include photography, as it’s an outlet I really enjoy. I’ve actually done several commercial shoots now – two for Elmet Technologies and one for PolyLabs. The thrill of being on-site and, interacting with clients in a new way, and building out content for their projects has been incredibly rewarding.
I’ve also decided that moving forward, I want to work on more projects that make a difference. I’ve been working with clients such as Indigo Arts Alliance and the Maine Women’s Giving Tree, both of which are non-profits aligned with causes that mean a lot to me. In collaboration with Anania Bailey, I built a custom mental health provider search tool for Spurwink, which was project that was very, very close to my heart. Working on projects that help people and better my community has helped me fall back in love with my work, and it’s something I’m going to continue to do.
So where does this leave me? At the moment I’m not taking on any new projects until autumn – I’m trying to give myself time to re-adjust and get everything in order before I jump back into full-time work. But if you’re a non-profit or think your project would be a good fit, I’d love to hear about it!