Week 26: Addiction and Depression Recovery

Well a good Sunday to everyone!  Nap taken I am ready to write my blog!  It has been quite a week for me.  Many of you who read this blog and are coming from Facebook already know the big news that I was published in PhotoPlus magazine, the July 2019 edition.  The digital edition is out now and it takes a couple of weeks for the physical copies to hit the US (though you can order it on line at https://www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/ , keep in mind the price is $13.50).  They are an international magazine based out of England and has been one of my favorite magazines for years along with another (also based out of England) Practical Photography.  So without further ado:

This is one of my proudest moments as a photographer/artist.  These pictures were a deeply personal journey into my life.  They each tell a part of my story.  I did not see the final product before they published it so I loved how they laid it out.  Serenity (the picture of me looking out the window) has a beautiful story of it's own.  I was 50, at my parent's house in Iowa and it was the last day of my vacation.  And the picture captured my contentment.  That was an important visit, you have no idea.  And then there is Shhhh!!!!, which is probably my favorite picture I have taken.  It's the eyes.  And it was a very difficult shot to take by myself.  And it is framed in our house to remind me to always give voice to those who may not have one.

Beyond the picture is the message I was trying to portray and get out.  Recovery from addiction is possible no matter how far along the path you have walked.  I am living proof.  And recovery and even stability in mental disorders is possible as well.  My path, though unconventional, works for me.  I have learned something.  In mental disorders, as well as in art, people are going to tell you what they think the best path for you to take is.  You need to do this, do that, etc.   In mental disorders we have doctors and those close to us that help us and a close knit support group that keeps us sane when insanity threatens to overtake us.  Only we know what is going on inside of us which is why getting with people like us is so important to be around.  They understand.  But I have people in my support group who have never been addicted or depressed.  They have their own issues but those aren't it.  Why?  Perspective.  Sometimes they see things that I cannot.  All of this, of course, has one common thread, God.  God has brought certain people in my life, and Ginger's, to help us, guide us, encourage us and just be there for us.

In my art, I have had many tell me the best path to take.  But my artwork is personal.  It is a piece of me.  If your an artist, your probably going to understand this.  Do I want recognition?  Who doesn't?  But it can be a trap.  Are you putting out artwork for others or what is on the inside.  Only one of the pictures above went viral.  The others did not get much recognition.  But that did not stop me, because recognition wasn't important, telling my story was.  Let me put it this way.   If my picture never makes me any money but leads one person to recovery, is that picture worth creating?  Is that picture then successful?  After all, what makes a picture successful?  A 1000 likes?  A million?  Selling it for a $100 or $10000?  Even if you donate all that money, does that make it successful?  Depends on what your purpose is.  I want to help people.  I want to show what God has done in my life.   It's that one out there, on a thread, that I am trying to reach.  It is that person sitting alone not knowing which way to turn, that is who I am looking to reach.  It's that person that it reminds that life is worth living.  That to me is successful.   That God has now allowed my pictures to be published and part of my story to be placed out there is God's way of using my artwork for His purpose.  Those pictures were taken over a period of time.  I have made some pretty provocative pictures to tell a message.  And the email, or comment, or message from that one person is enough.  It is God who guides me, not man.  He is the one who gives me the idea, through many outlets.  It is the process I trust.  If someone is pushing you to do something you have to ask this, is this your agenda or theirs?  Because God does not rush.

But that said, my photography, lately, has exploded.  I have been taking pictures everywhere and some have become quite popular.  Ah, to be able to take pictures for a living.

But my article is not even the biggest news of the week.  Not by a long shot.  Today is the first day that Ginger is finally off her daily Xanax use.  Since February she has been slowly coming down off of it.  Yes, it takes that long.  Under a doctor's care (a huge shout out to Dr. Tyler) she has reached the point of not needing to take it every day and only, now, as needed.  I cannot tell you how huge this is.  She may still need to take some if she gets an anxiety attack, but those are becoming less and we are learning more and more what triggers some of these.

For example.  Ginger was having anxiety attacks when I would get home.  Stumped us for a bit.  But Ginger figured it out.   I would get off work, exhausted, and just shut down when I got home.  She remembered our premarital counselor telling me to stay on when I got home.  So the person coming home was not the Paul she knew.  So those who have been reading this blog know about the spoon theory (if you don't remember tell me in the comments section and I will explain it).  So I now have two spoons by my computer to remind me to stay on for Ginger.  And those anxiety attacks have begun to fade.  You see, it is important, for Ginger and I, to work as a team.  And she knows that I need my down time and I get it.  Communication people.  Funny how talking to each other can solve a LOT of problems.

Okay on another note entirely yesterday I was out at the ranch.  So want to know what my clothes look like after a morning at the ranch?

Slightly sweaty, okay a lot sweaty.  And that is after a 20 minute ride home in AC!  But it was such fun!  I really, really enjoy working out there.  Sophie, of course has to be in the middle of it all!  And yes, I had my camera with me!  Okay so the shot my Mom will like:

There are a bunch of these out at the ranch.  Not sure what it is yet, but I will research it.  And NOW the picture my Mom will just breeze past:

This is a Green Lynx Spider.  This was a tricky little sucker to take a picture of!  But that is the fun of taking pictures at the ranch, you never know what your going to get a picture of.  Have to admit, to me this is a cool looking spider, but I understand why some would be like, get that thing away from me!

Ginger's sister and fam are in town this week so I get to spend some time with all.  Always enjoy being around them so should be a lot of laughter and fun!  And on July Fourth I already have my sausage links ready for the grill! 

Thank you everyone for your love, support and encouragement.  Happy Photography everyone!



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