How writing has equipped me with my very own set of superpowers
Resilience is a good friend of the word, Connection. Together they work to encourage wellness. Resilience, much like Connection, is among those critical, meaningful and highly relevant words that have risen in status as we experience the ups and many downs that 2020 has presented. The word describes most Victorians who have been striving to cope with what feels like, one knockdown after another.
The past week has been tough to navigate. Feelings have been running rife on the back of important information from our Premier, giving us a picture of what our life would look like in the immediate future. A future within a world primarily defined by COVID-19 (as for the long-term, who knows). Victorians have been living in confinement for about six months. Unlike the rest of our state, Melbournians have felt the most severe impact. Told not to leave their homes and slapped with a curfew, they’ve been on the receiving end of a long list of restrictions. Many people are struggling financially and emotionally—struggling to keep pushing when everything seems to be pushing back with greater force.
I identify with the immense struggle of being stuck at home (as we comply with a strict stay at home advice). My mind screams for Connection and adventure every day. These screams are sometimes so intense I go from being relatively okay to feeling overwhelmed and in tears in a matter of minutes! If you find yourself in a similar situation, know that others also are experiencing intense feelings; and this is normal. I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t asked myself what’s the point of even getting out of bed anymore? Everyday insipidly blends into the next, as I find myself doing the same stuff over and over again; it’s mind-numbing. On occasion, I’ve found myself desperately wanting to give up, I’d had enough of the insistent demands of being at home full-time with two young children to educate and keep happy. There is a temptation to stash our laptops away, sit on the couch, and binge-watch every TV show that captures my interest. The kids can fend for themselves, surely? Yet, as appealing as that might sound (for a short time anyway), I know this would merely be creating another set of worries to play havoc with my mind; something I can’t afford to do, even though it’s tempting.
Many of us had great hopes for what Sunday the 6th of September 2020 might deliver. This day was significant; it was THE day our State Government was due to unveil its much-anticipated path out of lockdown and the resumption of regular life. We’d been eagerly awaiting this day for weeks. The possibilities, everything we hoped for permission to enjoy again, the feeling of having something to look forward to; my heart could just burst out of my chest merely thinking about it.
Unquestionably, I did expect something a little different. Nothing over the top, something small and within the realm of safety, but certainly something to give a much-needed glimmer of hope. Sadly, that glimmer of hope didn’t happen. Quite the opposite actually; what we learnt was far from what any of us anticipated. It was painful to the core. Had we been expecting too much too soon? While I’m unable to speak for the majority, the people I have talked to weren’t hoping for the government to give us ‘too much’ too soon. I doubt anyone would have been expecting flexibility to do whatever they wanted. After all, we have got the message that going into public settings packed to the brim full of unmasked people is a poor choice. I genuinely believe most of us are a lot smarter and realistic than we are given credit for.
Our patience and ability to live under strict rules is wearing thin and at an increasingly rapid rate. Looking back, I think something a little more substantial than an extra hour of exercise a day, would’ve given longed-for relief. As it was, that first Sunday in September, combined with father’s day, presented Victorians with a new set of challenges. A new set of requirements, some of which seemed concerningly unattainable. The plan failed to provide any much-needed hope.
The Picture Healer- Resilience and Connection
I could never have known, a mere eight months ago, the significance that this website, The Picture Healer, would play in my near future. Without this outlet to spill out the contents of my daily anxiety-ridden mind, I’m unsure where I’d be in managing my emotional well-being following events of this year.
Once upon a time, Resilience and Connection were not qualities I’d had much experience with; they were like strangers in an unfamiliar environment; unknown and a little scary. Any sense of Connection had become redundant. Any sense of Resilience I may have once had, been called on too many times to pull me through the difficulties that life had thrown at me. Therefore, my inner sense of Resilience was in desperately poor health. I was holding on by mere threads that were on the verge of breaking. There was little left inside to keep me afloat. Had I known what I know now, maybe I would’ve done something similar earlier in life. Possibly I would be a very different person today, but deep down, I know I wasn’t ready for such a step.
As it turns out, The Picture Healer has literally been my saving grace during COVID-19. A time filled with countless overwhelming feelings; anxiety, fear, uncertainty and the ultimate stumbling block; the reality of feeling powerless. This is where The Picture Healer’s value shines through. It has given me the insight to see my website in a new and refreshing light. The Picture Healer isn’t just a website, not to me anyway. From my viewpoint, its greatest role has been in the positivity it has brought back to my life. The site provides an outlet that allows me to release anxiety-ridden thoughts from the potentially damaging constraints of my overly active mind. I’ve been presented with a new sense of self-help power never previously experienced. The ability to possess healthy thoughts and opinions, and eliminate the extreme power that unhealthy thoughts and feelings have held over me, particularly during times of increased stress, has been liberating.
The old saying, hindsight is a beautiful thing, rings true. The benefits of hard work are beginning to show themselves. Even when inspiration has been low, I’ve continued writing, connecting and building my inner sense of resilience. The many late nights spent writing for The Picture Healer have not been a waste of time. The work has played an essential role in keeping my essential cup of wellness replenished. I would never have guessed that writing could equip me with my very own set of superpowers—powers to maintain a consistent form of communication, Connection and engagement with the world. Even during the darkest of hours, when I believed it would be impossible to continue writing, a strong sense of motivation has seen me emerge on the other side with my well-being intact. I have learnt that this is an example of Resilience and Connection working together.
I have never considered myself to be a writer, nor a photographer for that matter. I would never have thought I had the intelligence neither the skill required to write nor show my photography for an audience. Yet, here I am doing just that. How did I arrive at this critical point on my journey? A moment where I am starting to question my own pre-conceived negative self-thoughts and beliefs? Is it possible, that I have been wrong all along? My abilities continue to improve as I carry on, churning out weekly blogs based on relevant information about subjects that provide inspiration and hope to others. For someone who believed daily writing, a component of my recovery, as a pointless and tedious exercise, this is a profound change in perspective.
I now have the underlying feeling of being thankful. Thankful for my persistence, and grateful for being able to develop a site full of content in which I can wholeheartedly, lose myself. Writing and photography engage all of my senses, inspire me, and give me hope during times of hardship, times that could challenge anyone’s state of mind. Want to know what the icing on the cake is? These days, my mind is no longer consumed by thoughts relating to my body or a particular diet. My thoughts today are about issues that are far more exciting and creative. This is a massive win for team Sam.
Take home message
I believe that Resilience deserves its own definition here on The Picture Healer, right alongside its friend and colleague, Connection. So here you have it. As defined by the dictionary:
- the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
- ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.
I’m in no way on top of the world, nor do I have all my troubles neatly sorted into one manageable basket. But, more often than not, I’m bouncing back from adversity. And I’m doing so in much shorter spurts of time. This is the key to getting through great adversity, such as what we are currently experiencing with the pandemic. I’ve said it before, and I’m going to say it again. Find something you love to do, become rousingly lost within it and watch your inner sense of wellness rebuild from the broken state it may once have been.