The world has ended. I’m no longer needed. 2020 has shown me that in the apocalypse I’m not going to be a tv star. I’m going to be written off in the opening episode. I find it incredibly hard to “always look on the bright side of life.” I’ve had moments through 2020 where I’ve been happy and ok with life. However, my negative brain is annoyingly more dominant than my positive. It would be nice to see myself as John Connor, Sherif Egg in The Walking Dead or Tim from Spaced in Shaun of the Dead. Realistically I’m a zombie in those films. I’m already gone.
This is how I feel right now in November of 2020 as I come to terms with the world, my world, ending. I’ve felt ok-ish throughout most of lockdown. There was the time early one when it felt like I was having a nervous breakdown and took time off. Maybe I’m there again? Can’t imagine why shrug Daily life hasn’t been massively different to any other year, mental health wise. Toss a coin and guess whether its a depression day or not and then deal with it. As we’re heading towards mid-November I’m feeling more exhausted than normal. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) kicking in? Maybe but I enjoy this time of year because the light is much nicer to photograph in and the air is super crisp.
Why am I more exhausted than usual? I feel like the loss that people experienced at the start of all this when they couldn’t socialise or go out is finally reaching me in my own way. I spent summer not missing anything. I could still go out for bike rides. I could take photos. I could enjoy video game sales and I could still socialise online. However, it is now November and, don’t think me shallow, but it’s technology season and I can’t join in. This is my going to the pub, going to a gig, being in the crowd at sportsball, etc. I know I don’t need any of it. What’s the point in a new iPhone camera system when you can’t leave the house or a PS5 when you don’t have a 4K TV and the games I’d like to play are on the PS4? There’s no point. I accept that. But still it’d be nice right? New toy season! These are the things that excite and interest me and now, like the people at the start of lockdown who were unable to enjoy their hobbies, I feel like I’m starting to miss mine. Is this thing I’m feeling grief?
Whether or not I’m really grieving because I can’t have a new shiny box to button mash on I know one thing. This is depression. Hello old friend. It’s triggered by loss and exaggerated by worrying about the future which is known as catastrophising. Negative thoughts about what if.
- “I’m not good enough…”
- “I can’t do…”
- “No-one needs me…”
- “I’ll never…”
If this was the zombie apocalypse I’d be crippled by my brain and useless in the aftermath.
Always challenge these thoughts because they are baseless. How can you really say you’ll never something again? Can you see the future? You can’t so don’t catastrophise. “No-one needs me…” My wife needs me. “I can’t do…” Have I tried? Really tried? Challenge these thoughts with evidence to the contrary and fight the negative thoughts.
In an attempt to fight the negative thoughts and challenge them with evidence to boost my positivity I looked for examples of people who have gone through the process of coming to terms with being disabled, which is something that has previously helped me come to terms with being autistic. I read a Twitter thread about Geralt from The Witcher novels/videogame/Netflix series who learned to live a life with disabilities. His journey and outlook inspired the people who read those books. If he could continue to be a hero it gave them hope. If you’re a Bake Off watcher you might be familiar with Marc Elliot who has a prosthetic leg. His daughters inspired him to take up baking for mental health reasons. He was on Bake Off baking amazing looking food. His life didn’t end with the accident. He found a way through. The photographer Giles Duley was blown up in the Middle East and lost 3 limbs. He continues to be better photographer than I will ever be.
I need to look at people like this who have found ways to continue with their lives and draw strength and inspiration from them. They’re people just like me. It is possible to find new abilities as a disabled person. Whatever is going on in the world right now is only change not the end. I need to be ok with that in order to be useful tomorrow.
As I finish writing the music on my iPhone swells and I check the track. “Peace and purpose” from the Last Jedi soundtrack. It gives me a new hope and then I hate myself for having the feels or even use the word “feels”. Blerg. Look, the short of it is the world is a really tough place to be right now. Take care. Find heroes. People did amazing things before 2020. There’s lots of stories to inspire you out there.
- Covid lockdown opening up world for people with disabilities | Society | The Guardian
- the dislocating GM🦓 Making DnD Better ♿ on Twitter: “Geralt of Rivia & the Importance of Disabled Protagonists A Thread. Geralt of Rivia is disabled. That statement always surprises people, even fans of the series. But it’s true. It’s just that people only remember how Geralt is shown in- 1/20 https://t.co/7RlFtiK0ol” / Twitter
- Photographer Giles Duley’s learnings on isolation and struggle…
- Giles Duley – a second shot at life – BBC News
- Coming To Terms With My Disability and How I Maintain A Positive Mindset – Undercover Superhero
For one week only you can get prints of the photos in this weeks newsletter on my print store. So be quick if you see something you like.
This weeks photos are from Paris with a focus on trees. Ain’t trees brilliant? I’ve been thinking about Paris a lot recently after taking some trips down memory lane on my journal. Why is it such a romantic city? I think it’s the trees. Seriously. The architecture is wonderful but there are always trees in the background providing this beautiful contrast to the colour of the buildings. It’s a city that appears to love nature and from that comes my romanticised view of it. Or maybe they just haven’t figured out a way to get rid of them all like some stupid cities round here.
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- Siena Castellon: ‘Autistic people are really struggling with how uncertain things are’ | Autism | The Guardian
- Nobody Is Normal
- A Picture of Change for a World in Constant Motion – The New York Times
- Plan for Full Participation and Equality for People with Disabilities | Joe Biden
- Empowering All Abilities of Gamers – SIE Blog – English
- Jessica Benham, Bi Autistic Woman, Seals Historic Win in Pa. Election
- Autistic artist uses painting to deal with coronavirus fear – BBC News
- The Absence of Normal – Faces of Autism