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It’s not easy to talk about. In fact, it’s almost “taboo” for many people. It’s neglected, swept under the rug, and we pretend nothing is wrong.
But we need to talk. And we need to act.
May is mental health awareness month.
Your brain is the most complex part of your entire body. It’s an organ- just like your heart, your lungs, kidneys, etc. We treat heart disease, we treat things like kidney stones and we even take over the counter meds when we have a little congestion in our chest…. but we act as if ANYTHING wrong with our mind is completely hush-hush and we neglect it.
Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.(43.8 million)experiences mental illness in a given year.
Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.(9.8 million)experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.(NAMI)
With those statistics, it’s extremely likely that you KNOW someone who suffers from a mental illness, but you may not KNOW they are suffering.
The thing is, most people won’t ask for help. For many, it’s embarrassing to talk about it.
I know it seems like every time you turn around there’s an “awareness” campaign going on- but in this matter, spreading awareness might be the single best way to make a world where those suffering can feel able to reach out to get the help they need. It needs to be talked about, and it needs to be de-mystified.
People who have mental health issues do not all fit the stereotype you think of. They are your friends, your family, your co-workers. They are people who may seem perfectly “fine”.
People living with a mental illness are experiencing things like pain, anguish, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, uncontrollable crying, sadness, mood swings, FEAR, rage, wild irritability, sweats, delusions, hallucinations, feelings of worthlessness.
“According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 42,773 Americans die by suicide each year.” That’s 117 people every day. Every 12 minutes an American dies by suicide. EVERY. DAY.
The saddest part of it all is that some people feel they can no longer cope, and end their own lives to escape the agony.
It’s easy for those without illness to brush it off and think that they should “just get over it” or “deal with it”, or that they just need to realize that they have “their whole lives ahead of them”.
What is the right thing to say? I don’t know. I DO know that you can listen. Don’t judge. Just be there. Spend time with them.
Show that you care. If you feel incapable of doing that, then at the very least BE NICE. BE ACCEPTING. You may not understand what they are going through-
The things that brought them joy no longer do so.
They feel swallowed up by a darkness that feels like it is consuming them.
Their days are running together, like an endless nightmare.
They feel completely empty and yet at the same time full of sorrow.
They feel like everyone looks at them with accusing eyes.
They feel different than everyone else, and unaccepted.
They are in a lonely place that is inexplicably loud.
They can’t turn off the voices that try to persuade them that everyone is better off without them.
They are riddled with thoughts of “what’s the point?”
They have cried so hard already that they are numb.
They just want to sleep forever.
And if you’re reading this, and you’re dealing with suicidal thoughts… I can only ask for now that you please wait. Wait until tomorrow, and then wait until the next tomorrow and the next.
It’s possible that 10 “tomorrow’s” , or even 100 of them might be just as hard as today. But “tomorrow” you might turn a corner and see the sun unexpectedly shining bright. “Tomorrow” you might run into an old friend that brightens your day and makes the next few “tomorrow’s” easier.
But you’ll never know unless you wait.
I don’t know where you’re at right now, and I don’t know how you’re feeling. I only know where I’ve been. And it’s hard…
But so far, I’ve been waiting till tomorrow- and life has thrown me some sunshine in places that I didn’t see coming. Some of my “tomorrow’s” ended up completely changing my life- when I was SURE nothing would ever change.
I look back now and I’m so so glad I waited. I’m so glad I didn’t miss what was just around the corner. I’m not promising you that it will be that way for you… But it might.
I don’t have the answers, but if you need to talk I am here. If I can’t help I will find someone who can, and we will all work on it together.
Choose to stay and fight. You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it. But if any fight is worth winning, this is it.
Just please wait.
Love one another. Always.
“And suddenly you know…it’s time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings.”
Many of you in Haralson County and surrounding areas know who Keith Hardin (Hardin Fine Art Photography) is. Many of you were quite sad to hear that he was closing his studio portrait business last week. For those of you who didn’t know, you do now! Keith has decided to focus all of his time on school and event photography and also reserve more time for traveling and enjoying the freedom of the open road. Keith has become a great friend to Lonnie and I, and had I known years ago just how great and kind of a person he is, I would have made more effort then to strike up a friendship. This year we all went in together to create Timestamp Photography for school and sports team photos. It is an extremely wonderful opportunity for us and we are so thankful to be working alongside someone so talented and genuine. If you know Keith, you know he loves his community and his school and sports! This will be an exciting year for all of us and we hope to service our community schools with great school portraits.
Everyone knows where Hardin Photography is in downtown Buchanan. It’s kind of become a landmark of sorts. For years and years, anyone who is ANYONE, went to Keith Hardin for their senior portraits, family portraits, and Santa visits. Heck, when we needed family portraits for ourselves, we went to no other than the best- Keith Hardin. Our family portrait from him hangs proudly in our home.
Now let’s go back- High school is where my love of photography began. ( you could read about that in another blog! lol). I bring this up again because I would always drool over Keith’s images. I was always amazed at his talent with studio lighting, and how he crafted his fine art. As years went by and I began to start my photography business I would constantly compare my work to his and see the failures and my downfalls. Even Lonnie remembers all the times I was learning and would say, “If I could only get as good as Keith Hardin!!! Ugh- ” So to say I idolized him would be an accurate statement.
If you had told me then that I would be joining him in a business- I’d have fainted.
But the story doesn’t end there. Timestamp Photography will service the school and event photography- but we also have a turn of events for Strawberry Hill Photography!
Although we have lived and worked in Bremen for about 10 years, Lonnie and I both were raised in Buchanan. We are both K-12 HCHS graduates, We both spent one of those cold days in 5th grade singing Christmas Carols on the square in Buchanan. It’s our “stomping grounds”. Buchanan is where we learned that it’s ok to be yourself, how to treat others with respect, how to be an upstanding member of the community. It’s also where Lonnie proposed to me, where I brought my newborn babies home to, where Lonnie and I had our first house, and it is the birthplace of the infamous “Strawberry Hill” that my paw paw loved so much.
I’d like to announce that SHP is going home.
Studio #7….I’m trying to put into words how this feels- but it’s difficult. The Hardin Building will be the new home of Strawberry Hill Photography. (Did i really just say that?? wow) Never did I ever think that life would take me on this path. Never did I think that I would be moving my studio into the location of someone I have admired for so many years. Although like many of you, I AM sad in ways that Hardin Fine Art is closing- it’s like the end of an era, and also for me, it’s a foreshadowing of what is to come for my own future. However, I am very happy for Keith- we all want to travel and experience life fully “one day”- and I am so happy that he is able to make this decision and have so many new adventures.
We will begin our move in January and will be fully up and operational by February 1st.
Strawberry Hill Photography will now be located right on the courthouse square at 133 Van Wert St, Buchanan, Ga. This will ALSO be the home base for our school business, Timestamp Photography.
We are SO very excited for what the new year brings for both businesses! We are hard at work on SHP already- building all new packages and pricing for the class of 2020- we have so many new techniques, ideas, and plans for even better service to our clients! This is a big step forward for SHP, and although we have enjoyed our time in Bremen, there’s just no place like home.
We hope to continue to service ALL of our clients in the surrounding areas- as well as help provide timeless portraits to those who have so graciously entrusted their memories to Keith for all these years.
Movin’ on up,
Karen and Lonnie