It took a great deal of time to get to the position where I was able to launch this website and I owe a great deal to many people.
As a result of work related stress, in my job as a solicitor, I was eventually diagnosed with depression in the autumn of 2014 (although I had suffered it for a couple of years before then). I have tried to write about my experiences (www.jonnymlifestories.wordpress.com) having been asked to do so by those helping me to recover from this very difficult illness. I have been part of the Time for Change Campaign, organised by MIND and other mental health charities, highlighting the stigma and discrimination which historically has been experienced by people suffering from mental illness. As someone who hid my illness from those close to me for a long time I consciously took the decision to be open about my illness and the consequent difficulties I experienced. Whilst this has not been easy it has enabled me to encourage others suffering from a mental illness to reach out and seek help, something I did not do myself for a very long time. I am involved in each year's Time to Talk Days (the latest having been on 2 February 2017), an initiative to get us all talking about mental illness in a non-judgemental and constructive way.
You may ask what all this has to do with my photography? I was encouraged throughout my treatment "to do more of what you like, and less of what you don't like". Very simple advice but over the months it was something I tried to remember. As a result I started focusing more on my photography and began the task of cataloguing over 10,000 images as well as getting outdoors more to practice the hobby I love (and of course walk Daisy and Murphy, my wonderful dogs). I rediscovered the importance of photography to me. I understood very soon that the times of the day when I was not worrying, anxious and or deeply sad were when I was behind the lens waiting for the sun's evening rays to light up a distant hill or the sky to turn a beautiful shade of lilac.
So photography has helped me a great deal and continues to do so; I continue to spend some of my week working on my photography. I have also been blessed to be employed part-time by Cardiff University Law School teaching postgraduates; this has enabled me to start working with some wonderful colleagues and students.
My journey has also been made far easier by my Mum, Judith, by Mel, by my brothers, Simon and Chris, my sister Lucy together with Katie, Jonny, and my wonderful nieces Amanda, Emily, Caitriona, Eleanor, Madeleine and Clara. I am very grateful to all of them. I would also to thank my dog walking pals who continue to share wonderful (albeit usually wet) walks with me.