Depression – the intrinsic feeling of sadness and the secret we all share.
Whether you’ve felt it yourself or know someone close to you who has experienced it, we’d be surprised if you weren’t aware of the perils that come with it. Braided in our genetics, most are predisposed to this mammoth melancholy and only need one trigger to set off a spiraling cycle of anxiousness, daunt and numbness. Depression doesn’t just eat away at your happiness, it slaughters your vitality and without vitality, we are nothing.
Society has made depression feel like an illness we should be embarrassed of, it is seen as a sign of weakness to the masses rather than a strength of admittance. It silences its catastrophic number of sufferers and represents the light at the end of the tunnel as a train. Never has the narrative of those who have come out the other side been so important which makes Paul Hitchmo a diamond in the rough. A man who has found focus down his lens and has been able to escape the chaos through a camera. The moments he captures is his very own unique therapy and he wants to show the world how his alternative medication has got him through.
We caught up with Paul:
What is your history with mental health?
“I have suffered with schizophrenia for over 15 years and have been on an up and down path with the illness. I have been in and out of hospital in that time and been on a range of medication to help me as well as joining a great support network that has helped me understand my illness. I took up photography about 9 years ago as a hobby and quickly realised that it was helping me get back in to everyday life as I found that having a camera made me forget about what was going on around me and I stopped getting hyper vigilant when I was out as I got so focused on the perfect shot. I have been involved in some great projects in the community such as the Biennial back in 2014 with a mental health group called Art Tree. I now do some charity work with a range of mental health organisations to help out when they need it.”
The exhibition looks amazing, what motivated it?
“The reason I wanted to do this was to try and change people’s views on mental health in the community with a large focus on schizophrenia as it often gets bad publicity. There are a lot of creative people that suffer mental illness that do not have the confidence to express themselves due to the stigma. I have invited people from different walks of life to view this exhibition including people with mental illness and people who have not to show that with the right support and medication thinks can change. Just give people a goal and some confidence in themselves. I was originally going to do the exhibition during mental health week but was not possible due to health complications. The exhibition was all set up and funded and put together by myself and any pictures that are sold will be going back in to the mental health community.”
What do you take photos of?
“I like to take street photography and music photography as it’s free therapy and it helps you focus in on the world.”
They say if you really want to know what a person truly loves, see what they photograph. The exhibition is on until the 30th June, we implore you to go see it. Paul wanted to also give a special thanks to the people below for helping him get where he is today: