We chat with Trevor, from Verwood, Dorset. He has discovered the life-changing consequences of outdoors when combined with a passion for photography.
InsideOutHants (IOH): Hi Trevor, thanks for sharing your story with us. Can you give us a little background?
Trevor Parsons (TP): I’ve had two mental breakdowns in my life, the last one I had was bought on by pressure at work. I was lucky if I was getting half an hours sleep a night through worrying and not sleeping. Your body doesn’t allow you to do that for to long eventually I broke down crying at work. I was off ill from work for ten months I kept spiralling mentally downhill in the end I was admitted into St Anne’s hospital in Poole twice.
IOH: We’ve heard St Anne’s offers a very supportive environment, what was your experience?
TP: I’ve never met such a kind, caring dedicated bunch of people as the staff in St Anne’s. When I was stabilised on my medication I was allowed home, I was frightened to go outside my parents just managed to get me to my doctors.
She (my doctor) knew of my love of nature and photography and she said for me to go outside along Bournemouth lower gardens for five minutes, take some photos of nature when the timer of my iPhone went off to go home and write in a diary how I was feeling and to increase my outside when I felt comfortable. When you’re going through a mental breakdown all your thoughts and worries are constantly spinning around in your head. Yet when you’re taking a photo you are focusing on one moment in time; all my worries faded into the background and gave me some much needed headspace.
IOH: The photography clearly helped you focus, where did this lead you?
TP: When the doctor said I was able to drive, I took myself into Hampshire. Walking along Leyhaven when it was angry did me the world of good. Another on of my favourite places to wander was along the river from Beaulieu village to Bucklars Hard. You can’t beat walking along it on a Summers day, you never know what wildlife is going to pop up for you to photograph.
IOH: What would be your advice to anyone finding things difficult?
TP: If you’re feeling depressed or suffering from mental illness please tell someone and don’t suffer in silence. Opening up and speaking to someone is the first step to recover.
Trevor’s photos can be seen on his Twitter page: @sonsrap10
Mental Health Awareness Week runs from 13th May. Read more at: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week
All photos © Trevor Parsons (2019).