anxiety australianauthor counsellingsunshinecoast depression healingnaturally healingthroughphotography helpingheal holistichealing noosaauthor pheatherine pho-toi reducingtrauma Apr 07, 2024

The best thing I ever did in my entire life, was to delve into holistic ways of how to reduce my own anxiety. Moving our entire family from New Zealand to Australia, finding a rental in a cut-throat market and continuously having to move (I think it was 7 times in five years). Being away from our super close family increased my anxiety ten-fold. Helping others was at the top of my priority list as well, so off I trotted to train as a Mindfulness Teacher, and a Holistic Art Therapist/Counsellor. 

The more I worked on myself, the more I realized that I was the one who had control of changing my own emotions and feelings (no-one was coming to save me). I saw a huge improvement in my anxiety once I took the reins, as I put my needs first and listened to what my body wanted. Why the heck had no-one ever told me that I have everything I need internally, I just need to be taught the techniques to use them.

With 35+ years as a professional photographer this was the perfect combination to combine all these skills together. I was still writing my book when my beautiful Dad passed away, and it made me more determined to push through in order to honour him (I know he will be looking down on me super proud).

One of my teenage clients had a brain injury, he had the speech of a 4-year old, but was able to say - 'camera make me calm'. THAT was one of the many turning points when I realized .... a lot of people communicate better 'visually rather than verbally'. Over the next few years I bought SLR cameras and allowed my clients to take photos in nature of how they felt. Foster children were able to express their feelings instead of repress them. We held amazing community-based photography exhibitions at the Bendigo Bank and clients were able to sell their work and keep 100% of the money they earned.

An image of a broken tree could represent a breakdown in one of their relationships, a shriveled leaf could express how they feel internally about their anxiety - fragile and withered. From kids to adults, who seemed lost in this big old world, they were finally releasing their pent-up trauma - and beginning a photographic journey into their souls. My one wish from this book is that you can pass it onto others, in order for them to find a new way to lighten their load and feel their feels.

I am super-proud of what I have accomplished, it would have been so easy to just sit back in my comfort zone and dream about writing my book. I encourage every one of you to push through and do not let anything stand in your way! I wanted to give up so many times, especially when I had completed my entire book and the file was corrupt and could not be accessed. It took me two days of panic and googling to fix it (yes I know, I know ..... I had not done a backup). 

So write down your one goal you want to achieve today and create the steps to make it possible. When you move from your comfort zone to where the magic happens - it gets addictive and you are able to push yourself to bigger and better things.

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