The pictures that distract me
My #hardway story behind my hobby
A personal journey
I've debated whether or not to share this particular story, I'm not a natural sharer, and it's pretty personal. But hey, this is what steller is all about from what I can tell. Here goes...When I was 15 I was told I had a significant spine problem, Scoliosis, Kyphosis and Scheuermann's disease. An unfortunate trifecta. These problems caused me a lot of physical pain, limited my physical abilities and I was also made fun of because of the deformity this gave me (hunchback is my least favourite word, ever!) I was given an option to have spinal fusion surgery to correct this and told it would relieve my day to day pain, as well as fix the appearance.
An unexpected turn
Of coarse I wanted to be "fixed" and so I jumped at the chance to be "pain free" and have a "normal looking" back. Lots of quotation marks there, I know. It's because things didn't quite "go as expected." I woke up from my surgery completely unprepared for the feeling of being hit by a truck in the back that I was confronted with. That was just the start really. I don't remember a lot from that first time in hospital clearly because I was in a ton of pain and allergic to the meds I was on. It was a time of delirium. I do remember the odd sensation of trying to walk for the first time after, it felt like I was learning to walk all over again.
After a difficult recovery from something I had no real preparation for, things seemed to get back on track. Back to school I went, feeling like a new person, besides the fact that I had work to catch up on. I had just turned 16, I was full of optimism, and loving my new height advantage (post op, after straightening the kinks out, I had miraculously grown up to the 6ft mark.) About a month later, something crept up on me and took me by surprise.
A long walk from here
One night, while watching a crappy movie and taking bad selfies on my now retro Nokia (the camera was atrocious, defs not instagram quality) I took a break from the vanity and happened to walk past a mirror (ironic, I know) I noticed that the top of my rod (spinal fusions include rods, screws, hooks and lots of fancy titanium) poking out at a sickening angle that definitely WAS NOT NORMAL. In retrospect I'm surprised it didn't pierce my skin. After my specialist was contacted I was told to lie down and not to move. I spent 12 hours in my bed feeling my stomach turn into a thousand knots, knowing if I moved the wrong way, or sneezed, I might not walk again.
I was flown the next day to Sydney, where I would have to go under the knife again, in order to correct the hooks that had come loose, causing the entire top half of the rod to break free of my spine. This was without a doubt the most terrifying time of my life, because this time, I knew what I was in for. The first op, when I woke up, I think I must have pretty much gone into shock, nobody had prepared me for the pain I was experiencing. This time around, I knew, I knew and I was in a state of pure panic.
After my second operation, and the subsequent pain I went through, I fell into a deep and long lasting depression. Physically, everything looked fine, the rods did their job with that, but emotionally I was not. I was terrified to do any physiotherapy because I was constantly haunted by the fear of something going wrong again. I was no longer optimistic about the future, but rather felt impending doom. I was also dealing with day to day pain that I was not expecting after this operation, my doctors had assured me that I would be better after, but I still suffer from chronic pain and limitations, 10 years later. I was also in a state of denial, where I refused to talk about my operation and problems with people. I shut down, trying to ignore it all. I started using drugs regularly to numb my physical and emotional pain.
What I never realised at the time, but is now very clear, is that I was suffering from post operative PTSD. In fact, it wasn't until I sought help a few years ago that I was properly diagnosed with this, along with my chronic pain. The mere fact that I could put a label on the hurricane of emotions that was happening within me helped instantly. It made me feel a little less crazy. A little less isolated. Over time, and with a balance of therapy and pain medications, I've been able to come to terms with things, even though I still have my bad days/weeks/months the fact that I have different tools to cope is a blessing. And one of my favourite coping tools? ...
For me, when I'm feeling up to it, the best thing is to try and find a new and pretty place to capture. I live in a small town so I have some limitations there, but I love seeking out the unknown. Getting in the car and not exactly knowing where I'll end up, but being excited to find a new location to capture. It's peaceful, it's serene, it's therapeutic. I love variety, so I have two different instagram accounts where I can fully creatively express myself.
After years of holding things back, and not being able to express myself, I found a way to do so, but in a more subtle form. Instagram. I feel like I can choose to radiate positive vibes and express my mood creatively with my colour choices on my @rarabro account, a lot of my edits there are made to lift my mood, because colour always makes me happy. I love the simplicity of minimalist shooting. Or I can broaden my horizons by just shooting things I think are beautiful and posting them over on @ladyrarabra. I enjoy the outlet, and if nothing else, provides a pretty decent distraction sometimes.
The following shots are from my @rarabro account
I like to get amongst nature on my @ladyrarabra instagram account
The following are shots from that page
These are the pictures that distract me, and have provided an outlet for me. I'm constantly inspired and happily distracted by what I see of other people's work on Instagram too, and it fuels me to want to seek out the beauty in the world, and to focus on that instead of looking at the negative. #stellerstories #vscocam #stellerminimal #candyminimal