Beyond happiness…

When you read this blog post then I actually managed to overcome one of my fears…

I have never really talked about the sadness, the darkness and anxiety that has been a part of me as much as my happiness. When I had my burn-out a few years ago I had reached the darkest point in my life – I nearly died (and I don’t mean that metaphorically). It probably sounds weird but nearly dying helped me to live and to find happiness in myself. Even during those dark times I never spoke to anyone but instead I looked into myself, I read and walked for hours and hours and started to express myself with my pictures until I had healed myself…

But healing does not mean that all the darkness and anxiety has gone, it just means that I have found a way to live with it, to accept it as part of me and even to see it as an essential part of my artistic expression.

The darkness has found its way into many of my pictures where it is joined by my childlike dreams and excitement for everything that is mysterious and magical and my joy to live – both of which I found (again) after my burn-out. This way I feel I can get a depth and dark mystery into my work that I could not if I was only walking in the light. Light needs darkness – especially in photography.

The anxiety is still a struggle, though it happens far less often nowadays. In a way it sometimes helps me to feel things more deeply and combined with my intuition it can be a very powerful guide if (and this if is important) I notice it early enough. It often builds slowly but now and then it catches me unawares. This happened a few days ago…at a time where I was so incredibly happy one second and the next I was sitting on my couch crying…

What had happened…I still don’t know exactly but I am trying to figure it out and when I know I will tell you. For now I just want to overcome the fear of sharing this with you. The fear of sharing something this personal which somehow makes me vulnerable and where the fear triggers my imagination which has come up with lots of possibilities how by sharing this I might actually harm myself. Having a very imaginative mind is not always helpful ;-).
But enough for now – just press the publish-button…


  1. John on August 10, 2017 at 20:25

    You are amazing!
    I realised many years ago when I was in the depths of anxiety…the same thing…that it also had a profound depth and positive side…in that it gave me an insight and greater understanding of life and how other people maybe feeling.
    Even though I would not have chosen the experience…I was grateful for it because of that reason.
    I felt I was a better more rounded person for it…and that was a turning point for me.
    Thankyou for sharing Isabel…I am sure it will connect with many people in many ways 🙂

    • Isabel on August 11, 2017 at 04:42

      I hope it will. It is easier to accept when you love what you can do with it and that it resonates also with others.
      I am so glad to hear that you feel this way about your own anxiety.
      Thank you for sharing, John 🙂

  2. John on August 10, 2017 at 21:01

    Your art is very much based on ‘feeling’…feelings…and feelings are many and varied…and I admire you for expressing all of your feelings…not just the ‘happy’ ones 😉

    • Isabel on August 11, 2017 at 04:44

      It is good to find ways how to express them and maybe writing will become another one for me in addition to my photography.
      Thank you! 🙂

  3. Louis A. Sousa on August 26, 2017 at 12:22

    Isabel, I too have used photography as a healer. I began shooting after the passing of my 12 year old daughter. Photography saved my life. For me photography is an oasis for the mind. Immersion in the process tends to cleanse or at least quell darkness….Thank you for your poignant words. L.

    • Isabel on August 28, 2017 at 08:16

      Hi Louis, thank you so much for sharing this with me. So sorry to hear about your daughter…that must have been (probably still is) so hard. I am glad to hear that photography helped you to reduce that darkness – it helped me after my mum died and it is actually because of her inheritance that I bought my first “real camera”. So I memorise her in a way in each picture I make.
      It is a reminder that life goes on and that we owe it to those who cannot be with us anymore to celebrate it every day.
      Sending a warm hug! Isabel 🙂

      • Louis A. Sousa on September 3, 2017 at 16:56

        Thank you Isabel. Your images are wonderful inspiration on many levels….L.

  4. Anne Silver on August 30, 2017 at 15:35

    Dear Isabel,

    There is a proverb (Swedish, I think) that says, “Shared joy is double joy; shared sorrow is half sorrow.” Sharing is one of the ways in which we continue to heal. And even though it feels scary to allow ourselves to be so vulnerable, there is incredible strength in that.

    My work is influenced by the many losses that I have known in my life, including the loss of my son 9 years ago when he was 18 years old. My memories and dreams also come into play, and they tend to become the more ethereal elements in my work. Photography is one of the main things that has helped me to heal. You are right that light needs darkness and darkness also needs light.

    I so love your work and the more I get to know who you are, the stronger the connection I feel to your photos and to you.
    Sending love to you.

    • Isabel on August 30, 2017 at 18:51

      Dear Anne, thank you so much for your kindness and honesty. It touches my heart.
      I am so sorry to hear that you lost your son so young.
      As you say those losses and memories become part of our art and in a way they create us and reshape us.
      I love your work and how you include all those aspects of yourself and your life.
      So glad to get to know you – and I feel the connection as well! Big hug! Isabel

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