I healed and recovered from the depression, but that didn’t mean that I could go back to life the way it was before the depression, because it was that lifestyle that made me sick in the first place.
Healing from depression requires change
Instead I had to figure out what made me feel good, and what made me feel bad, and create a sustainable lifestyle for myself.
I started tracking both my feelings and my behavior to find the patterns between what I did and thought and how it made me feel.
Creating a sustainable life
To be able to remember what I found, and to be able to use my findings in everyday life, I created an acronym: F*ck fear.
F: this might be the most important letter in the whole acronym because this stands for friends and family. As humans we are social animals. We aren’t supposed to be alone for too long. You need to have people around you to feel good. It’s just simple biology and how we are wired.
F: food, because it’s true we are more or less what we eat. An impressive amount of recent studies show that unhealthy food doesn’t just affect our bodies (and make us sick and obese) it actually affects our brains and are mental capacities as well.
E: stands for something that some of you hate and some of you love, and that’s exercise. There’s no arguing that the human body was made for running and walking. We’ve been running and walking for thousands and thousands of years while gathering food and hunting in small groups. It makes no sense to our bodies to take the car to work, sit infront of a computer all day and then go home by car to sit in a sofa. We need to get out and exercise and move.
A: stands for act. If you don’t act on your ideas nothing will change, no matter how good the idea. Start with something small if you want. Just make sure to do something every day to make your life better.
R: stands for rest and recovery. We all need proper time to rest and recharge and just do the thing that makes you happy, relaxed and fulfilled, whether it’s productive or not.
F-FEAR, that’s how I tried to stay sane. I hope it will help you to.
Way Up North 2.0
Now let’s move on to the event that I started telling you about last time – Way Up North 2.0, in Stockholm.
One thing I vividly remember from that day in is running in to the host Jenny Hammar.
She approached me and said “Jonas, just so you know I’m counting on you to sit there on the first row and support me, because I’m a bit nervous.”
Then I remembered Erin Bishop saying something similar, before her presentation, and it struck me; that is who I am to this community. I’m the friendly guy on front row. How amazing.
I go inside the venue and I sit down.
Andria Lindquist is larger than life
Andria Lindquist gets up on stage, and her energy and enthusiasm just puts a smile on my face. I wish I was as brave as her.
I already heard her speak once before in Stockholm in 2015, but then I was too shy to talk to her. She seemed larger than life to me, and I just didn’t dare to talk to her.
Fortunately, this time I did. I shared lunch with her and some other photographers, after her talk, and she said “Take whatever your passion is outside photography and inject it into your brand. You have to have a strong online presence to gain your clients trust and to set yourself apart.”
“We shouldn’t be comparing ourselves to what just anyone does we should be comparing ourselves to what is the right thing to do.”
Way Up North had created the best community
By now I understood that there’s something really special about this community and Way Up North. Nowhere else have I met so many, brilliant, talented, selfless people in one place.
I wanted to make a contribution in some way, and I understood that I needed to challenge myself, because being the place uncomfortable is also being the place where we grow.
A brave and stupid idea
I found an old camera. A camera that I had never used before, loaded it with one roll of film, and went back to the next event in Stockholm with no preparations whatsoever.
Quite stupid idea, I know, but that’s what I did.
I talked to Cole Roberts (one of the two founders of Way Up North – the other one being Jakob Granqvist) and said “Hey, listen man. I was wondering if I could do all the portraits of the speakers?”
And he was like “Go for it dude.”
Some of the results aren’t really that great (since I had never shot a twin lens reflex – like this Rolleiflex was – before), but I’m still proud of myself just for committing myself to do it and seeing it through.
To get the sit down with these amazing photographers and take their portraits was just a blessing.
Why I keep going to Way Up North
I keep showing to Way Up North, because I love the events and I love the community. I’d go to Cologne. I’d go to Cannes. I’ll go to Stockholm and anywhere else, and I’ll keep taking the portraits of all the speakers.
In Cannes I finally got to take Fer Juaristi’s portrait (not the shoes this time) and it hit me:
It’s my turn now
I need get up on stage. I need to get up on that stage, just like Fer Juaristi.
If I just could find a way to get up on that stage everything would be ok. Then I should be set. Then I would finally be perceived as a real photographer.
So that became my new dream. I wrote down in my notebook:
“Within five years I’m gonna stand on the stage of Way Up North.”