Mental Health – Life experiences and discovering the Why – By Sarah Clarke

So yesterday whilst sat editing, I thought I would check out Fearne Cotton’s “Happy Place’ podcast whilst listening I realised that most recently I had been messaged by someone via instagram who said “your life looks so perfect, how do you do it?” and to be honest I wasn’t sure how to reply to them.

So today whilst I photographed in the studio my thoughts drifted to how did I get to where I am today? Now here I am writing a blog piece on my life and for those of you who do not know me this may become quite an insight into who I am as a person and that the whole social media life isn’t always what it seems to be!

I came into the world rather in a rush being born at 30 weeks weighing just 1lb 12oz on the 18th February 1992, in Wexham Park hospital to my amazing parents Chris & Tina. Luckily for myself and my parents I came out fighting, and within my first evening of being in this world I began breathing on my own and to be quite honest I have been a bit of a tough one and a fighter ever since.

Ive had a few huge life events which have picked me right up to the top of my mental and physical strength but also struggled with a fair few smashing me into the lowest. Do you ever step back and think “shit, I have been through a lot?”

Beginning with some big tough times in my life with my nan and grandad both committing suicide at different stages. Spending my 12th birthday in intensive care whilst my mum was fighting with a 1% chance of survival and she is still here today somehow and is the best mum ever. My 13th birthday whilst at my party to help banish last years upset, my great nan passed away. Im actually going to put moving to Cornwall in bad experiences and good experiences as I wouldn’t be here doing the job and being with the family I am without it but it also taught me how to grow, find friends and also lose friends. Sadly losing a friend to suicide a few years ago. 

There have been many times that I have had to think about the question of Why am I here? Have you? 

I have had many up’s in my life, I have been able to go and compete for team England at the WKA kickboxing World Championships multiple times. I have been blessed that my mum is still here after her big near death experience and having my dad supporting her and loving her all the way. I moved to this absolutely glorious place in the world chasing a dream that fell away after 9 years but then creating a new dream alone and then finding someone else to share that dream with along with stepping into a family that are now one of my reasons for being here. Being a personal trainer to help people achieve their goals. Making the decision to become a photographer full time and not just bumbling along in life doing it on the side of other tough mentally and physically draining  jobs. Finding life long friends, who support me and I support them no matter who near or far we are in our life adventures. Having 3 of my images displayed in an exhibition.  

I also had another turning point this year that one evening whilst in hospital with Matthews dad, I heard a crying from the cubicle next to us. After unfortunately hearing the conversations between the doctors I knew that they were not about to receive good news. When the doctors left the room, out came a woman not to far from my own age, absolutely heart broken and alone. Her mum was about to be taken back home to pass away, now without any thought I went next door and offered this stranger, someone I had never met or spoken to before and told her that everything would be ok and that she needed to stay strong for her mother. Now her mothers memory lives on in her and she is doing so well. I knew at the pivotal moment she needed a rock to hold her up, go out there and be someones rock. 

Now I know a lot of you will relate with me, some wont but that is ok.

Sometimes you need to be completely honest about things, I have had days where I have woken up and felt nothing, numb completely worthless but still I have got up and got on with what I feel is my why. You need to find your why.

My big reason for photographing people is because I love to capture the memories, ones that will last forever. Memories of them in love, happy and sharing the once in a lifetime feeling with their loved ones.

Life is too short, be the person you want to be, have the job you want to have and build the relationships that you strive to build. You can do this! The life experience and relationships that you create along the way define you. Be strong and believe in yourself and don’t let anyone tell you any different. 

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