For 20 years I lived my life unable to shake myself back to reality. I would try to stop the zoning out, most often triggered by music, but it was impossible. Like cutting off a limb, the withdrawal felt physically and emotionally agonising. My constructed fantasy world was the ultimate safe space. I chose my name, my talents and skills, my career, my partners, my friends, my finances. My skin was rubbed raw with the involuntary tick that accompanied daydreaming. Anxiety would grip me and I’d make excuses to cancel plans and stay indoors the entire weekend acting out a life that was not my own, prisoner to my own mind. For 20 years, exacerbated by bullying, abuse, assault, PTSD and depression, I was lost to a disorder known as Maladaptive Daydreaming.
Thanks to the incredible work at the rape crisis centre I was able to make the first steps to recovery and taking back my life. After spending years terrified of the stigma, in early 2018 I finally sought medical treatment for my depression, and after a few short months, for the first time since I was a child, my daydreams ceased. I was cycling through the city when the realisation hit me that I was thinking as myself. That I wasn’t imagining the life of someone else. That the character I had created over the course of 20 years had faded away.
I was zoned in.
This project explores 10 songs out of the thousands my old reality was constructed upon. Songs for arguments, songs for falling in love. Songs for success and songs I imagined I’d written or performed. Each song has been visually interpreted as a series of photographs based on emotions or events they triggered within my daydreams, brought to life with the help of 9 incredible strangers and self portraits.
10 songs, 9 strangers. A representation of recovery.