What is identity? I had built an identity through external factors, and only being 27, one would assume not much has happened to shake my idea of this. But living in London, and living in a...What is identity? I had built an identity through external factors, and only being 27, one would assume not much has happened to shake my idea of this. But living in London, and living in a society where the first question upon meeting someone is ‘What do you do?’, so often and that this constant exchange starts to seep into the internal conversation and doubt on who you think you are, naturally occur. From a young age, we are taught to have an identity with either a job or family.
If you’re a dad, then that’s who you are, everything is built open that identity. But what happens when we succumb to this pressure?
We all have had many identity crises - job failings, relationship endings, amongst others. And when we have that identity taken away and the anchor we built has been dislodged, we get scared that we can’t define ourselves. There’s nothing wrong with definition, it gives us a path and safety. But a job, passion or external thing should not be used to define.
I’ve used these factors as my anchor, perhaps because I did not know myself, or even want to explore who I am as a person. So often I would say to myself, ‘I’ll be happy when’ - but why not be happy now, within myself. I think, and this is merely my opinion, that non-medical depression is often the cause of an identity crisis, feeling lost and without cause. I would have a cycle that I would call my ‘winter depression’ and spend about 6 months out of the year unemployed and lost. Searching for a path, and something to attach to. Becoming depressed when I was not able to live the photographer identity I had built since 16, being creative and getting paid to do what I love. I would often wake up, and for a few moments, before any thought would flow, everything would feel normal. Then the internal river of doubt would begin and that would be me for the day. A cycle of self-loathing seemed like this is now my life. I started to deconstruct everything I had thought about what made me who I am. Everything I had used as an anchor had vanished, and I had to rebuild. So I started within, figuring out who I am, what I can do for others and what satisfies my being. I don’t know what I’m doing next, probably neither do you, but when the anchor you use is yourself, the chances are you’ll be more secure than ever.