Okay guys. This is a different blog post today! As many of you know, I am new to the world of being a small business owner. Photography has always been a passion of mine, however, loving people is an even bigger one. My entire life I have wanted to be someone that someone else wants to go to for help. Now, there is something you must know about me. I am a hopeless introvert. I am very shy. I do not open up and let people see my personality very easily. Small talk is sometimes excruciatingly painful. I know what you're asking yourself. “WHY in the WORLD would she want to become a business owner then?! And a PHOTOGRAPHER?!” Yes, it is true. My whole business relies on me being able to build relationships with people. I promise you, I am fully aware of this. You are probably also wondering how it is possible to desire to love on people and also be terrified of speaking to them (Haha!)… I honestly think only true introverts will understand that one! The best way I have found to handle this is to just throw myself into situations and have faith that The Lord will help me with every one of them, big and small. The point of me saying all that is this:
If I want to grow this business, I believe I have to not only show people my talent, but also my desire to connect. You see, transparency is important. Not only as a business owner, but as a human being. So, with all of that said, I would like to share with you all my struggle with my anxiety disorder and how it has affected my life and how it has shaped my goal for this business.
For those of you reading this that have known me for a while, you might have heard my story. For those of you who don’t, you may be shocked to learn that I have struggled with General Anxiety Disorder for most of my life. I remember being a little girl and being terrified of going to sit down and eat at a restaurant. You see, this was a big trigger for me in my early years of life. I would sit down, order food, and by the time it came I would be sick to my stomach with a terrible feeling. The best way I can describe how it felt for me is that it I would lose my breath and feel a giant weight on my chest. It would feel like everything was just suddenly very wrong. This may sound extremely silly to those who know nothing of what I’m talking about, but to those who do, you know as well as me that it is unbearably painful. As I got older, the severity of it wore off until I reached my sophomore year of high school. It was worse than it had ever come close to being in the past. I was so confused with all of the irrational and physically painful feelings I was having. I didn't know how to stop it. And I didn't know how to live with this thing and hide it from everyone. I felt trapped. School was the worst. Pretending to be a care free teenager while I was suffering inside was so difficult. I didn't want anyone to see the pain I had. Mental illnesses are internal battles that no one can truly understand unless experienced. It is the hardest, most frustrating thing one can experience, in my opinion. I hated God for this for a while. I'm very embarrassed to say that. But I did. And even then when my faith was as small as a mustard seed, He was there.
I never took any kind of prescription medication for my anxiety. I wanted too. But I knew that it'd ultimately end up hurting my brain more than help it. So I just 'handled' it. For three years I had a hidden, untreated mental illness that I was living with every single day. Until April of 2015. I started seeing a Holistic Doctor in Katy. For those of you confused on what this means, a holistic doctor is a doctor that treats patients with a wide range of issues (from Lyme disease to cancer and yes, mental illnesses such as anxiety) in a completely natural way. She treated my body and brain for things that it was lacking in order to function normally. My whole lifestyle has changed. My diet is healthy. And I take about 24 vitamin supplements a day. It hasn't been easy. This is the hardest journey I have ever been on, but what I am doing is working.
I am so incredibly thankful that God has given me this. I couldn't imagine who I would be without this part of me. As my grandparents always say, He has done exceedingly, abundantly above anything I could ever think to be possible. I truly know what it means to have to trust in the Lord and the path that He puts you on. He knows how to make us strong. He knows what to put in your life that will create you to be the person you are supposed to be. And I pray every day for Him to use what I've been through to do something great. And I have realized that being quiet about what I have been through is defeating the entire purpose of WHY I have been put through this. So I decided to share my story and speak openly. I want to reach out to those who feel alone! Because the truth is, you're not. I have posted my story on social media in the past and have gotten a HUGE response. To those that have shared their stories with me, they have touched my heart. I wanted to share this on my largest platform so that more people might find it.
You may be wondering what my struggle with this has to do with my photography business and my blog. Well, to me personally, it has everything to do with it. My ultimate goal for Shelby Tsika Photography is to be a light in this world. To create beautiful expressions of who people are and to befriend my clients and build relationships with them. I have a deep desire in my soul to share God’s love with others. I believe the experiences I have had are meant to be shared because His love pours out of them! I am so thankful for that.
I hope I have touched hearts with this blog post. If it touched yours, It would mean the world to me If you would like/comment/share this! Or if you would like to tell me personally, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You are not going to see posts like this too often. We will be back to pretty pictures again for my next post! However, if you guys enjoy an occasional lifestyle post here and there, I will be happy to deliver. If something is on my heart, I will definitely share it!