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Artist Reconnects With His Mom With Dementia Through His Camera

Artist Reconnects With His Mom With Dementia Through His Camera

When artist Tony Luciani’s elderly mother Elia moved in with him, he didn’t see it as a burden. Instead, he saw it as an opportunity to start a wonderful project with his new camera — he needed a subject and Elia was the perfect model.

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    Timeless Memories

    Elia suffers from dementia, meaning she often recalls memories from years gone by but can’t remember the last minute, hour, or day. Tony decided to use this as inspiration for testing out his new camera — a short-term project that was to span almost 2 years.

    The series of photos portray Elia’s dementia in a unique and personal way, fusing her distant memories with her current reality.

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          From One Caregiver To Another

          Tony describes how his mother was always his caregiver but now the roles have reversed. He wanted to include Elia in the project to make her feel productive and show his true love and adoration for her.

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          “She’s always been someone who participated and gave more than she received.”

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            More Than Just Another Art Project

            Elia is still pretty active and goes for small walks often, stopping by a bench or sitting under a tree by herself.

            Although looking after his elderly mother has been lonely at times, Tony believes the photography has given back more than he could have asked for.

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            “I’m doing more work, and I’m not at the beach. I’m at the studio and I’m creating and I’m doing photographs,” he said. “And with her here as my model, it’s every artist’s dream to have a model that I can call — and there she is.”

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                  Dealing With The Heartache Of Dementia

                  Tony says the project has been successful due to the love he has for his mother and has helped him really re-evaluate the relationship he has with her.

                  Dementia can be emotionally hard on the loved ones of those suffering with the disease, but finding a truly involving and productive way to explore and deal with the journey has helped both Tony and Elia in their life together.

                  “Here I thought, initially, I was going to be the brave guy and take her into my home, rather than shoving her into a nursing home or assisted living, and having my life disrupted and all that. But what I got out of it was more than I gave.”

                  Featured photo credit: Tony Luciani via tonyluciani.ca

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                  Jenny Marchal

                  A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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                  Last Updated on June 24, 2019

                  Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

                  Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

                  A study [1] published in Depression and Anxiety found that social media users are more likely to be depressed. This was just one of the huge number of studies linking social media and depression[2] . But why exactly do platforms like Facebook and Instagram make people so unhappy? Well, we don’t know yet for sure, but there are some explanations.

                  Social Media Could Lead to Depression

                  Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how you think, feel, and behave. Social media may lead to depression in predisposed individuals or make existing symptoms of depression[3] worse explains[4] the study above’s senior author Dr. Brian Primack. So, the problem may not be in social media per se, but how we use it.

                  Signs You’re Suffering From “Social Media Depression”

                  If you feel like social media is having a negative impact on your mood, then you may be suffering from “social media depression.” Look for symptoms like:

                  • low self-esteem,

                  • negative self-talk,

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                  • a low mood,

                  • irritability,

                  • a lack of interest in activities once enjoyed,

                  • and social withdrawal.

                  If you’ve had these symptoms for more than two weeks and if this is how you feel most of the time, then you are likely depressed. Although “social media depression “is not a term recognized in the medical setting, social media depression seems to be a real phenomenon affecting around 50% of social media users. As explained in a review study[5] published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, if a person has a certain predisposition to depression and other mental disorders, social media use may only worsen their mental health.

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                  Social Media Could Crush Self-Esteem

                  We know that social media and depression are in some way linked, but why is this so? Well, according to Igor Pantic, MD, Ph.D.[6], social media use skews your perception about other people’s lives and traits. To explain this further, most people like to portray an idealized image of their lives, personal traits, and appearance on sites like Facebook and Instagram. If you confuse this idealized image with reality, you may be under the false impression that everyone is better than you which can crush your self-esteem and lead to depression. This is especially true for teens and young adults who are more likely to compare themselves to others. If you already suffer from low self-esteem, the illusion that everyone has it better off than you will just make you feel worse.

                  Causing Social Isolation and Other Negative Emotions

                  Another commonly cited reason for the negative impact of social media on mental health is its link with social isolation. Depressed people are more likely to isolate themselves socially and chose only to interact indirectly through social media platforms. But communication online tends to be superficial and is lacking when compared to real-life interaction explains Panic. What this means is not that social media leads to isolation but the other way around, possibly explaining why we find so many depressed persons on these sites.

                  Lastly, social media use may generate negative emotions in you like envy, jealousy, dislike, loneliness, and many others and this may worsen your depressive symptoms.

                  Why We Need to Take This Seriously

                  Both depression and social media use are on the rise according to epidemiological studies. Since each one has an impact on the other, we have to start thinking of healthier ways to use social media. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to the negative impact of social media on mental health.

                  Advice on Social Media Use

                  Although these findings did not provide any cause-effect explanation regarding Facebook and depression[7], they still do prove that social media use may not be a good way to handle depression. For this reason, the leading authors of these studies gave some suggestions as to how clinicians and people can make use of such findings.

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                  One suggestion is that clinicians should ask patients about their social media habits. Then they can advise them on how to change their outlook on social media use or even suggest limiting their time spent on social media.

                  Some social media users may also exhibit addictive behavior; they may spend too much time due to compulsive urges. Any compulsive behavior is bound to lead to feelings of guilt which can worsen depressive symptoms.

                  Having Unhealthy Relationship with Social Media

                  If you feel like your relationship with social media is unhealthy, then consider the advice on healthy social media use provided by psychology experts from Links Psychology[8]:

                  Avoid negative social comparison – always keep in mind that how people portray themselves and their lives on social media is not a realistic picture, but rather an idealized one. Also, avoid comparing yourself to others because this behavior can lead to negative self-talk.

                  Remember that social media is not a replacement for real life – Social media is great for staying in touch and having fun, but it should never replace real-world interactions.

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                  Avoid releasing personal information – For your safety and privacy, make sure to be careful with what you post online.

                  Report users who bully and harass you – It’s easy to be a bully in the anonymous and distant world of social media. Don’t take such offense personally and report those who abuse social media to harass others.

                  The bits of advice listed above can help you establish a healthy relationship with social media. Always keep these things in mind to avoid losing an objective perspective of what social media is and how it is different from real life. If you are currently suffering from depression, talk to your doctor about what is bothering you so that you can get the treatment you need to get better. Tell your doctor about your social media use and see if they could give you some advice on this topic.

                  Reference

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