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Passion for wildlife photography helps teenager overcome anxiety

by Liam Filtness (Guest Blogger)

18 year old Liam shares the story of how passion for wildlife photography and filmmaking helped him build confidence and overcome anxiety.

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For the last 4 years I have suffered from bad anxiety issues. This has resulted in me not wanting to leave my house, not meeting up with my friends and also not being able to go places where there is lots of people or anywhere local in the possibility that I would see my friends and that they would start asking me lots of questions. I became a recluse.

Because of this and some other issues I had, I left school at an early age and was home taught for a short period before being sent to a place called The Link, where other children/teenagers had the same issues that I had. Here they encouraged and helped us to engage with others and talk about our worries/problems with other people just like myself and I became pretty good friends with some of them. After doing my exams and then leaving, sadly I lost contact with them.

Whilst at The Link, I also got the chance to tell others about my passion for wildlife and photography. By being able to do this I started becoming a little bit more confident and started believing in myself more. This happened to be just the start of me becoming more of a confident person.

One of my greatest leaps forward in overcoming my problems was when the BBC Autumnwatch Team contacted me after seeing a short film I uploaded to Youtube on the subject of Red Deer Rutting and asked if I would like to spend a day with some of the crew and be interviewed on the Autumnwatch Extra teatime show.  Before being interviewed I got to spend several hours with a couple of the camera men and crew and even met the presenters of the show.

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A newspaper article about Liam's passion and appearance on BBC's Autumnwatch Extra.

At about 16.30 I was interviewed by Brett Westwood about my footage of the Deer and he asked me several questions.  Brett knew that I was nervous and suggested that my dad sat in on the interview. Brett was so good with his interview manner that It felt that I was just chatting with a friend and not that this was being shown live across the country to thousands of fellow nature lovers. Since Autumnwatch I have had a couple of articles written about myself in local newspapers and magazines and have also been asked to do a talk about myself and photography, unfortunately I was away when this was due to happen.

Although I am not fully recovered, I feel that I am in a better place now due to my love of photography and wildlife. I also find that being out in the countryside helps me as it clears my mind and also helps me come up with some great ideas and projects that I would like to do.

All of these things have really helped me become more confident in myself and that I should not listen to the people that try and change my mind or put me off what I enjoy. I have also been lucky enough to meet some great people along the way and I now find that I can make conversation easier by talking to others about my passion and what I have gone through. People are now noticing me being more confident and coming out of my shell.

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One of Liam's favourite photographs.

I hope to do more blogs over the next few years and I hope that I have given you some idea of what I have gone through and experienced. Hopefully by writing this blog I have also inspired others and I have in some way helped others that have anxiety issues.

About our guest blogger:
Liam Filtness is a 18 year old wildlife photographer and filmmaker from West Sussex, UK. Through his passion he has appeared on BBC’s Autumnwatch Extra and also had some of his photograph’s published in several newspapers in the UK.

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