Shadows of Heysham

This series of photographs is titled the, Shadows of Heysham and it allows me to explore my mental health and my battle with anxiety.

Shadows of Heysham
Shadow work of Amanda Norman

Anxiety and me

I’ve been quiet lately with my photography due to losing my passion and motivation for something that I love so much. I just didn’t have the desire to do it anymore and my health and safety work seemed to be the most important aspect of my life. I was just living to work and it was zapping the beauty of life right out of me.

So it’s no surprise that in 2017, I was diagnosed with ‘general anxiety disorder‘.

Since then, I’ve been on a remarkable, self-therapeutic journey of examining my mental health and I’ve learned so much.

Graveyard photography and Graves disease

In the early days, I did considered that perhaps my Gothic horror photography was an expression of my poor mental health. Lots of people consider it to be dark and morbid, but I still find it to be fascinating and alluring. More importantly, today, I don’t care if people like it or dislike it. I’m happy with it and that’s what counts!

To make matters worse, I had also been diagnosed with GRAVES DISEASE, which is certainly bloody ironic don’t you think?

Graves disease is connected with my thyroid problem, which I had removed in 2018 that almost killed me. Sepsis set in and there’s another contribution to my battle with mental health issues and anxiety.

A positive mind set will beat anxiety

The good news is, I’m happier now than I’ve ever been. Even with the global pandemic that’s stopping me from getting out and exploring. I’m a lot more stable and I’m loving life.

My learning lesson is to be a positive thinker as we are the creators of our destiny and nobody else. It’s also to remain in the present moment and experience life by using our senses. Don’t be worrying about the past or what might NOT happen in the future. Be in the present moment!

In the beginning, I looked to blame my anxiety on anything other than looking within. Of course, my thyroid issues didn’t help as one of the side effects of that is anxiety.

My first major lesson in life was realising how powerful a thought is and how it manifests in your body. Take for example anxiety and your body being in constant fight or flight. Your body tenses, your breathing may become shallow and your heart races faster. This can lead to dis-ease if not managed. I wasn’t managing mine and I was struggling every day.

Practice mindfulness and meditation

Through the practice of meditation and mindfulness, I began to observe my thinking habits. Through the introduction to manifesting with moon magic and understanding of the Universal Laws, I now maintain a positive mindset.

As a Reiki master and a certified life coach, I’ve took the biggest leap forward and with positive energy, I am now self-employed. My passion for Gothic horror photography is back, hence the work that I’m doing here.

As I love teaching, my mission is to help anyone struggling like I did. It’s also the other reason why I’ve taken a break from my photography until now.

If you’re still reading this far, then thank you for taking an interest.


If you want to know more about the above and how I can help, then please check out my website, Gemstone Healing or send me a message.

Shadows of Heysham

Shadows of Heysham includes my latest photography with an insight into my shadow work.

I often get the urge to visit Heysham Village and after reflection I now realise that it’s always when I’m feeling lost. To ground and centre myself, I need to spend time where I grew up, where I remember feeling at one with everything around me.

I’ve also realised that life comes full circle and I’ll tell you why through the pictures below. It’s a fascinating journey and one that has to be shared.

As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved. It serves no purpose bottling your emotions and feelings. Talk to someone or spew them out onto paper.

Gratitude Journal

Journaling is an excellent method of releasing emotions, so please try it. You’re currently reading one of my many personal journals that I hope you’re enjoying.

In addition to this, I do a gratitude journal every morning before I do anything else! You can read more about gratitude journals on my Gemstone Healing site.

St Peter's Church in Heysham
St Peter’s Church in Heysham

Let’s tour my Shadows of Heysham

This is St Peter’s Churchyard in Heysham where my ancestors, the Blacow’s are buried. You can read more about my meditation and ancestral roots here.

It’s so quiet here that you can get lost in time while listening to the birds singing and looking at the dramatic views. There’s so much history contained within this churchyard and it’s a very special place for me. I feel safe and fully grounded when I’m in Heysham.

Spiritual journey

When we are on our spiritual journey and we are trying to find our purpose in life, we are prompted to go back in time and remember when we last felt at peace with ourselves. When you remember, you FEEL it again!

Heysham, is this place for me and it’s the reason I originally took up photography all those years ago.

Unfortunately, I was torn away from here and ended up living in Warrington, which is a good 80 to 90 minutes drive away. If you don’t drive, it feels like miles and miles away.

I got the opportunity to go back in my early twenties and to take some photographs. I had in mind that these photographs would help me feel good, just like I did when I was a child. Unfortunately they didn’t as the pictures were flat and this is how I started my passion for emotive photography.

Little did I know all those years ago how important this would be for my mental health and well-being.

Heysham tombs with railings
Heysham tombs with railings

Life comes full circle among the shadows of Heysham

This feeling of being at one with myself, the peace that I feel when in this graveyard, is what I strive to find now when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I do this with my happy place meditation and this is why things come full circle.

Taking a photograph and studying the fall of shadows to create an emotive image is a method of being in the present moment. It allows me to practice mindfulness. It allows me to escape the mental chitter chatter that once filled my head constantly. Stopping what I love, didn’t help my anxiety at all!

Being creative will help you manage your anxiety.

Everything in my life is turning full circle and I’m living life again and I’m so happy!

Of course I’m only human and I do have small lapses, but I’m well aware of when I’m in a negative frame of mind. Being observant and in the present moment helps me to shift my energy back to being positive.

Balancing the shadows of Heysham

I’ve always loved taking photographs that are mysterious, but intriguing and I find them to be beautiful. You need balance in your life, otherwise you will suffer.

Twisted Heysham
When you explore the duality of life, you will no longer feel fenced in

This photograph above has allowed me to understand why I adore imagery that is full of mystery and dark shadows.

Where there is darkness, you will always find light, if you look hard enough.

Where there is death, you will find life, if you look hard enough.

I can’t wait to get out in nature and I’m constantly looking for the beauty of life. When the sun shines in the morning, it brightens your day. There’s beauty all around us if we choose to see it.

Having balance and understanding duality helps you with your mental stability. Focus on your positive aspects instead of dwelling in the past and see the life around you.

Consider this question, what is hidden in the shadows?

What’s in the shadows?

It’s the unknown and when we don’t have answers, we can find it frightening and avoidance kicks in.

We can avoid our feelings and emotions, but only for so long as they will resurface like mine did with the anxiety. This is why it’s important to live in the present moment, with balance and not be worrying about what might be or lost in the past that you can’t change. You can learn and grow from your past events.

When avoiding your feelings and burying them deep within, you not only block the flow of universal energy, you restrict your happiness.

Take for example being broken hearted. Breaking up is painful, but if you choose to bury it, you place another brick in the wall you build around your heart. You eventually shut yourself off to new love with issues of trust and fear. We’ve all been there and done this, myself included.

Rock Cut Graves Heysham
These graves have been carved out of the rock at Heysham

I hope you’ve enjoyed this insight into my shadows of Heysham. Below is a gallery for more images for you to enjoy and if you would like to talk, please get in touch.

Shadows of Heysham

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