self portrait


This, very powerful photo and caption, moved me. Heidi keeps a wonderful blog and has often been supportive of my work so this is my way of supporting her. Well done Heidi and hope you are ok.

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Photo taken by contributor Heidi Spitzig, a 37-year-old woman from the Finger Lakes region of New York.  Heidi is a survivor of childhood sexual, physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse and lives with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and DID. She believes in the healing power of the creative process and uses photography as a way to remain present and connected to the beauty found in the natural world. Heidi also enjoys writing, painting, drawing, and many other forms of creative self-expression. She has a Masters degree in Psychology and works as a teacher and an expressive arts facilitator.

About this photo: “I took this photo when I was at the bottom of a pretty intense depressive episode. Depression can reek havoc on the way I think, which then clouds my perception. People and places can seem inaccessible, like I don’t have the right to take up space. Before I took this picture, I felt an overwhelming sense of shame that left me isolated to the point of believing I was completely alone. I needed to feel connected to something, so I went into the woods with my camera. I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do, but I found myself kind of watch myself take a series of self-portraits. I say “watch myself” because that’s how it felt to take the pictures — I felt too vulnerable to be a part of it, so I watched myself go through the process in a pretty detached/dissociated way. It wasn’t until I got home and began editing the photos that I realized I was trying to send a message to myself. Once I understood what that message was, my perception began to shift from a reality filled with heavy darkness to a reality that was a bit brighter and bit lighter in its clarity.”

See more from Heidi at her website or blog.

the lights of love


With only a few days left in this month’s theme of Love, I choose to share this inspiring post with you, from Broken Light.

Murakami once said something to the effect of “you can only know darkness because of light”.

I agree. One cannot exist without the other. Suffering and Hope co-exist. Even if it’s hard and near impossible, trust that there is life and activity beneath the frozen ground. Trust, because it is true.

Be well and be kind.

And may you all have Light (and Hope) even in your darkest moments.

Photo taken by contributor Kyle Anderson, a man from Saskatchewan, Canada. Kyle is a 41-year-old health care professional who has battled depression and addiction for most of his life. He escapes by letting the camera become his mind’s eye, and hopes that each photo he takes allows others to see the world as he sees it, even for a split second.

About this photo:

I call this submission ‘the Lights of Love’, not just because it was taken on Valentine’s Day, but because it show us that even in the darkest of night our lights can shine in heavenly beauty.

The Lights of Love.

my heart


Photo taken by contributor Carrie Hilgert, a photographer and portrait artist in her thirties from Northeast Kansas who was recently diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After venturing into digital photography, she became interested in documenting her life with self portraits. This became particularly helpful when her life started to fall apart due to depression. All her other creative outlets left her, but she could always process her very dark feelings with self portraits. While she is doing much better now, she maintains compassion for those going through these hard things and hopes that her photography can give an honest insight into something that makes most people feel very isolated and alone.

About this photo:

“This photo is titled ‘Can You Feel the Beat of My Heart Beat Through Me?’ This is from a series on fear and uncertainty. Fear seems to be a recurring theme in my life, no matter how hard I fight it. Fear of abandonment, of not being noticed, of my mental illness consuming me, of what people will think if they see the real me, of losing my creativity and worst, of getting to the end of my life without having let all of the wonderful things inside me come out. This shot is about that heartbeat that is crying to come out. The passion that is breaking through the shell I built for most of my life..”

Find more from Carrie at her blog or flickr.

My Heart.

withstanding depression


These series of photos speaks of depression, holding it within and enduring the pain whilst continuing to live. This inspirational post is from my favourite blog Broken Light, and I share this with you:

John Blair, an artist in his forties who resides in St. Louis, Missouri. John is a priest in residence at St. Claire and St. Francis Ecumenical Catholic Community. For over a decade, he has worked primarily in health care, as a chaplain and spiritual counselor. He has provided spiritual care and counseling to patients, client’s and/or their families in mental health inpatient and outpatient treatment and church settings. John has also personally struggled with depression. He has been able to manage through receiving professional and spiritual counseling, loving support from others, and using his faith, as resources. He has found purpose and meaning in his life through photography, painting, writing poetry, and making music. John has a Doctorate of Ministry, an MA in Professional Counseling, a Masters of Divinity and an AB in English.

About this photo:

“Each of the models in these photographs were able to demonstrate through their physical posture and emotional affect my experience of depression, both in providing treatment to others, and my own struggles with it. One of the difficulties of depression is the painful awareness that something is wrong, but the inability to “fix” the problem.

There can be the further embarrassment of knowing one needs professional support, but not knowing how to ask for that help or even worse, the feeling that asking for help would be futile. Yet these photographs are my visual testimony, if you will, that depression can be endured and withstood. While there may be re-occurring episodes of depression, in learning to live with it, many of us can become more empowered and discover a depth of meaning and joy to living that otherwise, some of us may never have realized.”

Withstanding Depression.

peace


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I would like to share with you a series of photographs entitled PEACE which I received this morning, from blog I follow, called Broken Light.

Broken Light is a community of photographers living with or affected by mental illness and who support each other through photographs.

It’s an excellent blog and I highly recommend it.

Their link is: http://brokenlightcollective.com/

“This series of photographs is called ‘PEACE.’ It was taken at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, where these flowers and general atmosphere promote peace and a sense of wellbeing. It is so very peaceful to be there, floral beauty all around you, and the fragrances of the flowers and even a waterfall. The air itself smells like PEACE! It meant so much for me to visit there and get my bearings when I wasn’t feeling well.

Samina, a Molecular Biologist who has an MSEd in School Counseling. She is also a wife and a mother. She was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder Type 1 in 1985. Since then, she has fought and survived this disease with the help of medication, good psychiatrists, exercise, music, and love for and from her family and friends.

Samina’s blog can be found here:  https://bipolar1blog.wordpress.com/