These days I have been immersed in deep thought. I am a very pensive person by nature. These last few years I have been plagued by the question of what do I want to do in the next ten years. How do I want to lead a fulfilling life? Do I devote myself to one thing, one passion entirely? How do I want to make a difference? To be honest the answers to these questions are always evolving and changing, at least for me. What’s more is, I have learned that I am happier NOT devoting myself to just one passion, but rather keeping all my passions in music, fitness, health, art. and if possible combining them whenever I can.
Something that I am rather passionate about and that has become a bit of a buzz-word topic in America is mental health. Words like anxiety, depression and suicide are becoming increasingly more prevalent today. Whether it is in the news or print. But these words are more than just words. They are and can be debilitating feelings and ways of thinking that people have been dealing with for a whole lot longer than we have been talking about them. The problem is that people are only willing to talk about it when it is too late. Because it’s taboo. People might think you are crazy. You have issues. You aren’t perfect. Not as perfect as everyone else seems on social media. Where we all put forward our best foot. Leading to this pressure to be perfect. To look beautiful. To show how exciting, and amazing our lives are. How much we party. Etc. etc. This is what we are raising a generation on.
Well I want to talk about it. Why? Because I have been through it. I have had anxiety. I have been depressed. I want to bring awareness to it. To mental health. To maybe slowly break this stigma that it SHOULDN’T be talked about. That it should be swept under the rug. I have been there and come out the other side. And eventually you learn to accept your flaws and even embrace them. So let’s talk about it. Because these are feelings that all of us feel. We can all relate. Some just feel them more intensely than others. Let’s bring awareness to this growing issue of mental health in our society. And I want to do that in one of the only ways I know how. Through pictures.
This is a project that I have been silently shooting for years without even knowing it. What better way then to start with myself. My journey with it began one evening when I came home from the gym. It was nearing Christmas and my first semester as a college student had ended. Eighteen units of biology, a family that had found out it had been touched by cancer for a second time, and I hadn’t even dealt with the first, among other things, culminated to my first panic attack. It was a long journey, but I can honestly say I am better of for it. I understand myself so much more and have become extremely empathetic and sensitive to others feelings because of my experience.
The above photographs are self portraits shot over a couple years that really just fall into this project perfectly. I want to bring awareness to mental health issues by showing what it looks like, and more importantly, what it feels like. Most importantly my goal is to show others that you aren’t alone and that you are not crazy. That these are feelings we all feel and go through. We all hurt. We all get nervous. Breathe quickly. Hearts race. Worry. Think negatively. At some point we all feel alone. But we aren’t.
I hope to do this through portraits of real people who have been and are currently going through what so many of us go through.
This is Lindsay. She has been there. I like to think that it is never really something that we truly overcome. Rather we learn to accept who we are and how to take better care of ourselves. She is a beautiful, very intelligent person and I am soo appreciative of her willingness to kick off this project of mine. I hope the photographs do most of the talking. Thank you Lindsay.
I hope that this may bring someone, somewhere some comfort. Knowing that what you feel doesn’t make you insane. That talking about it to friends, family, a therapist, will do you more good than you realize. So let’s talk about it. We don’t have to go through it alone. Let’s not be silent.
If you or anyone you know would like to be apart of this project please feel free to email me at : firstname.lastname@example.org.