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Posts Tagged ‘photography’

Tree of Hope

 

Tree of Hope is a modified photograph by Ally Preston. By contrasting the lone tree against a dark landscape, Ally wants to show that there is hope for women with mental illness. She finds photography to be therapeutic for her fight against PTSD.

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PERFECTION IS FRAGILE

By Lauren Black

A flower looks beautiful and strong at first sight… but when you touch it, you feel how fragile it is;
just like women who felt strong, but had to face their fragility when they were touched by the hands of mental illness.

Lauren Black (not her real name) was born in 1991. Since her early childhood she has been having issues with anxiety and psychosomatic illnesses. After nearly a decade of incorrect treatment she was diagnosed with severe depression (suspected bipolar disorder) and several anxiety disorders as well as a mild perceptual disorder.

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Photo by Lauren Black

BROKEN DREAMS

By Lauren Black

London, Barcelona, Berlin, Munich, Rotterdam, Amsterdam, The Hague… she had always been a city girl at heart. She loved the people, the melting pot atmosphere, walking around the streets at night. She simply enjoyed the anonymity of the lifestyle and the adventures that could be found around very corner.

She had plans for her future… bright dreams swirling around in huge, colorful clouds around her head, that filled her heart with glee and her stomach with a light tingling every time she even thought of it… New York, L.A., San Fancisco… she would no longer be forced to follow the beaten track. She would be the first one of her family to leave that stuffy, suburban life behind… she would stop existing and would start living.

It was a beautiful morning in Paris, although it had already been hot and stifling for days. The streets were buzzing and the people were chatting and laughing… simply enjoying life and everything that came along with it… even if it was a hangover after a long night of partying. Paris just like so many other cities around the globe, never seemed to sleep.

Everyone was apparently just happy, except for a young woman who sat right in the middle of a pavement in Montparnasse. She was so pale that she really could be considered as cadaverous-looking; her upper body was slightly swaying back and forth and her hands were tightly clutching an almost empty water bottle. That was when she got to know the reverse of the anonymity-medal. Everyone who passed her simply just preferred to stare at her, but no one helped, although already half an hour had passed since she had collapsed right there where she still sat in silence, except for a small whimper that escaped her lips now and then every time a wave of nausea broke over her.

At last, a man squatted down beside her: ‘Excusé moi? Do you need help?’

She looked up, desperately trying to focus on what was happening around her, but all she could see was a blurry mash of colors.

A hospital, a handsome doctor and these lights… lights were everywhere… and then, there was just darkness.

‘Miss Black? Miss Black? Don’t you wanna get up? It’s time for your sports therapy.’

I turned around to face the wall and tried to blank out the annoying voice of our dear nurse in charge.

‘Are you ignoring me?’ She stood right in front of my bed looking like some kind of bogey on the prowl. I squeezed my eyes shut tightly and tried to go back to sleep, but she wouldn’t let me.

‘You can’t just skip therapy,’ she said sternly, ‘You already missed the group therapy session for NO apparent reason. I’m not gonna let you slouch here while the other patients are out there, working on their well-being. Don’t you wanna get healthy again?’

Was she serious? Get healthy AGAIN? Couldn’t this stupid woman understand that there was no going back? Once a nutcase, always a nutcase. With no dreams to dream and no life to live. The healthy Lauren no longer existed; she had been left behind on the streets of Paris.

She was just a nurse, with dreams to dream and a life to live, with a family and a house and probably everything else a decent person in today’s society needs to rank among the ‘happy ones’. Me and most of the other patients at the Asylum would never have any of these things.

Mental illness is mostly tantamount to loneliness and isolation. Mentally sick people can even be lonely in a crowded room or in an embrace of a loved one, because their way of thinking or talking is different.

Two different worlds.

And because it hurts to be alone, even around people and because it shows you how pathetic you really are, it always seemed to me as if some of us freely chose to be all alone with themselves and their thoughts and their crazyness… when you’re alone, there’s no one around you can compare yourself with. When you’re alone, you’re almost normal.

My perception is not her reality. My reality is not her perception.

‘FUCK OFF!’, I yelled, ‘YOU KNOW SHIT. LEAVE ME ALONE.’

The nurse just looked down at me for a couple of seconds and then, with an affected smile on her face, she said: ‘That’s very disrespectful and I’m disappointed. I think I’d better consult the doctor on call. He’ll be taking care of you. And of course I’m gonna talk to your therapist about this… outburst.’

‘Do what you want’, I spat at her through clenched teeth. ‘Go and get the doctor, I already know him, at least he’s got packages full of pills and not only a mouth full of stupid jabbering.’

Lauren Black (not her real name) was born in 1991. Since her early childhood she has been having issues with anxiety and psychosomatic illnesses. After nearly a decade of incorrect treatment she was diagnosed with severe depression (suspected bipolar disorder) and several anxiety disorders as well as a mild perceptual disorder.

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