by Jansie Vo
MAPPING THE PARTICIPANTS (HUMAN AND NON-HUMAN)
Here is our map done by group exercise identifying the stakeholders involved in mental health field. Map shows the connection, the relationship and interaction between professionals and organizations, and are divided in non-human and human participants. While non-human includes technology, social media, law, policies, Human includes parents, human includes teachers, Government, school. The most coverage is social media and Government effecting on individuals.
Annabella is a 22-year-old photographer based in the North West of England, has suffered from OCD and anxiety, and this image is in the series of her practice to demonstrate the emotions that go along with living with mental health challenges. When creating imagery she is highly influenced by states of mind, and the stigma attached to mental health. Annabella uses everyday materials to obscure her subject’s identity, aiming to evoke the viewers subconscious. Allowing one to deconstruct the imagery in relation to themselves, one to demonstrate one being trapped within themselves when dealing with their mental illness and continuing to explore her creativity when constructing imagery
This photo portrays what anxiety and depression feel like. It is a dark and lonely experience. At times you feel empty. Other times, you feel like you are being choked by so many overwhelming feelings. At times you can feel it emanating from you and you can’t control it. But then the light shines upon you. You realise that if you try hard enough, if you push yourself as far as you can go, you are very capable of getting better. This photograph reminds me that no matter how dark it gets, there is always a way out to the surface – as long as you are prepared to reach for it. Created by a teenager photographer, Anna Maria who was diagnosed with severe Anxiety and Depression at the age of 18, after being exposed to child abuse and bullying, and fighting very hard to overcome her mental illness.
This photo is taken by Carrie Hilgert, a photographer, painter, and healer from Northeast Kansas. She is on an evolving journey. She was affected by chronic physical and mental illnesses, including depression in her past experience. Photography, especially self-portraiture, was a tool that helped her throughout those challenging times, and allowed her to process her dark feelings. Carrie shows up that her experiences in the photo with mental illness were a catalyst for her to discover her creative and spiritual gifts. This photo is her positive journey of wonder and change, that she wants to use those gifts to help others. All the dark and light and the beauty of the raw self exposed.
This photo is created by Heather who struggles with depression and anxiety. The overwhelming cycle she experiences of unpredictable triggers and ensuing hopelessness is countered by knowing beyond any doubt that she is loved and supported by family and friends. Living in a new city with so many new things to see and many new friends is giving Heather the opportunity to rediscover herself. In this photo, the beach is where she feels most at home, and the safest. Whether she is there alone, or with friends or family, there are memories that stretch back as far as she can remember and new memories made with each visit. It is the one place I can let go of all the depression, anxiety, stress of any kind and for a peaceful while, be a happy little girl again. The beach changes every year with the shifting of the sand bars, but it is still a place can let all the anxiety and stress go away for peaceful life. The beach in this photo is the safe and comforting place for her spirit, What Heather showed in this photo reminding me that I am never really alone.
This photo is taken by Keith, who has struggled with depression. Keith has spent the last year working on a 365 project, sharing one photo per day for 365 days. Through working on this project he has come to accept and understand his struggles with depression. This image depicts his potential and his need to get better. This image is showed how people like themself who have depression feel visually. The want of letting your inner light shine so others can see it, all the while covered by this dark cloud called depression.
This photo is again created by photographer Keith. This image depicts one of the darkest moments during his depression. There were times he shuts himself down to the outside world and lived inside his head. During this time he felt barely like himself and contemplated letting all demons out, and allowing the pain and suffering to devour him. This is an expressive photo that conveys struggle once I look at along with it. I understand the temptation just to let it all go.
Here is another photo from Keith’s journey. He has been thinking about creating this image which depicts many situations. To quiet one’s ability to speak about how they feel, or to control what they say is a crime in and of itself. He describes that people in depression rely on communication to relieve themselves of situations or emotion that may be bothering them. Depression is always expressed the feeling through yelling, talking, screaming, and even sign language. Yet sometimes silence can be golden but other times it can be a cry for help.
“Fragile” is taken by Jesse who is a 19-year-old artist fighting depression and anxiety. He shows up her desire to be free in this photo and wants to be able to go places without anxiety holding him back. The wings and desire are there, but they are too weak to take him as he felt his life fading faster and faster after struggling through a year of severe depression. They are twigs, so easy to break and fail him.
Ash is a teenage student from South Africa who suffers from severe depression intermingled with brief periods of hypomania. While her mood has improved on her current medication, Ash still goes through depressive episodes. She turns to photography as her mental safe-haven. Here is her image which is self-portraits from her 365 project of the series ‘Hidden.’ Both are lit with harsh flash; She likes to use the lighting to hightlight in monochrome contrast photo.
Laura Mclean. a woman from Ontario, Canada, who was first diagnosed as a child with dissociative disorders. Auditory and visual hallucinations were the norm. It’s a tough life constantly having to monitor herself out of fear of what others might think of you in new situations, but she is coming to terms with it using two wonderful therapies; blogging and photography. She takes photos as a means to communicate feelings she does not understand. This image represents two constants that those with the invisibility of mental illness live with each day. The black and white area of the woman’s face, is the face that people with mental disabilities, like herself, put on each day. Blending in with everyone else, excepting for our eyes. The bottom half is covered and the lips can be slightly seen. This is where she hide her emotions. Where she does not speak about her illness, and where she keeps her secrets, so others cannot harm her. She took this photo as part of a photo assignment for school but felt it touched on something deeper.
Broken light, 2016, Depression, A photography collective, viewed 28 August 2016, <https://brokenlightcollective.com>