Tag Archives: Bipolar

Christina

Hi, I would like to send you a photo I took this afternoon whilst out with my family.

This week I ended up going to hospital and being started on lithium. I have bipolar disorder and it snook up on me this week sending me back to square one. I’ve wanted to post a photo for a while but couldn’t find something that fit.

This week I have gone from rock bottom to being able to go out for dinner with my husband and children today. I also DJ-ed a charity event yesterday evening, days after being unable to get out of bed.

It’s easy to see the suicide attempts, the depression, the mania, the wreckless behaviour……the thing that’s not easy is seeing how amazing we are.

Sometimes it takes a mirror in the restaurant bathroom to remind us of that! I saw this and instantly wanted to post it!

Thanks for your time and your inspiration xxx

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S M

A very moving entry from S.

It is hard to take a picture of yourself. I don’t have the support of my family for them to help. I was diagnosed BP in 2004. Previous to the diagnosis I self medicated, spent 18 months in rehab, was sober for some time, married 3 times, had two daughters, attended college to become a special education teacher, while somehow holding it all together. In 2006 I attempted suicide, then followed, hospitalizations, 23 different meds in different combinations, more suicide attempts, ECT for two years, memory loss, now I’m tired and seriously depressed. I continue everyday putting on my mask working with severely autistic students, failing at being a wife and mother, my own mother left my life before the holidays, and now I have discontinued use of all meds. I’m alive still.

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D

Photo taken by a woman who suffers from the mental health issues above, including depression, anxiety, and bipolar II.

About this photo: “This is a submission for both Broken Light Collective, and Unmasked, a project that encourages people to come out about their diagnoses to help fight stigma. It is hard for me to put myself out there in this way, especially with a photo, because there are elements of my diagnoses that I am still struggling to come to terms with. I admit that there are certain things that I erased from the board because I am still fighting with my own inner stigma battle, but I know that I want to encourage other people to fight stigma and put themselves out there, so I must therefore do so myself, even if it is one step at a time.

When things are at their worst, I feel like my diagnoses become me. It makes me feel incredibly confused, ashamed, and angry, in part because of the stigma. If I am what I am trained to think down upon, fear, and hate, then I therefore must think down upon, fear, and hate myself. But I know there must be more to me than these words on a chalk board, and that I must keep fighting for that something else. Fighting for my family, my remaining friends, myself, and everyone else who is fighting. There is no doubt that mental illness is the hardest battle I have ever fought. It’s a daily battle for life. As you see, the list of my battles is a long one, and this is only a partial list and doesn’t even include my many set-backs and treatments tried along the way.
One of the few things that can bring me a feeling of joy in my depressed state, or any other state for that matter, is photography. When I am feeling terrible there is little that I can do beyond trying to see my doctors and take my medications. Those times even standing up can be a challenge, but being creative is something small that I can do for myself wherever I am physically or emotionally, a distraction and a creation that is all mine. And sharing my photos in a supportive environment like Broken Light has been an amazing release and support. I hope other people will take my lead — not necessarily photographing yourself with your diagnoses, but doing a little something for yourself, creating something or finding your own way of fighting stigma. I know I am more than my diagnoses — my photography reminds me of that. WE, the collective, those who have suffered or are suffering, are all more than our diagnoses. Create, explore, share… Let’s do whatever we can to release their powerful hold.” 

Ian Francis

Ian writes:

Hi I’ not strong enough yet to come out from behind the lens, I’ve been Bipolar for almost ten years, in that time I have taught myself photography from scratch. I have used that to my advantage to get out, not talk and use the camera as a shield, have a end product.

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