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Photo taken by contributor Craig A. Miller, a 37-year-old author, speaker, photographer, and suicide attempt survivor from Boston. For many years he struggled with OCD, extreme anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. After a suicide attempt nearly ended his life at age 20, he became dedicated to understanding what led him to such a decision, and more importantly how he could gain control of himself and his life to ensure it would never happen again. He published a book in 2012 titled, This is How it Feels: a memoir of attempting suicide and finding life. He is a member of The Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention and regularly speaks everywhere from libraries to state conferences sharing his story and the steps he took to move forward.
About this photo: “There was a time when I believed that every thought within me was trying to hurt me. I continually fought away the negativity that came into my mind convinced I would never be well unless I conquered the imbalance. Without even realizing it, my life had become an all out war- every day, every night, every breath- a war. Me against me. And with each day I fought, my mind grew smaller, my life moved further inward, and my perception of the world became blocked out by the walls I had built around myself.
Today I am well. In fact my life is better than I ever dreamed it would be. And one of the questions I am asked most often is how I remain well. The answer is quite involved but in short, I’ve learned to embrace everything I am. I’ve learned to love myself in all ways possible. But even still, I have my difficult times. And when I do, I allow the seemingly heavy and dark thoughts to come as they will. I let them stay within me just long enough for me to understand them and extract any value they may have to offer. Then I dismiss them. I let them go. It’s not always easy, but writing and photography have proven to be the perfect creative outlets for me to accomplish this. When I put it on paper, the worlds are no longer repeating in my head. When I capture it on a screen, the image is no longer in my mind.
This year’s winter in New England has been very difficult for me. It was particularly dark and cold with constant shades of gray shadowing the sky and landscape. And for a moment, I felt the walls going up and those old, heavy thoughts nearly overstaying their welcome. But with this photo, I dismiss them and I now welcome a new horizon.“