Photos taken by contributor Stephen from Maryland. He was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder a few years ago. He has also suffered from crippling anxiety attacks and substance abuse. His issues came to a head in 2009 and he was hospitalized for the first time. He was given medication and told that he would be on that medication probably for a good portion of his life (he was 40 at the time). For the next 2 years he struggled with being under medicated & over medicated while nothing was truly being done to correct the situations he was in. In early 2011 he decided to take control of his life. He quit his medications (though he and we do not advise doing so without the close supervision of a psychiatric professional). He also began a strict yoga and meditation practice and changed his diet and lifestyle. While his inner demons never fully went away he learned to control them more than he ever had.
About these photos: “This series of self portraits were done before what was to be another major change in my life. This time – it was a positive change. I think these images reflect my struggle to control and contain my own issues while letting go of things I no longer needed to hold on to.”