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Photo taken by a woman in her thirties who suffers through long bouts of deep depression, as well as regular anxiety and panic attacks.
About this photo: “I like all things technological, but there is nothing like the smell and feel of an old book in your hands, and the gratification of seeing your bookmark getting closer and closer to the end. Books for me have been therapeutic, both reading them, and at times when it is difficult to focus and read because of depression, defiling or repurposing them. I was at a psychiatric hospital recently when another patient and I found two old abandoned Popular Mechanics do-it-yourself encyclopedias from the ’50s. We took out magazines, sequins, and glue sticks and would sit for hours and hours collaging and coloring on the pages. My favorite part was finding interesting words and images to rip or cut from magazines and matching them together to create stories. Stories on top of stories. Our books became reflections of our personal journeys, through mental illness, love, loss, struggles, and growth. I was especially drawn to images of eyes, birds, things with spikes, puzzle pieces, and women dancing.
Collaging is an art form that I had not explored since childhood, but it turned out to be great art therapy. It was relaxing, creative, a good release, and also fun for both myself and my new friend. So at the urging of one of the counselors, we decided to explore other childhood activities… Next came finger painting, slinkies, and even play-doh. It’s amazing, but acting like a child really can be a form of therapy. It forces you to be in the present moment. It’s nearly impossible to get a slinky down the steps without really focusing on it – the angle of release, the trajectory, the velocity – or to color within the lines (although don’t limit yourself), and sometimes that one single moment of mindfulness is all it takes to keep you from going down the negative path of past or future thinking – and simply be in the now.
I think I’m going to have a peanut butter and banana sandwich now, and then take a hula hoop for a spin!”