Broken Light: A Photography Collective

We are photographers living with or affected by mental illness; supporting each other one photograph at a time. Join our community, submit today!

Angst

Photo submitted by contributor Victoria Saywer, a 30-year-old woman who has been suffering from panic attacks, anxiety and depression since she was 10-years-old. That was 20 years of avoidance, of persistent fear, of stomach aches and rushing thoughts. This photo was taken of her by her friend, Kerri Lavertu. Alcohol has been a demon for Victoria, a way to escape herself. In college she would drink to excess to feel like someone else, someone confident, someone sexy, someone who wasn’t afraid of social situations. It was a way to live for a time without the overwhelming thoughts in her head and without the frantic panic. And it was addictive. She wanted to be that version of herself, the girl who wasn’t crazy. But it eventually led to breakdown and serious thoughts about suicide. Luckily she survived, but even now panic is still a battle, each and every day.

About this photo: “This photograph represents my desire to tell my story, my desire to show the gritty, real side of panic and anxiety and the kinds of coping methods that sufferers use to escape. I have several goals for my writing, both my novel “Angst” and my blog. Firstly, I want to allow people to get inside the head of someone who suffers, to show what it’s like, each and every day because I fear that too often we are misunderstood and there are also many who suffer and feel that they are completely alone and this is the furthest thing from the truth. Secondly, I want to show why suicide is not the answer even if sometimes it seems like the only way to escape. And finally I want to promote the idea that letting others in is okay, even though it feels like you can’t ask for help. There is often the perception that we should be able to make ourselves better, all on our own, but this isn’t true. Letting someone help you is not weak, it is reaching out toward hope, it is being human and learning to accept our human flaws and share them with others. And for me, the truth is I am not crazy, I am Victoria, I am simply me, honest, flaws and all.”

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5 comments on “Angst

  1. seeker
    February 10, 2013

    I agree that you are not crazy. You are Victoria, just like me, I am Perpetua. We are both human beings flaws and all. With good help and by the grace of Higher Power, this can be controlled. Take care.

    Like

  2. luro97
    February 10, 2013

    I can totally identify with you. Thank you for your words. I received much help but had to allow others to help me. Definitely not easy to do.

    Like

  3. arcanehoplite
    April 5, 2013

    I read this post some time ago. I’ve thought about the person who wrote it most days since.

    Why would I do that?

    Like

  4. panikikubik
    November 16, 2013

    Great post and beautiful photograph. I’ve been suffering from a panic disorder for about 20 years, few people know, few understand the pain, the sadness and what it takes away from you. Wish you all the best.

    Like

  5. Michel
    March 5, 2015

    i always think it’s brilliant that there ARE people telling about their mental illness. For only two reasons: 1. telling sucks – the first 100 times. BUT AFTER that it occured (at least to me) of something I managed to live with and – let’s be honest – in the end we are alone with the disease. Others may help us, showing ways to get rid off of certain things like alcohol (I needed a clinic for 5&1/2 days after a bottle or more of vodka a day.) i’d never blame the alcohol. Alcohol is great for people without the tendency to become an alcoholic. Let’s let them decide what’s good for themselves. Others start with street-drugs or their mother’s pills. And there are some who sadly don’t make it at all.
    That’s why I chose to say there are 2 reasons. And here comes number
    2. we MUST tell our stories to everyone. Otherwise people never will believe in mental illnesses. And otherwise: who would speak up for us and the following generations of sick humans? They might only need a talk to other sufferers or a doc (not even a psychiatrist!), others may need medicine or a break to visit a clinic. After I came back and started telling some chosen persons in my life about the Panic, the OCD & the terrible sadness which comes from that automatically – just like the solitude – well, people told me: “why didn’t you tell me earlier? My brother has the same serious problems!” Or “Why would you be ashamed? WHO IS SANE THESE DAYS, HONESTLY?” That last one might sound bitter but there’s something true about it. Everyone knows somebody who is mentally sick. How many Grandmothers have tranquilizers in their medical pill boxes? A damned lot. Trust me.

    Thank you so much Victoria for TELLING. I hope turns into a bestseller. I also just release my first photo/picture book next week. It’s called “Ich friere / I’m freezing” and already started with planning my second one.
    YOU SEE: WE CAN MAKE IT IN THIS WEIRD WEIRD WORLD!!

    All the best to you and never stop fighting!!
    Michel

    Like

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