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Photo taken by first-time contributor Shantel, a teenager from Kansas City. As a young child, her older brother would hide her in a closet so that she wouldn’t get hit by their abusive father. By the ago of 9, she went to therapy because she began feeling suicidal. At 12, she began to self harm, and after a suicide attempt was sent to a mental hospital for 10 days. While there, she was diagnosed with Psychotic Depression and Severe Mood Disorder, and was put on 120mg of Geodon. She struggled with medication until she secretly stopped taking them, something that never should be done without medical supervision. It’s been about 2 years since her last pill, and she’s experienced some mental deteriorating, and plans to go to a doctor soon for it. She still suffers from depressive symptoms and from time to time hurts herself. She also still hallucinates, but now believes she has the ability to tell what’s real and what’s not real because of the time when she was not hallucinating.
About this photo: “This was a photo I took of my view. I was smoking a cigarette and sitting on a large hill by myself, alone. The sun was beginning to set and I saw children playing far away. I felt bittersweet inside. The photo shows how my innocence was stolen from abuse and mental illness in contrast to the innocent children playing on the playground. I felt strange; the fact that these kids probably didn’t understand the concept of death while I was trying to kill myself at their age confused me and made me feel wrong. Now I wish to help other children so maybe they don’t feel as wrong as I do in society.”