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Photo taken by first-time contributor Nina, a 53-year-old woman from Pittsburg, California. She does not have a diagnosed mental health condition, however she has experienced severe anxiety, and has been working though a lot of issues stemming from growing up with a violent, alcoholic father.
About this photo: “I created this collage without much thought, but stepping back I realize it had a lot of meaning for me. I grew up in a very abusive, violent environment. It wasn’t until my mid to late thirties that I sought counseling after a very bad break-up with a boyfriend who I had to put a restraining order on. Some time after my counseling sessions (which helped tremendously) I began to experience really bad anxiety; this was pure hell and it seemed to last forever. Looking back on this experience I wish I would have sought additional help as I probably would have benefited from anti-anxiety medication.
I see now that I had a lot of unresolved issues from my childhood that were finally coming up to the surface when I started to get healthier.
Age of 7 was a turning point in my young life. This was the first time that I remember all of us (3 other siblings and Mom) lived together with my father; this was the start of chaos, violence, fear and uncertainty up until the time I left home at 19.
This collage represents my sweet, innocent spirit that just wanted to be loved and accepted yet is surrounded by looming dangers (perceived or real) represented by the barbed wire fence, and looming shadow. The road stretches out, wrapping around the bend signifying the unknown and the journey to find myself. The missing pieces I left behind that changed that little girl, but made me who I am today.
The collage has four components (images) – 1) Death Valley road 2) fellow photographer though window of abandoned building in DV 3) barbed wire image 4) me at 7 years old.”