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Photo taken by first-time contributor Danielle Holjeson, a 30-year-old woman from Pocatello, ID. She has struggled with Major Depressive Disorder since she was a teen, and has been managing it with medication since she was in her early 20s. She is a newly single mother of a young daughter who is both the source of great joy and great frustration to her. She has been a photography hobbyist since high school but began a more serious foray in 2011, when she felt the need to try to visually represent mental health disorders so that those who don’t experience them or aren’t affected by them might come to some kind of understanding of what it’s like for those who live with mental illness. The name she uses for her photography, Bright Eyed Way, is inspired by lyrics from her favorite band, Blue October. The song talks about “waking” up from a horrible bout of depression, shedding the scales of it, and moving forward with renewed hope and strength. She chose it to remind herself to do the same whenever she can.
About this photo: “This photograph is a self-portrait. It was actually taken the day I received my remote shutter release – I’d never shot with one before so consequently this was an experiment to see if it would work the way I wanted it to. It wasn’t until I had uploaded the shot that I realized the photo starkly represents the way I feel when I battle a hard low with my depression – shuttered in, looking out at the “light” that others appear to have in their lives, unable to reach it myself.“