Photo taken by contributor Samantha Pugsley, a 24-year-old conceptual fine art photographer from Charlotte, North Carolina. She first picked up a camera during her junior year of college. This was right around the time when she was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Things that were once easy became impossible for her. Getting dressed in the morning, shopping at the grocery story, driving her car…just living, was a panic attack waiting to happen. Photography helped her heal. With her camera she could start a conversation about what was going on in her head. She could say things with her images that she didn’t know how to say out loud. She still struggles with anxiety but making art helps her talk about it and manage it. She started a 365 photography project to ensure that she’d be doing what brings her joy every single day. She has noticed that her anxiety level is much lower if she spends time with her camera every day.
About this photo: “A lot of my work deals with themes of isolation. Having a mental illness can feel very lonely especially if you don’t open up to others about your struggle. For this image, I thought a lot about how lonely my childhood was. I didn’t have a lot of friends. It was very hard for me to engage socially. When you’re young and you have a hard time making friends, you think there’s something wrong with you and that no one likes you. Now, as an adult, I can reflect and realize that I had an anxiety disorder which prevented me from getting close to others.”