Photo taken by contributor Danielle in Massachusetts. She is a writer in her thirties who falls on the bipolar spectrum, and to a lesser extent OCD, BPD, ADD and PTSD. She enjoys art (viewing and creating it) and dreaming about traveling the world.
About this photo: “A year ago today, I was a mess. I was in a psychiatric facility. I could not engage with family, friends, or the world. I rarely left the house. A year ago today, I felt the weight of the world smothering me… and no longer wanted to be here. A year ago today, I was at rock bottom.
The psychiatric facility permitted me to leave at times, but seeing as how I was agoraphobic, I couldn’t drive or take a bus to get anywhere. So I took a walk. One step at a time, I carried myself into the nearby woods and stumbled upon a perfect lake. I found a nook at the water’s edge that felt just right, so I sat, and sat, for as long as possible. I never found nature to be as beautiful as I did in that moment. The dirt on my hands, the bark, the crackling leaves… Being there, in that moment, I felt free. And I felt alive. Before I went back for evening groups, I stood on the rock and hoped and wished and prayed with my everything that 2013 would be a better year. That I could survive it for the people left in my life.
I closed my eyes and imagined I was breathing in light and breathing out the heavy darkness of my depression, leaving it in the woods. Beneath this rock.
On New Year’s Eve day, I was discharged from the facility, giving me the opportunity to start the new year fresh. Little by little my situation improved, and now, one year later, I can say I am doing better. I have had many stumbles along this path, and am far from recovered, whatever that means. But, I did have a better year, and now I am hoping and wishing that 2014 is even better. I am going to go for a walk to find a new rock under which I can leave my darkness. And each year going forward I will do the same… Until hopefully, one year, I will not need to.”