Photo taken by contributor “Alice,” a 49-year-old woman living in the north of England. She has suffered with severe depressive episodes since her late teens, but only two years ago was diagnosed with Cyclothymia, a milder form of Bipolar Disorder, followed recently by an additional diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. Along with her own struggles with mental health, her son, then aged 12, began physically assaulting her and has now been diagnosed with Conduct Disorder. Alice began her blog Alice Through the Macro Lens in 2012 in an effort to try to understand her journey through the mental health process and has used this forum to display some of her photography, in which she finds solace. Recently, she began a sister blog, Like a Circle in a Spiral to document the struggles of raising a child with his own difficulties.
About this photo: “It was with no small irony that I just looked back to a couple of contributions I made to this very Collective soon after its conception, once in March 2012 and again in May 2012. I wept as I read my own entries, referring to my son as “my continued light in my life,” adding that “his light makes even the darkness beautiful.” Back then, I mentioned that I had “worked constantly since I was 18” and I spoke of myself as a “devoted mother.”
How quickly things fall apart.
Tomorrow, I am due to be “retired” on the grounds of ill-health, unable to even think of entering the office building without falling apart – and my precious son is no longer with me. He was taken into care last July when, after eight months of physical assaults, he attacked me with kitchen knives and the “authorities” stepped in.
The last year or more has become one of those slow, revolving thunderstorms, increasing in energy with every rotation. My son is still the most important thing in my life, and I am still a devoted mother. But I am only one person. Fighting every step of the way for my son’s best interests has resulted in me neglecting my own, and I have found myself in some dark, dark places.
But even after the worst storm, Nature has a way of recovering, often with a renewed, clean serenity.
This photo, simply taken of a honeysuckle in my back yard, represents the hope that my storm too will pass.“
Find more from Alice at her blog.