Please welcome first-time contributor Chris Lee, a fourth year college student in Iowa. Chris was diagnosed with depression in the spring of 2013 while a student at college, but had suffered from anxiety and suicidal thoughts through much of high school. With help and support from friends he began to see a counselor. His recovery experienced a setback when he lost his job working with his school’s IT staff, but he began taking medication and exploring photography as a way to occupy himself during downswings, and as a means of getting out and on the path to recovery. Chris now makes an effort to reach out to younger students in the hopes that his experience might help others come forward and get the help they need.
About the photo: “It’s really easy to feel alone and powerless when you’re depressed. Sometimes, you don’t even want to ask your friends for help– it feels like you’re a burden to them. But after truly awful weeks after leaving my job, I decided I’d had enough of taking it sitting down. I was going to do something about it– I was not just going to recover, but try and grow from all of this.
I used the time I had from working less to pick up photography. It got me up and out of my room when nothing else would. Medication has helped me a lot, but its impact is thoroughly overshadowed by the boon photography has been for me. It’s my first really “personal” hobby, and the drive to learn and teach myself has been empowering in a very dark period of my life.
That’s what this photo means to me. Even if you feel alone, or feel that nothing is working, or that you’re too reliant on your medication, or that it’s not doing enough– just beyond that moment is the chance for you to get up and fight back.“