Please say a warm hello to first-time contributor toki, a poet and hobbyist photographer from the Pacific Northwest, who struggles with depression, anxiety, and life on the autism spectrum. toki finds photography to be not only a calming pastime but also a way to share a particular view of the world and to express what is sometimes difficult to put into words.
About this photo: “As if depression and anxiety don’t make it difficult enough to communicate with others at times, being on the autism spectrum takes it to another level. Even when I work up the courage to talk to others, I often find myself stumbling over what to say and how to say it, or falling back on clichés, idioms, stock phrases, and jargon. Even worse than trying to put my thoughts into words is trying to decipher what other people’s words mean. Depression and anxiety lead me to a lot of self-imposed solitude; combine this with the semantic, pragmatic, and other difficulties associated with autism spectrum disorder, and it should be no surprise that I find communication with others awkward on the best of days and downright agonizing much of the time. I think this photo sums up my experience with language quite well.”