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Photo taken by first-time contributor Cari, a 31-year-old from Chicago, Illinois, who has been diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder for the past 12 years. She was recently hospitalized in September 2014 for suicidal and homicidal intrusive thoughts. These distressing symptoms were very new and foreign to Cari. Cari has been participating in intensive treatment since her release from the hospital to regain stability. Cari has found photography is a critical part of her recovery. The intrusive thoughts that she had were very vivid and photography has been a great outlet for her to create new images in her brain. Cari’s ongoing work with photography has assisted in her overall ability to find herself again.
About the photo: “I shot this photograph in a neighborhood that was in despair in Chicago, Illinois. This photo represents my brain. The label of “Master” on the lock is indicative of my brain chemistry. The distressing intrusive thoughts I was experiencing prior to my hospitalization were purely biochemical which had me locked and trapped within. There were no keys to be found at the time of the hospitalization. With intensive treatment along with a new medication regimen I finally feel that I now have keys. The lock has been unlocked and the Master is no longer the lock, but the keeper of the keys.
As my symptoms have subsided my growth and interest in photography has greatly increased. It has been the one way to express some of what was going on in my brain. I took this shot when I was still experiencing intrusive thoughts on a regular basis. I have had many more weeks of therapy and medication and can look at the photo and be saddened by what it represents. However, I have hope now that I never had before. The intrusive thoughts may never go away, but I now have coping skills to manage the distress and not get locked in the symptoms.“