Please welcome first-time contributor Laura Mclean. a woman from Ontario, Canada, who was first diagnosed as a child with dissociative disorders. Auditory and visual hallucinations were the norm. At that time, in the 1970s, there were no treatments for her diagnoses. In the 1990s, psychologists deemed the disorder caused by Multiple Personalities, then in the year 2000 the diagnosis was changed to Bipolar Rapid Cycling, and a series of prescription drugs were used to manage the symptoms. Life is now much better for Laura and her family. She is married, has four children, and attends college as a full time digital photography student. Photography has been a therapy of sorts for her. She takes photos as a means to communicate feelings she does not understand. She still must contend with disruptions caused by hallucinations at times, especially when under great stress, but with the change in treatment she is no long plagued by a sense of panic and paranoia.
About this photo: “It’s a tough life constantly having to monitor yourself out of fear of what others might think of you in new situations, but I am coming to terms with it using two wonderful therapies; blogging and photography. This image represents two constants that those with the invisibility of mental illness live with each day. The black and white area of the woman’s face, is the face that people with mental disabilities, like myself, put on each day. We blend in with everyone else, except for our eyes. The bottom half is covered and the lips can be slightly seen. This is where we hide our emotions. Where we do not speak about our illness, and where we keep our secrets, so others cannot harm us.
I took this photo as part of a photo assignment for school but felt it touched on something deeper. Originally all shot in colour, I felt a message about living with mental illness could be drawn from it. I entered the image into our local International Peoples with Disabilities contest and it tied for first place.”
Find more from Laura at her blog and website.
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