Please welcome first-time contributor Karen, a 52-year-old woman who lives with bipolar disorder. Karen lost a sister, who also struggled with bipolar disorder, to suicide.
About this photo: “This old barn has always fascinated me, scared me too. My mother had schizo-affective disorder and back in the 1960’s, when I was 5 years old, my mother was admitted to a state asylum for the mentally ill in which this dairy barn is located. My dad brought me to visit my mother after months separated from her. I climbed the hill to this barn, where my mom was placed, and I remember being apprehensive. Though I wanted very much to hug my mom, as we approached closer to her, I could see she was in a wheelchair with an IV bag hanging from the pole attached to the chair. I was terrified and would barely go to my mom even though she wanted to hold me. I do remember someone telling her that I was probably frightened by the IV tube, and through her tears she agreed. During my adult years I have always been relieved that someone did say this to my mom. I live about 5 miles from the state asylum, which is now closed. It stands on about 20 acres with many admin buildings and barracks that housed patients, and the grounds are beautiful. Though dilapidated, now that I’m an adult, I’m unafraid, and it brings me some strange comfort to be there (my mom has passed away). This barn has always fascinated me and since I have always used photography as my “creative outlet” I photograph it often.”