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Photo taken by contributor Heidi Spitzig, a 37-year-old woman from the Finger Lakes region of New York. Heidi is a survivor of childhood sexual, physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse and lives with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and DID. She believes in the healing power of the creative process and uses photography as a way to remain present and connected to the beauty found in the natural world. Heidi also enjoys writing, painting, drawing, and many other forms of creative self-expression. She has a Masters degree in Psychology and works as a teacher and an expressive arts facilitator.
About this photo: “I took this photo when I was at the bottom of a pretty intense depressive episode. Depression can reek havoc on the way I think, which then clouds my perception. People and places can seem inaccessible, like I don’t have the right to take up space. Before I took this picture, I felt an overwhelming sense of shame that left me isolated to the point of believing I was completely alone. I needed to feel connected to something, so I went into the woods with my camera. I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do, but I found myself kind of watch myself take a series of self-portraits. I say “watch myself” because that’s how it felt to take the pictures — I felt too vulnerable to be a part of it, so I watched myself go through the process in a pretty detached/dissociated way. It wasn’t until I got home and began editing the photos that I realized I was trying to send a message to myself. Once I understood what that message was, my perception began to shift from a reality filled with heavy darkness to a reality that was a bit brighter and bit lighter in its clarity.”