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Photo taken by contributor CJ, a 31-year-old female living in Chicago, Illinois. CJ has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder for the past 12 years. In September 2014, her symptoms flared and she developed intrusive thoughts. For CJ these thoughts were highly distressing as the content was related to harming herself and others. She was diagnosed with OCD at that time and began an intensive partial hospitalization program (PHP). CJ has since graduated from her PHP program, returned to work, and has been able to manage her symptoms. The intrusive thoughts have mostly subsided, but still flare up in times of great stress. CJ now has tools to deal with the thoughts and continues to participate in individual therapy. She has found photography to be a healthy outlet. Through photography CJ is able to replace some of the distressing violent images in her mind with positive and uplifting images. Photography has become a daily aspect of her life that promotes stability and wellness.
About this photo: “This shot was taken on a beautiful day in a local forest preserve. The day seemed to be perfect in terms of lighting and scenery. The tire in this shot represents my OCD. The tire is an obsessive thought that goes round and round interrupting my life. The beauty of this shot is the obsession adds a sense of intrigue and beauty which is synonymous to my brain and my illness. So right now as my OCD flares it is not the end of me and I am not ruined, but instead more beautiful because of the obsessions.”