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: “Last night my intrusive thoughts returned. I feared that these distressing thoughts were the end of me. Of course I castrophized and thought the only path was hospitalization and that somehow I was ill again, withered. Actually, the thoughts were there, I managed them and was able to move on. I am not perfect by no means and some days are a major struggle. This photo is withered tulips which by most would be considered not photo worthy, but today in my struggle to manage it is perfect.”