Photo taken by contributor Tracy, a 31-year-old woman who lives with her husband and 9-year-old daughter in Glasgow, UK. Tracy has struggled with anxiety and depression for several years. She worked as an office assistant but was signed off work due to mental health issues. She deteriorated even more after that, with time spent in hospital, going to see counsellors, and lots of medications, with various side effects. She decided that she didn’t want to live like that anymore and she wanted to make her daughter proud of her, so she pushed herself to go back to college where she chose to study photography. She quickly realized how much she loved every aspect of photography. Although she still has very dark days, she continues to push herself and carry on doing what she loves.
About this photo: “This is never easy to talk about, especially as I cannot understand what I am feeling half the time myself. I am suffocating in a mist of confusing, all consuming emotions. On particularly bad days when depression and anxiety has me in it’s vice like grip, I can barley function at all, the simplest of tasks, like getting out of bed, getting dressed, facing the day at all, fills me with such overwhelming terror that I just want to hide away under my duvet and cry until it eases a little. For a long time this is what I did, I hid away in the dark, completely alone. I had isolated myself from the world, so angry and ashamed of myself for not being stronger. Mental Illness is not something to be ashamed of though and we must talk about these things. Do not hide away and think you are alone, because we are not, we have each other.
I did not want to live like that anymore, but I wanted to live. To watch my daughter grow into the beautiful person she was becoming. To not be afraid to take her to the park. I wanted her to have good memories of me, so as scary as it was I went back to college and got back out in the world, which has not been easy and I am in no way “better”, not by a long shot, but when I look back to when I was at my worst to where I am now I realise how far I have actually come. I cannot believe it myself sometimes.
I still have these days where I just want to hide away but I do not ever want to go back to that place that had no hope, so I get up and trudge through the day on auto pilot, in the hope that tomorrow will not be as bad.”