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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: “Sometimes in the midst of my mental illness, I look as this statue looks, very solemn. Everything in my mind is revolving around my depression and it is hard to break out of it. My eyes are blank as the doctors are trying to adjust my meds to get me into a functioning state again. There is no laughing or joy during these times. Currently, I feel as if I am leaving a solemn state where all was grim and bleak. My doctor worked tirelessly and found a cocktail again that is finally kicking in. The solemn times are always with me and ready to rear up at any given moment. The important part is to allow the rest of me to overcome and find the joy.”