Please welcome first-time contributor Rachel, a 30-year-old from Florida who has struggled with anxiety for over 20 years. Over the years, she has been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and Borderline Personality Disorder. She wakes up every day, ready for yet another battle against the demons associated with mental illness. Despite her challenges and exhaustion, she pushes through each day and finds light in the laughter of her two children, comfort in the embrace of her loving husband, and peace in the support of a few close individuals who have remained by her side no matter how hard she tried to push them away.
About this photo: “This picture makes me think about how I push forward every day, despite the scars that this morbid illness leaves on my heart. Somehow the world never sees those scars. There are no bandages, no cool cast for your friends to sign, no physical mark….just an ache at the core of your being that changes you forever and leaves you feeling broken. When looking at this picture it made me realize that the light is always just within grasp for me, but so far away at the same time. I can look around and see the light that is in everybody else, and yet still feel the darkness all around. Other days, on that rare occasion where I wake up and just ‘exist’, when I wake up and feel ‘ok’….then I feel like I am standing in the light but yet am paralyzed at the same time, afraid that no matter which way I step, the darkness will close in. This photo was taken the morning of a storm. It is reflective (at least for me) of the daily storm (sometimes just a shower and other times a thunderstorm) of the struggles associated with my illness.”