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Photo by contributor John E. Panic, a man who was born in Houston, Texas, in 1954. John experienced his first psychotic episode on his last day of elementary school. He went undiagnosed until 1973 when recreational drug use as a sophomore in college caused a mental breakdown. His first diagnosis was from a hallucinatory drug flashback. He was misdiagnosed as having hypoglycemia the same year. John had a variety of other diagnoses over the years, but finally received an accurate diagnosis of Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Type, in the late 1990’s. He was then classified as disabled in 1998. John, and his ex-wife, currently live with John’s 87-year-old parents and help care for them.
About this photo: “Pareidolia is the mind’s tendency to perceive forms in randomly occurring stimuli- like a cloud that looks like a bunny. There are pareidolic images of animal and human faces and figures in this image. The images are distorted or exhibit some form of distress. I group this photograph in a class of my abstract compositions that reveal pareidolic images of distress and anxiety during the editing/printing process. Anxiety was, and in some ways still is, a dominant symptom of my disorder. I think chronic anxiety has produced some trauma that reveals itself in some of my abstract compositions. I felt excited about finding a good abstract composition when I took this image. There’s some evidence that people who experience hallucinations are better at finding pareidolic images than people who don’t experience hallucinations.”
Find more from John on Flickr