Photo taken by contributor Don, a man in his fifties from the Western North Carolina Mountains. Throughout his teens and twenties spikes of grandeur, depression, and anxiety were the norm, although back then no one used those terms, at least not in his small town. He struggled throughout his twenties. Don continued to be plagued by episodes of mania and depression, until one day in his early thirties it all came crashing down. His anxiety turned to severe panic attacks. Fear and paranoia consumed him. It would take years to get a concrete diagnosis. Ultimately, after a full three-day medical work up at a military hospital in DC, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, general and social anxiety, and ADHD. It was around that time when he picked up the camera he had laid down some years back, and began to shoot again. He liked being behind the camera’s lens. He felt safe there, sort of like when a child puts his hands over his own eyes, thinking you cannot see him. Some of his photographs have been published and won awards.
About this photo: “Early one morning heading out to get coffee, I was driving along a twisting-turning mountain road. I had seen this view hundreds of time before, yet this morning was different, it was lit by the low sun hanging just under the tree tops. The colors were so vivid and the pond was caped in gentle fog. It was so beautiful, I captured this shot only moments before the sun came up above the trees and harsh light devoured the scene. Dealing with bipolar disorder is much like a beautiful sunrise or sunset. You must be at the right place, at the right moment, and even then the beauty lasts but for a fleeting instant before its darkness or harsh light overcomes it. During that instant of beauty all I’m thinking about is how long will it last and will I get the shot. Then reality sets back in.”
Find more from Don at his blog.