What if mental illnesses were shown on the outside?

Would we still be afraid to ask for help?

Since I was 13 years old I have fought depression, anxiety and bouts of insomnia. Since then I have tried to explain what that pain, discomfort, emptiness, and apathetic nature feels like to people. Often the words would come up short, and even the poems, songs, and stories I wrote didn’t seem to fully paint a picture into someones head to make them understand what I was going through. As I increasingly became aware of the lack of education and the stigma that surrounds mental illness and mental health, I thought about trying a different approach.

And that’s when the Consumed: Mental Illness Through Photography project was born.


December: Anxiety


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“I was never a cutter, I never had the courage to take a blade to any part of my body. I did, however, need a distraction when I was anxious and hurting myself was a good distraction. To this day, unfortunately, I still scratch and claw at my arms as an impulse to not being able to catch my breath or when I’m nervous. Plus, scratches fade and I was very aware of that. So there I am, tearing my skin off my arms and trying my best not to freak out. My attack is getting progressively worse and I am slowly slipping out of reality and into my own tunnel vision. I begin to hyperventilate and slowly lose any sense that anything is going to be okay. I am sweating and panting, and I don’t know what to do.” – From Rebecca – Coping: This is Who We Are Entry 5 

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The concept was modeled by professional model Anthia. You can find her on her Instagram here.


November: Depression, Anxiety, & Anger


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“But what’s worse than being in a depressive mood is when I’m stuck between depression and happiness. I feel even less than I should. When I’m passive and sad, I understand where I am and feel comfort in knowing so. But when I’m in between…I feel distress for being close to being happy but not being able to obtain it. I start to worry that the bell jar will again fall upon me soon, trapping me within myself. And it drives me mad. I’m neither happy nor sad, just in a dark teasing limbo that laughs as you try and make your way through life.” – Post: The Bell Jar

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Photos Modeled by Alex Alecia. Find him on his Instagram here


October: Depression


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Often times I’m asked what it feels like when the depression hits. Is it just sadness? Do you just want to isolate yourself and be alone? I mean yes, it is. But theres so much more.

It feels like there’s a hand inside of my head that is pulling on the back of both of my eyes, slowly encasing me in myself. It makes you feel like you want to cry, but for me, no tears ever come. It’s like there’s a black hole sitting in the middle of my chest that is sucking any little bit of life that I have out of me. From the tips of my fingers to the bottom of my feet, I feel everything start to retract. And I go numb. It can happen when I’m in a room full of laughing people who I could consider my best friends. And out of no where it’ll hit me like a truck. And often times all I can do is watch as the truck approaches, caught like a deer in the headlights. I’ll start to slip. And my mind feels heavy with pressure as doubts flood in and I start to question even the most concrete parts of my life. – Coping: This is Who We Are – Entry 1

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Photos Modeled by Rich Monteiro. Find him on his Instagram here.

 


September: Depression


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“I will never forget my sixteenth birthday. My mom had planned a surprise party for me with all my closest friends. We had brunch, presents, a piñata and cake: at a time where I should be celebrating, I found myself near tears the entire day.

I felt detached. I was apathetic. With a room full of friends and family surrounding me, I felt completely alone. I plastered on a smile for the party but at the end of the day, I will never forget the moment I cried into my mom’s arms.”  – Haley in Coping: This is Who We Are Entry 2

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Photos Modeled by Marissa Jacobson. Find her on her Instagram here.



“it all comes down to accepting the parts of you that you wish you didn’t have.”

Accepting that rejection is a part of life is how we will get through all of this crap thrown at us. Accepting that our worth is not defined by how people see us or how many good deeds we’ve done is essential. Loving ourselves and loving others wherever they are at mentally, physically and spiritually is imperative. I found my worth in making a cup of coffee for my roommate when she’s tired. I found my worth in doing well in school so that I can provide for a family one day. I found my worth in loving how I look no matter how bad my of a hair day I’m having. I found my worth in finding other people who feel like they are worthless and assuring them that they are not. – Taylor in Coping: This is Who We Are Entry 12


To keep up with the project follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or sign up with an email on the bottom of this page. I hope these photos help you know that you are not alone.

You are loved.

PF

Find more on the background of the Consumed Series here.

Want to submit to this site and share your story, art, or article related to mental health? Email wemustbebroken@gmail.com

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41 comments

  1. Great post. I can really relate to this. It’s funny how when you’re feeling all those things, you sometimes feel like you’re the only one feeling them; but then you read something like this — and, although it still doesn’t make sense, it helps. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on mvitrano and commented:
    Raising awareness, and combating the stigma associated with mental illness is so important to those of us struggling in silence. Many of us (myself included) try to hide our battle, and put off seeking help out for fear of how society, friends and relatives will judge us. Almost no other illness has this type of negativity & inaccurate information attached to it.
    The photos and commentary in this shared post are powerful & help shine a light on a very misunderstood affliction.

    Like

      1. The great problem is that when you ( as I did yesterday) do attempt to describe what is going on everything just seems to get worse. My GP sent me for a Urine test when I told her I was hallucinating again.

        Like

      1. I worked in community mental health for many years. This is the first time I have seen the issues storied in images. It is so powerful and impactful. My share also goes automatically to my FaceBook.

        Like

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