although never talked about often enough, and especially in a positive and healthy way, 1 in 5 US adults experience mental illness every year (and 1 in 5 youth ages 13–18 experience a severe mental disorder at some point during their life).
if these numbers do not mean a lot to you, let me put it into perspective:
typically in a given day, how many different people do you talk to or interact with? now, think about the fact that 1 in 5 of those people are juggling some kind of mental illness along with living their normal day to day life.
now think about how many people you see every day. 1 in 5 of those people are dealing with a mental illness and more than you think, right then and there while you see them.
how many people is that? probably more than you can count, and almost definitely more than you thought.
if there are this many people dealing with a mental illness, why is it talked about so rarely and so hush hushed?
mental illness is not fun, true, but that doesn’t change the fact that people are still experiencing it and living with it and through it. the more we talk about it, especially in a healthy and positive way, the easier it becomes to live with, the easier it becomes for those struggling to talk about it and find the help that they need.
those dealing with mental illness often truly live normal and happy lives for the majority of their life, so when i was scouting for this project, i asked all of my models to use their experiences and come up with two concepts unique to them:
1) what it looks like on a good day (because we are normal people and lead normal, happy lives)
2) what it feels like on a bad day (because we have bad days and we cannot control how and when the mental illness strikes)
because of this, all of the ideas are quite different, though many of the illnesses are of the same titled diagnosis.
while photographing, i did not hold back on anyone’s concepts. i never said no to a particular idea because it was “too much”; these are real humans, living this reality every day. you should know what that actually feels like, both on a good day, and a bad day, because we are not scary creatures, we do live happy lives. we feel good often, we love life often.
i tell you this for your discretion in viewing, as mental illness can be scary.
all of the quotes in this post are from the people you see in these photographs. they will remain uncredited, both because they do not need to be credited, as all the words are true and valid, no matter the illness being discussed, and the person discussing them, and also for privacy. the quotes are in no particular order, and may or may not relate to the images they are next to.
one more note, something that truly doesn't matter all that much, but i wanted to mention:
the ‘stories’ relate to the images, and not the quotes. there are 30 images, 2 per person, 15 people; 15 stories. (there are actually only 14 quotes)
my goal in sharing this and working on this project in the first place, is to help break the stigma.
please share as you feel led, but this is my part, now it is your turn.
if you need help or are seeking assistance, don’t wait. please visit this link for resources today.