“Culture” is not confined to the outwards appearance of an individual. It is the way people think and act, their likes and dislikes. Every individual human has a culture thriving in their minds. Yet many people struggle with their mind, fighting an unseen predator as it lurks in the deepest, darkest parts of their consciousness. The “culture” of an individual not only includes their heritage or region, but their mental health and how it affects the way they perceive the world around them.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety affects “40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year” while major depressive disorder affects “more than 16.1 million American adults” (Anxiety and Depression Association of America). The American Psychiatric Association pinpointed the diagnostic criteria for Major Depressive Disorder as feelings of sadness or hopelessness, loss of interest, change in weight or appetite and activity, insomnia or increased sleeping, excess fatigue or lack of energy, feeling guilty, feeling worthless, attention difficulties, and thoughts of death or suicide. These symptoms would be present almost every day, last for at least two weeks, and cause problems in daily life (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
However, due to the stigma in the United States against mental illness, many are afraid to even tell their closest friends. While these people are incredibly tough for fighting back, they are also fantastic at hiding their problems and suffering alone. They will go untreated. And they will go on without critical help. Depending on the illness, the longer it goes unnoticed, the more fatal it becomes. In 2015 suicide was considered the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, in other words, about 44,193 people; more than twice as many deaths than homicides (National Institute of Mental Health). Talking to a psychiatrist is key to starting the healing process. Although, if insurance is not capable of covering that cost, the toll-free number for suicide prevention is 1–800–273–8255. They are available at all hours, every day of the week.
This photo series is meant to enlighten the public about the life of an individual with both anxiety and depression, and to release the stigma against getting help. Every photo will depict a moment in the individual’s day along with a caption to help explain emotions and ideas. The focal point will be a single pill bottle beginning with seven pills, demonstrating the process how medicine can quickly become the core of someone’s universe. Along the way, the photos will become darker and devoid of color to show the gradual, sometimes abrupt, changes in mental stability. All were shot in a single room to encompass the confinement of mental illness. Please be aware that this series will depict dark themes.
Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Facts & Statistics. August 2017. 8 October 2017.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Depression. 30 March 2016. Article. 8 October 2017.
National Institute of Mental Health. 2015. Article. 8 October 2017.
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