“I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this project. This chance to represent others who struggle with mental health issues but have no voice is a tremendous honor. I hope this exhibit touches hearts and opens minds.”

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Just like water erosion changes this rock in small ways over time. I am not what I once was, nor what I will be.

Before I was a rock trying to be strong: not wanting to feel the unsettling emotions that being alive includes. Like the rock I had the empty place in me, sunk in, worn down from years of depression, negative self-talk and assumptions that everyone was disappointed in me. My repeated failures in life were all I could see, and my feelings of being less than were reaffirmed because of them. These feelings are represented by the pebbles in the water. I've held them all in and let them grate at me, hidden inside, where I have carried them with me for almost 25 years.

Today, as this photo shows, the pebbles are visible in the transparent water, because I have finally become willing to let them go. By going to counseling, trying multiple medicines, and working the 12 Steps in two different programs, I have found that willingness.

Because of my mental illness I will always have a worn down place inside of me, but one day I hope it will be emptied of the negativity and self-doubt. It will become a shallow pool of clear water that will allow others to see into a deeper part of me. I now know that I don't have to continue to hide my pain and bear it all alone.


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We all deserve more no matter who we are. More love, more peace, more comfort and support, more joy, more beauty...just to be more alive, see more, do more, experience more.

I have felt like I was less than others as long as I can remember. I’ve always expected more from myself. More accomplishments, more successes, more money, more creativity, and especially more drive and more courage.

Words help. This photo tells me that I need to let go of negativity and fear more, and have more faith. It speaks to me of more serenity. It says "you are more than you used to be and that is wonderful.” There is so much more for me to do and see and find and learn and enjoy. There's so much more... for all of us.