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"For me anonymity is a killer of outreach. If we are all pretending, no real communication happens. Stigma creates a false need to be who we are NOT!

I am here to state my diagnoses (Cyclothymic Disorder/ADD/SAD); my loves (food, particularly Mediterranean, TV, learning, science fiction, laughter, movies, trees and forests); and the labels/names I choose for myself—no matter how silly ("rabid recycler" and my shoe size: men’s 13) or mysterious ("pursuant-truant").

The PhotoVoice project has given me the opportunity to publicly voice what I privately feel."



There is a tool in the area of psychology which presents cartoon faces of different emotional states on a sheet of paper. The aim is for the gazer to choose the face that best represents how they are feeling at that time. The major difference between those and mine is that each of the faces are either my own or that of the gazer. Those sheets of paper are often passed around and re-copied until they seem aged by replicative fading. This is why I chose the aging effect of sepia tones as a focal point for all but the invited gazer.



There is an oak tree at OSU that I greatly admire; I call it "fortitude." It stands on "the oval" near Hopkins and Bricker halls. Fortitude may look like the Cheshire Cat’s tree from Alice in Wonderland, but it is much more. This old codger experienced a great injury to its central core at some time after its resilient sapling years, and yet it had retained enough of the grit, hardiness, and perseverance of youth to thrive by amassing, strong, off-shoot branches near its base (two to three feet above the ground). When I am stressed, I think about hiding in that makeshift nest.



I suppose I’m lucky not to have a drug or alcohol addiction, but by the same token, it might be easier to focus on taking my "meds." I hate having to take pills! Those fancy multicolored stones that the anonymous THEY say I need to "fit in" and be/act "normal."

I am considered to be one of the anonymous mentally ill. I don’t feel "ill," "deficient," or "disordered." As for terms like, recovery or wellness applied to my mind set; I’m insulted! I do not need fixing!! I do need answers; I do need access to therapy; and I do need friends and the sense of belonging that comes with them.