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Susan

"The lotus flower begins its life at the bottom of a muddy pond. Despite the struggle of growing away from the sun in the middle of muck, it emerges beautiful and strong.

PhotoVoice reminds me of the lotus. In spite of all that we, the participants, have been through in our individual struggles with mental illness, we have created such amazing—and hopefully, inspirational—photographs. Even in something as formidable as recovery from mental illness, we’ve made the effort to manifest beauty and grace."

 

 

“WHO ARE YOU GOING TO BELIEVE, ME OR YOUR LYING EYES?”
—Groucho Marx

When I was a kid, I had no idea I had poor vision. At eight, I got my first pair of glasses, and everything changed forever. Things were no longer fuzzy and even colors were brighter.

The same has been true for my recovery: I didn’t know how off-kilter my world was until I got the right help.

Those first glasses made me dizzy and threw me off balance. Over time, my prescription changed, and I had to adjust. Each change has been challenging, but well worth the effort.

Things change — what worked in the past may not work later on. Just as with my eyes, I am willing to put in the work to see and to think and to feel clearly.

Now that I know what I was missing, anything else is unacceptable.

 

 

I GET KNOCKED DOWN, BUT I GET UP AGAIN

I think of my depression as a parasite that wants to fight for superiority.

Like some parasites, it can alter my behavior and change my brain chemistry. It just waits for any sign of weakness to strike.

If I am not vigilant; it will slowly drain sleep, appetite, energy, and ability to focus. It will overwhelm me with lists of things I should do, haunt me with past mistakes, and drown me in guilt and regret.

I used to just take the assault, let it eat away at me because I thought I had no other options.

But now I’m fighting back every single day. I train for this fight by eating right, exercising, taking my pills, seeking support when I need it.

I am a fighter, a survivor, and someday soon, a champion.

 

 

HOPE IS NOT A LUXURY

Yes, recovery has been a difficult and seemingly endless process, but I am determined to persevere. I can only do so with the belief that no matter how bad things get, as long as I push through, I’ll make it through to the other side. Regardless of all that I’ve done and gone through, I have faith I will survive and be stronger for my experience.

I’ve found this billboard strictly by accident, but I took it as a sign I am truly on the right path. It’s not too late.

Even for me.

Even for you.