I am looking for inspiration for my next photography project titled "Illustrating Mental Illness"

As some of you already know, I am a Photography student at Falmouth University and I like to work on projects which are personal to me.

For my next project I have been given freedom to do whatever I want so I have decided to look at how mental illness affects people in different ways.

I would REALLY appreciate it if you guys would give me some ideas and feedback. I want it be as realistic as I can, so with my own experience with depression and a little help from this forum I think I could create some great work!

Basically it would be great if you could post here what it feels like to be depressed, the descriptions can be as abstract or as literal as you want, anything will help!

I will then hopefully use these posts to create some great performance pieces!

Any questions, just ask :)

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  • To be depressed feels like your life belongs to someone else. You don't know who that person is, or what they have in store for you. You're just at their disposal every day of your existence.

  • Isolation. Like the air around you is broken into shards. You can see other people and their lives inside the fractured pieces, but you can't reach them. And you're just spinning and falling through all these images of what your life should be, could be, and isn't.

  • Hi Hollypie as a Photographer myself I would think about shooting it in B & W.

    Depression for me is.

    On the outside looking in.

    Stuck

    Alone

    Feeling apart from life.

    Swimming against the tide.

    Feeling weighed down.

    Feeling detached.

    I think that enough to be going on with.lol.

    Holly pie I'm not always like this. Good luck with project.

    Hannah

  • It is to feel deeply different, deeply defective, not as good or as worthy as other human beings; it is feeling weak, damaged, terrified and unable to cope , thinking of suicide but even that is not a way out as it is the ultimate reinforcement of your own failure as a human being. It is like being trapped in a living hell of these kind of thoughts and constantly feeling inadequate and lacking and hating yourself for your own failures or for just who you are.

  • Hi

    On really bad days I would feel like I was looking down on myself.

    On occasions looking at others thinking 'do you feel like I feel'..

    Feeling lonely but wanting to be alone....

    Good luck with the project :)

    Xxxx

  • Hello you :) how are you doing?

  • standing in a group of happy, smiling, animated people and feeling nothing except alone. nothing in common with our friends -a group to which we once belonged.

    why not use photo-editing to:-

    1.have the group in colour and having a person, quietly unnoticed, looking passively, blankly into the distance in b&w.

    2. similar but make the person smaller and just out of the group.

  • I can really picture that hamble as you described it; very evocative. In my case as well you could have someone on the outside of that group crouching , trying to get in, watching, drawing all sorts of diagrams and rules about how those people seem to relate, and have a hammer next to them that they pick up from time to time and knock themselves on the head for not getting it "right" or understanding these rules!

    I get different mood states at different times so another one for me was the steep rock face which I am trying desperately to cling onto (this for me I think represents the idea ofsecurity within myself) I am just about clinging on and climbing up but there is a huge fall if I don't make it so it is very scary and not making it means being thrown back into total insecurity and nothing having any pattern or any safety in it for me)

    . Sometimes I feel "frozen" and just go to my bed for safety or because I literally cannot think of anything to do to make me better; there is nowhere for me to go out to and nothing I can manage to do by myself to make me feel better ; but that is not a nice feeling at all.

  • please accept a gentle virtual hug (( :) ))

  • I think the hug was for me? If so, gratefully received ((:)) x

  • it was & you're welcome

  • For me

    depression feels like having a heavy cold.

  • Pretty much what everyone else has said but for me depression is like looking at the world through a glass.

    You can see it all going without you, sometimes you can even watch yourself but you feel so disconnected as though none of it is reall. You're just a ghost walking through the empty streets of your life.

    Good luck with your project.x

  • Hiya hollypie,I have Dystymia, severe long term depression and I can honestly say that for me it's like being stuck between a rock and a hard place.its horrible feeling like this because you hate yourself for being like this. I have spells of being down tjat last for months and then I get a slight high for maybe a few weeks,but it's not the same as bipolar as I don't get manic high its more like someone normal thats feeling really down. Frustrated is another one, even when you take medication your body gets isef tp it so ots no longer as effective.

    People who don't suffer from this can't appreciate just how much it biggers ip not just your life but your families life as well. I wish you all the luck with your project and hopefully you'll be able to get plenty of inspiration from here. Take care Aidi x :-)

  • Hi Hollypie :)

    Good luck with your project, I love anything that involves creativity so will be excited to help! I have different experiences of depression - a very well known description, but accurate in my experience - is like there is a heavy black raincloud over your head you can't get away from it, it follows you no matter where you run. At times the cloud can 'suck' the life out of everything.

    Another description could be absence of emotion, feeling numb inside. Or feeling cold: you can feel frozen inside, and cold on the outside too - the feeling that you want someone to hold you. One the things I've had off and on is very strong craving for affection and reassurance.

    I've often described from bad experiences, at times, the feeling that my soul is being tormented - I read somewhere out of a book something along the lines of feeling like a naked flame is being held against your soul - not my words but very cleverly written and struck a chord.

    I guess everyone's experiences of depression is different and that's what should be challenged. I'll leave it here for now and let you know if I think of anything else.Oh I've just thought of another one! It's like your heart inside your chest has been tethered to a rope with a heavy rock at the end, putting strain on it and trying to pull it down - experienced physically and emotionally.

    Take care and kindest regards,

    Fay xxxx

    P.S. Just wanted to let you know these are only experience I've felt at different periods in life. I'm still a cheerful positive person, and have good experiences too. I just have an active imagination. :)

  • To be depressed seems to be asking yourself the big question once to often and not understanding why there is no answer

    What is it all really about and why am I here ?

  • When I get depressed, I feel like a small starving child ,being circled by some dark beast !

    its yellow eyes transfixing me ! and im terrified to move.

    my heart misses its beat and im slowly being strangled .

  • Hiya HollyPie, this post is seeming to be popular and has really got me thinking. Another idea I've just had is a photo of a Happy Person, someone smiling and then the words," Empty , lost, frightened, alone", coming out in a bubble as thoughts from the head. These are words I wrote myself not so long ago when I was trying to put into words a desperate mood I was having. Idea of this photo obviously that when you see a smiling face on the outside there may be a very desperate person on the inside.

    Another image I have from a while back now when I was younger would be someone walking around and everything is black and grey,literally no colour. You could have a colour photo of a vibrant street say a market with cafes and shops and then the same street in black and white but with a "fog" type of effect over it as well so you could not see things clearly I felt like this when younger. I literally did not see any colour and everything looked dark.

    Yet another image of someone crouched in a cell, shackled and crying out to be heard, but the cell is just there with nothing else around it.

    As with funkyfairy these are all things that I either do or have experienced but not all the time. Some of them are mood states I get now, mainly at weekends, and some of them are from a while back. The emotions and fear are still underlying but I am working on myself and understanding a lot more than I ever did and changing my behaviour now in a way that is helping me. gemmalouise X

  • I wonder if you could use masks as a visual theme? We all do a lot of putting on a facade and pretending we're ok.

  • Hi

    Sorry, I have only just read your post! For me it's a feeling of lifelessness, sadness, isolation, emptiness, feeling like an outsider to life, an onlooker, without connections (I think that's the main one for me, like a feather wafting around in the wind, or a balloon on a string but no one holding the end).

    Sue

  • More ideas coming Hollypie - people sometimes refer the idea of 'lost at sea', you could have a picture of someone on a rickety boat in a the middle of an ocean during a nighttime storm, the waves crashing and thundering so that the boat nearly capsizes.

    Or you could someone standing deep set in murky water in the middle of a lake, trying to fight their way out, but the water, sea weed etc works against them. You could have tree brunches hanging infront of them also blocking their view and pathway, you could even give the branches a 'human' like quality (e.g. branches long spikey arms with a sharp face etched in the tree trunk) to make the scene more eerie, and to illustrate the paranoia/feeling haunted side of mental illness while also feeling alone. Hope this makes sense and hope this helps. :) xx

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