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A self-portrait

In the age of selfies, the art of the self-portrait is a drowning art. Like an anchor. It sinks to the bottom of the clear lake to remain as a foundation, while cell-phone portraits float at the surface by the millions each day.

What constitutes a self-portrait? I'm hardly a versed artist, but I can say this: a self-portrait almost always includes

thought & intention planninga message or subject& an audience.
Recently I took a series of portraits to tell a story. I wanted to show what it was like to have schizophrenia through emotion, fabric, highlight and shadow.

I chronicled through portrait my journey with schizophrenia:

Symptomatic but not medicated or diagnosed.Diagnosed but not medicated. Medication trial and error through hospitalization.Isolation out of fear and shame.Despair because of that isolation.Accepting my diagnosis. Coming public with my diagnosis.Advocating for others with the same diagnosis.

I know that the term schizophrenia is hardly praised, so I want…

Support is not found in the shadows

I don't think anyone would ever want to write these words or go through this life-altering adjustment. But I've realized I can't and shouldn't fight this alone. I need support and encouragement. Because,

I have schizophrenia.

It's a severe brain disorder that has nearly disabled me. I know that sounds confusing and maybe even a little scary. It affects my ability to see, hear, walk, talk, think, sleep, and feel.

When my symptoms started disrupting my movement and speech, I chose isolation as an answer. Maybe if no one saw me like this, it would feel less real. But isolation quickly led to depression and despair, where I began to believe I didn't belong anywhere anymore.

Up until this point I have isolated myself until the medications have begun to work well enough so that now I feel brave enough to be seen by others again.

I want to feel that I belong and still have a purpose in this life.

The few people that I have told have been very loving and supportive. But some people follow up with questions like:

"I believe you, but I don't understand. You are so smart and talented."

After learning more about my diagnosis, I've read stories and talked with others online that have this illness that are happy, successful, and functional. They have bad days, but they have happy stories to tell. They are smart and talented too.

I want that to be me. I want to be an advocate for myself and others.

I want to show to myself and everyone else that I can still live a fulfilling life even though I have schizophrenia.

And if anyone else is struggling with mental illness, maybe I can be an example that it is possible to still live a joyful life.I want others to know that they shouldn't hide.

Support is not found in the shadows.

I am smart. I am talented. I am brave. I am beautiful. None of that has changed.

I'm still me.

Treatment for this so far has been so helpful that I feel less disabled and more "me." I can walk more and think more clearly. I can have conversations, and I'm playing music again.

I'm still a long way off from the pinnacle of health, but every day I feel more hope.

And that's what I need. Hope. Not false hope. This condition is chronic and won't disappear, but proper treatment and management of it can make it so that I am functional and happy again.

If you have any questions, please private message me on Facebook or Instagram and I'll respond as I can.