When you deal with mental health issues in the long-term, it’s often necessary to find ways to cope when times get particularly tough. In the best cases, we find healthy pursuits like exercise, creative expression, meditation and other activities with therapeutic benefits. We might also turn to escapism, losing track of our worries in video games or Netflix binges. In the worst cases, we might rely on addictive or unhealthy behavior in a misguided or desperate attempt to numb our negative emotions.
Content warning: discussion of drugs, alocohol and self-harm.
This Black Girl’s Recovery Guide to Mental Illness is brutally honest photo series that details what worked–and what didn’t–throughout one photographer’s journey. The photographer, who goes by greeneuphorias, tried many things to help her through the challenges of bipolar II disorder. She shared the results of those personal experiments in an effort to show others that they aren’t alone.
Some of us utilize different vices to overcome the feelings of loneliness and hopelessness that comes from depression. I’d like to share a few of mine and how some of them helped me and how some of them did not. I wanted to share this small project to show that recovery comes in many different forms and that you are not alone in your journey to recovery.
She also wanted to help break down the particular stigmas that black women face when coping with mental health issues, noting that because black women are often expected to be a source of strength for the people around them, seeking help can be especially difficult.
Like many of us, she turned to escapist fantasies to get a break from the reality of mental illness.
I remember as a little girl I would spend hours creating my own personal Hogwarts universe and pretending I was as smart a witch as Hermione. Even now as a 22-year-old young woman, Harry Potter still brings me so much joy. When my depressive episodes hit me really hard I always knew I could count on the Harry Potter series to bring me a little light. I recommend girls to find a book they could lose themselves in. Sometimes it is a wonderful feeling to be so involved in a book you almost feel like one of the characters. Give your mind a break from the negative thoughts and let your imagination have an adventure.
She also found ways to cope that were healthier–and ways that were much more destructive. It’s a very personal journey, but one many of us can probably relate to from our own attempts to work through hard times.