The photo series “In Reality” consists of nine images that capture the behind-the-scenes reality of living with mental illness and its effects. Often times mental illness is glorified, but when shown what it actually looks like, people are quick to go back on their word and start judging those suffering because they live “messy” or “unhygienic” lives, due to their illness. The ugly reality is suppressed and covered up by a facade to escape judgement. This series is to be transparent with what mental illness can often look like, in ways that are shamed or not talked about.
“Daunting”: Showering can be one of the hardest tasks. When your hair is matted up and takes half an hour or longer detangling, and there’s so many steps needed to take before, during, and after the shower, simply looking at the shower head can feel intensely daunting.
“Stains”: Stains on the carpet from years of dirt. Hair on the carpet from fallout. Bags on the carpet from “cleaning”. Items on the carpet from letting things stay on the ground when they drop.
“Abandoned”: Two images of toothbrushes. Collecting dust, the hygiene products sit on the dirty counter and dirty holder. Dry and unused. The special toothpaste, “enamel fortify”, to make up for the lack of usage, the lack of motivation and will.
“Their Half”: Clutter collecting on their half of the bed. Hairbrush full of hair, used tissue, empty chocolate bag, half eaten bag of potato chips. The side of the bed is not used for people, but where the mental illness lays. I share the bed with it.
“Procrastination”: A new series of red marks, missing assignments, calls for a new series of Netflix shows. I told myslef putting another episode on would help me work. I’ve been staring at this split screen computer for 90 minutes now, but the only thing I end up clicking is “play next”.
“A Sign”: In a field full of dead roses, there is a positive sign, an “I Love You” balloon from someone who means it. Flowers that went thirsty in October consistently have their heads down. I wonder if they know that right behind them the love that keeps them going.
“Forward”: Despite the dozens of wilting roses around, this one chose to stay alive. Bright red and up high, it defies the odds, and keeps plowing forward.