I asked people around me how they cope when they are having bad days in regard to their mental health. I got a plethora of answers, some of which I can relate to, and some not. Those who do struggle with mental health go through a large amount of effort to conceal it and go about their day with a smile on their face. I used my capstone project as a platform to portray some of these coping mechanisms because it is not as simple as just “getting over it”, which is a common phrase that is said. The series is shown in black and white because in my experience, color is happy. Some days are better than others and when things are looking up and going well, it is like seeing the world in color again. During low points when it seems like the world is against you, it almost feels as if the world loses its color, and I am seeing in black and white.
This series is very important to me because mental health is something that I have struggled with for as long as I can remember. It has always been a difficult topic for me to talk about and I feel as if I can best express myself through my photography. My goal for this project was to show that mental health is normal, natural, and manageable. It is okay to want to scream and break something, to cry on the bathroom floor, to be sad, angry, scared, etc., but those emotions need to be handled and distributed safely. Some ways of coping are harmless, but some are dangerous, devastating, and permanent, both physically and mentally. Mental health is a very real thing that has the ability to take over and lead you down a dark path. Everyone has different ways but finding the coping mechanism that works best for you is so important.
After struggling to find one that worked, I know now that my coping mechanism is art. This works for most of the time, but there are certainly times when mental health has too big of an impact of my creativity and how much I express myself. When I am feeling more down or stressed than usual, I like to take photos. I usually ask some friends if they would like to, and then I go out and forget about everything else. Being out in the middle of a field taking photos of my friends while we are all having fun together is such a great feeling that I cannot even describe. Photography is my passion and being able to go and have fun doing what I love the most is how I cope with my mental health. Doing this project gave me the opportunity to bring awareness to the very real things that people go through every day and how important it is to find a safe and healthy coping mechanism that works best for you.
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