Picture Story #9

30-Day Project Works-in-progress #2

At first there didn’t seem like there wasn’t much of a light down at the end of the tunnel in regards to my 30-Day project for capstone. Seeking a person with a mental illness who is willing to have personal moments of their life recorded is as hard as it seems. I’ve sent out emails to various list servs through Mizzou, have gone to friends, and have put out flyers asking for help. On Monday I went to a support group hosted by the local group of the National Alliance on Mental Health. I was pretty nervous as to who would be there and how I would approach individuals. I went in there telling them of my own problems with depression but disclosed my intentions about my project. The meeting fell through for me, as no one was wanted to be involved. I did however get a much deeper perspective on mental health when I talked with the people at the group. Some would have been out of the question to ask as they were in too vulnerable state to be followed around by someone. While the stories from the people at the meeting would have been a benefit to document what a toll mental illness can really take, I might have someone else to photograph. A women who works as a secretary in the psychology building responded to one of the flyers that I put up. She says that she’s been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has battled depression since she was a child. I was surprised by her that she said she still keeps a “mask” on in front of others and might investigate this more. While bipolar disorder is not the same as strictly depression there are overlapping symptoms. We’ve planned to meet later today to discuss my project and intentions further. I need to know, though, if she is willing to be a part of my project. In her response to my flyer she said she would like to talk to me more if I haven’t found anyone yet. I’m hoping that means talk to me about being photographed and not talk to me about depression in general. With my luck it would most likely be the latter, but I won’t know until later today. If she is willing one of the first things I need to know, however, is of what four basic types of bipolar disorder she has. I would then interview a psychologist to get a better understanding of the type of bipolar disorder she has and how I can best approach documenting her.

UPDATE: She is willing to be my subject. (Woooh, what a relief. Now to get to work).

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