Depression doesn’t always look sad.
It can be the forced smile on a new mother’s face, or your best friend who keeps cancelling plans. It hides behind your friend saying she is “okay” when you know she isn’t. Mental illness affects approximately 1 in 5 adults in the Unites States, yet the stigma against mental illness is so powerful that many struggle in silence and never seek help. This series was created to help break down walls and encourage those struggling to speak up and get help. I hope that those of you reading who have never experienced this will come away with a new understanding and help others you may know who are struggling.
Why are the women showing their bodies? Because The Honest Body Project photographs women in a new light with untouched portraits to help fight the messages society sends that all bodies must be “perfect” and look a certain way.
WATCH The Honest Body Project. Post continues after video…
This series contains stories about depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental illnesses.
“I have been suffering from PTSD since I was 19 years old. The reason I suffer from PTSD is because I was sexually assaulted. Once at a house party when I was 19, by a “friend” and again this past year, outside of a bar, by another supposed friend.
"What helps most to cope with my depression and PTSD is writing and venting to my closest friend or my counsellor. I also work out, which tires me enough to where my mind won’t race and I am able to sleep at night.
“I urge anyone with depression, PTSD, and anxiety to please reach out for help. It is detrimental to your life. You’re not a freak, even though some people may never understand."
"My pregnancy was a very difficult and uncomfortable time for me. I didn’t have that pregnancy glow or that feeling that women say that they have when they’re pregnant, that they’re just so elated. I can truly say that I just didn’t enjoy being pregnant. I went back to work when he was six weeks old, and I cried the whole way to work (which is very unusual for me). I think that was the beginning of me being truly depressed.
“When he was about 15 months old things started getting really dark. I started noticing that as I would get ready for work that my heart would start racing, I couldn’t breathe, I would start to feel sick and as I was driving to work I would have these panic attacks.
"I learned how to pray and meditate that way when I feel overwhelmed or when I feel like I’m starting to slip back, I can stop and focus on what’s important and know that I am bigger than my depression. It’s doesn’t control me anyone. I am no longer a slave to the darkness.”