Refocusing The Lens – Trapped

PHOTOVOICE is an engagement and empowerment strategy that uses photography as a tool for social change. It gives any group the opportunity to record, reflect on, and critique personal and community issues in a creative way.

The aim of this project is to motivate participants to be actively involved in decisions that affect their own lives, while decreasing stigma and broadening understanding of their personal struggles. The resulting exhibit, REFOCUSING THE LENS, features the work of five participants who have documented their personal experiences with mental health, eager to represent them to the outside world. Trapped, By Aidan

Artist’s Statement

This antique elevator was the last thing I saw before my freedom was taken from me. I remember being very scared when I entered the elevator to visit the mental health offices at St. Josephs Health Centre. I was admitted to the mental health ward (7M) after my visit with the psychologist there. This elevator represents the frightening experience I had with my mental health episode and how trapped I felt by it all. I am thankful that I no longer have to see this ancient elevator as I am now an outpatient, evidence that I am moving forward on my journey and [...] continue the story

Jason Davis

Gang consultant Jason Davis on the impact of violence, on suicide, schizophrenia and bipolar diagnosis.

The World Has Gone Mad

By Michelle Lemme

I’m definitely superstitious.  When I was a child (and even into adulthood) I was, without a doubt, convinced that if I did not say my prayers, and include virtually all of my loved ones AND “all the people in the world who are suffering”, something bad would happen (or at the very least, nothing good would happen) and I would be directly responsible.  Talk about guilt (I could never suffer enough to compare with those caught up in the atrocities taking place all over the world) and anxiety.   Even now, when my sister emails me these crazy “send this to __ people or ___________ will or won’t happen”, I go mental.  I mean WTF, why does she send me these things?  Rationally I know that something happening as a result of not forwarding an email is absurd.  And yet, I am compelled to send those darn things on, just to be on the safe side.  The only way that I can delete these emails, without any risk, is if I don’t actually open them! I should probably mention that avoidance, coping by not having to cope, is one of my fallback behaviors, I have always believed, “ignorance is bliss”.   It’s one of the ways that I manage [...] continue the story

Unwanted Thoughts

By Michelle Lemme

Unwanted thoughts keep popping into my head; need to keep myself distracted so as not to get caught up in the never ending vortex of worry and guilt.   No matter what has taken place in the past, I am and always will be, a mother first.  I believe that the thoughts that I am having are not “abnormal” as I believe any mother who is undergoing something difficult with their child would also be plaque by guilt and anxiety.

My tendency is to catastrophize things, it is the rare occasion in deed when I don’t believe the worse can, and probably will happen.  No matter that I rarely have evidence which supports the catastrophic thought that is haunting me.  Sometimes, even my breathing cannot quell the fear that tears at my heart.

The “guilt” thoughts are the most dreadful, the most useless.  All of these invaders drive me to want to fix everything that is precarious in SA’s life, what mother wouldn’t want to make their children’s life easier if they could?  I’m torn apart, knowing that SA needs to continue to learn to live her life independently and responsibly.  How can she possibly succeed if I intervene in every [...] continue the story

Could I be Manic

By Michelle Lemme

What is wrong with me?  Honestly, sometimes I feel as though I’m incapable of not spending money.  I think I may have a serious problem with “impulse control” when it comes to purchasing.  Do you think I could I be manic?

A friend told me about a website that carries the brand of swimsuit that I really like.  I already own one, it’s in great condition.  I rationalized that with the amount of time I spend in my suit at the cottage, it would make sense to have two that are comfortable (as opposed to the second one I own, which, impulsively I had to have, even though it clearly did not fit “properly”).  In any case, I found the same suit, different color and purchased it for just under $100 including tax and shipping.  I made that purchase on February 26, today is March 19, 2012 and I am still waiting on delivery.

I spend, roughly $150 every other month on “supplements” which I purchase online.  This has been going on for approximately 6 months.  These purchases include PGx, for weight loss, weight maintenance and glycemic control.  I have yet to lose more than the six pounds I lost before I started [...] continue the story