Laura Fascione, Stoney Creek Canada
A story of resistance to processing trauma. As such, it portrays the very nature of a trauma response. An automatic need to protect, somehow. Driven by fear and an overwhelming sense of vulnerability. I took these images at a particularly difficult point in my recovery. My whole being, not just my mind, was telling me to guard up and protect myself from any further emotional pain. Creating this series became a way of validating and processing my own intense resistance. I see myself close up and protected.
Jody Duck, Newcastle Australia
A self-portrait using one word (Hopeless) that is repeated; it’s a word that my internal dialogue uses frequently… I have tried to convey the anger and despair I feel when “it” overcomes my remonstrations and incapacitates my ability to work diligently making it ineffective to continue or even commence.
Chayce Laking-Murdy, Windsor Canada
I often tell people that depression, for me, feels like I’m being held unwater. Everything in the outside world feels muffled and distorted. I know the world keeps moving around me, but it’s just out of reach. My photo, Sinking, is meant to depict the detachment, and isolation I feel from the rest of the world during a depressive episode. Likewise, learning to cope feels like learning to swim. Having the skills to navigate my mental health helps me keep my head just above the water.
Short Film Winners
Jorja Fuller, Dubbo Australia
A short film exploring the thoughts and feelings that a person with anxiety may feel. In a time where we are all connected via Emails, Text Messages and everything in between it felt only right to use this as an opportunity to connect to those who may not connect with what it is like to live with Anxiety. The “messages” that appear in this short film, are not quiet “messages” at all but the ongoing, overwhelming variety of thoughts that I endure living with this mental illness. I encourage the audience to immerse themselves in the sounds as I believe the sound of a film helps bring everything to life.
Lakshya Upadhyay, Mumbai India
The darkness isn’t only black & white.
glimpse into the turbulent mind , wishful of eunoia.
piles of pills , she feels hollow now.
she stares into the mirror , the darkness sticks like tar on her.
she used to smile , then the dark clouds came thundering down.
Julius Neil Piala, Daveo City Philippines
“Push on, Papa P”
The filmmaker, a Filipino father who struggles with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and mood disorder, has to wrestle with his daily duties as another health issue concerning his heart condition haunts him. The creative visualization of his mental health challenges makes use of specific imagery associated with his trauma (i.e. drowning incident, sexual assault).
“Push on”, or “padayon” when translated in the vernacular (Cebuano or Binisaya language), carries a sense of hope and anticipation for a better ahead for him and his family. This self-produced 60-seconder short film, primarily shot by the filmmaker himself with actual soundbites from a couple of medical consultations, seeks to end mental health stigma through communication and media arts.
Angie Chan, Melbourne Australia
“The darkest hour”
In dark and bewildering times, when my depression obscured all sense of hope. Thankfully, the healing perspectives of art therapy and soul-oriented psychotherapy approaches offered transformative medicine to guide me through the dark. There felt a sense of process and purpose to what I was going through. Helped me feel less ‘wrong’ and ‘broken’ and helped me to see the potential medicine of my experiences.
Music has always been an art form that has given me great comfort. I love visual art but I don’t draw well! So in this track, I used soundscapes and music to express what I can’t in visual pictures.
The sound and music in this track captures the despairing thoughts and inner turmoil I felt (and can still feel, though less now with the support of medication). The audio narration acts as the wise counsel and guidance for helping one navigate through the shadows. Much like the higher perspective messages once receives from oracle and tarot cards.
Ming Wei Neo, Singapore
“Of hopes & dreams”
I wrote this piece of music for violin, cello and piano and had the fortunate opportunity to perform it live with a couple of friends at a recital (at Esplanade Recital Studio, Singapore) that I self-organized. This recital had been one of my dreams for many years, and I played some classical pieces and the theme of the recital captures my journey of having a hard life. My mum has been suffering from depression for twenty over years and I have been her sole caregiver for about twelve years now since my brother and my dad passed away. My brother had depression too and took his own life; my dad passed away of liver cancer a year after. Last year, my mum had a relapse of her depression which was really bad coupled now with anxiety, a new condition that we had to deal with. I had to delay holding the recital time and time again because of Covid as well as my mum’s relapse of her depression and anxiety caused me to have to care for her, putting aside this big project. I wrote this piece just a month or so before the recital to remind myself that it is still possible to fulfill my dreams but not without shedding many tears and experiencing multiple struggles in life. Many times I had been depressed as a caregiver myself but music is my source of expression and hopes to carry on in life. The recording I’ll be uploading is a live recording from the recital itself.
Deborah Wilding, Christchurch New Zealand
Four years ago I left an abusive relationship and there are still many ‘aftershocks’ of this abuse today. The most difficult part so far, has been supporting and caring for my teenage daughter, who has recently been diagnosed with PTSD. She suffered horrendous abuse of her own which lead her to a very dark place. To survive her thoughts/flashbacks, anxiety and other symptoms, she started self-harming, which quickly lead to numerous suicide attempts.
She was caught in the mist, stuck in a place that she could not escape from, yet this was the only place that she felt safe. Watching her in that much pain but not being able to connect with her, being physically and emotionally shut out of her life, whilst she struggled on each day, not knowing if she would even survive and be alive in the morning…that pain for me, her mother, can’t even be put in words.
As a way to support myself through this, I turned to music and wrote a song called Walls. This song talks about the pain of ‘trying’ for both the victim and their support people. Was she trying to stay safe, or trying to leave this world because it was too much? Could I keep trying every day to be strong enough to support her through this, whilst feeling my own pain about not being able to do anything? It talks about following her actions to try and find her again, following the lines (the scars on her body) she was drawing, the walls she was building to keep everyone out, so she could come out from that darkness. This song questions any hope that I had to have enough in me to keep loving her and keep climbing all the barriers, even though it hurt so much, no matter what.