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Photo taken by Jill, 38, from Boston.
I took these within an hour of returning home from my first hospitalization. I wanted to document how I looked, whether I would ever look like my real self again. Except, as it turned out, this is my real self. I woke up one winter morning, one year into a relentless “episode” of Major Depression &, after five minutes of sensory triggers, decided I wanted to kill myself. After a failed suicide attempt, I checked myself in at Beth Israel and was diagnosed with Complex PTSD, Major Depression, Anxiety Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder. I had no idea – I had been a high functioning professional, PTO President at my girls’ schools, well-liked. I considered my traumas to be experiences, maybe stripes. Not so much. I kept my bracelet with my Attending’s name on it until it fell off six weeks later. I felt like it would protect me, that he was somehow still with me. But of course he is not. I am considering self-hospitalizing for the 7th time now, to keep safe. I have been sick since 2006. It will not leave.