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Photo taken by Jan Austin Smith, a 27-year-old man living in Northern California. His mother, a Psychiatrist, has depression, and his closest aunt is bipolar, so he has been around people with mental health issues his whole life, and has a tremendous amount of compassion for them. He thinks that mental issues are so maligned in the dominant culture, it is tragically sad. Jan has also suffered from depression and anxiety himself, which has been hugely exacerbated by disabling chronic nerve pain in his knees, and 5 knee surgeries. On his website, TheRewildWest, he writes about human, Earth, and animal liberation, as well as displays his beloved nature photography. He’s also a novelist, and editor/book reviewer for the Green Theory and Praxis Journal.
About this photo: “This photograph is of “Shine On,” my first (and current only) tattoo. Its profound meaning to me is threefold: it is a tribute to my favorite band, Pink Floyd, who created high art in the form of sonic landscapes; it is a reminder to live how I want, to not let anybody but my own conscience and heart dictate what I say or do or write; finally, it is a tribute to my older brother David, who killed himself 9 years ago when he was my age, 27. The passionate, intense way he lived his life is inspiring, and had a profound impact on my own personality–you can read my full piece on “Tattoos and Suicide” here.”
*This week is National Suicide Prevention Week. We honor and remember loved ones who we have lost. Please speak up if you are having overwhelming thoughts of suicide or know someone who might be. Seek out a medical or psychiatric professional immediately, or call a crisis help line, such as 1.800.SUICIDE or 1.800.273.TALK.