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Photo taken by contributor Anna Ripmeester, a 50 years old mom of two teenagers from Southern Ontario, Canada. Anna suffered through some major depressions as a teenager, but in her artistic, creative, emotional family she was just viewed as moody and difficult, not unlike most teenagers. It was not until she was 40 that she was diagnosed with Bipolar type 2 after a major postpartum depression had ended her marriage of 17 years and spun her into mania. She has been doing art all her life, but that year she finally took the plunge and started doing her four year Honours Degree in Visual Art. It was a turning point in her life and the last year of University, she also weaned off of traditional meds (which should only be done under medical supervision). It has been a struggle at times and a year ago she sought the help of a naturopath to also help her with worsening fibromyalgia symptoms. Anna grew up on the west coast and her parents instilled in her a deep love of nature that feeds her soul and her art and photography.
About this photo: “This photograph was taken last week in front of my house after a recent depressive episode. One day of barely being able to stop crying and the next feeling that surge or revving of hypomania. That week the cold temperatures of minus 10 C. plus the wind chill were making me feel so chilled and I just wanted to hibernate when I got home from my day job as an Assistant Manager in retail. I had made an emergency call to my naturopath and started a new supplement, but I knew I also had to get moving so I headed up to my favourite hiking trail on the edge of the city after work. My boss had said the day before that she wondered if the full moon was maybe affecting me, but that evening the beauty of the moon and the forest and seeing several deer that night started to lift my spirits and calm me. I went out the next 2 days hiking and by Sunday was feeling like my regular self. That night I wanted to capture the moon’s beauty in photos so I took several shots over the next hour and finally got this one that captures both the loveliness of the tree and the moon. I call it “New Moon/New Start” because I have found it difficult turning 50 and haven’t been very prolific artistically. This past year has been very stressful for many reasons, but I have decided and am determined to follow my heart, my passion and do more art and photography again. To make a new start again.”