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Photo taken by contributor Craig A. Miller, a 37-year-old author, speaker, photographer, and suicide attempt survivor from Boston. For many years he struggled with OCD, extreme anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. After a suicide attempt nearly ended his life at age 20, he became dedicated to understanding what led him to such a decision, and more importantly how he could gain control of himself and his life to ensure it would never happen again. He published a book in 2012 titled, This is How it Feels: a memoir of attempting suicide and finding life. He is a member of The Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention and regularly speak everywhere from libraries to state conferences sharing his story and the steps he took to move forward.
About this photo: “As a writer who has struggled for years with mental health issues and thoughts of suicide, it would not be an exaggeration to say that writing has helped save my life. Putting my words on paper taught me more about myself than I could have ever learned otherwise. It not only taught me how to calm my thoughts, it taught me to understand them, control them and express them.
In recent years, photography has slowly paralleled the importance of writing in my life. And photography has taught me many things as well. It’s taught me an incredible lesson in patience. It’s taught me to see the true beauty that is all around us. But most importantly, my love of photography has taught me that it doesn’t matter what we feel passionate about. What’s important is the process of putting our whole heart into something we love.
The fact is, writing isn’t what saved me and kept me balanced for all those years. It was the feeling of purpose it gave me when I had an idea that I just had to get on paper. It was the sense of accomplishment I had when I completed my work. It was learning to not give up on something and seeing it through to completion when I was held accountable to no one but myself. Photography has given me the same. The images I see in my mind before I capture them, the commitment to stand in the rain until the fog is just right, the sense of accomplishment when the final image so perfectly reflects what I am feeling- all of this has taught me more about myself and how to approach life than I could have learned otherwise.
It makes no difference if it’s a camera, a pencil, or a paintbrush. What matters is believing in your passion and your sense of purpose, and putting your whole heart into making it manifest.“