When I met Jessica, we talked about her childhood, her schooling, her passion for helping others and speaking about her disorder, but when she brought up Journey, her emotional support animal, her entire demeanor changed. It was clear that Journey had been a major part of her healing path. Sadly, Journey had to be put to sleep in December of 2017, so it seemed appropriate to use the portrait as a way of honoring their relationship and her memory:
I am more than my mental health diagnosis.
Growing up, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) took over.
Depression grew louder,
The tears became heavier.
The silence was strong, and I was confused as to where I belong.
Anxiety crept in,
even the fears won…I didn’t know if I was the one to blame?
I felt lost, exhausted, and overall, so much guilt and shame.
20 years have gone by,
I have learned that with time, everything begins to fall into place.
It all makes sense now, I have managed life somehow.
Treatment, hospitals, medication, support, and most of all, my own strength.
I have grown, I am learning to ride the wave and life.
Life according to my values.
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