Tag Archives: emotional problems

Gregory Lewis: Shadows

portrait of woman who looks depressed

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Posted on March 23, 2015 by Gregory Lewis

“Here is the tragedy: when you are the victim of depression, not only do you feel utterly helpless and abandoned by the world, you also know that very few people can understand, or even begin to believe, that life can be this painful. There is nothing I can think of that is quite as isolating as this.” – Giles Andreae

Often as we go about lives we fail to notice that those near us are going through difficult times. Several of which struggle with mental illness such as schizophrenia, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder and clinical depression. 1 in 10 Americans suffer from depression at one point or another. However, over 80% of people with clinical symptoms are not receiving treatment for their depression.

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young woman with depression

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Jessica was a first generation college student who graduated valedictorian of her high school . Her entire school was excited when she was accepted into an Ivy League institution. Jessica was moving quite far away from home but she deemed it worth it as she was pursuing her dreams at her dream school.

Jessica was quick to make friends once she began college because of her “bubbly personality”. However,  several months after being on campus she became extremely homesick. Additionally, her boyfriend of 4 years began what would eventually be two tours in Iraq. Jessica latter admitted that this added significant stress in her life as she was constantly worried about his well-being. Further adding to Jessica’s stress was her grades began to slip.

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depression

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Jessica began avoiding interactions with other and even stopped going to classes. Her eating habits completely changed and she began hating her body. She even said at one point that she wanted to just, “end it all”.

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Thankfully, Jessica had made a close friend in her first few weeks at her school. This friend would constantly check on Jessica and encourage her to go to class. Eventually, with the encouragement of this friend, sought professional help to address this change. After having being diagnosed with clinical depression Jessica began to fight this crippling disease. Jessica still has a long road ahead of her but she looks forward to the future with a positive outlook.

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Photography and Text by Gregory Lewis, Copyright 2015

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About the Author: Gregory Lewis is majoring in Nursing, enrolled in the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2015.

Posted in Blog, Current Events, Popular Culture, Portraiture, UPenn: Photography Students Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Jing Liu: Time Heals

portrait of asian Upenn student

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Posted on March 20, 2015 by Jing Liu

Yang is a friend of mine.  I met him in class in 2014 and my first impression of him was cold and unfriendly.  He seldom talked and he was always by himself.  We didn’t even say hello until we were assigned to the same study group half a year later, and that’s when we started to get familiar with each other.  As we learned more about each other, he started to open his heart and tell me a story hidden deep inside his psyche.

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portrait of asian student Upenn

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Yang grew up in Beijing, and he met his girlfriend Chi when he was 17.  It was his first love.  They were still  high school students then where they used to sneak out of school, drank beers while sitting on Tiananmen Square late at night.  They talked about dreams and the future while lying on the grass in the park.  They forged ID’s to get a hotel room. They went to an Art Museum and stared at one painting of Vincent van Gogh for a whole day without talking.  They did all sorts of crazy things together.  They were classmates, friends, soul mates,  lovers and eventually went to college together.  They were happy for four years.  Yang thought they would get married, because he believed Chi was the one. Unfortunately, something bad happened. Chi passed away suddenly because of a car accident.  It’s very painful for a young boy to accept this fact.  He fell into a deep sorrow, felt lonely, helpless and desperate.

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Beijing is a city full of good and bad memories for him and he couldn’t stay in the city anymore. He decided to go abroad to escape from the painful memories. That is why he came to Upenn, where he hoped a foreign environment and stressful graduate student life would occupy his mind. But the loneliness  even made him worse and he turned to drugs and alcohol.  He lost himself, and didn’t believe he’d have the ability to love anyone else, including himself.

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student lost in drugs and alchol

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He said he’s very thankful for my friendship, because of one unintentional word of mine.  A long time ago when were not so close,  I was talking about a scar on my knee and I said: “time will heal all of your pains.” I smiled and I looked into his eyes.  He realized, yes, maybe time is the cure.

Is time the cure? He doubted, he waited, he struggled, he tried.

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He tried so hard.  He is better now, at least he no longer looks like the lonely and sad boy as before.  He communicates more with others, he goes to parties and he meets more new friends.

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But I can still feel his weakness inside.  He’s like wearing a mask.  Time cures him partially and gives him the ability to camouflage.  There is still a long way to go for time to heal his heart.  I believe the power of time and so does he.

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Photography and Text by Jing Liu,  Copyright 2015

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About the Author: Jing Liu is a graduate student in Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania.

Posted in Blog, Portraiture, UPenn: Photography Students Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Olga Ignatovets: What’s Cooking?

detail of meat being sliced with l large knife

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Posted on March 11, 2015 by Olga Ignatovets

My hands are not cooperating as I stand there attempting to make dinner for the one who betrayed me. My fingers come close to the edge of the knife and that is when the most brilliant idea comes to mind. I should make him suffer the way he made me suffer. He broke my heart and now it is my turn to take something away from him.

It feels very moist and soft in my hands. The blood from it is all over my hands and my brand new white apron. A feeling of satisfaction comes over me as I thrust my knife deeper and deeper into his organ.

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photo of blood stained apron in contemporary kitchen

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After a few hours of fascinating experimentation with it I decide that it is time to take a break.I am so caught up in my thoughts of revenge that a loud creaking sound at the front door made me jump and drop my glass onto the floor. They were here for me!

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woman dropping wine glass from kitchen table

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My plan had failed and I was discovered. There was nothing I could do now but grab my suit case and make it out of the house without getting caught.

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woman wearing red shoes and blood stained floor

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As I ran out the door, I left everything behind – the kidney, the body, but most importantly my favorite white apron. I would never be able to get it back…

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Photography and Text by Olga Ignatovets, Copyright 2015

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About the Author: Olga Ignatovets is a sophomore in the school of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2017.

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