Having A High Functioning Illness

Young woman with head tilted back and eyes closed in black and white photo taken through cloth

I took this photo when I was in the midst of a deep dark depression, ravaged with its best friend Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I wanted a way to express what I was feeling without being cliche and I ended up with this. It’s a representation of the cloudiness that I felt surrounded me when I was walking around this earth. I was seen but never enough for people to fully get in-depth with me. Having a high functioning illness means that the world only sees your outside and thus thinks you’re okay. But the truth is, I wasn’t. I was dying to be seen to seek help from anyone who’d want to help me. The closing of the eyes is a representation of how help can be in our face but we’re too afraid to accept it. It also represents how we can only be our own heroes and save ourselves if we look within. I’ve always felt like I have been in-between two worlds, fighting to fit into this one but now that I’m older and more wiser, I see that I belong in both and I’m finally okay with that.

— Ashley Jacklyn



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The One Project is a community of passionate creatives, advocates and caring friends or family members working to support each other and change the conversation around mental health issues like depression, anxiety and more with therapeutic photography.

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