I Can Hear my Heart Beat

I Can Hear my Heart Beat

by Roxanne Dierking

 Mental illness is a pressing issue for many people. Though our world is slowly becoming more aware and understanding of it, some groups still consider it shameful and sweep it under the rug to be ignored or suppressed — treating it far more lightly than it should be, inevitably making it worse. There is a broad spectrum of mental illnesses that take on unique forms in everyone who has them. As someone who struggles with depression and an anxiety disorder I wanted to give focus to how those manifest in me. Though I’ve dealt with these for most of my life, I got my first major panic attack my senior year of high school when I went through a traumatic event. After that they became more chronic day to day.

Panic attacks are very common, many people will have at least 1 in their life but can also become more frequent for others. Due to the lack of awareness and understanding when people get them for the first time they can think they are having a heart attack since your heart beats so vigorously while it's happening. For me, they can be brought on by many different things; work, relationships, insecurities, medications, events, too much caffeine, etc. They can also appear different for me given my setting or worry.

These images are self-portraits taken during my panic attacks over the past few months. My aim is to show a vulnerable moment most people would not see, give a glimpse as to what it is like, as well as create a reflection for myself to see what it looks like outside of my head when I’m in these states.

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