About a year ago, I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I had been experiencing panic attacks, flashbacks, and episodes of dissociation. The panic attacks were manageable, mostly because when one occurred, I was able to identify it as that. Flashbacks were upsetting and sometimes crippling, but still comprehensible. However, dissociation is an extremely strange event, and incredibly difficult to describe. Often, in moments of fear or intense vulnerability, I feel as though I become a passenger in my body, as opposed to being the driver. It is almost as if different versions of me are existing at the same time, pulling “me” in every direction.
As a means of understanding and coping with my trauma, heavy diagnosis, and symptoms, I’ve started to create visual representations of my intangible experiences. This series of photographs confronts that concept.
Multiple times, when I’ve told people my story, they’ve responded with something along the lines of, “I would have never guessed” or “You don’t seem like there’s anything wrong with you”. The majority of my coping, healing, and processing is done in private, allowing me to present myself as strong- from a distance, most of these images present themselves as Baroquian nudes, with rich skin tones and elegant poses. However, upon closer inspection, the bodies are morphing, twisting, and pulling from one another. In a gallery setting, these photos are printed very large (20x30in) as a way to represent my relationship with my trauma; no matter how much time has passed, I am still being affected on an almost daily basis- I can’t step far enough away from what happened to me to lose sight of it.