To illustrate what it’s really like to live with the illness, an artist has created a haunting photo series based on her own experience, with the aim of giving those suffering in silence a voice.
Janelia Mould’s ‘A Girl Called Melancholy - A Story Of Depression’ features a character with no face, so that anyone living with mental illness can identify with her.
Each of the images is accompanied by a word Mould links with depression, such as “forgotten”, “barren” or “uninhabited”.
“I am by no means an expert on the topic of depression and this project is completely subjective, based on my personal experience,” she told The Huffington Post UK.
“I’m hoping to give people that have never had depression a small peek into what it feels like to have depression, a better understanding, if you will.
“It’s not just about feeling ‘sad’, it’s about feeling empty, lost, hopeless, tired, it’s so much more.”
Mould, now 38, says there was “no exact moment” when she realised she was suffering from depression, as symptoms developed gradually over a period of time.
However, she believes she’s been living with the illness since she was around 27.
“I just literally did not feel like myself anymore,” she said. “It’s important to reach out and seek help, no matter how hard. Luckily for me I was and still am surrounded by very supportive people.”
She added that creating the series has been a therapeutic experience for her.
“I give my feelings a life of their own through my photographs, inspired by poetry and quotes by different authors,” she said.
“Creating my images is so therapeutic, from their conception to shopping for vintage dresses and props in charity shops, to setting up the scene to photograph, to finally sitting down and editing and composing my image to my heart’s content.
“My latest image is always my favourite one and this series has been a highlight of my photography career based upon a very low time in my life. I guess every dark cloud has a silver lining.”
Useful websites and helplines:
Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393 Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.) Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org