That being said, I've had a little trouble with this post... I found some images that really moved me, but they were "all rights reserved." I tried to find a different image (one that I'd be allowed to share/show directly here on my blog), but none of them were doing anything for me.
There are 2 different photos (by the same person, heather ~) that really moved me today. I really hope you'll take a moment to click on the links below to see the images.
The first one can be seen here. There's a woman sitting with her head wrapped with her hands and resting on her bent knees. I think it offers a glimpse at the desperation that someone living with a chronic illness feels - the pain, anxiety, depression, isolation, disappointment, etc... There is so much emotional wear and tear that affects those that have chronic illness (and perhaps more-so for those living with invisible illness because others often don't know that you're ill at all). Unless you've experiences chronic pain, you really can't understand the amount of energy and work that it takes to make oneself look "normal" or make things look easy - there are numerous thoughts and choices that are required each moment of the day (including things like weighing whether or not the choice to participate in an activity is worth the increase in physical and emotional pain that will come from your participation).
The woman is sitting in the shadows, but there is light coming from outside. There is always hope, even in the midst of the darkness that chronic illness can bring.
The second image is here. This photo shows a woman walking or jogging along the coastline - the waves are crashing on the beach and the wind is blowing. To me, this photo can be viewed several different ways. The way I choose to see it is that this woman is facing an obstacle or fear. She's not retreating from the crashing waves and high winds - she goes forward to face her fears. She appears to be confident in her ability to face what's ahead, and I think that's beautiful. As she moves on the coastline, she stays back from the vast ocean - she is somewhere between being on land and being in the ocean. There is a battle in each of us to decide whether we're going to face our fears or retreat from them.
Black & White
Both of these photos are black and white, which I think make them all the more intense / powerful. Living with chronic pain, depression, and so forth can leave you feeling like all of the color has been sucked out of your life... When you're faced with the limitations, stress, and choices that life with chronic illness brings, it can really make your life feel lifeless. But, the light in black and white photos always seems to be vibrant, offering hope to the subject in the dark shadows. There is always hope, even amidst the darkness.
This post was written as part of the Health Activist Writer's Awareness Challenge (HAWMC).