Portraits of Resilience (MIT Press)
Photographs and stories of people who have coped with and overcome depression, anxiety, trauma, and other challenges.
More than 15 million Americans grapple with depression in a given year, and 40 million are affected by anxiety disorders. And yet these people are often invisible, hidden, unacknowledged. At once a photo essay and a compendium of life stories, Portraits of Resilience brings us face to face with twenty-two extraordinary individuals, celebrating the wisdom they have gained on the frontline of a contemporary battle.
We hear from a young man who was struck with a debilitating sadness just when his life seemed to have turned around, and a medical student whose self-image was transformed by an antidepressant. We meet a physicist whose troubles led him to reassess the role human connection played in his life, an overachiever who developed one of her closest friendships in a mental hospital, and administrative assistant who grew up with an abusive parent but learned to heal and create a new life for herself.
No one is immune to depression or anxiety; all of these narrators achieved success as students, faculty, or staff in the demanding world of MIT. The pressures of a competitive and high-pressure environment will be familiar to many. And the mysterious and overwhelming grip of depression will be recognized by those who have suffered from it. But the search for purpose and meaning that pervades these stories is relevant to everyone. These wise people give us not only solace and reassurance as we face our own challenges but also the inspiration that challenges can be overcome -- and that happiness, while elusive, can eventually be found.
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