Portraits of Resilience
Photographs and stories of people who have coped with and overcome depression, anxiety, trauma, and other challenges.
"In MIT professor Daniel Jackson's recent book, Portraits of Resilience, being resilient means being vulnerable. It a gives a glimpse into how students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—one of the most competitive and elite universities in the world—cope, overcome, and find meaning in their lives."
—The Boston Globe
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.
About the Author
Daniel Jackson is a photographer and Professor of Computer Science at MIT. His images of contemporary laboratories were shown at the MIT Museum in conjunction with a major exhibit of Berenice Abbott's MIT work in 2012, and other images have appeared in group shows nationwide.
David A. Karp is a Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Boston College. He is the author of Is It Me or My Meds? Living with Antidepressants and other books on depression and mental illness.
Praise for Portraits of Resilience
The stories are powerful… [the] photographs are otherworldly...—Jim Braude, WGBH, Radio Boston—