Ok so did time steal me? Did I get lost in ical? I just realized last weeks post did not...post... hmmm weird... so now that I am above ground and back on the net I shall post more than one for my sins...
The first post for my punishment is another of Ashley who I MUST visit soon...a very tired looking mother cradles a very demanding but adorable Shaun.
This image at the top is of Erica. One of the other patients at SENSE (see earlier posts). Erica was the first patient I met at the day center. Her isolated and challenging behavior was instantly visible and I was warned she was violent but only to herself. Her frustration in not being able to communicate causes Erica to self-harm.
Layered in bruises her face and body show evidence of years of vexation and I wondered what lay beneath her behavior.
I sat with her during lunch and noticed she kept pointing her finger towards her eye. I asked Jenny why. She explained that many patients with limited sight adopted techniques to determine depth of field. By measuring the distance her finger was from her eye she could assess how near her plate was to her body.
I spent a couple of days with Erica and began to understand her outbursts. If she suddenly violently punched herself or beat her head against a ledge it was for a reason. She did nt understand that yelling, crying or screaming would resolve her need, she only punished herself for not having the capabilities to convey this and ask for help.
Photographing someone who struggles to communicate is both physically and ethically challenging but equally exciting, intriguing and refreshing. The rare signs of affection and understanding allay fears of intrusion and despite her brutal self-harm Erica is incredibly warm and loving. I realized this when unexpectedly on day two she approached me, took my hands and rubbed her cheek against mine.