In Photos: What Is It Like To Live With Schizophrenia?

In Photos: What Is It Like To Live With Schizophrenia?
Photography by Yukti Bhagchandani

The statements below each picture are those made by the patients during the various counselling sessions conducted with them during the artist’s month-long stay at a rehabilitation centre in India.

For photographer and artist, Yukti Bhagchandani, art projects don’t ever begin with an end product in mind. In fact, for her, it is a rather free-flowing process which takes shape and form in its own time.

“I couldn’t have possibly known during my stint at the rehabilitation centre in December that I would be creating a photo series like this one some months from then,” says Yukti, whose work delves into the minds of patients with mental health disorders like Schizophrenia and Psychosis.

“Abhi partition phir hone wala hai. Usse pehle mujhe apni beti ke paas pohonchna hai.” ("The Partition will occur again soon; I need to meet my daughter before that.")

Many of her subjects are battling conditions which involve a loss of connection to reality in some form, along with symptoms like hallucinations, delusions, as well as disorganised thinking and behaviour.

“Mera ek beta tha. Mar gya. Uska poora chehra kaala tha. Itna kaala, tum soch nai sakti – naak, muh aankh, kuch dikh nahi raha tha.” ("I had a son. He was so dark that I couldn't even see what he looked like.")

The photographer aims to sensitize everyone around her about what it means to live with a mental disorder everyday.

“Mere paet mein 12 bacche hain.” ("I have 12 children within my tummy!")

Speaking about the biggest inspirations in her artistic career, Yukti says, “It took me a while to realize that my subjects for any kind of artistic expression - whether it be the poems I write, or the photographs click - have been people.”

This series too came into fruition as a result of her continual effort to understand human beings and their different realities.

“Woh roz mere bacchon ko ghar jalaane le jaata tha, aur hume bolta tha toffee dilaana le ja raha hai.” ("They would take my children every day to burn down houses with them under the pretense of taking them out for toffees.")

Her desire to express herself creatively is so intrinsic that she remains unaffected by either her own or others’ opinions of it. But that doesn’t mean that she approves of all her work.

“I am one of those typical, self-doubting artists - I begin with practically hating whatever I work on. Nothing seems good enough,” she says.

Therefore, throwing caution to the winds, she keeps doing what she does best, that is, create!

You can check out the artist’s Instagram here.

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