"It’s almost four years by now that everyday I start my day taking meds and since then I’ve started thinking about the relationship with the mental illness and my happiness. It is difficult to define joy."
Artist: Elena Costa
Project: The Uncanny Bliss
One of our jury's favorite project, from the October 2023 opencall.
I started shooting these pictures during a therapeutic treatment of depression. In 2019 I have been prescribed fluoxetine, a drug belonging to the class of SSRIs.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are the most widely used antidepressant drugs in the treatment of depressive disorders, as they promote an increase in serotonin concentration in brain cells. After quitting fluoxetine in 2022, six months later I had a breakdown and I have been prescribed another antidepressant of the same class, escitalopram.
It’s almost four years by now that everyday I start my day taking meds and since then I’ve started thinking about the relationship with the mental illness and my happiness. It is difficult to define joy. It is very personal and sometimes it is not important wondering why we feel it. It is such a spontaneous and natural feeling. I started thinking about that when I felt it back, when medicine begun to work, that I could “objectivize” this feeling like something that it exists but still stays detached from myself. It should be so familiar and suddenly it became stranger and uncomfortable in some way.
Every pictures is the description of this emotion that always carries something beautiful but still disturbing. Through light, subjects and moments I try to explore what I call uncanny bliss: this happiness that came back, passing through my eyes with all its beauty and delicacy, but still carrying that unsettling interior alienation of the disease.
© Elena Costa