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How One Girl Gave the Internet Hope

It’s been a long time since we (as users of the internet) have felt like all is not lost in the world because of a selfie. A project done by British university student Rebecca Brown as done just that. Starting in 2007,at the age of 15, Brown began taking a picture of herself every day. This took place for the next 6 and a half years. The subsequent time lapse video, shows Brown’s face change even as her expression and eyes stay the same, whilst the backgrounds shift behind her.

The story of Brown’s 2,100 selfies is also the story of her grappling with depression, trichotillomania and dermatillomania, conditions that cause Brown to obsessively pull out her hair and pick at her skin, respectively. In the time lapse of selfies taken over the years, you can see Brown’s condition fluxuate. Brown’s face transform as she goes through the depths of depression and then recovers, her hair getting shorter, her face going from picked-at and pocked to bright and smooth, the fluctuations in her appearance corresponding with the changes in her life. Captions occasional appear to explain what’s going on. “GSCE exam period, lost half my hair,” reads one caption. “Diagnosed with depression” reads another.

Since the video was posted her project has gotten a lot of attention, drawing almost 5 million views this week. With major news outlets around the world covering the video in the past several days, Brown’s project is raising awareness about rarely-discussed mental health issues and shows that a life with a mental illness is still a life, full of firsts, turbulence, change and recovery.