Eileen | Home of the Brave

“And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden.” Joni Mitchell, Woodstock.

For many of us, finding our way “back to the garden” is difficult simply because we have forgotten where it is!

When Jeanne and I were married 23 years ago, Jeanne’s niece Eileen was the flower girl at our wedding ceremony. At the time she was 3 years old.

Eileen has since grown into a “child of the 60s.” Her interest in the environment, Middle Eastern spiritual philosophies and women’s rights reminds me of similar values coveted by a generation active thirty odd years before Eileen was even born.

But it would be unfair to dismiss the values and ambitions of Eileen’s generation as inexperience, idealism or simple naivety. Our youth are – and always have been – our last great hope.

So the fact the majority of mental illnesses emerge during adolescence should concern us all! We must do what we can to help eliminate the stigma associated with mental illness so its emergence can be diagnosed and treated as soon as humanly possible.

The first step is letting our children know that it’s OK for them to talk about how they feel.

My mom told me about your project, Home of the Brave. I think it’s really awesome. I didn’t know that you had suffered with mental illness. It can be hard to talk about because I think there’s still a lot of stigma. I think if you can be brave to share your story, I can too. If you need any more stories then I would be happy to be one for you – Eileen.

Silver gelatin print
Hasselblad 500c
Hasselblad 80mm f2.8 lens
Ilford HP5, ISO 400


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  1. Sheila Raukema September 11, 2017 at 7:47 pm #

    Yes – so true Dan

  2. dmiller509 September 11, 2017 at 7:24 pm #

    Thank you Shelia for your feedback. Somebody tweeted yesterday that recovery = courage and I really believe that is true. Eileen is indeed a very courageous young lady! Danny

  3. Sheila Raukema September 9, 2017 at 4:23 am #

    Dear Dan,

    Your work in using your gifts to move forward the conversation about mental illness continues to inspire me. This photo and article are particularly close to my heart, since as Eileen’s mom, I have endeavoured to walk along side her as she experienced the turmoil that is mental illness, particularly anxiety. I love your analogy of returning to the garden, which to me is a symbolic journey of recovery. It’s not a single trip to the garden as many will learn but a continual renewal of body, mind and spirit.

    Having witnessed Eileen’s recovery process, I believe that all who suffer with mental illness can find their own spiritual healing path and inspire others to do the same.

    Thank you for your labour of love Dan!

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