A woman in a gray tank top stands on a front porch featuring Fall decorations and a small American flag.

Caroline: “My name is Caroline and I suffer from anxiety and severe depression. I just want to start by saying to others that deal with mental illness, You are not alone. Mental illness definitely runs in my family. My mother suffered from bi-polar disorder and serve depression. I have lost SO many friends due to this mental disease. Since the pandemic, I honestly had no idea that not only I would have one of the most difficult times trying to cope with this, but so would everyone. I think this pandemic has shown the world what effect this has taken on people that suffer from mental illness.

I got a call from a friend a few weeks ago and the only thing I could make out over his lengthy sobs and gasps was that he just wanted to kill himself. I was not going to lose another friend to this. So I rushed over. We talked for hours. We cried. We shared depressing stories. He stated, ‘I hate feeling like this all the time, I just want to be normal.’ This pandemic has made us feel even more alone. I have even witnessed myself state the same thing.

A year ago, I lost one of my best friends by suicide. He was a brother to me. If you met him, you’d think he was the happiest guy in the world. But deep down, he was hiding. No matter how many times I begged him to never leave me in this world alone, it didn’t matter. I couldn’t control ‘depression.’ He started using a lot of cocaine and drinking to cope. But, eventually that wasn’t enough and he made the decision to go. I miss him every day; it hurts. I try to comfort everyone I met because you never know what they are feeling or what they are battling inside. This pandemic has put a lot of people in difficult situations and it is overwhelming, so drugs and massive amounts of alcohol sounds like a vacation from this hell. I’ve noticed myself that since the pandemic I have consumed more alcohol to pass the time or get out of my thoughts and feelings when I’m alone. I mostly hang outside with a glass of wine, talking to my best friend about our depression and the world, which has helped a lot. I work for the state and every day I talk to clients about their lives and how they are holding up during all of this. Some cry and want to stay on the phone with me because I am a voice to talk to. It’s relieving to know you are not the only one. So believe me when I say, You are not.”

Lexington in the Time of COVID-19 is an artwork about people practicing social distancing at a time of a deadly virus. And also offering kindness.

Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova capture photographs at the periphery of American culture, where drag queens, discarded couches, and abandoned motel signs exist.