Broken Light: A Photography Collective

We are photographers living with or affected by mental illness; supporting each other one photograph at a time. Join our community, submit today!

The Bipolar Ride

Photo taken by contributor Danielle, a woman with bipolar disorder, type II. She is a photo enthusiast from the East Coast. She struggles with depression, as well as hypomania, agitation, and insomnia.

About this photo: “The merry-go-round is an icon for fun and childhood. In amusement parks, malls, and parks across the country, children and adults flock to them for the carefree joy they represent.

To me, however, they are hardly merry. They represent the cycles of the bipolar life. From the outside, the ride can look happy and fun, with brightly painted horses and seats, but in actuality it is a bunch of creepy chipped statues that keep going in circles, never moving forward. The same maddening song running over and over and over. 

Don’t get me wrong, it can can be fun at times. I love the rush, feeling my feet flying off the ground, the wind in my hair, but the highs can quickly become overwhelming, leaving me dizzy and unsteady. Then comes the inevitable end. The ride stops. The rush becomes a crash – lethargy, sadness, depression.

Everyone leaves the carousel, gleeful and giddy, but I’m stuck on it, forever, only to start the cycle once again, and again, and again. 

I took this photo at an amusement park called Fantasy Island. To me it was more like a nightmare than a fantasy, hence the fuzziness and selective focus. I love to see the joy that places like this can give people, but I never feel like I belong. It’s inherently overwhelming, and reminds me of how different I am than “normal” people. But that’s just the way things are. I feel like I am looking at the world  from a distance through glass. And so I do. I take pictures. A lot of pictures. And I try to keep moving forward, although it really feels like I am just going round and round in circles.

Bipolar disorder is a dizzying ride, and all I want to do is to get off.

_____

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17 comments on “The Bipolar Ride

  1. geecee19
    April 1, 2013

    Seen from a distance. I understand the meaning well, distance is what people keep from me and my manic depression.

    Like

  2. Hopeje
    April 1, 2013

    This community is a great idea. I have someone dear to my heart, with a bipolar disorder.
    It is a great step to accept to have it, as one of the issue of this disorder is to accept having it, as you seem “normal” to the rest of the world.
    I think leaving with it is already a step out of the circle as solutions can be found.
    You write well. I wish you the best.
    We all have our issues, some perfectly normal persons, spend there life going wrong, as they don t put themselves in question, and continue without changing anything, in a wrong direction.
    In your case, you may have a circle to break, but at least you know it, and work with it.

    Like

  3. Lovely image and excellent description.

    Like

  4. Pingback: The Bipolar Ride | Johnbalaya

  5. tilde531
    April 1, 2013

    Great photo and analogy, as well. Although no two peoples’ experience is exactly the same; I can relate to your experience on many levels and applaud your courage in sharing.

    Like

  6. renatembell
    April 1, 2013

    Great photography talent. This image is wonderful and really captures visually what has been expressed and shared in writing. Thank you for doing so.

    Like

  7. crankycaregiver
    April 1, 2013

    Beautiful…just beautiful!

    Like

  8. AH
    April 1, 2013

    Deep

    Like

  9. johannisthinking
    April 2, 2013

    you are worthy…and you do belong…so do i

    Like

  10. bipolaronfire
    April 2, 2013

    Very powerful words, I can relate!! The photograph is remarkable!

    Like

  11. Leah Givens
    April 2, 2013

    You have great insight, and you communicate that so well through your words as well as your photography. Don’t forget that when you get down!

    Like

  12. magicallymad
    April 2, 2013

    Spectacular metaphor!

    Like

  13. ryndice
    April 2, 2013

    I can relate. It is a good metaphor for being manic. Too long in a trough, and I sometimes yearn for the swirl and the twirl of the merry-go-round, but the fallout from my frenzied actions takes months to recover from. Better to be calmer, but not full of anxiety. It helped me when I had a doctor drop me as a patient. I was devastated, but had to find a new one. This one is so much better, and he listens, works with me on medications and I have been stable for almost three years now.
    Good luck to you!

    Like

  14. endlessframe
    April 3, 2013

    Nice Tilt Shift in the photo

    Like

  15. Dirk Porsche
    April 5, 2013

    Hi, I consider myself pretty normal. But I can understand your viewpoint towards those merry-go-rounds completely. As I have seen the photo for the first time I would have bet that it shows a miniature model …

    Like

  16. lifeonwry.com
    April 5, 2013

    What an eloquent parallel.

    Like

  17. blueribbonfair
    November 12, 2014

    Great representation of our bipolar.

    Like

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