When Did I Become the Crazy One?

Photo taken by contributor Danielle in New York City. She is a woman with bipolar disorder, and accompanying anxiety and depression. She used to work full time and ride the subway daily, but is no longer able to.

About this photo: “I remember him clearly. The urban cowboy. The faceless man all in black. He sat across from me on what would be my last subway ride. I couldn’t help but look. He seemed so out of place. His black boots scuffed but taken care of. Cowboy hat, worn but loved, shielding his averted eyes. 

We sat a few mere feet from each other, but we never made eye contact. The subway seemed clean that day, save for the occasional abandoned paper bag or newspaper page. It still smelled though, that thick musky scent I used to know so well.

He looked down at his phone, never once looking up. Probably zoning out to Johnny Cash or Garth Brooks, crooning through his black ear buds. I wondered if he the felt the fear that I did. The anxiety about being trapped underground. I wondered if that phone was a comfort item to manage his fear, until I realized that what he probably was afraid of was looking up and seeing crazy people like me. 

I don’t know when I turned from being the person staring at the phone, to the person who others try to avoid making eye contact with. But somehow it happened. Somehow I became the crazy one. And somehow I fear stigma will keep me that way.” 


**Visit Broken Light’s main gallery here. Currently accepting submissions.

*Like us on Facebook & Twitter. Follow below for e-mail notifications.

10 thoughts on “When Did I Become the Crazy One?

Add yours

  1. I’m not good on public transport these days either. Getting on an underground train is quite an achievement and I haven’t done it for a long time.
    It could be that the cowboy is using his phone to distract himself. from his own discomfort at being amongst folk in a claustrophobic space: I use mine as a coping tool frequently.
    I hear loss in your words. I too mourn the loss of my previously effective self.
    I now realize that I’m not TOTALLY ineffective and neither are you: you write very well and I love this image.


  2. You never know, he could be feeling that he is “the crazy one” in this different world he’s entered. I agree with the compliments in the other two replies. Sorry to hear you’re feeling this way, but it sounds like you’re truly human, and lots of humans are “crazy” in one way or another! You’re also a talented one. 🙂


  3. Don’t we all feel a little crazy? Sometimes I wonder if those who do not feel crazy are the worst ones… I often feel I am but one bad decision away from totally losing it – I know mental illness has more to do with chemical imbalances, but I am also far too aware that so much more can trigger one to slip away.

    This was definitely thought provoking.

    p.s. your twitter link does not lead to your profile, but to twitter.com


  4. I can so relate to your feeling of ‘when did I become the crazy one?’

    I’m the crazy one on the bus, in the store, walking down the street, being anywhere at anytime. Sometimes it’s hard to swallow…

    But, I find it easier to accept that I’m off color with all my anxiety and depression knowing that the world is made up of all shades, and my crazy just adds to the rainbow.

    We’re just the colors on the ends that hold the rest together…

    Great photo, and great story. Thanks for sharing.


  5. Reblogged this on …Truth… Something To Die For… and commented:
    Mental Illness, be it bipolar, borderline PD or any other personality disorder, as well as every other mental illness is just as real as cancer or aids…. it’s time we start treating them as such. i love this … i also adore the photographer as i wish i were more artistic and capable when it comes to photographing candid shots of people….


  6. The people who are physically able to protect themselves at all cost…and I would say are male…are the ones free to look people in the eye in the subway. The others find all types of distractions to prevent eye contact, even to the risk of having their device grabbed from their hands before the subway door closes again.


  7. You are not crazy. I delved into being crazy when I crossed the line by having five dogs instead of JUST four. You have a gift of writing good. Thanks


Please Join the Conversation!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: