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!

Depression Reset Button

Photo taken by contributor Jan Austin Smith, a 27-year-old man living in Northern California. Jan has been around people with mental health issues his whole life, including his mother, a psychiatrist, who has depression, and his closest aunt, who is bipolar. Jan has also suffered from depression and anxiety himself, which has been hugely exacerbated by disabling chronic nerve pain in his knees and 5 knee surgeries, and lost a brother to suicide. He thinks that mental issues are so maligned in the dominant culture, it is tragically sad. On his website, TheRewildWest, he writes about human, Earth, and animal liberation, as well as displays his nature photography. He’s also a novelist, and editor/book reviewer for the Green Theory and Praxis Journal.

About this photo: “I was recently very restless and in a deep pit of depression, and I just knew I had to DO SOMETHING to get past it.  So I decided to pull an all-nighter and drive from Los Angeles to Yosemite National Park; I left at 10:30 p.m. and made it to Glacier Point just in time for sunrise.  I sat on a boulder overlooking Yosemite Valley with my rescued pit/lab mix named Batty and just stared out at the awe-inspiring beauty and majesty of the glacier-carved granite formations and the orange sky and clouds that got increasingly intense and gorgeous leading up to the moment I snapped this photograph of Half Dome.  I returned home to L.A. just two nights later, but I was no longer badly depressed–it was like hitting a reset button!  Nature and road-tripping and photography do that for me.  I felt refreshed and ready to continue the constant struggle of my chronic nerve pain, anxiety and depression.  Long Live Nature–Let’s Save Some!”


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7 comments on “Depression Reset Button

  1. Paula McLane Jennings
    July 11, 2013

    beautiful photo and what a wonderful way to discover your depression reset button. I will have to put that idea to use as well. I too suffer major depression and anxiety.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. DeeDee
    July 11, 2013

    Backpacking is my reset button. Once I get a mile down the trail, I can finally let go of everything and just be.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Emma Lewis
    July 11, 2013

    I think that reconnecting with nature really revives your soul. For me, it can sometimes just be standing still in the garden and watching the birds…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. She_Who_Hears
    July 12, 2013

    Wonderful shot. I have also been through a stage of depression in my life. Thankfully no longer. But I have always found nature to be very therapeutic. Recently having gotten back into photography, I have re found my love and appreciation of nature. Just clicked onto your site. Love your work! *Follow*

    Liked by 1 person

  5. littlebrighteyes
    July 14, 2013

    I’m glad you found a reset button 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  6. TheRewildWest
    July 16, 2013

    Thank you all for the kind words =)

    –Love and Liberation–

    Jan @ TheRewildWest


  7. Leah Givens
    August 1, 2014

    Gorgeous; as others have said, nature is very calming and therapeutic to me.

    Liked by 1 person

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