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!

Anxiety Holding Me Back

Photo taken by contributor Samantha Pugsley, a 24-year-old conceptual fine art photographer from Charlotte, North Carolina. She first picked up a camera during her junior year of college. This was right around the time when she was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Things that were once easy became impossible for her. Getting dressed in the morning, shopping at the grocery story, driving her car…just living, was a panic attack waiting to happen. Photography helped her heal. With her camera she could start a conversation about what was going on in her head. She could say things with her images that she didn’t know how to say out loud. She still struggles with anxiety but making art helps her talk about it and manage it. She started a 365 photography project to ensure that she’d be doing what brings her joy every single day. She has noticed that her anxiety level is much lower if she spends time with her camera every day.

About this photo: “I think this is a good representation of where my anxiety is at right now.  In the picture, a woman stands on the outside of a cave. She has her light, and she’s so close to the entrance but she’s not quite ready to go in. Not yet. My anxiety still holds me back but not as much as it used to. I can get there but I’m not ready to go in.

Find more from Samantha at her website or flickr.

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

*Facebook & Twitter @BrokenLighCo & @DanielleHark. Follow for e-mail notifications.

14 comments on “Anxiety Holding Me Back

  1. Kim13
    November 2, 2013

    I love your writing, such a clear view of what it feels like for those of us who suffer from GAD. Thanks. 🙂

    Like

  2. theworldoutsidethewindow
    November 2, 2013

    This picture is wonderful, I identify with having things lurking in the dark that sometimes I am just not ready to face. Good luck Samantha, doing something you love can give you power back over certain things in your life. I love your photograph.

    Like

  3. Sam Spencer
    November 2, 2013

    Nice picture/great metaphor . . thanks for sharing- keep at it. there’s people like me out here rootin’ for you . . .

    Like

  4. PhotonStopper
    November 2, 2013

    A beautiful image: technically, artistically, and emotionally. Thank you for sharing this.

    Like

  5. Alison M. Gunn, Ph.D.
    November 2, 2013

    Wow, your picture is wonderfully evocative at any level (as a photograph and as a metaphor). You also perfectly sum up the work I do with writers and other creatives—how to deal with the anxiety that holds us back and prevents us from self-expression. I fully comprehend what you’re dealing with; I hold myself back too (the irony of working with writing anxiety and/or writing apprehension, as it’s called academically, is that I totally get it, having had life-long anxiety about ‘attaining’ the next step).

    Like

  6. Merilee
    November 2, 2013

    Really very beautiful..

    Like

  7. Rene
    November 2, 2013

    I have been following Samantha for over a year now. Her work is wonderful. I follow her on flickr since she was showcased in a Yahoo! page. I am glad she was noticed by you. Re-blogging.
    Peace

    Like

  8. scottishmomus
    November 2, 2013

    Beautiful picture. Waiting for a dragon or such to appear. Evocative. An expressive personal statement.x

    Like

  9. henriquessylvie
    November 3, 2013

    Really nice and mysterious atmosphere ♥

    Like

  10. Zen
    November 3, 2013

    Very nice. I bet the girl is beautiful.. 😀

    Like

  11. autisticaplanet
    November 4, 2013

    Excellent composition! Jesus is our Light in the darkness. As someone with Asperger’s Syndrome & sensory processing disorder, I live anxiety. I have also experienced strength in Christ & hope you do as well.

    Like

  12. Paula McLane Jennings
    November 4, 2013

    great photo and analogy!

    Like

  13. littledogslaughed
    November 25, 2013

    very well done-your work is terrific!

    Like

  14. docwood
    July 30, 2014

    I know I’m late to this conversation, but I only just discovered you this morning via the NYT article. I have struggled with depression and anxiety my entire life, and am a recovering alcoholic as well. This photo expresses exactly my experience of facing the long dark road down to death with my husband, who has Stage IV adenocarcinoma of the lung.

    Like

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