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!

A Year Ago Today

Photo taken by contributor Danielle in Massachusetts. She is a writer in her thirties who falls on the bipolar spectrum, and to a lesser extent OCD, BPD, ADD and PTSD. She enjoys art (viewing and creating it) and dreaming about traveling the world.

About this photo: “A year ago today, I was a mess. I was in a psychiatric facility. I could not engage with family, friends, or the world. I rarely left the house. A year ago today, I felt the weight of the world smothering me… and no longer wanted to be here. A year ago today, I was at rock bottom.

The psychiatric facility permitted me to leave at times, but seeing as how I was agoraphobic, I couldn’t drive or take a bus to get anywhere. So I took a walk. One step at a time, I carried myself into the nearby woods and stumbled upon a perfect lake. I found a nook at the water’s edge that felt just right, so I sat, and sat, for as long as possible. I never found nature to be as beautiful as I did in that moment. The dirt on my hands, the bark, the crackling leaves… Being there, in that moment, I felt free. And I felt alive. Before I went back for evening groups, I stood on the rock and hoped and wished and prayed with my everything that 2013 would be a better year. That I could survive it for the people left in my life.

I closed my eyes and imagined I was breathing in light and breathing out the heavy darkness of my depression, leaving it in the woods. Beneath this rock.

On New Year’s Eve day, I was discharged from the facility, giving me the opportunity to start the new year fresh. Little by little my situation improved, and now, one year later, I can say I am doing better. I have had many stumbles along this path, and am far from recovered, whatever that means. But, I did have a better year, and now I am hoping and wishing that 2014 is even better. I am going to go for a walk to find a new rock under which I can leave my darkness. And each year going forward I will do the same… Until hopefully, one year, I will not need to.” 


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

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

6 comments on “A Year Ago Today

  1. Lala Rukh
    December 23, 2013

    Your story has touched my heart…..I love it…I don’t love the pain but I love the way you have told it. I can do nothing but pray ! Best wishes . stay blessed.


  2. suzjones
    December 23, 2013

    What a great visualisation you had with burying your depression under the rock. Your photography is lovely. 🙂


  3. hejyork
    December 24, 2013

    Thank you for telling your story. The photograph is so lovely and really conveys a sense of calm inspiration.


  4. lumar1298
    December 24, 2013

    Beautiful picture and very moving story… Thanks for sharing…


  5. Syncopated Eyeball
    December 24, 2013

    Beautiful colours and composition in your image. I like your words too.


  6. Paula McLane Jennings
    December 28, 2013

    your photo is absolutely stunning and your story is amazing. I am so glad that you are pulling back together a little at a time. This has been a really bad year for me and I am hoping to do the same as you are for 2014.


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This entry was posted on December 23, 2013 by in Bipolar and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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