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!


Photo taken by contributor Jaeda DeWalt, a conceptual self-portrait artist in her forties from Seattle, Washington. Her battles with mental illness hearken back to her earliest memories, at age 4, when she became obsessed with the number four and performed exhaustive rituals in patterns of four. During her teen years, she began noticing extreme mood swings, manic one moment and depressed the next, and in her late 20′s she finally sought treatment and was diagnosed with Bipolar, OCD, PTSD, Anxiety, and ADHD. Her doctors told her they believed the mental illness was brought on by a severe concussion she sustained at age two, along with the trauma of being sexually abused as a child into her young adult years. Her life was filled with self-destructive coping methods until she went full force into creating, in her mid-twenties. The process of creating and putting herself in front of the camera felt cathartic, liberating and healing. The photographic medium opened up a new world to her and ignited a kind of passion within that she didn’t even know she was capable of experiencing. She has been on an ever-evolving, healing journey, ever since.

About this photo: “My struggles have taught me that making my pain productive, empowers me, transforming my tragedy into triumph.

Find more from Jaeda at FacebookTwitter and YouTube.


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

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

10 comments on “Ascension

  1. julie blue
    April 15, 2014

    This photo is so beautiful; a portrait that feels like a wind-swept landscape.


  2. meticulousmick
    April 15, 2014

    Not only a great picture, a great story. Great achievement. MM 🍀


  3. Richard
    April 15, 2014

    Beautiful, ethereal – holding your breath for what is next to come?


  4. spencersamalvin
    April 15, 2014

    Thanks, Jaeda, for sharing both your great story & your wonderful picture: great stuff! . . . I can so relate to your story, as I too have suffered with much anxiety, obsessive-compulsiveness, bipolar symptoms, and PTSD like symptoms, etc., & have quite recently opened up to photography as a way of creative self-expression & catharsis! . . .


  5. Fotografo en monterrey
    April 15, 2014

    Great photo , amazing story


  6. suzbolton
    April 16, 2014

    Beautiful story and photo! It seems that a lot of photographers and painters find they can escape from some of the pain, through their art. Bless you for sharing!


  7. Jim Work
    April 16, 2014

    Jaeda…wonderful image…..keep working it, we all have our demons to erase and fears to overcome…… is a therapeutic help……j


  8. medicinalmeadows
    April 17, 2014

    So beautiful


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