Who we are & why we are

Welcome to the gallery site of Broken Light Collective. We are artists of all levels and abilities who are affected by mental illness. We create and we share our work for the therapeutic benefits to us, as well as others who may be struggling and feeling scared and alone. Together we can move from disconnected to collective.

Photo taken by contributor “Alice,” a 49-year-old woman living in the north of England. She has suffered with severe depressive episodes since her late teens, but only two years ago was diagnosed with Cyclothymia, a milder form of Bipolar Disorder, followed recently by an additional diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder. Along with her own struggles with mental health, her son, then aged 12, began physically assaulting her and has now been diagnosed with Conduct Disorder. Alice began her blog Alice Through the Macro Lens in 2012 in an effort to try to understand her journey through the mental health process and has used this forum to display some of her photography, in which she finds solace. Recently, she began a sister blog, Like a Circle in a Spiral to document the struggles of raising a child with his own difficulties.

About this photo: It was with no small irony that I just looked back to a couple of contributions I made to this very Collective soon after its conception, once in March 2012 and again in May 2012. I wept as I read my own entries, referring to my son as “my continued light in my life,” adding that “his light makes even the darkness beautiful.” Back then, I mentioned that I had “worked constantly since I was 18” and I spoke of myself as a “devoted mother.”

How quickly things fall apart. 

Tomorrow, I am due to be “retired” on the grounds of ill-health, unable to even think of entering the office building without falling apart  – and my precious son is no longer with me. He was taken into care last July when, after eight months of physical assaults, he attacked me with kitchen knives and the “authorities” stepped in. 

The last year or more has become one of those slow, revolving thunderstorms, increasing in energy with every rotation. My son is still the most important thing in my life, and I am still a devoted mother. But I am only one person. Fighting every step of the way for my son’s best interests has resulted in me neglecting my own, and I have found myself in some dark, dark places.

But even after the worst storm, Nature has a way of recovering, often with a renewed, clean serenity.

This photo, simply taken of a honeysuckle in my back yard, represents the hope that my storm too will pass.

Find more from Alice at her blog.


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

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

11 responses to “After The Storm”

  1. zillasnetwork Avatar

    Reblogged this on ZILLAS NETWORK.


  2. gregmercer601 Avatar

    Reblogged this on Big Red Carpet Nursing and commented:
    Look past the diagnoses, or you’ll miss the important stuff: the people!


    1. alicethroughthemacrolens Avatar

      So true.
      And there are many more “people” out there than some would like to think.
      Thank you.


      1. gregmercer601 Avatar

        I always focus on the people.
        Far more real and robust than our current flimsy diagnoses.
        Far more useful, interesting, and worthy of my attention.
        We chat about symptoms and other problems and what to do about them, and we make progress together.


  3. Paula McLane Jennings Avatar

    Prayers that your storm will soon pass. That must be heartbreaking what you went through with your son. My eldest had a difficult period with drugs & alcohol from 14-19. Fortunately he is now clean and sober. My youngest was hit by a car as a pedestrian and developed PTSD with some major anger issues. It is so hard as a mother when there is little you can do to ‘fix’ your children other than pray for them and to pray that it doesn’t drain what is left of you.


    1. alicethroughthemacrolens Avatar

      Thank you for your thoughts. It is tough enough with the whole “hormonal adolescent ” thing – but this is so much more sinister and concerning. And his struggle totally overwhelms any troubles of my own.
      Sometimes it’s so draining that I forget that my own health needs attention too.
      But we were given these roles for a reason, and I don’t believe I would have been given this task if “somebody, somewhere” didn’t believe I could see it through.
      Good luck with your own family.


  4. MainelyButch Avatar

    Thanks for sharing this experience, I have see friends go through similar incidents with their various children, and it’s quite the rollercoaster. Writing is a good outlet. I just followed you blog Alice, as well as Broken Light’s…I find this to be very healing space; knowing i am not alone in this world of my spinning thoughts.


    1. alicethroughthemacrolens Avatar

      Thank you for taking time to write.
      I think Broken Light has created a great space for people to be real. Even writing, at times, can feel like a task too great – but I’ve always got a picture or two to throw in there during the less creative times.
      So pleased you followed my blog – I just need to make sure I keep adding stuff now!
      And no, you are not alone.


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