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!

Fighting Back

Please welcome first-time contributor Chris Lee, a fourth year college student in Iowa. Chris was diagnosed with depression in the spring of 2013 while a student at college, but had suffered from anxiety and suicidal thoughts through much of high school. With help and support from friends he began to see a counselor. His recovery experienced a setback when he lost his job working with his school’s IT staff, but he began taking medication and exploring photography as a way to occupy himself during downswings, and as a means of getting out and on the path to recovery. Chris now makes an effort to reach out to younger students in the hopes that his experience might help others come forward and get the help they need.

About the photo: “It’s really easy to feel alone and powerless when you’re depressed.  Sometimes, you don’t even want to ask your friends for help– it feels like you’re a burden to them.  But after truly awful weeks after leaving my job, I decided I’d had enough of taking it sitting down.  I was going to do something about it– I was not just going to recover, but try and grow from all of this.

I used the time I had from working less to pick up photography.  It got me up and out of my room when nothing else would.  Medication has helped me a lot, but its impact is thoroughly overshadowed by the boon photography has been for me.  It’s my first really “personal” hobby, and the drive to learn and teach myself has been empowering in a very dark period of my life.

That’s what this photo means to me.  Even if you feel alone, or feel that nothing is working, or that you’re too reliant on your medication, or that it’s not doing enough– just beyond that moment is the chance for you to get up and fight back.


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8 comments on “Fighting Back

  1. Good Lifestyler
    August 23, 2014

    Reblogged this on Good Lifestyler and commented:
    I can empathise with this story, when at college/university you can feel isolated and not want to reach out to anyone. That is not the way to go though. If anyone is struggling, they should not feel ashamed or guilty about seeking help. I know I felt nervous and didn’t know whether it was just me being a hypochondriac. I’m so glad I got help though and now I am in place which is 100 times better than I was in March.


  2. roshni
    August 24, 2014

    it’s amazing how much certain images can say. thank you, Chris for sharing your story and your talent.

    in solidarity,


  3. ambivalentpsalmist
    August 24, 2014

    So glad to hear that photography has played such an integral role in your recovery! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story. I think it is inspirational for people to see someone who has worked so intently and hard to fight for themselves.


  4. ambivalentpsalmist
    August 24, 2014

    Thank you for sharing your story. It is inspirational for people to see someone who has been so willing to fight for the self. Blessings to you in your continued recovery!


  5. Nathalie
    August 25, 2014

    Such an inspiring story and a wonderful picture which captures it.


  6. The Laughable Cheese
    August 25, 2014

    I think it is interesting how many people there everywhere around, and yet it is so easy to become isolated.


  7. alexzpm
    August 30, 2014

    clever ideea 🙂


  8. Liz Gilbert
    September 5, 2014

    Medication and creativity. I’m so glad I read the description. It’s so hard to not “give in” to the darkness but I think you’ve got a handle on it. Beautiful shot. Keep fighting.


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