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!

Master of the Lock

Photo taken by first-time contributor Cari, a 31-year-old from Chicago, Illinois, who has been diagnosed with Bipolar I Disorder for the past 12 years. She was recently hospitalized in September 2014 for suicidal and homicidal intrusive thoughts. These distressing symptoms were very new and foreign to Cari. Cari has been participating in intensive treatment since her release from the hospital to regain stability. Cari has found photography is a critical part of her recovery. The intrusive thoughts that she had were very vivid and photography has been a great outlet for her to create new images in her brain. Cari’s ongoing work with photography has assisted in her overall ability to find herself again.

About the photo: “I shot this photograph in a neighborhood that was in despair in Chicago, Illinois.  This photo represents my brain.  The label of “Master” on the lock is indicative of my brain chemistry.  The distressing intrusive thoughts I was experiencing prior to my hospitalization were purely biochemical which had me locked and trapped within.  There were no keys to be found at the time of the hospitalization.  With intensive treatment along with a new medication regimen I finally feel that I now have keys.  The lock has been unlocked and the Master is no longer the lock, but the keeper of the keys. 

As my symptoms have subsided my growth and interest in photography has greatly increased.  It has been the one way to express some of what was going on in my brain.  I took this shot when I was still experiencing intrusive thoughts on a regular basis.  I have had many more weeks of therapy and medication and can look at the photo and be saddened by what it represents.  However, I have hope now that I never had before.  The intrusive thoughts may never go away, but I now have coping skills to manage the distress and not get locked in the symptoms.


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5 comments on “Master of the Lock

  1. galeriaredelius
    November 24, 2014

    So much symbolism in this image, keys mean so many things! Great that you have found photography, do continue! I wish you much strength in the future, and thank you so much for sharing your story here.


  2. chrisrenney
    November 24, 2014

    No way in, no way out – it must be so hard for you but now you can use imagery to stand outside of it all and to breath. Please know you are not alone.


  3. dreambigwords
    November 24, 2014

    I love this, thank you for sharing yourself and your art! You are on the right path!


  4. tallulah14
    November 24, 2014

    This is a great photo with a lot of mystery and meaning behind it! Wishing you all the best!



  5. bluebrightly
    November 27, 2014

    I’m happy for you – it’s a strong photograph and you have made it work for you in several ways.


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