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!

Living The Bipolar Life

Please welcome first-time contributor Laura Mclean. a woman from Ontario, Canada, who was first diagnosed as a child with dissociative disorders. Auditory and visual hallucinations were the norm. At that time, in the 1970s, there were no treatments for her diagnoses. In the 1990s, psychologists deemed the disorder caused by Multiple Personalities, then in the year 2000 the diagnosis was changed to Bipolar Rapid Cycling, and a series of prescription drugs were used to manage the symptoms. Life is now much better for Laura and her family. She is married, has four children, and attends college as a full time digital photography student. Photography has been a therapy of sorts for her. She takes photos as a means to communicate feelings she does not understand. She still must contend with disruptions caused by hallucinations at times, especially when under great stress, but with the change in treatment she is no long plagued by a sense of panic and paranoia.

About this photo: “It’s a tough life constantly having to monitor yourself out of fear of what others might think of you in new situations, but I am coming to terms with it using two wonderful therapies; blogging and photography.  This image represents two constants that those with the invisibility of mental illness live with each day.  The black and white area of the woman’s face, is the face that people with mental disabilities, like myself, put on each day.  We blend in with everyone else, except for our eyes.  The bottom half is covered and the lips can be slightly seen.  This is where we hide our emotions.  Where we do not speak about our illness, and where we keep our secrets, so others cannot harm us.

I took this photo as part of a photo assignment for school but felt it touched on something deeper.  Originally all shot in colour, I felt a message about living with mental illness could be drawn from it.  I entered the image into our local International Peoples with Disabilities contest and it tied for first place.”

Find more from Laura at her blog and website.


We created this bracelet to be a grounding tool to help divert negative & self-harmful thoughts & bring us back to the present moment. Broken Light Strength Bracelet

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10 comments on “Living The Bipolar Life

  1. adasyael88
    December 11, 2014

    Love this. The description really enhanced the effect of the picture. Welcome to this site, here you are not alone:) Good luck with all!! Thank you for sharing, and Keep shooting!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hank Shaw
    December 11, 2014

    a very effective image.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rene
    December 11, 2014

    Reblogged this on Mind Chatter and commented:
    I like her relating this photo to invisible illnesses as well as mental illness. This is so true for me, as a fibro sufferer. I but forth the face which can be seen, but I keep inside all the pain and frustration I feel each day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lauralmcleanphotography
      December 26, 2014

      Thank you for the reblog. It’s nice to see that other can relate to the image in their own way.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Rhys Jones
    December 12, 2014

    A dramatic photo! Her eyes are very strong.


  5. Pictures of Cities
    December 12, 2014

    Such a meaningful picture… I’m glad you found a way to express your feelings through blogging and photography, they can certainly heal in their own magical way.


  6. lauralmcleanphotography
    December 12, 2014

    Many thanks to those who have left comments. It humbles me to see that others have such positive opinions on the image.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. BookOfBokeh
    December 12, 2014

    Damn, that’s good!


  8. alexandredefendiphotography
    December 12, 2014

    nice photo!


  9. autisticaplanet
    December 13, 2014

    Thank you for sharing this powerful, dramatic image! Though I don’t have bi-polar, I do understand what you mean about the mask. I couldn’t stand masks anymore as autistic people are terrible at pretense, but I do feel like I have to wear a “mute”. Now there’s an image 🙂 Keep posting! You can enter Broken Light’s contest next year.


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