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.

Please welcome first-time contributor Mute, a man in his forties who has struggled with mental health challenges throughout his life. Diagnoses range from manic depression to ADD. Many meds have been tried, and at times abused, but nothing has worked well so far.

About this photo: “I live in a world that needs me to be OK. I feel obligated to be so by people I deem more important than myself. But I am not OK. I am far from it. I sat on these stairs as a child and even back then nothing was OK. And 35 years later, I sit on these stairs. All that has changed is the library of memories that torment me and fill me with shame. A burden I do my best to hide so that those who are enmeshed with me don’t become tainted by my filth. I will wake up, shit and shave, and put on my attire, sit at my desk and pay my bills, and smile at you across the counter, and wait for my turn to stop breathing. And all the while, hope you don’t see me.


**Visit Broken Light’s main gallery here ▸ Now a 501(c)3 non-profit! Please donate here.

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24 responses to “Stairway to Shame”

  1. Beau Avatar

    very powerful pic

    Liked by 1 person

  2. kbailey374 Avatar

    OUCH! 😦 I hope that kind of pain is not always with him. That sounds horrid esp. “waiting your turn to stop breathing.” Can you ask him if I can pray for him?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. autisticaplanet Avatar

      Please pray. I find I can pray for people whether they want it or not. Sometimes they don’t know how much they need it.


  3. Moodphototeija Avatar

    I cannot say anything more that you wrote from my heart. I can really relate to that… I hope things will get better, just try to keep believing. It is hard. But still. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  4. ravenjcold1976 Avatar


    Liked by 1 person

  5. themanofletters Avatar

    Reblogged this on The Man of Letters and commented:
    This is a blog worth following.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. imaginarytree Avatar

    A hauntingly beautiful photograph. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. mostlymonochrome Avatar

    I find this picture very emotive.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. spencersamalvin Avatar

    Thanks for sharing this very evocative photo, Mute, and your story . . hang in there, keep sharing & reaching out . . you have friends here.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Incidental Scribe Avatar

    So deep..I love the shot. I’m going through different therapies right now to deal with my “illness”, so it’s nice to see someone using art to express themselves.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. wildernessruminator Avatar

    Thank you for sharing this, your photograph and your story.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Incite Photographics Avatar
    Incite Photographics

    My heart goes out to you Mute. A very brave and beautiful thing you did in sharing and I thank you for it. Such an emotive piece of artwork that you have created.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. BookOfBokeh Avatar

    That’s a bitch of a story, dude, nailed home by an amazing shot. I hope it improves for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. autisticaplanet Avatar

    Though I have a different diagnosis, I do understand what you are going through, the isolation, the having to pretend things are normal so loved ones either don’t feel bad or get irritated. Relying on Jesus as my only hope of survival lead to amazing opportunities that I could not have arranged myself such as finding a good therapist, being able to keep him after the rules of taking out of county changed and a lot more. It was hardly an overnight transformation without struggles and I am not a finished product. None of us will be until we draw our last breath, but we can actually enjoy where we are today on the journey to where we are going. I hope and pray you find a good therapist and stick with a routine of treatment. Photography is being proven to be a Godsend for those who suffer mental illness. I think art in general helps those in pain.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. josephong Avatar

    Brings back memories to when I used to sit on the stairs as a child 15 years ago.


  15. Alexa Jean Avatar

    This is such an emotive photo; my first reaction was to see the stunning use of light and upon closer inspection I realised the texture and drained colour is what communicates the pain the sitter feels. Beautifully written words, I wish you strength Mute and thank you for sharing your photo.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Jesus Is The Feast Avatar

    Mute… I have resembled your very touching photo. I too have been stuck in the darkness, no way up, no way out. Thank you for sharing such a deeply moving photo on your first (of many, I am sure) contributions.
    I want to encourage you Brother, even though your posted name here says “Mute”, you have alot of good and wonderful things to say, and I am excited to hear them.


  17. 365nothings Avatar

    Sometimes I wonder if we all feel like this inside and are just afraid to share it. I hope you find what you are looking for.


  18. shubhamchugh Avatar

    wow.. amazing shot!


  19. Maya Avatar

    A very powerful portrait. I hear you, and see you.


  20. heidispitzig Avatar

    This photo so powerfully conveys all that you said in your description of the photo. And I get it. Man, do I get it.


  21. eLPy Avatar

    Very emotional. I agree with others that the light in the pic and the way it shadows you is so effective. I too will pray for you that perhaps one day you will make it out of this dark stairwell and into the light that is so near. Take care of yourself and do not be afraid to speak Mute. 🙂


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