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!

Sunflower Self

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 7.25.14 PM

Please welcome first-time contributor Erika, a 29-year-old artist and mother who has battled with depression and anxiety (both social and generalized) for 15 years. She also spiraled into addiction, particularly opiate addiction, after years of domestic violence. Erika is now free from the abuse and starting a new life with her two children and her art.  She is living at home in North Dakota, but hopes to move back to New Mexico to continue a Master’s Degree program in art therapy and counseling at Southwestern College. Erika currently is immersed in the study of the art process which has truly saved her life.

About this photo: “I have recently spent a lot of time connecting through photography to my home state of North Dakota, with which I have always had a love/hate relationship. Most of my photos have been purely aesthetic, but this one in particular has great meaning to me. When I saw these dried up sad sunflowers, a chord was struck in me. These flowers poignantly describe how I felt when struggling with depression, anxiety, and especially addiction. Most sunflowers strive for the sun, but these, dried up and devoid of life, are turned away even though the sun is there, shining brightly. This is how my addiction felt.  Joyful things, such as my kids, were always there, but I was unable to see them. I was dried up and turned away. Thankfully, the art process has been my equivalent of the sun to a sunflower!”


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10 comments on “Sunflower Self

  1. lightwalker1
    February 2, 2015

    A lovely composition and beautiful metaphor. Thank you for posting. Kindest Regards Cheryle

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cheryl-Lynn
    February 2, 2015

    What a lovely photo…Tournesol (sunflower in French) is my nom de plume for Japanese poetry. I love sunflowers and daisies. Years ago I graduated with my degree at Concordia University in Montreal which at that time had people from all over hte world taking Art Therapy. I took an intensive intro to art therapy and had I had the extra time and $$ I would have certainly gone into that field. Art IS therapeutic…I use writing poetry as a means to avoid vicarious trauma when counselling with youths on a crisis line. Good on you for finding the courage to get out alive and safe from a difficult relationship.Bravo, Erika. Blessings and much love. Cheryl-Lynn


  3. The Laughable Cheese
    February 3, 2015

    it’s a great metaphor with the sunflowers. And the picture is really something too, how they are all in a line like that. I have some in my backyard and they really do look so sad when they dry up like that.


  4. Ayeh
    February 3, 2015

    Loved you concept. you have uniqu point of view!


  5. desertmoon62
    February 3, 2015

    Love your perspective! You are very brave! Congratulations on turning to the sun and blossoming! I wish only the best for you and your children.


  6. Incidental Scribe
    February 3, 2015

    Such a powerful metaphor. Please keep using art to help you on your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. karen
    February 3, 2015

    Thanks– and I hope you remember that those dried flower heads have good, edible seeds!


  8. imaginarytree
    February 3, 2015

    thank you for your contribution of your photograph and your thoughts. how you describe the sunflowers as “dried up and devoid of life” resonates with me.


  9. farendnearaverage
    February 4, 2015

    Reblogged this on ezrafajardo.


  10. heidispitzig
    February 4, 2015

    I love how you’re using your art to heal. Here’s to the journey.


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