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.

Photo taken by contributor Jaeda DeWalt, a conceptual self-portrait artist in her forties from Seattle, Washington. Her battles with mental illness hearken back to her earliest memories, at age 4, when she became obsessed with the number four and performed exhaustive rituals in patterns of four. During her teen years, she began noticing extreme mood swings, manic one moment and depressed the next, and in her late 20′s she finally sought treatment and was diagnosed with Bipolar, OCD, PTSD, Anxiety, and ADHD. Her doctors told her they believed the mental illness was brought on by a severe concussion she sustained at age two, along with the trauma of being sexually abused as a child into her young adult years. Her life was filled with self-destructive coping methods until she went full force into creating, in her mid-twenties. The process of creating and putting herself in front of the camera felt cathartic, liberating and healing. The photographic medium opened up a new world to her and ignited a kind of passion within that she didn’t even know she was capable of experiencing. She has been on an ever-evolving, healing journey, ever since.

About this photo: “Commanding the Chaos – Self Portrait: I created this self-portrait to express how it feels when attempting to quiet the chaos in my mind. Due to my ADHD and mania, i experience multiple thoughts and feelings, simultaneously. Making me a world traveler of my interior landscape. Everything is moving at warp speed, it’s exhausting. But there is a saving grace to this kaleidoscope mind of mine… CREATIVITY! It is free and unleashed and that is the way i prefer it to be.

Find more from Jaeda at FacebookTwitter and YouTube.


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

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5 responses to “Commanding the Chaos”

  1. mysticallunarose Avatar

    What an Art to have, Such BEAUTIFUL Chaos! Work In Progress Mystical Luna Rose.


  2. Hank shaw Avatar
    Hank shaw

    Fantastic confident accepting self portrait


  3. SimplyGuiding Avatar

    Reblogged this on Simply Easy to Grasp.


  4. akre4sat Avatar

    Reblogged this on nashwanharki and commented:


  5. the Prodigal Orphan Avatar

    ADD. My dear old friend.
    Went unnoticed for years by everyone but me. Nobody picked up on it because I wasn’t bouncing off the walls.
    You know – the “H” part of it.
    But my mind was going at a mile a minute in roughly three-hundred sixty directions at once.
    So I always thought it was just one of the effects of Depression and Anxiety.
    My other two friends.
    I actually wasn’t diagnosed with ADD till I was in my early/mid-50’s.
    It almost cost me my job, which was actually a career when you get down to it.
    Get called into the office Director’s office and finally had to pull the A.D.A. card from up my sleeve: “Guess what, guys! The Federal government says you have to make reasonable accommodations for me.”
    Found myself having to explain what ADD is like:
    “You know when you get here in the morning, fire up your computer, log on and wait, and wait, and wait to get into the system, then when you finally do MS Word is really dragging, Excel locks up on you, you can’t access the State database or the Court calendars or e-Bay.
    “You’re logged into maybe three sites at the most, but you would be amazed at how much crap is running in the background.”
    Went to her computer and with her permission ran a Windows utility that shows you exactly how many programs or processes are running at the same time.
    Forty-two interlopers running in the background.
    “That’s why you can’t keep the three you’re dealing with up to speed. And that’s what my mind is like.”
    Of course, along with the ADD is the hyperfocus. It’s not just that we see these little shiny things, we can’t take our eyes off them.
    One of those “distractions” that even my Supervisor told me was a waste of time turned out to break a case wide open:
    a parent seeking a modification of their Child Support order listed a monthly payment they had to make on a personal loan from her parents. The payment she listed, under penalty of perjury, was for $189.79 per month.
    It just didn’t sit right with me. $189.79 per month to …
    her parents?
    Give them $200.00, or $190.00 or whatever you have extra, but $189.79 is not the type of number you see on a personal loan from your parents. Just isn’t.
    Long story short – didn’t lose sight of that shiny little bastard until I used it to prove she was making an estimated $5 – 6,000.00 per month of unreported income.
    And they just couldn’t accept my contention that it all happened because of the Mental Illness they thought was “hindering my performance”.
    My Supervisor let them know, even one of our supervising attorneys ended up telling the director that my mind seemed to work in ways they had never seen anybody else’s.
    For me, any success I’ve had in dealing with ADD comes from learning not to necessarily stop it, but to follow it the best I can and see where it takes me.
    I think they finally took me seriously when one guy’s casual remark about going to his Dad’s house up on Lake Tahoe one Memorial Day weekend led to us getting a $110,000.00 payment from him.
    Those slippery demons can work out to be some pretty good friends at times and it’s great to hear from someone else who recognizes that.

    And I know that look.
    The one on your face in this haunting portrait.
    I’ve seen it in the mirror more times than I can tell you.

    Thanks for sharing your story and your art.


    Liked by 1 person

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