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!

The Empath – Self Portrait

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: “The Empath – Self Portrait: I suffered several head concussions as a child and young adult. I believe this might be part of the reason for my mental illness, empathic abilities and creativity.  I struggle to be around people because I take on their thoughts, feelings and pain.  I am still learning how to balance the blessing and curse that is mental illness, it is an ever-evolving journey.

Find more from Jaeda at FacebookTwitter and YouTube.

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21 comments on “The Empath – Self Portrait

  1. Ginny Banks
    May 8, 2015

    I am from Seattle too and deal with mental issues. I love your self-portrait!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jaeda DeWalt
      October 27, 2015

      Thank you, so much, Ginny :). A fellow member of the Emerald City! I am sorry you share similar struggles and am sending you abundant love and light.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Laarni Connelly
    May 9, 2015

    Very powerful image!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lmarea3070
    May 9, 2015

    Wow!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. rajgajjar214
    May 9, 2015

    very nice

    Liked by 1 person

  5. soniamesquita46
    May 9, 2015

    Reblogged this on Eu Vivo a Melhor Idade and commented:
    COMO DOMINGO É DIA DAS MÃES…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ksbeth
    May 9, 2015

    very powerful words and picture.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on Kate – 365 Photo Blog and commented:
    love the lighting in this post

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hank Shaw
    May 9, 2015

    great image and idea

    Liked by 1 person

  9. autisticaplanet
    May 12, 2015

    I can identify with taking on the emotions of other people and their personality. I don’t do this consciously. I also have deep trust issues from being abused in school for many years. Very good picture. Soft and sweet.

    Liked by 2 people

    • autisticaplanet
      May 12, 2015

      Oops, I also have a terrible time concentrating on what I am doing. I like your self portrait. Very powerful image. I am on the autism spectrum. I have Asperger’s, OCD and Generalized anxiety disorder.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jaeda DeWalt
        October 27, 2015

        Asperger’s, OCD and GAD, would be a challenging combination to manage. I have the latter two in common with you. I wish you well in your healing journey :).

        Liked by 1 person

      • autisticaplanet
        November 11, 2015

        Blessings to you as well.

        Like

    • Jaeda DeWalt
      October 27, 2015

      Thank you your kind words and for sharing of your own experiences with this. It took me awhile to become consciously aware that i take on the feelings and energy of others. I share your deep trust issues from childhood abuse. I am sorry you were subjected to that. Sending you abundant compassion and love :).

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Leah Givens
    October 27, 2015

    Great, powerful picture!

    Liked by 1 person

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