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!

Looking Back

Please welcome first-time contributor Emily Townsend, a self-portrait photographer from Issaquah, Washington, who has been unwillingly dealing with dysthymia since age 7. Some days are all right, while others are terrifying, especially the nights. She believes that she knows the cure to being happy, but she is held back by a lot of things that prevent her from getting there. Once she graduates from Stephen F Austin in 2017, she will move back to Seattle where she believes the sun will shine for her once again.

About this photo: “Outside my freshman dorm there was a pond and several short bridges lit with Christmas lights. I had finished studying for finals and took a break with my camera, using a tripod and a remote to get this image. I remember thinking that “I will always be lonely for the holidays.” I was the only one of my high school friends to go to a school with no one I knew. I plunged into uncharted territory, and that scared me. I like to imagine that my expression says, “I was looking back at you wondering if you were looking back at me wondering if I was looking back at you.” As it turns out, no one bothers to look back at me.

Find more from Emily at her blog.


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6 comments on “Looking Back

  1. kari'd away
    May 31, 2015

    I can relate to this so much. Nights can be truly frightening. Hang in there, Emily.


  2. luro97
    June 1, 2015

    An awesome first contribution! Welcome to Broken Light.


  3. smittyrooks
    June 1, 2015



  4. dimdaze
    June 1, 2015

    Totally awesome shot. I love it.


  5. quietlyloudphoto
    June 8, 2015

    Oh my goodness thank you guys so much! I’m going through a little tiff today but this has cheered me up immensely.


  6. Jaeda DeWalt
    October 10, 2015

    A captivating and enchanting self portrait, Emily. “I was the only one of my high school friends to go to a school with no one I knew. I plunged into uncharted territory” <– and that takes so much courage! And to keep moving forward through the challenges living with dysthymia presents. Thank you for sharing your story.


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