What They Don’t See

As someone that struggles with various forms of mental illness, i have learned that I can't bow down to my feelings and thoughts. Nor, can i completely shutdown, because I need access to my emotions. What I can do, is become my own master juggling act; balancing extremes, knowing what to listen to and what to throw away. I keep a little bit of my insanity beautifully nestled within each artwork I create. It is the one place where my mental illness becomes a blessing, instead of a curse.

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: “As someone that struggles with various forms of mental illness, I have learned that I can’t bow down to my feelings and thoughts. Nor, can I completely shutdown, because I need access to my emotions. What I can do, is become my own master juggling act; balancing extremes, knowing what to listen to and what to throw away. I keep a little bit of my insanity beautifully nestled within each artwork I create. It is the one place where my mental illness becomes a blessing, instead of a curse.

Find more from Jaeda at FacebookTwitter and YouTube.

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19 thoughts on “What They Don’t See

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  1. I love your work! I however have not been diagnosed with a mental illness I have been sexually abused and spent almost 10 years in the system before I was adopted. And in a sense I feel like those circumstances I have over come leave me feeling like I have a mental illness. Huge fan of your work mental illness awareness is something that needs to be promoted and addressed its real and I often feel like people ignore it or over look it because it becomes too hard to deal with or too deep to understand. Keep on keeping on!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jessie Mae, for sharing your own story. I am so sorry that, you too, know the pain of sexual abuse. And that kind of abuse can certainly contribute and even create mental illness in the form of PTSD, BPD and anxiety disorders. I am inspired by the fact that you have overcome it and am happy to hear you support mental illness awareness. And i am glad you like my work.

      Love and light,
      ~ j a e d a 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I did see your travel photos, they are stunning! They are very sophisticated and elegant. Your passion for travel is beautifully evident in your photography. But I just created a WordPress account, yesterday and am slowly working my way through all the Broken Light Collective contributors and catching up/commenting.

        Liked by 1 person

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