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: “The horrors of my childhood are like the deeply entwined roots of a tree, buried deep in the earth. I can still feel the heat of the red sun, searing my soul with pain. PTSD doesn’t care about the present. It likes to drag me kicking and screaming into my past. Being a survivor is about finding my way back to the present. It is a daily battle. This goes out to all my survivor brothers and sisters out there; you are not alone. You are loved.”

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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Broken Light Collective

11 responses to “Buried in Pain”

  1. Paula Jennings Avatar

    My son and I also both suffer with PTSD so we can recognize your pain and battles. This photographic is truly stunning and so creative.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Jaeda DeWalt Avatar

      Thank you so much, Paula :). I am sorry you and your son share similar struggles.


  2. cattan2011 Avatar

    Glad that she pull herself up with art, as it is very mediating for a person mood.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jaeda DeWalt Avatar

      Thank you. I agree, art is very meditative.


  3. Mary Strong-Spaid Avatar

    …..”it likes to drag me kicking and screaming into my past.”
    I totally agree. That’s so true about PTSD! Everything is fine, and then there is a song, a picture, a word, a smell….that turns everything turns inside out and sucks the mind backwards once again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jaeda DeWalt Avatar

      “Everything is fine, and then there is a song, a picture, a word, a smell….that turns everything turns inside out and sucks the mind backwards once again.” <–Exactly, Mary!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Mary Strong-Spaid Avatar

        I was diagnosed with PTSD in 1990.
        And still….after all these years, when I least expect it, I find myself reacting to the present with thoughts that would be better left in the past. It’s rather annoying.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. phoenixrising Avatar

    Oh my gosh . . . I too suffer from PTSD from childhood sexual abuse. I am learning healthy coping tools now that work during the day (to eliminate flashbacks) but darn those nightmares that I can’t avoid. Your words describing PTSD as it drags you “kicking and screaming”–totally connected with me. It’s hard to describe to others but you said it perfectly. Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jaeda DeWalt Avatar

      I am glad you have learned healthy coping tools that work. I think one of the most frustrating aspects of PTSD is the way it is always lingering in the background, threatening to strike at any moment. And nightmares have this awful way of bringing the past into the present. Thank you for sharing of your own experience. Peace and light.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. hollywoodward2013 Avatar

    Beautiful image! I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jaeda DeWalt Avatar

      Thank you, Holly! 🙂


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