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 Don, a man in his fifties from the Western North Carolina Mountains. Throughout his teens and twenties spikes of grandeur, depression, and anxiety were the norm, although back then no one used those terms, at least not in his small town. He struggled throughout his twenties, and married for the second time. Don continued to be plagued by episodes of mania and depression, until one day in his early thirties it all came crashing down. His anxiety turned to severe panic attacks. Fear and paranoia consumed him. It would take years to get a concrete diagnosis. Ultimately, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, general and social anxiety, and ADHD. It was around that time when he picked up the camera he had laid down some years back, and began to shoot again. He liked being behind the camera’s lens. He felt safe there, sort of like when a child puts his hands over his own eyes, thinking you cannot see him. Some of his photographs have been published and won a number of awards.

About this photo: “This is a picture of me at my lowest point. I had been up for what seems like days. Thoughts were rushing through my head like a tornado between my ears, spinning out of control. I kept taking more and more of my meds to stop the thoughts. I woke up days later in a hospital. I couldn’t remember anything. There are still bits and pieces I can’t recall. “They” said I may never be the same. There was no telling what damage I had done to myself. That was about 10 years ago. I’m still here. I don’t believe I’m as sharp at thinking as I once was, but I’m doing pretty well, hanging in there.” 

Find more from Don at his website and Facebook.


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

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2 responses to “Rare Shot In Front Of The Lens”

  1. autisticaplanet Avatar

    Compelling photo. It is good to see photo documentation of someone while in the throws of mental illness. My expression is usually tense. I used to get mean looks from store clerks as a kid and teen. It is no wonder I don’t make direct eye contact.


    1. dimdaze Avatar

      numerous times I have had people ask me if I was upset with them. I didn’t know them or have any reason to be upset or otherwise. Like you, often, I don’t even look up. I try to stay behind my camera.


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