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.

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Photo by contributor John E. Panic, a man who was born in Houston, Texas, in 1954. John experienced his first psychotic episode on his last day of elementary school. He went undiagnosed until 1973 when recreational drug use as a sophomore in college caused a mental breakdown. His first diagnosis was from a hallucinatory drug flashback. He was misdiagnosed as having hypoglycemia the same year. John had a variety of other diagnoses over the years, but finally received an accurate diagnosis of Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Type, in the late 1990’s. He was then classified as disabled in 1998. John, and his ex-wife, currently live with John’s 87-year-old parents and help care for them.

About this photo: During dissociation, my head becomes a huge, dark, cavernous space- much like the garage space in this image. I experience myself as a small procession of thoughts near the cavern bottom. Like the viewer of this picture, sometimes I have four choices. I can retreat in the darkness, explore the shadows, move towards the reality of outdoors or explore the mystery of the lit hallway. This image, therefore, reflects my experience with at least five realities. Unconsciousness, dissociation, the reality I share with the viewer, and two alternate realities available through the lit hallway. One alternate reality features an indescribably beautiful light behind which resides a being of unconditional love, compassionate judgment, and sadness. The being is sad because I have had to suffer and will continue to suffer. The other alternate reality features a terrifying darkness filled with tiny, cold, and sharp pinpricks of light that flicker like stars. A formless, malevolent entity searches for me behind this terrible darkness. It relishes the idea of torturing me. To maintain my mental health, I reject the obvious religious associations. Instead, I believe that I am experiencing infantile experiences of love and anger.

Find more from John on Flickr


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7 responses to “Dissociation & Psychosis”

  1. Mike Ross Avatar

    Sometimes the darkness is just the darkness John.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. dimdaze Avatar

    I like the way you used the light. Nice work.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Karen Miller Avatar
    Karen Miller

    A powerful image. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Laura Cameron Avatar

    Thank you for sharing this. These statements are powerful and show such great insight into the struggles of mental health.


  5. daveyone1 Avatar

    Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..


  6. autisticaplanet Avatar

    I like the bi-level look and the yellow tall cement object looks like a boundry. Go no further below, use your support system and treatment to stay above. There is a God who loves, never faults or rejects those who come to Him.


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