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The following is a repeat post to honor Don, a member of the Broken Light Collective community who we learned has taken his life. Don was a wonderful, talented man and we are grateful that he shared his work and story with us. His light shines on. If anyone is hurting and needs to talk to someone, please reach out. You are not alone. You can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.8255 or text HOME to 741741. You are valued and loved. Your life is important.
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.”