Online Collective Art Gallery Created in Crisis


The New York Times Magazine reports on how a woman suffering in depression ended up founding an online art gallery for photographers struggling through psychological crises. “I was literally on the bathroom floor, bawling,” Danielle Hark told the Times. “But I picked up my phone and started taking pictures — paint peeling on the door, reflections in the mirror. It just took a couple of minutes for me to become more present, breathing more normally. It was a really important moment.”

Hark’s site, the Broken Light Collective, now has contributors from 150 countries who’ve been diagnosed with anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, posttraumatic stress, borderline personality disorder and eating disorders, reports the Times.

Photography as a Balm for Mental Illness (The New York Times Magazine, July 24, 2014)

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Broken Light Collective


  1. I sincerely believe all forms of art creation are very therapeutic. Not long ago I was talking with a peer who has devised a way of working with clients where she has them write down their concerns, emotions, feelings, hopes, etc. and then these were incorporated into a larger work of art. In essence, what this accomplishes is, it gets what’s inside of oneself, out. And I believe this is an important step in the healing, self awareness, and enlightenment process.

    I am an artist, and know for me, painting was extremely therapeutic. And I can now look at my portfolio, which in it’s totality visually tells the story of painting iatrogenic bipolar, and the story of my life and dreams. My work visually depicts the work of an artist who was working on ways of presenting an object or concept or time period, from numerous viewpoints. Because my perspective was that reality is viewed slightly differently by each person, and the views of all are important in determining true reality. Innately, my work tended to be too anal, and not painterly or free enough.

    I have a piece I then did, after I was put on a “safe smoking cessation med” (antidepressant) which is very one dimensional, and more painterly depicts my loving family hanging on to each other because we were in for a wild ride. And we were subsequently put through a corporate greed inspired wringer.

    The withdrawal effects of the antidepressant were misdiagnosed (according to the DSM-TR-IV) as “bipolar.” I was put on Risperdal, which resulted in a “Foul up” – it sent me through a terrifying psychosis, just two weeks after I’d started on the neuroleptic. The lunatic psychiatrist thought the antidote to this appallingly adverse reaction to Risperdal, was to double the amount of Risperdal. We left that insane psychiatrist, and went to a neurologist we were told knows “everything about the meds.”

    As it turned out, according to the actual medical evidence, all that neurologist actually knew how to do was poison patients with major drug interactions that caused anticholinergic intoxication. I was, of course, made ungodly sick with this psychopath’s drug cocktails. I quickly started a new grouping of paintings expressing how sick the drugs were making me. Basically, all I could do was throw paint at canvases, and ended up with some very painterly and chaotic portraits and a Whistler inspired (“Nocturne in Black and Gold”) piece depicting the horror of 9.11.2001. One of the painterly portraits was of bin Laden, becoming part of the landscape (this was in early 1.2002).

    I was eventually weaned off the deplorable drug cocktails, but of course not appropriately since none of the psychiatrists know how to wean people off their drugs. This resulted in a drug withdrawal induced manic psychosis / awakening to the story of my dreams and a midlife reflection on all the wonderful people I’d known in my life (as opposed to the sociopaths who’d defamed, tranquilized, and poisoned me to cover up a “bad fix” on a broken bone, the subsequent malpractice, and medical evidence of the sexual abuse of my small child).

    The story of my dreams is a beautiful lyrical love story, a story of a good and just God, a story of the connectedness of all, a story of our good and just God calling judgement day, a story all sung out in music lyrics on the radio. (Popular today are an Imagine Dragons song with the lyrics “this is my kingdom come,” and another song by Aloe Blacc claiming, “It’s time to do what must be done Be a King when kingdom comes Girl you can tell everybody I’m the man, I’m the man, I’m the man,” for example.)

    My artwork during my drug withdrawal induced super sensitivity manic psychosis visually expresses the flight of ideas that occurs during a manic episode. My work was largely based upon inspiration from Marc Chagall. His visual story telling seems to come very close to telling the story of my life and dreams, which are somewhat intertwined. But this is not all that surprising since he was a Jew, who lives through the religious oppression of the Jews by the Nazi’s, and I am a Christian who, according to my medical records, was drugged up for belief in the Holy Spirit and God, in the USA.

    I personally am not certain what to make of the story of my dreams. Well, I hope my dreams come true, because they are a promise of a better world for all the decent people. However, it’s just a story from my dreams. And my real life’s story is that of learning about the “dirty little secret of the two original educated professions” (the psychiatric community has apparently always, and still today, covers up sexual abuse of children for the mainstream religions and wealthy, and easily recognized iatrogenesis for the incompetent doctors, by iatrogenically creating serious “mental illnesses” in people with forced and coerced psychotropic drugging). And I’ve sadly learned this “dirty little secret” way of creating serious “mental illnesses” has gone viral. Over a million innocent little children have had adverse and withdrawal reactions to antidepressants and ADHD drugs misdiagnosed as “bipolar” for profit in the USA already.

    We need a better world. The love of money really is the root of all evil. We need a world where all understand that treating all others with respect and dignity is valuable, not just to individuals, but to society as a whole. Psychotropic drugs don’t cure people from belief in the Holy Spirit, or God, or the wisdom found in the real bible. And a society that believes a book of stigmatizations is a “bible” is a sick society. Creating artwork is a wonderful way to get what one is concerned about on the inside, as well as one’s hopes and dreams, out into the world. I still hope and pray for a better world.

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