Broken Light: A Photography Collective

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A New Horizon

Photo taken by contributor Craig A. Miller, a 37-year-old author, speaker, photographer, and suicide attempt survivor from Boston. For many years he struggled with OCD, extreme anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. After a suicide attempt nearly ended his life at age 20, he became dedicated to understanding what led him to such a decision, and more importantly how he could gain control of himself and his life to ensure it would never happen again. He published a book in 2012 titled, This is How it Feels: a memoir of attempting suicide and finding life. He is a member of The Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention and regularly speaks everywhere from libraries to state conferences sharing his story and the steps he took to move forward.

About this photo: “There was a time when I believed that every thought within me was trying to hurt me. I continually fought away the negativity that came into my mind convinced I would never be well unless I conquered the imbalance. Without even realizing it, my life had become an all out war- every day, every night, every breath- a war. Me against me. And with each day I fought, my mind grew smaller, my life moved further inward, and my perception of the world became blocked out by the walls I had built around myself.

Today I am well. In fact my life is better than I ever dreamed it would be. And one of the questions I am asked most often is how I remain well. The answer is quite involved but in short, I’ve learned to embrace everything I am. I’ve learned to love myself in all ways possible. But even still, I have my difficult times. And when I do, I allow the seemingly heavy and dark thoughts to come as they will. I let them stay within me just long enough for me to understand them and extract any value they may have to offer. Then I dismiss them. I let them go. It’s not always easy, but writing and photography have proven to be the perfect creative outlets for me to accomplish this. When I put it on paper, the worlds are no longer repeating in my head. When I capture it on a screen, the image is no longer in my mind. 

This year’s winter in New England has been very difficult for me. It was particularly dark and cold with constant shades of gray shadowing the sky and landscape. And for a moment, I felt the walls going up and those old, heavy thoughts nearly overstaying their welcome. But with this photo, I dismiss them and I now welcome a new horizon.“

Find more from Craig at his website or twitter.

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12 comments on “A New Horizon

  1. Sunflower
    March 26, 2014

    Wow, this is an amazing photo. And how timely for me to read these words: “When I put it on paper, the worlds are no longer repeating in my head. When I capture it on a screen, the image is no longer in my mind.” I’ve just started to sense that I am going to be able to let go of such repeated words and images in my own mind by recording them in story. Incredible concept, really. I am happy to hear that Craig is coming out of the long, cold winter and finally feeling hopeful, again. I can relate to such deep bouts of depression. But I’m so glad I’m still here, after all. Have to keep wanting to be here.

    Like

  2. beingcreativebc
    March 26, 2014

    Extremely powerful image!

    Like

  3. gregmercer601
    March 26, 2014

    Reblogged this on Big Red Carpet Nursing and commented:
    Compelling pic.

    Like

  4. She_Who_Hears
    March 26, 2014

    Incredible story. Best wishes for Craig and good luck with the public speaking.

    Like

  5. mathivaruni
    March 26, 2014

    stunning image <3 it

    Like

  6. ~meredith
    March 27, 2014

    Wow. This photo has such power it’s daunting.

    Like

  7. Craig Miller
    March 28, 2014

    Thank you all so much for your feedback and acceptance. :)

    Like

  8. embracethecontradictions
    March 29, 2014

    Great photo! We need people like you in this world to take photos like this. Keep doing it please!

    Like

  9. Vanity Rush
    March 29, 2014

    Such a poignant image- great concept and composition. Lovely in a most tragic way!

    Like

  10. brioney92
    March 31, 2014

    Just so meaningful, powerful, emotion touching, amazing and wonderful picture.

    Like

  11. Craig A. Miller
    April 1, 2014

    Thank you all so much for the encouragement!

    Like

  12. genuinekayakgirl
    May 27, 2014

    Craig, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for sharing your story. As a crisis line volunteer, I have learned much from your story. As a trauma survivor, I love how your “short answer” to how you stay well resonates with my own fairly recent learning. I agree with you about embracing all that we are and loving ourselves “in all ways possible.” Your way of living through difficult emotions or times resonates with me too. All of us experience difficult emotions, some many more than others, because of our experiences and/or our natural dispositions. Rather than trying to suppress or exile painful thoughts and emotions, I now understand that compassionately engaging with them works better, learning what I can from them, while not getting caught up in them. As you described “allow[ing] the seemingly heavy and dark thoughts to come as they will … let[ting] them stay within me just long enough for me to understand them and extract any value they may have to offer.” Beautifully said. Thank you for sharing! deanna

    Like

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