Suicidal 20-Year-Old Photographer Captures Life Inside a Psychiatric Ward to Recover

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I was 20, studying photography and, as they say, living life the fullest. But that was not the real me.

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That real me was planning to put an end to my life, to stop that war in my head. I suffered from an eating disorder, a couple of years ago.

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After an intensive therapy I was cured and able to study again. A year later I had to accept that my mental health was still horribly bad and I searched for another psychologist.

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With this psychologist, who thought I was suffering from my eating disorder again, I survived with these circumstances for about a year.

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Then, on a Wednesday morning, I said goodbye to my cat and fell asleep for good, I wished.

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But I awakened in hospital, and was admitted to the psychiatric section after one day of physical recovery. The first day I made a portrait of myself, as I did before the hospitalization whenever I felt lonely, miserable or angry. I felt a short relief after that. My camera was left behind in my apartment, so I used my phone.

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My boyfriend brought my camera the day after and I started portraying myself in this horrible situation. Every time I had a self-portrait session, I felt that short relief and calmness in my head.

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It helped me in dealing with all the emotions that were overwhelming me. I honestly felt like I was going to explode if I couldn’t express myself, so my camera saved me that way.

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I hope my UCP-UMCG project (the name of the psychiatric department) will hit many people, especially people who need to see they’re not alone.

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But I also want people who have no idea what’s behind the closed door of a psychiatric hospital department to see the pain and fear that will overwhelm any patient.

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People in psychiatric hospitals are not crazy, but feel like they’re going crazy. And that is the worst feeling I ever had.

About the author: Laura Hospes is a 21-year-old photographer and student from the Netherlands. She was named one of 2015’s top 50 emerging photographers for her “UCP-UMCG” photo series.

Images via LauraHospes.com

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