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

I was 20, studying photography and, as they say, living life the fullest. But that was not the real me.
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.
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.
With this psychologist, who thought I was suffering from my eating disorder again, I survived with these circumstances for about a year.
Then, on a Wednesday morning, I said goodbye to my cat and fell asleep for good, I wished.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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