Early 2016: Fighting for my life again
I returned back from sunny Miami to a biting cold and dark winter in Amsterdam. My moderate clinical depression and anxiety massively flared up again. In the course of 4 weeks, the gates of hell from 2010 and 2014 opened up again - but now more than ever.
I lost it all again:
In January 2016, I was mentally ill, lost my muse and partner, had barely any friends left due to my travels, had massive debts and I was unable to take up a job let alone chase my dream.
This time, I needed to survive without going back to my childhood room. To not end up on the street, I slept on a sofa-sleeper in the washing room at a former coworker's place for a few months. Day in and day out I went through absolute hell again.
During the first half of 2016, I couldn't produce any fine art street photos since I could barely walk to the kitchen. One night, I braced all my energies to pick up my camera. Who says you have to go out to shoot fine art street photos? I captured this moment with my cold, dead hands:
I had achieved so much at the point, but it felt like nothing. In my eyes, I was the biggest failure in the world. I was not meant to be a fine art street photographer let alone run a label or coach others.
Only a year later I realized that my tough journey gave me the fire and depth to actually fill out these roles.
Although I didn't end up in Access Hollywood or TMZ, it's not like I live a rather private life. Friends, former coworkers and family ask about my dream a lot - since I also talk about it all the time. That is yet another hell you go through when you hit rock bottom.
In order to cure my clinical depression, I received all types of antidepressants. Therapy wasn't enough for me, because my brain chemistry was imbalanced. I slouched, mumbled and it felt like the force of gravity doubled all of a sudden.
Nothing helped for months on end. At a certain point, you just can't take it anymore. Nobody sees your soul cancer, nobody feels your inner daemons and no one can imagine how deadly depression is.
I was so scared of people at the time that I didn't even dare to shoot strangers. However, the human element that I loved so much only died 99.9%. In order to feel myself somehow, I captured the stranger in me one night:
If you have anyone in your life that suffers from mental health issues, don't play it down. Give them all the support they need!
On the verge of becoming homeless, I met a Syrian immigrant one night and he offered me food and shelter for the months to come...
...which gave me the stability to fight my way back to life!