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.

When depression ate away my inner colors | Amsterdam, 2016

When depression ate away my inner colors | Amsterdam, 2016

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:

Stranger in the Night | Amsterdam, 2016

Stranger in the Night | Amsterdam, 2016

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.

Chrome | Amsterdam, 2016

Chrome | Amsterdam, 2016

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:

The Stranger In Me | Amsterdam, 2016

The Stranger In Me | Amsterdam, 2016

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!