Looking For a Fourth Way

I didn’t understand what it meant to have a ‘nervous breakdown’ until it happened to me.

I had no comprehension of the all enveloping blackness, the terrifying feeling of falling endlessly into a pit with no idea of where the bottom lay – indeed if there would ever be a bottom.

I hadn’t realised you suffocate down in the depths of that hole. That every breath would become an effort of will. That you don’t live from day to day, not from hour to hour, but from one endless minute to the next – dreading each.

I most certainly had no realisation of just how much I would hate myself or that I would consider in the loneliness of the darkest nights, that not being here might be the better option for me and those I love. It is a terrifying and desolate place to be.

Along with the bleakness came crippling anxiety. An inability to communicate or function beyond than the most basic of levels. Panic attacks – such terrifying panic attacks for no good reason.

All this with an intellectual realisation that my mind was unable to cope with things that many people cope with quite naturally without breaking down. And so a feeling that I was a failure. Letting down all who loved me and depended upon me. That I am weak and just not good enough. The self loathing builds and consumes. The guilt over mistakes made, bad decisions taken, personal weaknesses, lack of character, not being strong enough.

But in better moments you do search for a way out. For light. You try one way and another, to escape the tangle of bonds that bind you in this personal hell that (you feel) you have created for yourself. Most lead back into the pit. The darkness returns. Sometimes the light gets brighter for a while, fades, then returns. It is an exhausting process.

This set of images is my feeble attempt to try and convey this. The loneliness of being on this desperate search, for me the ‘fourth way’, with its claustrophobic tangle of complications and self recriminations, the ongoing feelings of guilt, self blame, weakness, self doubt, self loathing. The light coming and going. The longing for a hand to reach down and pull me out. For it all to be over.

All images are available as prints until editions sell out

Images available in editions limited to 10

Printed archivally on Fotospeed papers by me, prices available here for unmounted, unframed A3 or A2 prints including P&P in the UK by Royal Mail Special Delivery. International delivery charges at cost and quoted at the time of order, charged separately. Message me for a quotation. A3 prints are delivered flat. A2 prints come in a tube.

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