A Short Visual Account of Relapse and Recovery


“Psychosoziale Station Fünf”


So… I’m back.

Um… this is going to be rather personal, I guess, but there it is…

I spent a very relaxing, very soothing couple of weeks in voluntary protective custody.

In the caring, benevolent surroundings of Station PS 5



“Altona 93 – Kick Fascism”


Hey – I wanted to be there!

The image above, that’s my room number.

(Note the stamp-sized AFC Altona 93 sticker some previous patient has left there!)



The Chapel Perilous… “Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.” – Steven Wright


When you feel depressed, this can be a temporary solution only.

I should have known.



Zentrum für Psychosoziale Medizin in Hamburg-Eppendorf… back in the seventies, they knew how to build loony bins!


Don’t underestimate the healthy and beneficial effects of a controlled environment!



Two “hits”…


Not to mention my daily dose of Oxazepam.

And proper counselling into the bargain!



This is the head nurse’s office…


She is, in fact, a very nice person.

This looks creepy, nonetheless.

Looks just like something straight out of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, doesn’t it…?



As a matter of fact, the patients are not supposed to take any pictures of the ward…


But I just couldn’t resist.

Although everything here looks pretty bland and nondescript and hardly worth taking pictures of.

I didn’t take any pictures of my fellow patients, naturally.



Peter Bies – Assemblage “Vichy” (2009)


And this is my… ah… sick bed, so to speak.

The objet d’art on the bed:

I made this piece during Ergotherapie (occupational therapy).

Svelte, isn’t it?

Took me about twenty minutes.

After that, I spent the best part of the session chatting with the New Age hippie therapist who’s doing a really good job there.

You know what I like best about the ward?

Nobody wants to sell you anything.

Except, of course, for the young interns.


Here’s a good one:

“That terrible mood of depression of whether it’s any good or not is what is known as The Artist’s Reward.” — Ernest Hemingway


Oh it’s lunchtime already…

Bye for now!





Peter Bies © 2009

11 thoughts on “A Short Visual Account of Relapse and Recovery

  1. welcome home again and cool congrats on your welldeserved recovery!
    ich hoffe da gibt’s noch einen einfacheren weg zu The Artist’s Reward.
    ich wünsch dir viele leckerere abendessen und freu mich über/auf deine worte und bilder. herzlichst angela

  2. I’ve been similar places a few times. You have captured the odd dichotomy that exists between the institution (somber) and the process of recovery which is quite positive. Bravo!

  3. As allways: very private and honest, Peter.
    I hope for a lot of enthusiasm without anger for you now …
    and many of your incomparable well chosen words.

  4. Thank you all for your uplifting feedback… you know how it is… depression is not a disease – it’s a way of life…

  5. Welcome back my dear Peter,
    My god I thought you were jocking earlier on; and for that I profoundly apologize!
    I must admit I LOVE you very honest visual account!
    And this is a little song to welcome you back:
    from Jefferson Airplane, “White Pabbit” 1968
    “One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small,
    And the ones that mother gives you don’t do anything at all.
    Go ask Alice when she’s ten feet tall.
    Remember what the Dormouse said,
    ‘Feed your head’ ”
    Best to you,

  6. Peter- how can one survive such a grim environment? Anyway, welcome back in the wilderness. Can’t help it but your last picture led me direct to this:

    „Eine kleine Nachtmusik, bestehend in einem Allegro.Menuett und Trio.-Romance.Menuett und Trio, und Finale.-2 violini, viola e bassi.“

    All the best, GPM!

  7. Hi P.
    my beloved Football Club needs a depression therapy aswell at the moment. Now they lost the Hamburg Cup-final more than ever.
    Im sure youre recovering time was/is much shorter than the time Altona 93 will need…

  8. Vince – there’s always light at the end of the tunnel… don’t despair!
    Altona 93 will rise from the dead like a phoenix from the ashes…!

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