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Two years ago, I was dead. Blades were my closest friends and suicide plans my refugee from the pain of reality. Emptiness fulfilled my petrified heart. The last drop of love for my little brother gave me the strength to commit myself to psychiatric ward before cutting my veins. In hospital I fought on the edge of life, confronted my deepest abysses, met the strangest and truest personalities and finally was reborn.

One year ago, I got out and felt the urge to give something back from the help I got. Nightmares, pain attacks, anxiety and self-hate are just a few of the symptoms I still was struggling with. My psychologist warned me to overcharge myself, but I felt leaving was the right thing to do. That’s why I went with the ICE e.V. to Santander in Spain to work in Ampros. Just like that.

Suddenly, roles interchanged: Intellectually disabled human beings took my former role as the needy one while I was thrown in the caregiver-role. Honestly, I envied them to be taken care of. I missed being guided like I was in psychiatry. Luckily, I lived together with eight other volunteers from different countries and cultures: Poland, Hungary, Germany, Austria, Turkey, Serbia, Latvia and Denmark. They gave me a lot of understanding support and still do. Eating with them is Smacznego, Jó étvágyat, Guten Appetit, An guta, Afiyet olsun, Prijatno, Labu apetiti, velbekomme and Bien provecho.

 

Today, I am kneeing on the floor in front of her, laying her small gnarled hands upon my shoulders. Clasping her pelvic bones. Every time she looses balance, her fingers grab my shoulders more strongly. While I am shouting reassuringly into her right ear (her left one is completely deaf), I throw her diaper full of urine and liquid poop in the rubbish bin and seal the fresh diaper around her pelvis. My gloves are more or less dry on their outside, but inside my hands are wet. I am sweating like a pig. Due to physical effort as well as nervousness. Today, for the first time in my life, I lifted the sagging breasts and abdominal creases of a stranger in order to rub her skin beneath dry.Without introduction. Is it even possible to prepare one for that? She is more than forty years older than I am, has a squint and is chest-high. She reminds me of a raisin – sweet and wrinkly. I am holding my nose while fanning fresh air. Her eyes light up. She breaks into laughter. I respire and join her happiness. All of a sudden the awful smell is not half as bad. For both of us.

My service is her life. Neither of us choose their handicap – hers intellectual, mine psychological. What remains is to concentrate on the best for us and to accept the worst about us.

Depression turns getting up into the ascent of Mount Everest. The knowledge that someone you love is dependent on you to get up, turns the Mount Everest into a hill. But only if you feel worthy to be this someone yourself, you did learn how to fly.

Today, I am alive.

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