Stairway to Shame

Please welcome first-time contributor Mute, a man in his forties who has struggled with mental health challenges throughout his life. Diagnoses range from manic depression to ADD. Many meds have been tried, and at times abused, but nothing has worked well so far.

About this photo: “I live in a world that needs me to be OK. I feel obligated to be so by people I deem more important than myself. But I am not OK. I am far from it. I sat on these stairs as a child and even back then nothing was OK. And 35 years later, I sit on these stairs. All that has changed is the library of memories that torment me and fill me with shame. A burden I do my best to hide so that those who are enmeshed with me don’t become tainted by my filth. I will wake up, shit and shave, and put on my attire, sit at my desk and pay my bills, and smile at you across the counter, and wait for my turn to stop breathing. And all the while, hope you don’t see me.


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24 thoughts on “Stairway to Shame

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    1. Please pray. I find I can pray for people whether they want it or not. Sometimes they don’t know how much they need it.


  1. My heart goes out to you Mute. A very brave and beautiful thing you did in sharing and I thank you for it. Such an emotive piece of artwork that you have created.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Though I have a different diagnosis, I do understand what you are going through, the isolation, the having to pretend things are normal so loved ones either don’t feel bad or get irritated. Relying on Jesus as my only hope of survival lead to amazing opportunities that I could not have arranged myself such as finding a good therapist, being able to keep him after the rules of taking out of county changed and a lot more. It was hardly an overnight transformation without struggles and I am not a finished product. None of us will be until we draw our last breath, but we can actually enjoy where we are today on the journey to where we are going. I hope and pray you find a good therapist and stick with a routine of treatment. Photography is being proven to be a Godsend for those who suffer mental illness. I think art in general helps those in pain.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such an emotive photo; my first reaction was to see the stunning use of light and upon closer inspection I realised the texture and drained colour is what communicates the pain the sitter feels. Beautifully written words, I wish you strength Mute and thank you for sharing your photo.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Mute… I have resembled your very touching photo. I too have been stuck in the darkness, no way up, no way out. Thank you for sharing such a deeply moving photo on your first (of many, I am sure) contributions.
    I want to encourage you Brother, even though your posted name here says “Mute”, you have alot of good and wonderful things to say, and I am excited to hear them.


  5. Very emotional. I agree with others that the light in the pic and the way it shadows you is so effective. I too will pray for you that perhaps one day you will make it out of this dark stairwell and into the light that is so near. Take care of yourself and do not be afraid to speak Mute. 🙂


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