In Which I Talk about Thyroid Hormone Resistance and Being Real

October 22, 2018

I can remember so easily what it felt like to be the me of over twelve years ago in the photo with Porter, above. That particular me was tired and carrying a lonesome, heavy load of new mama depression and terror, with Porter roughtly 48 hours or so out of the NICU. I’m not in terror about Porter’s well-being anymore– well, I do worry about his increasing need for independence because I will never be ready for that. But, the depression from that time is a well-worn friend that never really left.

The fact is, I don’t let people in very much. I have a core group of three girlfriends I trust, and I have Jared. That’s really the sum total of the people who get the real me.

It’s fear that holds me back. I don’t trust my own brain to show me an accurate reflection of reality, and I don’t trust most people around me to be able to handle my reality. Bridges have been burned because people– people who I thought were close at one time or another, even– couldn’t handle the reality of what it’s like when my brain goes psychotic. It’s made worse by the fact that some of my darker truths– truths I keep to bundled deep to myself in ordinary times– are harder to hold in when I’m psychotic. It’s easier for some people– even people who are supposed to be close to me– to pretend that maybe they’re not truths just because my filters disappear in those moments. I know all that is cryptic but suffice it to say that I just don’t trust easily. Jared. Three girlfriends who know who they are. That’s it.

That having been said, this blog is taking a new direction. I’ve noticed I’m far too harsh in my censorship of my thoughts here. This censorship used to be less of an issue than it is now. As I age, I get more fearful. It’s shown up over the years in my photography. It’s shown up in the content of my social media posts. And, it’s definitely shaped how I write on any blog I’ve had over the past several years. It’s even shown up in my private journaling.

So, I’m going to make more of an attempt to be more authentic here. Sometimes, that will look like posts about painting the dining room. Sometimes, it will be long depressed laments. Hopefully, rarely, it will be manic gibberish.

I haven’t said anything about it, but after the thyroid ablation, my thyroid hormone levels have been impossible to regulate. It should have gotten easier– follow up closely for a few months but then released to every 6 months or year for follow up– but it didn’t because my body has an intolerance for thyroid hormone. Like literally, the tissues in my body resist absorbing the thyroid hormone. So I have to go back every two months. We tried a six month follow up recently and it was a disaster. I’ve been researching this resistance to thyroid hormone thing I have. The endocrinologist says it’s really rare, and my particular endocrinologist is a realist with very little tolerance for exaggeration. I looked up how rare this condition is, and supposedly about 1 in 50,000 people have it. And, studies show that people with it have a correlation with depression. Because the resistance thing is a gene screw up thing, that means I’m hard wired to be down. Yippee skippee for that– not.  At least there’s a reason anti-depressants don’t really work. At least thanks to modern medicine I know all this.

Anyway, that’s it for now. I’ll try to be more real. On that note, I voted for Stacey Abrams today. Because the alternative is a moron.

I Love Photography

October 8, 2018

This is mostly a copy/paste from a personal Facebook post published on October 5, 2018.

On December 26, 2016, I wrote in my journal, “I want to photograph a wedding. “

I had mostly stopped taking pictures and wasn’t doing terribly well mental health-wise at the time. I’d stopped taking pictures a few months prior and was considering graduate school again, in a subject unrelated to art. Jared gave me a camera scarf and a journal with cameras all over it that Christmas of 2016, in the hopes that it would remind me to get out and take pictures. He told me to write my dreams for my photography in the journal. He told me to dream big.

But, it was more than just the wanting to photograph a wedding. I dreamed of being in business with my photography.

I’d had a business license for my photography in 2015. I never did a thing with it. Not a single thing.

But in April of 2017, I set everything in motion all over again. I marketed. I spent more money on business stuff than I ever will admit to anyone other than Jared, who supported my dream more than he worried about the money spent in pursuit of that dream.

And so, here we are in October of 2018. By the end of December of 2018, I will have photographed fourteen weddings between May of 2017 and December of 2018. I’ve done way more portrait and engagement sessions than that, and I photographed one proposal.

I realized that dream of photographing a wedding. And the dream of having a photography business.

However…my dreams for my photography have shifted. I’ve found as I take more pictures for clients, I take less pictures around the house. I have all but stopped the still life photography I loved so much for a while. I don’t get out the camera just to play around anymore. We don’t have many pictures of the kids from the past year. I rarely get to Johnny’s shop to take pictures of his art— one of the highlights of having a camera in all the time I’ve had one. I’ve found myself procrastinating to take photos for church. I find myself longing for the energy to get back into fine art photography.

While I’d say it’s very unlucky in most respects, there is one benefit to being disabled. My SSDI status, which has withstood two separate reviews now, affords me a certain amount of freedom to choose whether to work. There was never any danger, income-wise or with the amount of hours I was ever able to work, that I would ever have worked my way off disability through photography. So, the choice of maintaining the business was always just that— a choice, not a needed part of our household income.

And so, it comes back to the fact that being a hobbyist photographer isn’t so bad after all.

I’ve waffled on this decision for months now, going back and forth as to what to do. However, it comes back to the fact that I love photography itself far more than I love being in business for photography. As such, with a full and grateful heart, I won’t be renewing my business license in 2019.

On Faith

August 16, 2018

This is a photo of Oliver in his christening gown. This gown originally belonged to Inez, my grandmother’s first cousin who was born in the late 1800’s. I took this photo at my Mom and Dad’s house with my old Sony Alpha NEX-5N and a Holga lens. Oliver is laying on one of Nannie’s mother’s old chairs here.

I’ve been kind of conflicted about faith issues recently. It’s kind of bad timing because Porter is supposed to start confirmation classes this Fall and I know he’s overheard some of what I’ve said to Jared recently. I need to be more careful to guard my words around the kids, I guess, though I don’t like hiding things from them.

Jared says it’s okay that my faith is on the downturn, that his is not. I don’t want my family to be without that church community, but for now I have to stay away, for a variety of reasons but mostly to take care of my own mental health. I know that sounds strange to say, but it’s true.

So for now, I will create rituals at home on Sunday mornings that feed my soul in a good way.

Hair Update

August 6, 2018

It’s vanity but I just realized I never posted an update after my haircut a week or so ago. Here’s the after:

after hair cut back
It’s a fine haircut– my friend did a great job– but it doesn’t excite me. I just want longer hair. The bangs have gotten long enough that most days after this cut I have pinned my bangs back at least a portion of the day. I cannot wait for them to be long enough to just shove behind my ears.

Waking Up From Summer Stupor

July 9, 2018

We’ve all had a relatively lazy summer. I’ve mostly kept the laundry day routine up, but we’ve all slept in as late as we wanted to most days. I routinely sleep until after 9 am even on weekdays. Most days have included heavy video game playing for the boys. But this has to end, as school starts three weeks from Thursday!

I’ve already got the 2018-2019 calendar set with school holidays. I’ve blocked off the dates for the rest of 2018 and for 2019 that I won’t make photo commitments, in favor of travel or family time. On that front, this mama is trying to be a little more proactive than in previous years– certainly more proactive than I was this first year in photo biz.

We’ve got the backpacks. This year, we are repurposing perfectly good backpacks from previous years. They look brand new, really. I suspect all 3 were Porter’s– he is easy on his things, just like Jared. Oliver is afraid kids will make fun of his old Puppy Dog Pals backpack, so he will be carrying a nondescript backpack just like his brothers.

A blog note: I’ve imported select previous entries from other blogs for continuity’s sake. But really, this is the start of a new blog for most purposes. I’m not anonymous as I intended to be when I first started this blog, but I am not widely publicizing the blog or sharing it on social media. I’m not lying– I’d like to have a following, but I’m unclear exactly what direction this blog will ultimately take. It will probably have more of a diary-like component than I currently intend, which may make the reading tedious. But I like having somewhere to brain dump and it was fun yesterday going back through the years of previous entries. I’m far less caught up in the design-theme-logo issue than in previous blog iterations.

on the arrival of summertime

May 17, 2018

mood: determined

I’ve still been dealing with dragging and depression. A couple of days ago, I just wanted to hide away for a few days. I’ve had a terribly difficult time waking up the past couple of weeks. One of my medicines is pretty bad about causing that sometimes.

The kids get out of school this week. I need to sit down and plan out our summer. It always goes more smoothly when there is a plan. However, this year we will start with only a rough framework of dates when the kids are occupied.

My oldest is going to Washington DC with my mom to visit family in July. My middle son is going to space camp in June. And my youngest will take swim lessons at the end of May.

I’ve decided I want to get really serious about knocking out our debt. I don’t know that I can go to some lengths people go to save money, but we can certainly be smarter about our grocery shopping and we can keep the thermostat turned up this summer a couple of degrees higher than we traditionally have done.

I don’t want to just pay off the credit cards, though. I also want to knock out our car loan and our mortgage. I would love to be completely debt free in ten years. That is my goal, though it will be a challenge since by then we will have two children in college.

I’ve been timid about writing here, which is silly since it is an anonymous blog. My fear is irrational. I’ve never written anonymously before, though, so I still think through the other lens of my writings.


April 29, 2018

mood: anxious

I wrote the “me too” post several months ago for another blog and then deleted it.  Because, predictably, I feel exposed and vulnerable. This is the case even now, even though this blog is anonymous. I feel tremendous shame. And though I have broached the topic in therapy previously, my last few experiences with a therapist were not positive and I do not trust therapists at the moment. Which is difficult, because I know I could benefit from therapy.

I am focused on being forward-moving and grounded today. I am safe and well-loved and respected and not in the place I was when the abuse was ongoing, many years ago.

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