I really thought I’d lost my photo mojo. Grabbing the camera and heading out had become a chore; something that I did, even though the thought actually wearied me. I thought I’d lost interest in the craft and that I’d had enough, and that the only thing to do was wait for the denial to pass as I moved on to the next stage of grieving for my once-beloved hobby.
Life generally was becoming a struggle. Through last year I struggled more and more to finish tasks at work, the distances I was walking seeming to get greater and greater. At first I put it down to the weather; last summer was hot, weeks and weeks of interminable sunshine and high humidity, and it’s always difficult to do a manual labour job in those conditions. I felt, and I looked, truly worn out.
Towards the end of the season, as the temperatures began to fall, I began to look forward to being out of work. I felt like I needed a rest, and a month or two looking for jobs on the computer seemed a lot more appealing than getting out and working the jobs themselves. Even though the temperatures were moderate and the work was less demanding, still I was struggling just as badly as when the sun had been high and baking, and frequently even more so. Something was wrong. Very wrong. But I didn’t catch on, instead imagining that I was just getting older and that this was par for the course; the new normal.
Through December and January, and into February, instead of recovering and feeling more like myself, I continued to decline. Now, though, instead of trudging miles and miles at work, I was exercising only by walking the dog. On my shoulder, a camera bag. By March I’d bought a new tripod; smaller and lighter than my old one. That was the most important thing for a tripod, suddenly, rather than it be sturdy and unmoving.
Through March and April I’d begun to scour my camera bag for things that I’d been carrying but rarely using. I removed all but one filter, I left flashguns at home, and flash triggers, spare batteries and so on. The dog walks, too, had become shorter. I’d started to look for routes that were as flat as possible. I felt outfaced by longer walks, and instead began to choose routes where I knew there were benches to rest along the way. Sheryl was concerned and suggested that I go to the doctors. I was losing weight despite eating like a pig and barely exercising. This, she said, was both concerning and also unfair! 😉
Through May, I gradually cut down on the lenses that I’d take with me while out with the dog. The number of photos I was taking while out and about dropped to zero on most days, and by the end of May I was down to one camera and one extra lens in my camera bag, and no tripod at all. But even though I’d cut the load to below what I’d ever have considered to be the bare minimum kit to carry around with me, the camera bag was now becoming too much for me to carry at all. I’d finally ground to a halt.
Sheryl once again ordered me to the doctors, and this time I obeyed. I booked myself an appointment and saw the doctor. I described my symptoms and he sent me for blood tests. A week later, I was summoned back to the doctors and informed that they suspected I have type 2 diabetes. A second blood test confirmed it and, just like that, I was bound to a daily medication regime for the rest of my life.
After a month of medication I am definitely beginning to feel better and I’m starting to understand just how ill I was. Compared with how I am now, I now recognise that I was becoming deathly ill. My blood glucose levels are still very much higher than they should be, sometimes three or four times higher, and experiments with food are ongoing to determine what I can and can’t eat in order to get the numbers in check.
Already, though, my camera bag is back to full strength, with most of my lenses packed in there. I feel my capacity for photography growing again. Notably, my enthusiasm was always there but the energy required was not. This is now changing, and I’m entering a macro phase in time for the summer flowers and associated insects. It seems I’m back! 🙂