When it hits, it takes me down and sometimes I don’t think I’m going to be able to get back up.
It isolates me, tears me up inside both physically and mentally, and makes me a shell of what I was either weeks, days or moments prior.
This is the story of what it is like for me when my health goes into what I call “Crash Mode”.
What Is A Health Crash?
It doesn’t matter where and it doesn’t matter when.
The crash will take over whenever it wants to, even at a moments notice.
It can last for days, weeks, months or years, and it is excruciating.
It limits me from doing all the things I love, like seeing friends, photography, and living life in general.
The me that people know, the happy, positive, outgoing me, the “normal” me, disappears, and I become someone I’m not proud of.
Instead of being my positive self, I become someone who is very negative, closed off and depressed.
It’s honestly terrifying.
When the crash takes over, all of the symptoms of my myriad of health conditions flare up, including, but not limited to the chronic pain that is all over my body, my fatigue and muscle weakness skyrocket, I rarely sleep and my mental health descends into a deep dark hole.
Bed becomes both my best friend and my worst enemy during a crash. I am stuck in there for sometimes days or weeks on end, even though all I want to do is get out of bed, get out of the house and experience and enjoy life!
You may be asking “why is he even writing about this?”.
The answer to that question is simple. For the first time in over two and a half years, crash mode has hit me like a bus, and it happens to be my worst crash symptomatically in 10 years.
I feel it’s worth talking about and sharing my experience with anyone who chooses to read this blog.
How Does A Crash Happen?
A crash can happen at any time for any reason, and even for no reason at all.
Normally, my crashes happen for no apparent reason, however this current crash has happened for a very specific reason: overworking myself.
In 2016, I was selected as a finalist in the MAMA National Photography Prize.
This began the journey of my photography turning my passion into my career.
Throughout 2016, my career began snowballing, with each month bringing a new major achievement and even more reason to keep working hard and to not let my body stop me.
This continued on through not only 2017 but right up until the 6th of August of this year.
During that whole 2 and a half years, I didn’t stop. I didn’t let my body have a break. I pushed it beyond it’s limits.
Then it caught up with me.
How Did This Crash Begin?
From the 29th of July until the 3rd of August, I embarked on a massive trip to Dubbo to hang my exhibition “The Chronic Diaries” up at CSU Dubbo and host its opening night.
Dubbo is a 7 hour trip from my hometown of Albury via public transport. It involved an overnight stop on the way on either end of the trip, and a lot of physical work.
I had a lot of help, with my girlfriend Eleni, as well as some help from the gallery space and a friend who lives in Dubbo doing all the heavy lifting.
I still had a lot of physical work to do, as the space was a difficult one for me to traverse, being that the galleries layout was an upwards spiral, and my body can’t handle upward inclines very well.
Most of the time it can’t handle them at all, but I push through depending on how my body is feeling at the time.
Climbing up and down that over and over again, plus the stress of the travelling and hosting the opening night was too much for my body, and so over the next few days, my body began to break down.
I made the trip back to Melbourne with Eleni, which added an extra 3 hours onto that 7 hour trip, making the return trip 10 hours.
It wasn’t until the day after we got to Melbourne that I started to notice the signs of the crash hitting, but I thought I could push through it and hold it off yet again like I had done so many times over the past two and a half years.
I was wrong.
Late in the evening of Sunday the 5th of August, I began experiencing the worst fever I had ever experienced.
I rarely ever get fevers, so this was incredibly scary. I was burning up, shaking uncontrollably and I couldn’t walk without Eleni supporting me.
Even with her help, it was incredibly painful and difficult.
I didn’t want to go to hospital then and there, as I know that my body can be horrible one second, and then fine the next, so I decided to wait until the morning to see if I had improved before going to hospital.
Eleni’s mother Cathy gave me something to ease the fever and then I tried to sleep.
Spoilers: I barely slept at all.
The fever was back in action when I woke up, so Cathy rushed me to the hospital, and that began a 5 day stay in hospital where I lost most of my ability to walk for the first time in 10 years, and got no answers from the doctors as to why the extreme fevers actually happened to me over the first 3 and a half days.
Knowing my body though, I’m guessing it might just be a new symptom that occurs when I stress my body out too much.
This was just the short version of the hospital story. There was a lot more to it, but I may end up writing a separate blog about the hospitalization at some stage so I can keep this blog on the health crash topic.
In terms of how I am almost 3 months later, I have finally managed to start walking on my own again, however I am only slightly better than I was in hospital in terms of all of my other symptoms, and can still barely function most of the time.
Hopefully my health starts to improve at a more decent pace soon!
I have begun the process of acquiring a new medical team for the first time in a few years, and it’s a scary process, but hopefully it will eventually lead to at least a little bit of an improvement in my quality of life.
To be honest, the hardest part of a crash for me nowadays is losing my ability to go out and create.
Photography is my life, my passion, the main thing that keeps me sane.
Without it, I go insane, but sadly I have had to put photo shoots on hold for a while to let my body rest and recover.
I don’t know when I will be back doing photo shoots on a regular basis, but I have started to make my way back into the photo shoot scene at a very slow pace. I will be doing photo shoots at a much slower rate until my health manages to get back to where it was before this crash hit.
My first shoot was a small exhibition documentation job last week, and I am hoping to do one or maybe even two more shoots before the end of the year.
In my down time, I have still been entering competitions and exhibitions, and also organizing concepts, running model searches and doing as much as I can to keep my mind active without going overboard.
As of right now, I don’t have any more photos to release, so you probably won’t see many new images from me for a little while, and when I do start releasing images again, it will be at a slower pace than what it has been over the last year and a half.
During this crash, I am still going to be active with photography related things, but in a different way.
For starters, I am going to be posting here on my blog at least once a week with stories relating to my images, photographic advice, experiences and more!
There will also be some other announcements coming up soon, so keep an eye out for them!
Thank you all so much for reading this blog. It’s my first blog in almost a year and a half, which is kind of crazy to think about!
As I mentioned, I will be blogging weekly from now on (or at least for however long I can manage to keep it up!).
I hope you all enjoyed this blog, and I hope you are all having a wonderful week!
Remember to keep smiling, keep creating and keep being awesome!