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Julie and chronic fatigue syndrome [beth jennings photography]

Reality Check

Occasionally (OK, a lot at the moment) I get a tad caught up in the angsty stuff of running a business-making it happen NOW-shooting for passion-where is this all going-what’s the purpose-can I go overseas again-if so, how- … you know…life’s stresses, wanting to see it happen, whatever ‘it’ happens to be. I’ve had many a dawn awakening with my chest pounding worrying about the future.  At least I can get out of bed.

At least I can get out of bed?

Yep, you heard me.  At least I can get out of bed.  At least, despite my silly worries, I can get to sleep at night when I want to, set my alarm and get up when I plan to, function normally throughout the day, meet friends, go to meetings, do a shoot, eat out, go to bed, and get up the next day and do it all again.

Julie

Julie is a dear, dear friend of mine.  We met working side by side in the compulsory crappy office job that we all find ourselves doing at some point or other. At the time Jules was working towards finishing her degree. Here’s a picture of Julie:

She seems happy and well enough, wouldn’t you say? Well, that the mistake a lot of people make…yes, she’s certainly happy, she’s found new love with a fabulous man (she divorced recently).  She’s feeling exceptionally lucky that she can spend her days sleeping in, watching Oprah, knitting and gardening.  Why isn’t she out working I hear you say? Because she’s giving herself the full time workload of managing her chronic fatigue syndrome, with the intention of getting well enough to get back to work.

It’s a bastard of an illness.  She might feel pretty good one day, then overdo it, but not know till the next day that she’s overdone it…but by overdone it I mean a dinner out with a handful of friends, or staying up too late, or getting over excited about a job interview, or anxious about the worries of selling a property privately…it doesn’t take much to ‘overdo it’.  At the moment she sleeps 12 hour days and doesn’t feel rested when she wakes up.  She takes a mild tablet to help her get to sleep.  She sets herself one outing a day at most.  She meditates, does yoga, eats very well, cycles short distances if she’s well enough.  We agreed a while ago to try to make the afternoons our time to see each other, so she has the morning to rev up. Too much external stimulation is no good for her.  Neither is stress or getting worried…about the small stuff…you know the little voice that goes on in your head commentating all the time? Yep that voice.

A New Earth

Among many strategies she’s using, she’s been reading this book and learning about the inner voice, and how to silence it, or at least turn it to a positive voice, 24-7.  And discovering an inner peace despite the challenge she faces. She knows if she can conquer this inner voice, and use it for good not evil, then she’ll stand a good chance of getting back in the game the way she’d like to.  This is because calm thoughts equals a calm body, which she needs.  I know she’d like me to give it a plug, so check it out.

I have a few key players in my life that really want to see me do well.  Jules is one of those people.  She helped me hang my exhibition recently, then overdid it in the process, so we didn’t see her at the opening…(that bit was crap). She worked out the pictures with me, she encouraged me to try some merchandise with my images (I had been planning on that for a while, but she gave me the kick along to get it moving), so I made some cards.  She’s helped me see how people might like my work, and interact with it. She’s not a photographer, not a marketer, just a damned fine friend.

Do you have a damned fine friend?

xx

B

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Beth

Jules - September 4, 2010 - 6:52 pm

Oh, Beth! Such lovely things you’ve written about me! I must admit I shed a little tear when I read this, although I’m quite sure that was not your intention. I am so grateful to have you as my friend, and was very moved by your words. Yes, it is a joy to have a ‘damn fine friend’, as you say. I’m savouring this time that you’re spending in Canberra now, as I know that you’re just as likely to head back off overseas again at any time. And even though we keep our friendship strong over long distances when we need to, there’s a easiness that comes with being in the same place. It’s a joy to have you here and to share the little ups and downs of daily life with you. Thank you Beth! I think you’re fabulous!

Jules

Beth Jennings - September 4, 2010 - 8:20 pm

Yes darling, and you know I think you’re fabulous too! Nah but seriously Jules if I hear one more comment about ‘yuppies disease’ I think I might just get a gun and aim it at someone! It’s totally not cool, and generally people just don’t understand the illness. I’m just glad that you’re working so hard to get well, that’s the main thing, and I like being around to support you when you need it. With skype, email, facebook and all the online craziness being overseas makes being in touch even easier now for sure…but you’re right nothing replaces face to face. (sorry to make you cry that wasn’t my mission!) xxx

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