Time to get real…

So it’s almost 10 o clock, but I felt inspired to get down to the nitty gritty about my life and why photography is so important to me. When I was 13 years old I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. It’s basically an autoimmune disease that attacks my central nervous system and impairs cognitive and physical functions. (for more information visit- http://nationalmssociety.org) It’s been 12 years now and thankfully it is pretty well managed with monthly infusions. There has been some long term damage as far as memory, concentration, numbness, to name a few. But probably my biggest obstacle is that a year ago this May, I was diagnosed with type 1 Bipolar disorder. There is such a stigma around this disease that it makes it difficult to come right out and admit that yes, I am bipolar. It is one of the most difficult, emotionally draining thing I have ever had to battle. For me bipolar means frequent mania that results in poor financial decisions, feeling like I can achieve more than I can physically handle, aka making commitments I cannot follow through with, severely crippling anxiety (for awhile it caused me to have mild agoraphobia, which is the fear of leaving the house), and alcohol abuse. It also means having downfalls of overwhelming depression, negative self image, harsh self thoughts, thoughts of suicide or worthlessness, and withdraw from reality. Sometimes it gets really awful and I experience both mania and depression at the same time, and that makes for a giant mental battle. Over time I lost faith in myself, I quit trusting my decisions and ambitions. I concluded I would never really achieve more than being a housewife who watches too much Netflix and can’t hold a job. But then I got back into photography. My life started changing, in less than a month I had booked my first show in an art gallery in downtown Nashville during an art event. I would be raising awareness for bipolar disorder through photos and facts (see my first post). Shooting for that show helped me grow so much in managing my disease (which is currently doing well overall with medication.) I had actually accomplished something! The possibilities opened up in front of me and everything changed. I had a sense of passion I have never felt before. Ambition to be the best I possibly can, and strive to achieve the potentially unattainable. And thus A Day in the Life was born. I’m typing all of this tonight because it’s honestly been a rough day today. I’ve been mildly withdrawn and distant, mixed with a side of anxiety. It’s frustrating because I can see it happening, but I can’t seem to do anything about it. So I have decided to channel all of those emotions into blogging. I plan on being open and honest about the status of my disease, and when I’m struggling. I also intend to share my photography work and improvements as I journey along all of this. I hope you will join me in my journey, and I encourage all questions and comments you may have. Thank you, and good night.

Jessica Hartman


4 thoughts on “Time to get real…

  1. Stay strong and know you are in our prayers. And yes we will follow your journey and think it’s awesome of you to share it so openly.


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