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Epilepsy: My New Business Partner

**UPDATE AS OF 2/1/22: I have been able to find a great combination of prescription medication, CBD, and Delta-8 that will allow me to get back into full day weddings! We do still ask that there are no strobe lights.**
Here it is: the big post I’ve been talking about. It’s taken me weeks to get my thoughts organized and I’ve felt like I keep putting it off… but here we go.
I will be officially moving my business into Elopements and Intimate Weddings or weddings that do not have strobes. Marc will still be offering videography and we will absolutely and happily be continuing our contracts with our 2022 couples.
If you’re new here, I was officially diagnosed with epilepsy/seizure disorder back in April of this year. Since then, I’ve been on a couple different medications as well as supplementing with CBD/CBG/CBN and Delta-8 (the legal form of THC) to help me feel and act “normal”. The first medication I was on, while effective, had too many negative side effects and I had to stop cold turkey, which led to some awful days of withdrawal. The second medication has been ok at best… every few weeks it just feels like it stops working, so my neurologist ups the dosages. Once wedding season is over, I fully intend to switch different medications to try out something else, but I cannot risk the same or similar withdrawals as I had in May. While my clients were gracious, it was insanely hard for me to focus, speak, and do my job properly. I left that wedding in tears and beyond frustrated. I wondered what it meant for my future and my career.
Because of my health, I cannot accept any large weddings starting now. We will of course be honoring our 2022 contracts that were already in place. Marc will still be booking and continuing on with videography–big weddings included.
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What really made my decision clear was a wedding we had on October 2nd. Marc and I were shooting a beautiful wedding with amazing, fun people. The party was going hard! I noticed the DJ had a ton of lights set up (not unusual—lights add so much to the party ambiance) but also noticed I think four different strobe lights set up around the barn. I figured as long as I kept my distance and didn’t look directly at them, I would be fine. That was not the case. Several times throughout the night I had to leave the venue, sitting outside in the dark. Those breaks didn’t last long because I had a job to do and I felt guilty taking too many breaks. Because this isn’t a new thing for me, Marc knows what to look for and knows exactly what my episodes look like. With about half an hour of coverage left to go, he tells me I need to go sit down and just stop, he would finish for me until the private last dance. I sat on the floor in the kitchen area and just tried to will my body to let me finish my job. I tried to make conversation with the planners as they came by and I could physically feel my brain not letting me speak; it was almost like it had hit a barrier and my tongue was stiff in the middle. Of all my years, this was as bad as it’s ever been (and I was on medication!!!). When the night was done, we loaded up our car and I turned to Marc. He looked apologetic as he explained to me how bad the episodes were. I broke down crying right there in the parking lot. “I think I’m gonna have to stop shooting weddings,” I sobbed. The hour long drive back to Dallas from Weatherford felt like it took forever. I had to wear Marc’s blazer over my face because the oncoming night traffic made my head feel like it was splitting open. Since that night, it’s been getting a bit worse. I can’t seem to drive at night without getting migraines and nausea. My body tenses up and I just don’t want to be anywhere around lights. They physically make me ill when it’s dark out.
I had asked around in some of the photography groups if anyone has figured a way around this issue.
Some options were:
a) Hire a second/third shooter to photograph the receptions and I just go sit in my car.
b) Tell my couples and their vendors that there are to be no strobe lights of any sort at the reception (*which isn’t fair the the vendors or couples, plus I would still need flashes to shoot with)

c) Stop taking big weddings/receptions and only shoot day time elopements or events that require no flash.
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I can’t give up weddings. I love them too damn much. So it only made sense for me to transition to smaller, more intimate weddings.
I’m crying as I type this… I built this business from the ground up over the last decade. It’s been everything I’ve wanted. I’ve been hoping every day that the upped dosage would be my miracle fix or that the supplemented CBD and Delta-8 (which Texas just banned, btw…) would be enough for me to continue. But I know it’s the right move for now. I have to look after my health; if I’m not healthy, I can’t do my job properly. You guys know I’m a workaholic perfectionist. I HAVE TO give my absolute all to every single one of my clients.
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I love you guys. I hope you’re able to continue to grow along with me. 2022 will be the biggest change I’ve ever had. Change is terrifying, isn’t it? It’s taken me 3 weeks to share this information. While the tears come, so does the relief. It’s the right move for me.
I love you all. Send good vibes that my brain will stop trying to sabotage me. I’ll be posting updates as we go. Hopefully in the next few months I can maybe even reverse this decision and can keep living my best life celebrating with you all. The transition is going to be gradual… I’ll be updating my website shortly with my new packages and options.
xoxoxoxoxoxox
-Beth
Comments

Love how personal you made this blog & proud of your for following your gut!

Thanks for being so honest and vulnerable about yourself in this post. I really feel for you after reading it. I think that the decision to focus on intimate weddings and elopements is a good one anyway. More manageable days, more connection with people, more lovely stories. Take care of yourself and keep going! Big hug from Greece.

I am so glad that you are putting your health first. Elopements and intimate weddings are so intentional and loving and you will enjoy photographing those so much. good luck with your health!

I sit back in awe of how you shared something so personal with us. THe way you articulated your heart and plans for the future made me feel hopeful for you and confident that you will serve well and navigate this time with the best intentions.

Thank you for sharing something that must be so so tough. It’s clear you love your business dearly. Good for you for pivoting in a way that is best for your health. Sending good vibes your way.

Thank you so much for sharing about your diagnosis. I know this will be helpful for other photographers going through the same thing. I hope the transition into smaller weddings goes well! I know you’ll absolutely crush it!

I hope you’re doing ok, physically and mentally. It’s definitely hard to make big decisions like these and even harder to accept when decisions are made for you. As one-woman-show operations, these businesses are a huge part of our lives, but they are not your entire life. I hope stepping back a bit helps, but I know your photography is amazing and you’ll still create beautiful work in any settings!

OH MY HEART….STEP BACK AND TAKE A DEEP BREATH, BELIEVE, YOU CAN DO THIS! HOPE YOU FEEL BETTER AND THIS YEAR WILL BE TH BEST OF ALL YEARS….TRUST YOUR SOUL.

Taking care of you and your health is such a hard decision when you don’t want to let others down. It sounds like you made the right choice, and I am so happy to hear your husband is so supportive and understanding as you navigate this. I look forward to seeing your work as you transition- I’m sure it will be magical, and you will find a new vigor to serve eloping couples in a unique way 🙂

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