Photography despite illness

Photography is my passion. I love it. I am sometimes obsessed with it. I know it's exhausting, stressful, exciting, but it's so much fun. And when you get that morning glow or those northern lights - it's a dream.

But photography has become almost impossible in recent years. The reason was the disease ME/CFS, which I developed after a viral infection in 2009 and which got worse from year to year. Other syndromes joined in. I became weaker and weaker, more and more exhausted, had all kinds of pain and digestive problems. The list of symptoms was long.

I had to restrict myself more and more. I gave up almost everything to be able to work. Work and sleep. That was my life. I also had to give up beloved hobbies like mountaineering, even going for walks. And photography was so terribly exhausting that I was rarely out and about with my camera. When I did try it, I often paid for it with days of deterioration. It was a horror.

As long as you're healthy and functioning normally, you don't worry about what would happen if you suddenly couldn't do that anymore. That's how I behaved too. When I was lying there, I had a lot of time to think. Then you start to ask yourself questions: Who am I actually? What is really important to me? What kind of life do I want? What if my condition stays like this? How can I adapt? How can I still feel joy and make the most of it? What can I do to somehow maintain my passions?

So I bought lighter equipment, packed as little as possible, sometimes just a camera and a lens and a tiny tripod. I drove on forbidden roads and paths to get as close to the subject as possible. I thought of explanations in case other people called me names.

I always took a small stool with me, a walking stick and support socks against the general weakness and sudden attacks of weakness while walking. Camera and lens around my neck, gray gradient filter in my jacket pocket, tripod as a walking aid for the left side, walking stick as support for the right side. And so I staggered off. Even tiny dips in the ground, a step, a few steps downhill often ended in a fall. Getting up was a horror. I often needed several attempts. Fortunately, the camera remained intact.

But I retained a passion. A piece of life. Even if it was only three times a year. That is so important. You can't give up. You can't let an illness dictate your life. You have to integrate it. And still live your life. As best you can. And, of course, do everything you can to get well again - or at least healthier.

After 15 terrible years, I have largely managed to recover from my syndromes. I am still weak. The walking stick is there as an emergency aid when I'm carrying the photo backpack, the drone and the tripod. But things are much better again! No more deterioration! I'm building up muscles. I'm much more resilient again. And at least in the valley and with the drone, I can take some photos again. What a dream! And one day I'll be able to go on a short mountain hike again. And then at some point I'll be able to go to sunrise with photo equipment - just like before.

Translated with the help of a translator program