Playing with My New Camera…So Much Fun!

Not sure if I mentioned that my sweetheart bought me a new camera! He noticed that for the past year or so I have not been doing much in the creative realm, and wanted to inspire me. It really did!

This camera is much more intricate than my little Canon that I have been using for years. Although, I loved the photos it took, I always shot on “auto”. Now, I am learning how to shoot manual and reading about the basics of photography. I’m really excited about something for the first time in a while..(well, besides him of course lol).

These are the first two photos I have ever shot in manual, and I am loving learning more every day. Heck, I’ve had to spend a lot of time just reading the manual that came with my camera bundle and my Dslr book for Dummies. I love that I am learning something new.

Juvenile Cardinal

Juvenile Cardinal

Bird Song

Bird Song

Why Lying is So Easy Sometimes….Even When You Hate It

I truly detest lying. Not only am I really lousy at it (I have the opposite of a poker face), I am just a person who believes so strongly in integrity and honesty.

However, I lie a LOT lately.  When you suffer from a mental illness of any kind lying becomes habit. “I’m fine” comes out of your mouth constantly. Someone asks how you are and you smile and just say, “I’m fine, thanks”! You smile constantly when inside your mind you are screaming.

Why do we lie? Many reasons really. 

We don’t want to worry you. We don’t want people to think we are “crazy”. We don’t want to sound like we are just complaining or seeking attention. We don’t want you to stand there not knowing what to say. 

The worse part of sharing your mental illness with someone who is NOT mentally ill are when they reply with things like, “I know how you feel”, or worse, say things like, “Just think positive”, “You dwell too much on negative stuff”. 

Trying to explain “why” I feel the way I do when I am depressed, anxious or lately tortured by my ED is impossible.

I don’t even truly know why my eating disorder has recurred. That’s what the professionals are for…I want to know as much as anyone else why I am doing this to myself when for once in my life all feels right in my world.

This is the reason so many people with eating disorders hide it. It makes no sense to us or to anyone else and hearing the platitudes (even when said with good intentions), just makes us want to hide our disease even more. No one understands. So, I lie. 

I was talking to my SO about it last night because I have been trying so hard to figure out why now. I did come up with some fairly reasonable thoughts. Maybe with things going so well in my life I am just scared of being happy. Eh, maybe.

What really made sense to me was pointed out by one of my friends who also suffers from an ED.

Right now, even though my life is going well, it is all out of my control really.

My housing is based on my being in therapy, and following all the rules of housing. I never know when they might decide I have been here “too long” and need to leave, or if I slip up and then what? They are in charge of me having a place to live.

I am still waiting for approval for my SSI, so I have no income. The decision of whether I will have an income at some point is in THEIR hands. They need to decide if I am “sick enough”.  That’s another topic all together…Trying to prove how bad an invisible illness is.

Then there is my sweet, caring man who helps me with everything that Food stamps don’t pay for; Car insurance, cable, internet, toilet paper, shampoo, etc. etc. I was having to panhandle for all these things before. What if he decides that all of my “issues” are too much for him and just breaks it off with me? Where will I be then??

Broke and brokenhearted.

Anyway, when I was pointing all of this out to him last night on the phone he made the comment that “everyone” worries about those things. “Losing an income” etc. I told him “Yes, but most of them don’t suffer from a mental illness” My anxiety disorder, depression, OCD, ED, makes all of these worries a million times “bigger” than they are for the person who is not ill. His comment made me feel like he was minimizing my illness…comparing it to himself and others. So not cool. 

So, now I don’t want to talk to him or anyone about these things going on in my head.

So, I’ll just lie and say….”I’m fine”.

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A Little Bit of Catching Up…Procrastinating Done

Since I have been MIA for so long I am going to try to catch ya’ll up a bit.

I mentioned that I am in a loving relationship with an amazing man.

I could probably write a hundred ways that this relationship is different from any other I have had, but I won’t bore ya’ll that way. I will share one recent experience that will show the level of care and understanding I receive from this sweet guy.

Since Darrell and I met two years ago we have dated on and off. Off only because I was not really ready to begin anything serious, but we remained friends all along. Our feelings for each other continue to grow and we are closer than ever.

Anyway, I have been honest with him about my mental health issues since day one, my anxiety disorder, my depression and PTSD, OCD…you name it. (It’s like alphabet soup, right?)

About a month my eating disorder reared its ugly head for the first time in years. Being in recovery from anorexia is like a hibernating bear….asleep, but not dead. Well, someone poked it with a stick and it has come back mean as ever.

I was terrified to tell Darrell about it. For one, he knows enough about my mental health, and two, eating disorders are a very secret thing. Telling is not something that is easy to do, not even in therapy.

We were on the phone the other night when I started to tell him…then, well, I just couldn’t stop. I shared all the scary, nasty, nonsensical, crazy, illogical reality I have dealt with for the past few weeks.

I told him how it started with just wanting to lose some weight before Summer. I explained how it is with eating disorders, how it is so easy to cross the line from dieting to starving.

I thought for sure that this would be the last straw. That NOW he would go running. He didn’t.

Instead he called me from work later and told me how he was going online to find out more about anorexia. He said he didn’t understand it, but wanted to help me.

Even later that night, while he was still at work, he called again. He suggested I try to get back into some of the things I used to love…like my photography.

I was so touched and in awe of this man for thinking of me so much in the middle of his busy shift at work. I know that might sound strange, but any of you that know me know that I have never experienced what it’s like to be truly cared for…not like this. I couldn’t fathom that he had me on his mind that much and while at work, trying to figure out what to do for me.

The next day he took me to Walmart and let me pick out a really fantastic new camera!

Even though this gesture did not silence ED (eating disorder), it did give me something else to focus on (no pun intended) for the past few days. This camera is so intricate and has so many functions that I have actually only studied the manual, and some lessons online so far lol.

I am hoping to actually start taking photos with it today or tomorrow. I have not had much sleep, so probably tomorrow.

Thanks for listening to all of this rambling. I am so incredibly blessed by him…he warms my soul.

Beautiful live oak

Beautiful live oak

My Wall of Joy and Christmas Spirit…

I just took an updated photograph of my wall of birthday and Christmas cards.

It’s funny cause I felt kind of “needy” asking folks to send me cards, but I’m so glad that I didn’t let pride stand in my way. This month of rushing to check the mail, and then opening all of these beautiful cards and gifts has made me so happy, and left me feeling blessed. I have not received this many cards in the past decade, never mind in one December!!! I am beyond blessed…I am joyful…I feel the spirit I was searching for, and it’s all because of you.

Forgive me if I don’t than each of you individually, but they have been coming so fast. Just know that each and every one of them is very, very special to me…Thank you…Hugs and much love to ya’ll!

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Excited to check the mail! That’s new!

If you read my last post you know that I asked if folks could send me either a birthday or holiday card.

I get so lonely this time of year and needed to feel some Christmas spirit and not be forgotten on my birthday. Yesterday was kinda sad, it’s was the anniversary of my mother’s passing…so yeah.

So far I have received one Christmas card and one birthday card!! This is so cool. I was like a little kid when I opened the mail today and there was a card from someone I have never met…thank you stranger. Hugs.

This is my tree, and the wall behind it is for the cards I receive…There is only one because I took the photo before today’s card arrived. I will post follow ups as the wall fills up!

Again, thank you so much for caring and for being here for me….Love ya’ll…Kim

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There is no Christmas spirit here…

This time of year is always a bit rough for me.

I lost both my mother and my father in December.

My birthday is coming up and I haven’t had a birthday celebration of any kind since I was ten years old. No one has bothered.

On top of all the facts, my depression has kicked into full gear. The “I feel invisible” kind of depression. The kind of depression that makes it hard to breathe, to speak…to do anything…Am I even here?

I miss my parents, my kids and my grandchildren so badly.

I want lights and decorations and a tree…I want to be able to shop for my grands..to send presents. Better yet, I want us all to be together. I want it to matter to them that I can’t be there…I’m not sure that it does.

I want to put up my little tree, put on some Christmas music and force the feeling to come…but I don’t think that it will.

So, I am going to make a rather odd request. A request that will sound strange maybe…but, I don’t care. I’m wondering if ya’ll would be willing to send me a Christmas card?

I know that I sound so pathetic right now..but, I just want SOMEONE to wish me a Merry Christmas (Happy Holidays)…I need encouragement so much right now. I am even going to post my address on here…because honestly? What does it matter if half the world knows where I live???

Kim Hood

3901 Darien Hwy Apt D31

Brunswick, Ga. 31525

What Would You Do…What Would I Do?

I am sitting here with tears in my eyes.

I just got back from going to pick up a few groceries for Thanksgiving.

As I pulled into the Publix parking lot…there they were. A young couple and their adorable 4 yo daughter. The sign they held read…”Need Food Please”…”Need a Job Please”..”God bless you”….I approached them and explained that I had no money, but that I had food stamps. I asked what they needed and the little girl just said, “yogurt”.

They didn’t speak English very well, (please refrain from any bullshit political comments about that), but knowing that they needed food was enough for me to know that I could do SOMETHING!

I came out of the store shortly afterward with the girls yogurt, some fruit, and something for them to eat for dinner tonight. Their gratitude was more than I could bear. My heart was breaking.

I know how it is to stand out there. I know how it feels to depend on others for help and to receive mostly judgement. Praise God for those who do have the compassion to help…However…I got in the car and started crying…because I wanted to do so much more!

I couldn’t really afford to spend my Food stamps on them, but what else was there to do? Every one of us has something we can give to others…even if, on some days it is only a hug or a smile.

I prayed on the way home. I prayed for that lovely family…and I prayed for God to bless me like I’ve never been blessed before…not for me you see, but so I can do all that I dream of doing for others.

For all the lost, lonely souls..for all the homeless people and animals…for everyone I meet who is hungry, cold or sick…I don’t want to be blessed for me…I just want to stop feeling that I can’t do enough…I am still crying.

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Panhandling, Surviving and Perspective….

I am still waiting to get approved for disability and it sucks. I have a place to live and less than $200 a month in food stamps, but no income. I have a dear friend who pays the important stuff for me…car insurance, internet, meds etc. I don’t know what I would do without that help. However, there are times when I wish I just had money in my pocket…not for luxuries, okay, maybe to just see a movie or something if I wanted. But, everything is about “survival” and “necessities” …there is no fun.

To make up for this I occasionally go out and panhandle.

So, Sunday I went out very early to panhandle. Now, just to be clear…I don’t beg. I simply stand on a corner with my sign that says, “Need Help. Please show some love. Bless you”. It is a humiliating and ego crushing thing to do, but I have learned this past two years that ego is bullshit.

Anyway, I stood out there with my sign for about 3 hours and did fairly well. It felt good. People were feeling generous… Well, except for the one lady who pulled over to roll down her window, dressed in her Sunday best, her bible on the seat and berated me for asking for help with a cigarette in my hand. (I quoted Matthew 27:1 and told her “God bless you”).

So…having stashed the money I collected in a can when I got home,  and feeling some sense of security about it, I decided to go out again yesterday afternoon.

I was only out there for about an hour, and it was going so well. One young man even went across to Dollar General and came back with toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant and other essentials for me. (Can’t get those things with Food Stamps). I planned on staying just long enough to add to my “stash” at home and put some gas in my car.

That is when the cop showed up. He pulled up and I approached his car…I don’t recall the entire conversation, but he tried to tell me that I couldn’t be out there doing that. That it is illegal here. Well, I’ve read the code and I was doing nothing illegal. As long as I am not impeding auto or pedestrian traffic…and I am not directly asking for money, I am not breaking the law. Mr. BigCop though said that he was doing me a “favor” by not arresting me. REALLY???

I came home so upset, feeling like now my ONLY way of getting any cash has been taken away. I cried…I cursed the cop…I cursed SS for taking so damn long…I cursed my ex for leaving me the way he did.

I was so upset I didn’t sleep last night. At 7 this morning I decided to take my dog Penny with me to McDonald’s, then go to Overlook park to share breakfast with her.

When we got there I noticed a man sleeping on a bench, his worldly belongings at his feet, his body curled up against the cool, damp air.

As we got ready to leave I grabbed a couple of the dollars I made panhandling yesterday, and walked over to the sleeping man. He woke surprised that I was standing there…even more surprised when I asked if he had eaten today. There was not ONE bit of judgement from me as I smelled the alcohol on him. I felt compassion and sorrow for him. He tried to refuse my offer…but I was more stubborn than he.

I gave him the money and the few cigs I had on me…and asked him if I could pray with him. We both cried as I prayed for both of us…

I sat of the ground and we talked for a bit. I told him about some of the resources I know so well, and asked him to come with me to a day center where he could wash up and get out of the damp, cloudy day.  He didn’t want to go at first. He was at his lowest…didn’t care what happened to himself he told me. I did not give up on him and he finally gave in. As I dropped him at the center I gave him a huge hug, and my phone number ….more than anything…I pray that I gave him some hope.

I know what it is like to feel hopeless, helpless…like no one cares. I wanted him to know that there ARE people who care and that we can all do something to help…without judgement, but with compassion and a hug.

I came home to my little apartment, looked at the food in my fridge and my warm bed…and I quickly got over my anger and frustration of all that happened yesterday.

I only wish I could do more for him or someone else. I’ll be okay…God’s got this.

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*Update #2* More than Enough…I Am Blessed Beyond Measure!…

eHeart CloudJust got home dollar tree and Walmart. I got some household stuff at dollar tree, trash bags, paper towels etc. Then I went to Walmart to get some food to last until I get my stamps on Monday. I knew I was getting “too much”…I picked up my medication at the pharmacy and went to the register. As she was ringing it all up I began to panic and hold back items….I casually said to the lady behind me…”I hate having to put things back”. “What do you need to put back”? I showed her and she offered to pay for the items. Then I looked at the total already on the register and told the cashier I would still need to take a couple of items off, just so I wouldn’t be broke….The lady behind me looked at the register and said, “Run all of this through with mine. I’ll cover it all”!!!!! I still can’t stop crying!!

*Update* I have enough…

IMG_4516I can’t thank ya’ll enough for your caring, comments and concern this week. It has been a rough one for sure.
A good friend of mine brought me some money for food to last until Monday. Just didn’t want to leave you worrying about me. I am blessed.