To B or not to B: A Cautionary Tale

Earlier this year, I was hospitalized due to not being able to control my epilepsy. Luckily for me, I don’t have grand mal seizures (the kind where you fall to the floor, shaking and convulsing). My seizures are much more mild (smacking my lips and scratching with my hand) and usually happen at night when I sleep. Long story short, I found out that the reason my medication was not controlling my seizures was due to the fact that I was gravely ill and needed to have my gall bladder removed ASAP. After my surgery (and 2 severe ear infections), I was finally on the mend. The doctors at the hospital had changed my epilepsy medicine and things were getting better, for the most part.

Until I started having wild mood swings.

Now, I’m not talking about getting irritated a lot. I’m talking about screaming at people, crying uncontrollably, and having vivid dreams/nightmares, so I wasn’t sleeping well and was constantly exhausted. I was no longer myself, and felt as though there was nothing I could do except watch myself spiral out of control. Finally, I couldn’t take it any longer. I called my neurologist’s office and the nurse recommended taking a Vitamin B-6 supplement daily. This was not a strange request, as I have to take several vitamins due to what my medicine strips from my system. It helped get me back to some form of normalcy – but I was still on an emotional rollercoaster that just wouldn’t stop.

So, at my neurology appointment last week, I spoke about all of this at length with my neurologist. I also mentioned how tired and depressed I was and how my muscles kept knotting up and aching all the time. She asked how many vitamins adn other over the counter medicines I took daily and compared them to my blood work. Come to find out, I was overdosing on Vitamin B-6! The amount that I was (mistakenly) told to take was 50,000 times the daily dosage. Yes, fifty thousand. And the consequences could have been costly. Overdosage of B-6 can cause neuropathy and other side effects that can become permanent over an extended period of time.

By the time I left, my neurologist had given me a written plan to regulate my vitamins, as well as steps to get me transferred to a better medicine that not only has a mood stabilizer built into it, but is also an extended release capsule, so the medicine will stay at a more steady dose in my system and has much less severe side effects.

I’m already feeling better and my mood swings are starting to become more manageable. I still have my moments, but Jason is helping me through this and I am starting to see some light at the end of the dark medicinal tunnel I have been in for the last few months. My main reason for this post (for those of you who have stuck with me this far), is to help you realize that just because something is a vitamin doesn’t necessarily make it safe. Be sure to let your doctors know ALL the supplements you take – and remember, YOU are the best person to realize whether or not you are feeling “right” or not. Be safe AND healthy.


12 for ’12

Earlier today, I was reading some older blog posts from an artist I admire named Roz Fulcher and came across a rather novel idea that I decided to use for my plans in 2012. Her post was 10 for ’10.  Mine will be 12 for ’12. Twelve “resolutions” for 2012.

  1. Draw every day – no excuses.
  2. Stay positive! Keep a “glass half-full” mentality.
  3. Set goals and a timeline for my portfolio and meet all deadlines.
  4. Experiment with new media and techniques.
  5. Separate my self and my art – don’t let my art define my self-worth.
  6. Join Illustration Friday and stay committed to it every week.
  7. Stay active with my blog posting.
  8. Keep it a priority to work with doctors to fully regain my health.
  9. Take each day one day at a time – don’t sweat the small stuff.
  10. Explore business laws and steps to legally start our business.
  11. Show Jason the same level of support for his goals as he has been for me.
  12. Be kind to my ideas and, most of all, be kind to myself.

Introducing Her Royal Majesty, The Queen… of Excuses.

Jason and I have been talking a lot more frequently about the issues I have been stuggling with concerning my art and the steps I am going to take to overcome my self-doubt and reservations as an artist. I can sit here and go on and on about all of the reasons I have been frozen in my path to become a successful artist – the blame game, if you will. But all that I would be doing is cleverly disguising my trump card of self-doubt: The Excuse.

I am the Queen of Excuses. I never have enough time, supplies, inspiration, reference material. There is never a good enough spot to draw. I feel bad. There’s too many chores. I haven’t given Dexter enough attention. I haven’t scratched my butt 3 times, winked twice, and spit on the left side of the sidewalk at the exact lunar time. Trust me, I am the Queen.

I know I am a good artist. I know that I can succeed in my dreams to become a children’s book illustrator and author. The only problem is, I need to be able to REMEMBER that. So, this is my first official acknowledgement of my royal status… and my first step to dissolving my throne.


My name is Jennifer and I am a 32-year-old artist living in Central Florida with my boyfriend, Jason and our adorable Peek-A-Poo (half Pekingese, half Poodle) puppy, Dexter. This blog is for me to share my triumphs and successes in my life and my art – but also to voice my fears and concerns while I take the journey to start my art career on a full-time, professional basis.

I enjoy reading blogs about people’s lives, good and bad experiences alike. I hope that my blog can not only entertain others and introduce me to new friends and colleagues, but show others that they can achieve their dreams too.

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