Sadness Builds Happiness

ErinThe Big Picture10 Comments

Okay, new rule: sadness is just happiness in its infancy.

I feel really grumpy tonight. I’m pouting, scowling, slouching, and making one killer grimace. I feel really angry about a lot of stuff. It feels like such a waste of time but I’m going to make it acceptable by believing it’s going turning into something better.

Yes, the time has come to make my own rules. Rules to live by, because living by other’s expectations and high standards and freaking resumes of qualifications are complete bullshit. I am done explaining myself to other people. I’m just going to be me and expect it to work out because I’m living my life and no one else’s.

And all this grouchy crap from the past few months, or the past fifteen years, or my whole goddamn life, it means something. It hasn’t been a waste of time. And all this nonsense time I feel like I’m pouring down the drain, trying to rebuild the productivity I had before all my stuff was stolen from my apartment, it isn’t a waste of time either.

I’m rebuilding my sandcastle to be stronger than before. It’s going to have higher walls and better security, but it’s going to have more windows and doors so I can have friends over and a breeze blowing through the room to dry the tears from my face.

All this sadness has just been happiness in the making. All along, every single moment of it. All this anger? It’s coals burning in the fire of my life.

I’m going to go cry now but my tears are watering daisies, I promise.

What rules do you want to live by?

Love Erin

ErinSadness Builds Happiness

Things Are Rough

ErinUncategorized17 Comments

I am so stressed out I feel like I’m going to break and I feel like I’m not allowed to talk about half of what is burdening me so much. I certainly shouldn’t post about it on the internet. I feel bound and gagged.

What feels like the icing on the cake of awfulness is that Canada Post is about to go on strike, so I basically can’t run my Etsy shop because shipping is going to be delayed for weeks and weeks, most likely. I can’t survive on less money but I’m going to have to. My resume was stolen with my laptop. I can recreate it but UGHHH I can barely freaking check my email.

And I’m still in freaking withdrawal from cutting my Cymbalta back three months ago and then returning to my normal dosage two months ago. THIS MAKES NO SENSE. No doctor even believes me about this, because our bodies are “supposed” to reset after two weeks of a specific dosage of medication. I am still in pain head-to-toe, every minute of the day, nauseated, aching in my muscles and my nerves like I’m being struck by lightning.

Seriously, universe, I’m trying to love you but what the hell. Can you just ease up a little bit?I feel exhausted beyond what the world is requiring from me. I’m trying to remember there are daisies amongst the bruises or at least some pop up after the bruises have healed a little, but I feel like my bruises aren’t healing. I feel like my heel is caught in the trapdoor to hell.

I will get through this. I know it. Waiting is the hard part. Acceptance is the hard part. There are so many hard parts!!

I need to start writing fiction again because reality is just too much to take. Is anyone else afraid that letting go of reality will somehow make everything worse when you come back?

Oh, I’m not doing well but oh, I haven’t self-harmed. I’m not in the hospital or suicidal. These are good things. Getting caught up in self-destruction will not help anything. I’m in enough pain already.

If you’re struggling too, remember that there are lots of us in a similar place. I care about you, even if I’m not feeling much like a superhero these days.

Love Erin

 

ErinThings Are Rough

The Grinch Can’t Steal Our Hope

ErinBlog Maintenance, Emergency13 Comments

Between the words of encouragement, to donations, to love pouring out at me from all angles since my last post, I feel like you have cushioned my fall. I still feel downright awful, but I am not alone because you are here. We are in this together.

What we have here is stronger than depression. It is stronger than loss. It is stronger than the minds of those who connive to pull the rugs out from beneath our feet, with the hopes that we’ll join them at the bottom, where cruelty and hopelessness thrive. They can try to keep us down, but they can’t keep us there.

Someone stole my laptop, my work, my art, my music, my photos, a piece of my soul, but they couldn’t take my heart. They may have put a crack in this beating entity in my ribcage, but they can’t extinguish its essence.

At the end of Dr. Seuss’s “How The Grinch Stole Christmas,” the Grinch, as narrator, stands dressed as Santa and peers at his dog as he contemplates how he could not steal Christmas, despite stealing all the presents.

“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!” 

The person who broke into my apartment and stole my belongings, they can’t knock me down. They can’t steal the magic of this blog, no matter how hard they try. Because you can’t steal love. You have to create it, earn it, participate in it, and nourish it.

It will still be some time before I have my blog posts at the calibre they were at before the break in and the loss of my sweet dog Milo, but formatting and photos and other flashy things aside, I think we – you and I, as a team – have come out stronger.

Every event in our lives, no matter how horrible, has effects on us that we cannot predict. These effects come in thousands of ways. Some are good effects – daisies – and some are bad – bruises – and some are in between the two. It’s the grey area in between the good and bad where magic happens.

It feels like the whole world is experiencing a crisis at the moment. There are a lot of horrible things in the news that are hurting us all.

I want you to remember this: we may feel like we’re breaking, we may crack, we may fall, but these horrible events will not break us in an irreparable way. Not if we have the smallest inkling of hope. If we have a teensy tiny inkling of hope and we hold onto it, it will grow stronger. We will grow stronger. We will get through this.

I need you to get through this with me, because I love you and you make me stronger. You are my inkling of hope. When life is dark, I hope I can shine hope back at you, and together we’ll light each other’s way.

I LOVE YOU SO FREAKING MUCH.

Love Erin

xoxoox

 

ErinThe Grinch Can’t Steal Our Hope

My Heart Broken and Entered

ErinLife Events19 Comments

I need to tell you what happened. It’s part of healing, telling your story. This story is hard to tell.

I’ve had two major blows to my heart in the last month. First, my family dog, Milo, suddenly died. When my dad called me to tell me, I screamed and pounded the walls, dove onto my bed and wailed, “WHY!?!?” until I was hoarse. I raised Milo. He was only ten. He had a heart attack.

Barely a week later, someone broke into my apartment and stole all of my belongings with any monetary value. Worst of all, they took my laptop and my external hard drive. In doing so, they took my whole art portfolio, all my saved writing, fifteen years worth of music, all my photos (including those of Milo), my Etsy shop files…everything.

The things stolen were more than material possessions to me. They were part of my story, the story that makes up my identity, my heart, my soul. I bought that laptop to give me something to hang on to when all I wanted was to end my life. It was a symbol of my commitment to keeping going. It was my anchor.

Since the break-in, I’ve obviously been impeded from posting, but I’ve also been too scared to write here. I feel so violated and traumatized. My apartment does not feel safe. My appetite is gone, I can’t sleep, all of my symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder are front and centre again. I spend a lot of time snuggling one of Milo’s blankets and crying.

I’m still in withdrawal from decreasing my antidepressant, even though I’ve been back on my original dosage for almost a month now. My muscles still ache constantly, head-to-toe.

I will recover from these things. I will adapt and maybe even grow, but for now, in these early days, I am really struggling. Feeling safe again is going to take time.

I could really use your help right now, whether it’s some supportive words in a comment, a few dollars in my hat (you can find my donation link at the bottom of my sidebar), or just some positive energy sent out into the universe.

No matter what I will keep writing. My posts may be down to the bare-bones with imagery and whatnot for a bit but I know it’s the words that matter most. Our connection matters most. Thank you for bearing this with me.

Love Erin

 

 

ErinMy Heart Broken and Entered

Silence Is Still Strength

ErinMedication11 Comments

Silence Is Still StrengthWhen we are silent, we are still strong. Even when we feel like a cup not even half-empty, but tipped over, spilled across the floor, kicked, stepped on, cracked and forever broken, we’re still strong.

You have a track record of making it through every single day up to today. No matter what choices you made, what mistakes happened, what shit was thrown your way, you’re still here. That counts in a way that nothing else compares to.

After my last post, Antidepressant Withdrawal Hell, I reached my limit of tolerating my body’s symptoms. I’d lost feeling in my arms, words were getting mixed up in my head, and I felt like I was being hit by lightning constantly. I curled up on the couch and cried for days. I couldn’t go on.

Feeling like a failure, I decided to increase my Cymbalta back to the dosage I’d been at. Doing that made things worse, at first. It’s been two weeks since I went back to my previous Cymbalta dosage and I’m still in withdrawal. Full-body aches, 24/7, nausea, shaking, oh my God. The pharmacist said it’s extremely rare for anyone to be as sensitive to medication as I am.

It’s taken all my energy just to keep breathing. My symptoms are turning around, very very slowly. At this rate, in another two weeks, I’ll feel more or less normal again, withdrawal wise. That’s okay. However long it takes, I can do this. It may be slow, it may hurt like hell, but I will survive. I have a great track record. One day, one hour, one minute, one second at a time.

I have a lot to share with you about this but I’m not ready to yet. I have to get through these symptoms to be able to think well enough again to have any insight on what I’ve learned in the past month and a half.

If you feel spilled and broken and so mixed up you can’t even talk about what you’re going through, it doesn’t mean you’re not strong. It means it’s taking all your strength just to hold on, and holding on is the most important job we have. No matter what, you are winning this battle.

LoveErin

ErinSilence Is Still Strength

Antidepressant Withdrawal Hell

ErinMedication27 Comments

Antidepressant withdrawal from drugs like Cymbalta are truly hellishI feel terrible. I have what feels like the flu: nausea, muscle aches, nerve pain, tremors, hot and cold flashes, weakness, and lethargy. It’s lasted all month. The cause? I cut down my antidepressant by a measly 3mg.

I don’t normally name my antidepressants on this blog, because meds affect everyone differently, but I’m naming this culprit: Cymbalta. I’ve been on it for about seven years, I think, but man, it has not helped me enough to warrant this kind of suffering in tapering off of it.

When I’m not wrapped up on the couch in agony with heating pads, chugging ginger tea, or Googling what to do I’m just feeling really angry and lost. I feel angry that a drug I took to help make my depression better could wreak such havoc on my body. I’m coming off the medication because of daily chronic migraine that has lasted over a year.

I was certainly surprised when I first admitted to having feelings of depression – hopelessness, despair, suicidal thoughts – that everyone rushed me to get on medication. But I thought, hell, if a pill can help, why not?

And medication has helped me in some aspects, like energy levels, but after spending fifteen years on different medications, I’m not doing very well at all. I can’t think like I used to, I can’t function like I used to before meds. I haven’t been able to work. That’s a problem! Not to mention the migraines it’s given me. Migraines are why I’m saying good-bye to my antidepressants.

Maybe if all the medication had truly helped my depression I would maybe not be writing a blog about depression. I’d be writing about how fantastic life is.

And now I’m getting off meds because enough is enough but this withdrawal is full-blown awful. I am so freaking sick. My psychiatrist, well, I’ve refused to go back and see her because all she would say is “just stop taking it.” My neurologist laughed when he heard what a 3mg taper of Cymbalta is doing to me physically. All I can say is thank God my family doctor believes me when I tell her these symptoms. She hasn’t been able to do much to help me other than just listen and encourage me, but that’s something. I can hold on to that.

A slow taper of Cymbalta is the best way to get off of it. They say it takes one year of slow tapering for every five years you’ve been on it. This is going to be a battle.

My psychiatrist who first put me on Cymbalta abruptly left his practice a few years ago after getting a brain tumor. During my worst moments I’ve thought about how much I just want to scream at him for putting me on this medication. In reality, however, I think I’d just be so happy to see him if I did run into him. He was/is (I don’t even know if he’s alive) the greatest person, and that’s why I trusted him with my life. He didn’t mean to hurt me with medication, he meant to help me. He just didn’t help me. All the medication he put me on hurt me.

I need to write to get through this. I need you. I have a lot to say, I’ve just been in a really rough spot. There’s a lot going on in my life that is making me just curl up inside myself the way I used to. I get this idea that if I don’t talk about things then maybe they won’t be real. Well, they are real. And like my favourite SARK quote says, “Expression is the opposite of depression.”

LoveErin

ErinAntidepressant Withdrawal Hell

Good-Bye Smarch, Hello Smapril

ErinDay-to-Day Life9 Comments

lousy-smarch-weather-600x400Yay I’m writing!! *HUGS*

It isn’t Smarch anymore, it’s Smapril, but you officially have my permission to add make up your own words (or steal from The Simpsons) until it stops snowing. Smarch sucked! And Smapril is off to a crappy start, but hey, we’re still here.

Today’s post is all about finding the small things to keep you going when life is all crappy. I’m sharing some secrets, some songs, some hope. I hope to make you laugh a little and feel stronger about the times you cry and somehow format this thing all right with my laptop screen dimmed to the lowest brightness possible.

Firstly, however, a giant THANK YOU to those of you who donated to Daisies and Bruises following my last post. It means a lot to me that this blog means something to you. We’re all in this together. If you’d still like to support our mission to restore hope and make life easier, here’s the button again!

Donate Button

Smarch for me was full of stress. Someone I care(d) for very deeply got very sick very suddenly and passed away. A good friend got into deep water, I found myself taking care of a Great Dane named Dug, and what else? Oh, on Easter I hid dried soy nuts around my street for squirrels because I could. Then I went inside and kicked myself for not hiding more near my windows so I could least watch the squirrels get all excited. Live and learn, right?

Some of you may remember that a few posts ago I started talking about going off my antidepressants. This is continuing, as it does I’m looking for signs that I’m still alive or creative or surviving. One thing that’s been revived during this process is my love of music. I can stand to listen to it again because I am in slightly less headache pain. Thank goodness.

I love music so so much, but between you and me it’s the only art form I refuse to play with. Meet me in real life and I can sing you some interesting camp songs but that’s about it, and don’t expect me to sing in tune. Ever.

At the beginning of Smarch I found myself listening to a song called Suicide Hotline by the Prettiots and I realized that I have a bit of a sense of humour with my struggles and how essential that is.

Woolf took a dip with some rocks in her pockets
I’d say comparatively, I’ve got a bad case of the fuck it’s
It’s not that bad and I’m told I’ll be fine
But it feels like shit right now, so just let me whine

I’m not fine but I’ll be okay
I probably won’t kill myself today

It’s not the best written song in the world but it’s catchy. Sometimes catchy is good. And I haven’t been fine but I will be okay. I can’t promise for an awesome tomorrow, or that any of us will even be here tomorrow, but for today I’ve got this.

Speaking of camp songs, if you know me EXTRA well, some of the camp songs I know the words to include bible camp songs. If you watch the Simpsons with me during Smarch I just might know the words to the songs Rod and Todd next door sing.

Last night I heard a song that resonated with me right away. I’m not a religious person (any more) but I heard the lyrics to this one and thought, “Wow, this sounds like a prayer.” A prayer for a positive future, for a holding a candle to the past while being determined for a better tomorrow. I’ve been listening to it on repeat.

For all of the light that I shut out
For all of the innocent things that I doubt
For all of the bruises that I’ve caused and the tears
For all of the things that I’ve done all these years
Yeah, for all of the sparks that I’ve stomped out
For all of the perfect things that I doubt

I’ll be good, I’ll be good
And I’ll love the world, like I should
Yeah, I’ll be good, I’ll be good
For all of the times I never could.

The past sucks, and sometimes April is a Smapril. It’s going to be another week before spring weather returns here in Ontario but it’s coming back. The sun stays out later every single day. We need to hang on to hope for spring, hope for warmth, and try our best for today. When we go to bed tonight we can say we tried our hardest to do right, to do well, to hold on.

Life is never ever perfect, but art and giggles and hope, in whatever form we can find, well, all those things can add up to being enough. Enough to keep going. If we keep going and try our best, every day is worth it.

Thank you for being part of my today and tomorrow.

 LoveErin

ErinGood-Bye Smarch, Hello Smapril

Please Support This Blog

ErinBlog Maintenance5 Comments

Hi friends!Support This Blog

March is the month our domain expires and it’s time I ask for a little help funding this home of ours.

If this blog helps you, inspires you, and makes you feel a little less alone, please consider a small or big donation. All funds go directly to maintaining this website!

Here’s the button. Push it!

Donate Button

Sharing this blog post helps too, as does sharing a link to Daisies and Bruises whenever possible.

I really appreciate the support. THANK YOU!

Yours in camaraderie, survival, hope and a million better tomorrows,

LoveErin

ErinPlease Support This Blog

A New Room in Depression Recovery

ErinThe Big Picture35 Comments

Am I recovering or relapsing? I'm moving through my pain of depression and migraine

A journal cover collage I Made at Eighteen

I miss writing here. Forgive me for being quiet lately; I don’t feel like myself.

Over a month ago, I wrote about deciding to go off my antidepressants to see if doing so could help my migraines.

I’m playing a confusing game of cat and mouse, trading one pain for another. On one hand, I feel like I’m getting somewhere, but on the other, I feel like I’m going crazy.

So far, the migraine pain is down but my time spent crying is going way up. My drive to do creative things is better, but I’m having a really hard time actually doing these things. I can’t concentrate. I can’t rest.

I feel like I’m losing my community here at Daisies and Bruises. I don’t feel strong enough to advocate for anything. I feel like a shadow of my reflection, some foreign ghost.

Somehow, though, I feel closer to who I used to be before I became so depressed. Yes, I’m crying an average of three hours a day but I’m also thinking about a future for myself. A future beyond depression.

Is this recovery? Is this relapse? Or am I in the middle of a change that’s impossible to predict?

I feel like we can’t ever really predict where we’re headed at all in life. We can try, we can plan things and make goals and maybe even reach them, but actually getting to the finish line is an illusion.

It’s like those line-ups a Disneyland. You think you’re at the front after waiting for forty-five minutes but then some park employee leads you through the doors not to the ride itself but to a different room. In this room there’s another line of people who look oddly like the people in the room you just left, except they’re not the same people at all.

I keep forgetting how far I’ve come, how many rooms I’ve been in. I don’t know if I’m at the back of the line or at the front. I don’t know if I’m being scammed or if I’m almost at the ride that I’ve heard can be really good.

Life…what if it can be really good? What if the ride really is worth all this waiting?

I’m frustrated, I’m confused as hell, but I think I’m where I’m meant to be. I’m not comfortable but I don’t want to die right now. I want to live. I’m moving. Walking from room to room is better than just standing in one spot.

I wish I could tell you where we’re headed.  I mean, I started this blog thinking that I could somehow eradicate stigma around depression and give people the hope to continue living. And maybe that’s what this blog is doing…but I never thought it would end up like this, with me questioning my sanity as I recover.

See what I mean about multiple rooms?

I feel like I need your help but I don’t know how. I don’t even know what I want. I’m not sure I should share my health struggles to an audience so big – especially when I feel so vulnerable – but I really like this little home we’ve created.

Thank you for being here with me. Thank you for waiting and for reading.

I’m really grateful for you. That’s all I know.

LoveErin

ErinA New Room in Depression Recovery

Choosing Depression Over Antidepressant Side Effects

ErinChronic Pain32 Comments

For once I'm choosing to be very depressed over the side effects I have from my one antidepressant.I feel lost in a foreign place. For the first time in my life, I feel like I am choosing depression over something else.

Why would I do such a thing?

The answer, in a word, is MIGRAINE. I’ve had a migraine every single day for a year. With the dawning of 2016 I’ve felt myself surrender. I cannot take any more physical pain. I can’t.

The person I am today feels so different from who I was a year ago. . I used to go out, see friends, read, write, sit in coffee shops and daydream. I used to run (okay, a little) with my dog. I used to do art for fun.

I’ve lost my routine, my independence, my accountability. I only leave my apartment to go to doctor’s appointments or to buy food. I’m lucky if I see a friend once a week, and if so, it’s a short outing. Going on my laptop hurts my eyes so much that I’ve stopped almost all online activity. As a result, my ties to the world are unraveling.

The world is going on without me. I can’t afford to lose any more.

After trying a zillion different migraine treatments (seriously) I’m decreasing the antidepressant that helps me the most with my mood and energy. My migraine pain is lessened on a lower dosage. I don’t know if my migraines are a side effect of this medication, but I know the medication makes my pain worse when I take it.

I’ve tried to do this many times before and every time I decided it wasn’t worth it. But now, I’m trying even harder. I don’t have a choice.

With lessened migraines I might be able to “function” better. As in, stand up and turn on my lights and listen to music. Call a friend. Walk my dog. Do something without an ice pack on my head. .

On this lower dosage, the world is literally darker to me. I definitely feel my mood going downward. Yesterday I started crying on the bus but I didn’t care. I walked home just letting the tears flow out of me as if I were alone. That doesn’t feel like the real me. It feels like the super depressed me.

I feel sad but it’s also this numbness of emotion. This numbness feels better than being in physical agony, counting down to the moment my skull explodes.

Ugh, I know all of this sounds really bleak. And here’s the kicker: it’s my birthday tomorrow and I totally don’t care at all. I have zero excitement whatsoever.

This numbness sucks but I feel like I have to deal with it. This way, I can see my family on my birthday. I can go out. I can eat. I can make the best of what I have.

I am only in the early days of lowering my one antidepressant. If and when suicidal thoughts come back, the tides will turn and I’ll probably go back to choosing physical pain. I won’t let myself die over this, but I have to fight harder to LIVE.

I’m being supervised by three doctors so I am in good hands. I don’t want you to worry but I don’t want to sugarcoat things either. This is what my life looks like right now. It’s dark.

Maybe my eyes can adjust to the dark. Maybe I can learn to walk in the night. No, I wouldn’t want this for anyone, but sometimes we don’t get what we want. Sometimes we have to take what we’re given and make the best of it.

I sure as hell have to try.

ErinChoosing Depression Over Antidepressant Side Effects