Depression and Migraine Update

ErinChronic Pain, Day-to-Day Life19 Comments

My depression continues to be worsened by migraines which send me to hospital and make daily activities hard to doI haven’t felt like myself for over a month now. My depression and migraines seem to be ricocheting off each other, playing a game of “Let’s explode Erin’s head!”

The migraine pain is seriously cutting in on me doing my favourite activities. Strain on my eyes makes my head ache even worse, so I’m avoiding using my laptop, watching movies, reading, and texting. I’m barely listening to music. My life without books and music is not my life at all.

Without my favourite distractions, my depression is playing all its awful games and I have little energy to battle my thoughts of self-loathing. Even sunlight makes my head hurt worse and obviously that isn’t good for my depression.

I’m doing absolutely everything I can think of to change my migraines or lessen their severity even a little. I’m exercising, cutting back on caffeine, eating more fruits and veggies, and taking supplements. I’m not even styling my hair since a ponytail or braids strain my scalp.

I’ve been to Emergency a few times when my migraine lasts several days with no relief or gives me absolutely too much pain to tolerate. The nurses rehydrate me with intravenous solutions and doctors add medication to that. Otherwise I’m working closely with my family doctor to find a solution.

Going to the hospital is a risk however, because of it being flu season. The last time I was admitted I caught the worst flu ever, and spent a week dealing with my body doing the grossest things it can do. Needless to say it did not help my migraines.

It seems like everyone I know is trying to give me ideas in headache reduction. I can’t afford to try most things people swear by, like going to the chiropractor or getting botox. There are ways to get these things covered, but only after months of trying other cheaper alternatives. I’m trying to listen to my doctor first in finding the right remedy.

My apologies for being a little quiet lately. I’m still thinking of you every day and plotting blog posts for when I’m able to sit in front of my laptop for longer.

I really appreciate all of you who filled out the poll in my last post. All of the options I listed as topics are things I want to blog about, but it’s great to know what you’re most interested in reading. Your poll answers help me decide what to write about first.

If you haven’t filled out my poll, please do! And to those of you who were wondering how I posted a poll, I used Polldaddy through its Wordpress integration. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be and now I’m excited to post more in the future.

I survived turning 30, by the way. This year isn’t giving me a ton of great things to write about for my “Good Things Jar” for 2015 but I’m still adding things to it no matter how much pain I’m in. It helps keep me sane and realize how many good things I am thankful for.

Stay warm, hydrated, and keep your eyes locked to this website because I’m posting a bunch of new handmade items in the next few weeks. I’ll have another contest so you can win some!

Thanks for all the support and for sharing Daisies and Bruises with everyone you can.

♡ Erin

ErinDepression and Migraine Update

Please Fill Out My Blog Post Topic Poll

ErinBlog Maintenance3 Comments

Hi friends!

I always have a million blog post ideas, so many that I don’t know which to write about first.

Please fill out my poll so I know what you’re most interested in reading. You can click as many options as you’d like! If a topic doesn’t interest you, just skip it. :)

Thanks so much! You’re welcome to vote again after a week if you become interested in a topic or want to make more suggestions. I’ll check the results often.

Thank you!

Love Erin

ErinPlease Fill Out My Blog Post Topic Poll

When You Grow Up Your Heart Dies, So Fuck It

ErinLife Events15 Comments

Depression ruined high school for me but I refuse to grow up and let my heart die breakfast club styleOn the first day of Grade Nine, I started high school with drama class, only we didn’t talk about drama. First, we talked about this student from a few years ago who killed himself in his first year of high school. Because of his death, our school started The Breakfast Club.

With a clear reference to the legendary movie, The Breakfast Club at my high school had students in their last year at the school mentor us newbies. They helped us get used to high school. I made friends with the Breakfast Club drama kids, mainly one of them. I started high school wanting to be like the girl in my drama class who was there to help people adjust. To help them live.

The thing was, when the leaders of The Breakfast Club that I knew graduated, I stopped liking school. I no longer saw leaders of the school and I thought I was too young still to be in the Breakfast Club. I had to wait four whole years until I could help other people.

In hindsight, I probably could’ve joined the Breakfast Club as soon as I wanted to, but instead I felt excluded. I looked around me at all the other students and only saw other people having fun.

I didn’t understand how people could smile and laugh so much. How they could get drunk at parties and not care, how they could become obsessed with tv shows and wearing the right clothes at the right time. I hated them all for being so happy.

I did have friends in school, somehow. I’d fallen in with a bunch of kids that had come from a different elementary school. They were pretty awesome, but again, I felt on the outside since no one knew what I was really feeling. I wouldn’t let anyone know. I shut them out.

By the end of high school, I refused to go into the cafeteria because I was so scared of everyone looking at me and judging me. I painted my eyes black and went to the library every chance I could, reading at the back of the room with my headphones blaring. I faced the wall, watched the clock, and went everywhere I was supposed to go on time.

Except for pep rallies and other forced interaction. At those times I knew no one missed me. My guidance counselor knew how much I skipped out on supposed mandatory events, but I don’t think anyone else did. My invisibility was my cloak and my shield.

I hated everyone so no one could hate me. It worked in protecting me from others but I felt like the saddest girl on the planet.

Ever since then, I’ve been trying to undo the damage of high school. I think most adults either go into work or more schooling without looking back at their high school selves. It’s too painful.

I don’t blame them. I wish I could be like them a lot of the time, because they seem happy now. I look at myself and see no pay cheque, no husband, no family. The me of today doesn’t fit in with adults. She sure as hell doesn’t fit in in high school, any more than she ever did.

The only person she fits in with is the fifteen-year-old me from Grade Nine, all the way through to the graduating 19 year old, miserable and alone. She was looking for someone to look up to. Someone who cut through the bullshit. Someone who was real, who cared about things beyond what was “hot” in magazines and what was spewed out on tv. She saw unhappy kids and unhappy adults and cut herself because at least that made her feel real. Her pain mattered in those moments.

I’m turning 30 soon. That’s grown-up, right?

Like the “crazy” one in the Breakfast Club movie, I’m aware that “When you grow up, your heart dies.”

Most of the time, it feels like I’m never going to have any adult life or security because I refuse to let my heart die. I’m stubborn as hell and every workplace I try to squeeze into makes me feel exploited. It’s a result of abuse, of all the bad things in my life, I still see enemies everywhere. Everywhere.

Except here, with you.

I can be real here. I imagine friends out there past computer screens, skipping into hungry eyes and hungrier hearts.

You are filling their shoes. Thank you.

My younger self reads this blog. She likes it. It makes her hate herself less.

I’ve always hated numbers. A birthday is just a number on a calendar designated by other people. I don’t ever want to define myself by other people’s choices unless they fit with mine.

I won’t let my heart die. I won’t.

I promise.

ErinWhen You Grow Up Your Heart Dies, So Fuck It

A “Good Things Jar” for 2015

ErinCraft Projects12 Comments

A "Good Things Jar" for 2015Hi Friends!

Happy New Year! It’s the time to set new goals and plan for the year ahead. This year I’m totally doing the Good Things jar again for 2015 because my jar for 2014 was a total success.

Why was it a success? Because even on my bad days I didn’t smash the thing. Yay!

At the beginning of the year I painted a jar to keep on my counter so that I had a place to store all the good things from the year. When I had a good day, or something made me smile, or something cool happened, I wrote it down on a piece of paper, folded it up, and put it in the jar.

I didn’t write a good thing every day, but I did notice that I felt better about my day whenever I did make the time to write something down. No matter how bad my day had been, if I wrote down good things, then I instantly felt better. It didn’t make the bad things not happen, but it changed my mindset.

After keeping the jar for about a month I realized that when a good thing happened, I thought about it repeatedly so I wouldn’t forget to write about it for my jar when I got home. It made the good things have more weight.

This year I might carry the block of paper with me when I go out, just to make sure I remember all of the good things!

My plan was to pour out all tiny pieces of paper and read over them on New Year’s Eve. Instead, I had a migraine and went to bed at 9:30. Yesterday was a write off too, due to pain, but whatever, it’s January 2nd and I’m here to celebrate!

Read More

ErinA “Good Things Jar” for 2015

I Am Removing My Email Address to Protect Myself from Triggers

ErinBlog Maintenance13 Comments

I'm Removing My Email Address to Protect Myself from Triggers4I’m receiving a number of emails from new readers who, after reading my story, feel prompted to tell me their stories.

It’s a natural instinct of ours, to share when others share with us. It’s what makes storytelling so healing. When you feel prompted to tell me your story, I feel your gratitude and yearnings for connection.

I must, however, set up some boundaries for my own safety. Many of you have sent me emails of kind words, support, and donations to this blog, but quite a few others have sent me extremely graphic details about the ways they have self-harmed and attempted suicide, and ask for my help.

Those graphic emails upset me very much. I replied kindly to the first few I received, directing the writers of them emails to my Why I Cannot Give Personal Advice Over Email post and my If You Need Help Post. I received a few replies in return saying, “Yeah, but you understand my depression because you have depression and therapists don’t!” And then the writers continue telling me really graphic things that make me feel very very triggered.

I am in my own recovery from major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety, self-injury, extreme abuse…the list is long. When you tell me about your suicide attempts in detail, they remind me of my attempts. They remind me of the people I’ve lost. They remind me of being in crisis and that can turn into me going into crisis. I have to be very careful to protect myself from going into crisis again.

Most therapists out there have experienced tremendous pain, if not their own depression and suicidal thoughts. Therapists have fought to feel better, recover, and then received the training they needed to help others who are struggling. They often don’t talk about their personal experience, but if they didn’t have any personal experience with pain, they wouldn’t have chosen to become therapists for a living.

I have not chosen to become a therapist because I am not well enough yet to be fully grounded and ready to help others personally. I do not have professional mental health training. I have my blog, and I hope that by sharing my stories, you might be able to relate and see a way to live a healthier life, like I’m trying to do. Writing about my journey to wellness is the only way I can help you at this time.

Please respect my boundaries in not asking me for personal advice or medical advice. Please read or re-read my Why I Cannot Give Personal Advice Over Email post. If you really want some direction from me, please comment by turning your situation into a common question that others might feel curious about too. A good example of this is my post on Why Do We Quit the Things We Love When We’re Depressed.

I have made my email address available on my blog up until now but I’m taking it down now. For a few weeks there may be a few spots where you see it – if you notice this, please let me know via blog comment.

Your understanding and cooperation is greatly appreciated. I’m working out a way to keep the communication lines open here while still protecting myself from triggering material.

I’m on a mini blog holiday from now until January 1st, 2015 when I’ll be announcing the winner of my zine giveaway!

*HUGS*

Love Erin

P.S. It makes me really sad to have to do this. I hope you’ll still feel welcome to comment on my posts and as always, I’ll do my best to reply to each comment. You mean a lot to me. I wish I could help you so much more than this.

Daisies and Bruises

ErinI Am Removing My Email Address to Protect Myself from Triggers

Happy Holidays from Daisies and Bruises

ErinBlog Maintenance4 Comments

Thank you for making 2014 such a great year. 2015 will be even better for us!

Digby sends you cheer!

Depression is with me every holiday season, but this year I feel lighter than I have for over a decade, thanks to all of you. Your support and generosity this year has just confirmed every fibre of my being. I have new readers, subscribers, friends, and happy moments that made 2014 an incredible year.

Jackie and everyone at HealthiNation gave me a huge boost of confidence and hope for my future when they named me a True Champion for my battle with depression. In the past few weeks, my story has reached millions of viewers and readers from around the world.

Four of you have generously donated to this blog (visit our sidebar for the link!) and so I could renew our domain name for another year. The holidays are tight on everyone’s budget, but if you live on disability payments, like I do, December and January are the most stressful for me. You’ve given me hope in so many different ways.

The upcoming giveaway for new subscribers is being extended to January 1st! So if you’ve subscribed in the past few weeks, or subscribe in the next week or so, you’ll be entered to win zine issues one to five of Daisies and Bruises, where this entire blog started. You’ll love them, I promise! So subscribe at the bottom of this post!

I’m unveiling a whole new batch of handmade items to my Etsy shop for 2015. There’s going to be at least 10 new items that you will love. I am so excited!

Enjoy the holidays! Give yourself a break and let yourself feel whatever you’re feeling. You are entitled to all your feelings, especially the tidbits of happiness that are sprinkled throughout the season. If you don’t feel them yet, it doesn’t mean they aren’t on their way. I promise, everything is waiting for you.

We’re going to make 2015 the best year yet.

I LOVE YOU!!

Pugs and kisses,

Love Erin

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Daisies and Bruises

ErinHappy Holidays from Daisies and Bruises

Welcome New Readers and a Giveaway For You

ErinBlog Maintenance3 Comments

Hello to new blog readers, thank you, and I have a giveawayHI NEW READERS!!!

Today a teacher showed her Grade Twelve class one of my depression videos on HealthiNation and the class voted unanimously to watch the other four videos.

That’s the biggest compliment to me in the whole world because that’s exactly who I’m writing for. I struggled with my depression the most during my high school years. I felt like a total freak for having a mental illness and I hated everyone around me for seeming so happy. I barely made it out alive.

It means so much to me that people in high school are now finding strength from Daisies and Bruises: The Art of Living With Depression.

So if you’re new to my blog, thank you so much for visiting! You might want to read my story and check out some of my most popular posts like How to Survive the Impulse to Hurt Yourself and Why Do We Quit the Things We Love When We’re Depressed.

If you’re interested in supporting me and my journey to recovery, you might want to visit my Etsy shop where I sell all my handmade crafts! If you found me through my HealthiNation videos, you would have seen the first issue of my zine of the same name as my blog,

Hello to new blog readers, thank you, and I have a giveaway

 

as well as my “You Are Beautiful” button,

Hello to new blog readers, thank you, and I have a giveaway

 

which are both available in my Etsy shop.

And if you’re a millionaire who wants to fund this blog/my life (or you just have a few pennies to throw into my hat), you can simply donate to my PayPal and make me extremely grateful to you forever:
Donate Button

BUT, this blog isn’t about showing off my crafts or making money. It’s about you!

At any time, feel free to comment with a blog post idea! I will try to write about it from my own experience and point of view and maybe it will help you out. :)

I can’t offer one-on-one support through email because I don’t have therapeutic training and I really want to keep my conversations accessible to everyone on daisiesandbruises.com, but I’ll do my very best to address any depression or coping questions you have here on Daisies and Bruises.

Lastly, no matter who you are, please subscribe to my posts!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

The more people who read along, the more I’m inspired to write. This blog is my entire life. I love it and love you.

New subscribers to Daisies and Bruises (including those of you who subscribed in the last week) will be automatically entered in my GIVEAWAY which I’ll announce on *January 1st. If I draw your email address, you’ll win zines one to five of Daisies and Bruises (also available in my Etsy shop):

Hello to new blog readers, thank you, and I have a giveaway

Cool, right? Yay!!

Lastly, if you want to keep track of me everywhere, I’m on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest. Out of all of those, I’m on Instagram the most. So is my dog, Digby. Pictures of Digby are way more popular than my pics of me, but he’s way cuter so it makes sense.

I also write for HealthyPlace every other week, for their Coping With Depression blog.

Whew! I know that’s a lot of information, and if you read this far down you get automatic high-fives.

I’m so happy YOU are here and that you want to share this journey with me. I still feel really far from complete depression recovery (if such a thing is even possible), but you really give me a reason to live.

I’m collecting enough to build a mountain.

See you at the top!

Love Erin

P.S. Did you subscribe? Do it! You matter. YOU count. You’re worth it!

*Edited to change the date from December 25th to January 1st :)

ErinWelcome New Readers and a Giveaway For You

Hope in Fighting Depression

ErinSurvival, The Big Picture14 Comments

Does hoping for hope in fighting depression mean that you have hope?I have a cool story for you about surviving my depression:

A few days before Jackie arrived from HealthiNation to film me, I bustled around London, Ontario full of energy and excitement. I ran errands, cleaned my apartment, made crafts, and generally felt fantastic.

On the walk home from my closest bus stop, I thought to myself, “This feels awesome! Wait, what am I feeling?”

Right away I knew it: HOPE

Hope isn’t something I’m used to experiencing. I tumbled the word around in my mouth like a sweet candy, savouring its flavour.

My heart felt fuller, yet I was confused. What filled my heart before this?

I realized that before I had hope, I had a little space in my heart reserved for hope. Since I knew despair so well, I knew that the opposite feeling must exist somewhere. I knew I could feel it one day, maybe.

I realized that for all these years, I’ve been waiting for hope. But “waiting” wasn’t the right word.

I’d been hoping for hope. That sounded better.

But wait, what was that verb?

HOPE.

Does hoping for hope mean that you have hope?

What do you think?

Daisies and Bruises has been nominated as Best Health Blog for 2014. I hope that we win! The contest is on from now until January 15th.

Please vote for Daisies and Bruises! You can vote once every 24 hours with Twitter and Facebook. If we win, the money will help me survive and maybe pay off some of my debt from buying this laptop. Keep the tab open and vote every day, please!!

THANK YOU! I love you guys!!

Daisies and Bruises

ErinHope in Fighting Depression

HealthiNation True Champions Video: Me and Depression

ErinLife Events, Video23 Comments

IMG_2830A few weeks ago, Jackie, a producer from HealthiNation, flew from New York to film me as a “True Champion” of depression. For three days Jackie filmed my life. Chris from Toronto came up for one day to film the main interview while Jackie asked me questions.

Then they each went home and I’ve lived frozen in fear, literally sick to my stomach thinking about how much of myself I’d exposed. I didn’t regret doing any of the filming or saying any of the things I’d said on camera. I just knew that I’d revealed my vulnerable self and left it in the care of someone else.

I tried to write about the experience on here but I couldn’t, I was just so tense. I had migraines every day and ugh, the past few weeks have been awful.

Anyway, Jackie texted me tonight to tell me that the videos were live on their site. With fear I opened up the webpage and pressed play.

Halfway into the first video I started crying. By the end of the last video I was bawling.

I’m still overcome with emotion. I’ve never felt this way before.

I feel so unbelievably honoured.

I feel like the whole of my self has been captured in a way more beautiful than I could ever imagine.

I’ve never been so fucking grateful in my life.

I swear to God, I’ve never seen my strength before. I’ve never seen my courage. Not once, not like this. I’ve never seen myself as a real person like this.

I am so scared and relieved…shit. These are the daisies from Daisies and Bruises. I’m holding them in my hands. THEY’RE REAL. Oh my God, they’re fucking real.

HealthiNation True Champion Video: Me and Depression

 

Click the image above to watch the videos one through five on HealthiNation. Or just CLICK HERE.  Then please come back and tell me what you think. :)

I will blog as soon as I can. I can’t believe the power of this. I’m reeling. I’m feeling. ALL DAISIES.

EDIT:
Daisies and Bruises has been nominated as Best Health Blog for 2014. I hope that we win! The contest is on from now until January 15th.

Please vote for Daisies and Bruises! You can vote once every 24 hours with Twitter and Facebook. If we win, the money will help me survive and maybe pay off some of my debt from buying this laptop. Keep the tab open and vote every day, please!!

THANK YOU! I love you guys!!

Daisies and Bruises

ErinHealthiNation True Champions Video: Me and Depression

The Spoon Theory and My Blog

ErinThe Big Picture8 Comments

I don't look like a sick person, but I blog on days I have lots of spoons or lots of energy

I even smudged my nail polish.

Have you heard about the Spoon Theory? Ever since my friend Inali linked me to it about a year ago, I talk about spoons all the time. I really recommend reading that post, so please check it out! Go read it.

In short, spoons are a metaphor for units of energy. When you have depression or another illness or disability, units of energy can be few and far between. We have our good days and bad days.

I wanted to share the Spoon Theory with you today because I’m aware that the person I appear to be on my blog doesn’t “look sick.” My blog makes me look pretty polished at times. I have make-up on, I talk about all this art I’m making, and I post here frequently. In most ways, I appear to be a really high-functioning person.

On days where I have lots of spoons, I blog and make art. On days where I don’t have a lot of spoons, I pretty much get nothing done.

I am not the high-functioning person I appear to be on this blog 24/7. I am not perfect, not even close. I sleep in most days, and I’m usually not able to even go out until close to 1pm. My bedroom is freaking covered with clothes. There is dog hair everywhere in my apartment. I am human!

This blog may look good, but being an artist is a profession you can show off. I can say, “Look at all this evidence that I get so much work done! Look at all the pretty colours!”

Reality check: I don’t have a “real” job. I’m not in school. I don’t have a family to take care of. And I’ve been living with depression for most of my life, so I’ve had a lot of practice in coping. I devote my life to making this blog look good.

Chances are, your strengths aren’t pretty on paper, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have any. Most people have talents that you can’t link to. Like, if you are in high school and you have depression, there’s probably no fucking way you could run a blog on top of all your other responsibilities.

So be sure to give yourself credit for all the things you do. Maybe you don’t have someone flying up from New York in a week to film your life, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t a superhero for just making it this far.

I hope you can read this blog and not compare yourself to me in negative ways. Each of us has a ton of struggles that the rest of the world doesn’t know about. I am not perfect, not even close. You don’t have to be either. You fucking rock for doing everything you do. Don’t forget it!

ErinThe Spoon Theory and My Blog