Welcome New Readers and a Giveaway For You

ErinBlog MaintenanceLeave a Comment

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, question, or email me at daisiesnbruises@gmail.com. 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 December 25th. 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!

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, The Big Picture, Video21 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. :) Do you want to see my “behind the scenes” photos from the filming?

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

Great News for My Winter Survival

ErinLife Events, Local Events, The Big Picture11 Comments

I was worried about surviving this winter but now I'm doing a video on depression for a US health site and I'm making lots of crafts for my Etsy shopOh my goodness, I am so excited! I want to tell you everything all at once, but no, I need to tell you the whole story for you to feel its impact and its overall awesomeness.

Two weeks ago I was in complete turmoil. Someone in London’s mental health community had sent me information about a job they thought I should apply for. It wasn’t in my element at all, but I actually had a shot in landing the position. It meant paid work in trying to fix our broken mental health care system.

It intrigued me, but I knew I would burn out fast since there was nothing in the description involving any kind of creativity. No art, just input based on my many visits to the hospital over my lifetime. A pay cheque earned from my pain. I knew there was nothing in it for me but the money.

But do I ever need the money! Last winter was so cold, I was so sick, and I had no money at all. I couldn’t craft – I could barely move from the couch – and my mind wouldn’t focus enough to even let me read for very long. My life stopped in all ways though my body was still alive. Like a frog freezing along with the pond it calls home, I lost all energy to do anything but let my heart beat.

With the sun beginning to set earlier and earlier, my hope for the oncoming months dwindled. I worried that this winter would be as dark as last winter. I keep thinking, “What the fuck am I doing with my life? Is this a life at all?”

After much delay, I decided that I should apply for this job, as much as I cringed at working anywhere with no creative outlets involved. This job was going to be sterile, but would produce a pay cheque.

My heart screamed, “No!”

But my mind insisted, “Yes, Erin you need this. You need this money to get you through the winter.”

Even though my mind had decided on applying, I could not get myself to work on updating my resume to make me sound like a good candidate for the position. It was on my mind so much that I had nightmares every night for a week straight, waking up cold and cramped and gasping for air. My childhood abuse tormented me; I even had a grizzly bear dream, which has always been my biggest nightmare, ever since I was really young. I was miserable.

I pushed off working on my resume, telling myself I still had a few days to apply. Then almost exactly a week ago, a miracle arrived in my inbox.

“I’m writing because we’d like to feature you in a series of videos on Depression.  The videos would be part of our “True Champions” series, which highlights people advocating for specific health conditions.
 
We think you’d be a great fit for our series because of the work you are doing on your blog, Twitter, with mindyourmind, and through your public speaking.  Your strong voice of hope and fighting spirit are sharing such an important message that “you are worth it” and we’d like to amplify that.  You ARE a True Champion for people suffering with depression, and we’d love to highlight your work.
 
The completed videos would live on [our site], and will be seen by millions of viewers.  Ideally, we would be able to spend a day with you to shoot an interview, you writing, creating art, walking your dog and even giving a speech or talk (if possible). What we’d like to show is how you are living every day, fighting for yourself and for others, and advocating for awareness along the way.”

I’ll share more details about who these people are after the video is shot, because I’m scared that by naming it this miracle will disappear. But they’re a mental health site from the US. They’re fucking flying people from New York all the way to little London, Ontario to film ME!

It’s going to be wonderful and surreal. They want to film me doing all the things I do, and I just can’t wait to see the looks on other people’s faces. If anyone recognizes me in this city, they know me as someone who is pretty much always alone. Suddenly I’m going to look like a movie star! They’re going to have a freaking hair and makeup person there. Ha!

So on November 24th, I have a full day booked to be interviewed and filmed and everything. It’s kind of surreal.

And now I’m super inspired. This video shoot is going to give me and my blog the most exposure I’ve ever gotten. Ever! Three years of writing Daisies and Bruises: The Art of Living With Depression for free, just because I know it’s what I need to do, is finally paying off. Maybe with enough exposure, I can make money at this, make it my living and my full-blown life.

I’m crafting a ton before the film crew arrives. I’m leaving them a surprise, however, I will reveal them to you as they’re produced! They’ll be in my Etsy shop in the next few weeks. Here’s a hint: they’re all about mental health. I’m making handmade goodies that will inspire you, help keep you safe, help keep you grounded. They’re going to help me and help you.

They’re going to embody to Art of Living With Depression!

Are you excited? Hell fucking yes! You’re on this ride with me. You are the reason I am here doing any of this. I am so happy for us! This is going to be so cool.

Start thinking about how you’re going to survive this winter. What nurtures you? What makes you feel good?

Start there. Whether it’s crafting or writing or standing on your head trying to balance a spoon in your mouth. Do what you need, what your heart needs. Keep doing it! It’s the right thing to do.

See you back here soon, with more posts and love and probably more exclamation points. Yeah!

Love Erin

ErinGreat News for My Winter Survival

You Matter and There is hope

ErinThe Big Picture, Uncategorized9 Comments

I leave my blog business card and buttons with strangers who I connect with and see their painSometimes I cross paths with another person when I’m out in the world, and they make an impression on me. For a fleeting instant, I see something in their eyes or their actions that tells me that they are in pain. It often happens on the days that I’m feeling a lot of pain.

I never know the stranger’s circumstance, or if I’m merely projecting my pain onto them, so I don’t say very much. Their struggles are none of my business.

Yet I have to do something, anything, because the act of trying to help others gives me hope for this planet. It eases the grand sense of hopelessness I feel around me.

So I do what I can. I hand them my blog business card as we pass each other; I leave a Daisies and Bruises button on a countertop where I know they’ll see it. And then I leave.

I never know what becomes of these people, if my small gesture was received well or tossed in the garbage. I hope that it makes a small difference, enough for them to ask themselves, “What’s daisiesandbruises.com?”

They may only see my site for a moment and then click away. Or they just might read this blog post.

And if you are reading this blog post because of our chance encounter together, thank you for coming this far. I noticed your pain and wanted to just tell you that you matter. That even though this world is cold and cruel, I promise you that there are people out there who notice you with kindness in their hearts.

I pass no judgement. You are where you are at this point in time for a reason. For a million reasons.

Just know that you aren’t alone. I know pain and I live with it. I’ve also lived through it. The ground I walk gets firmer every day I walk this path. I’m healing, slowly and surely. There is hope. Keep going. ♥

ErinYou Matter and There is hope

Making Art Makes Me Feel Alive, Despite My Depression

ErinMy Art3 Comments

Here are my collages I promised you in my last post! I have no definite date on them, but based on other drawings I remember doing in the same sketchbook, my best guess is that these two collages are from when I was sixteen, the year I was first diagnosed with depression, hospitalized, and started therapy.

Seeing these collages makes me really happy, though the subject matter is sad. I know that when I was a teen, I felt the same way as I do when I make art now: I feel alive. I feel like it’s okay to feel whatever I’m feeling.

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ErinMaking Art Makes Me Feel Alive, Despite My Depression

Migraines and Depression

ErinMy Art, Video11 Comments

Migraines are affecting my depression this month but life is still full of surprises.I really haven’t felt like myself lately. I cope with headaches pretty much every day, but this month they’ve been steamrolling my life. My doctor has officially upgraded their name to “migraines” after I called an ambulance a few weeks ago in the middle of the night. I even moved back to my parents’ for a week and it made me feel like I’ve been sliding backwards in my depression recovery.

This winter coming on is scaring me because last winter was so harsh. I’m panicking about my life, my goals, money, everything under the sun as the last two months of my twenties count down at a rapid pace.

Life, however, no matter how much I’m sure I have it figured out, is full of surprises. I made some amazing discoveries at my parents’ house and filmed my reaction to show you.

It’s taken me a few days to feel brave enough to share this video. Why? Well, I feel like I look awful in it due to sleepy puffiness, messy hair, and dark circles under my eyes.

But seriously, since when have I tried to be perfect on this blog? This blog is all about imperfection! It’s about being real. This is how I look when I’ve just gotten out of bed and made an inspirational discovery.

I want to be a real person to you, daisies and bruises, light and dark, hope and hopelessness. So hello, I’m here.

Artwork close-ups to come!

(While I appreciate your suggestions for migraine relief, I want to keep this blog focused on mental well-being and therefore won’t be replying to further migraine questions/discussion.)

ErinMigraines and Depression

30 Things About Me That Have Nothing to do With my Depression

ErinDay-to-Day Life47 Comments

Sometimes I feel like depression is all that I am but it's not trueAfter writing my last post a few days ago, I cried a bit, fixed my hair, had a nap and then some dinner. Then I felt a lot better.

That post was all bruises. I need to write some daisies! Here are 30 things about me that have nothing to do with my depression, because as much as it feels like depression consumes my entire life, it isn’t all that I am.

1. I have four tattoos: a typewriter with flowers coming out of it; a birdcage with light bursting out of it like the bird just disappeared; an embroidered heart that says “found” in it; and Little Red Riding Hood with a wolf mask on top of her head. I want to eventually cover all my self-injury scars with tattoos.

2. I love lip balm. I probably put it on 50 times per day.

3. I sometimes wave at dogs and then realize that they don’t really know what I’m doing.

4. My favourite scent is the smell of campfire.

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Erin30 Things About Me That Have Nothing to do With my Depression

The Full Weight of Depression

ErinThe Big Picture23 Comments

Full Weight of DepressionTo someone who doesn’t know what depression is like, I think of those heavy vests they put on you when you get an x-ray. It’s a weight that blankets your whole body that you have to wear everywhere you go, all the time.

Depression can feel like it should be there. Like you deserve the weight you carry. It lets you see the reality of how cruel and heartless the whole world is. It’s like gravity or an undertow. It is a powerful force that can feel impossible to fight because it is so strong.

I’ve lived with depression for almost fifteen years, and although I know a lot about the disease, I still feel like it’s my fault that I have it. I think this is because recovery from depression often rests on the individual. For example, we know that exercise, eating the right foods, taking medication, and going to therapy can help you feel better from depression.

Other people, therapists and doctors and supportive friends, can help you with these things, but they can’t do them for you. No one can make you eat your vegetables, make you go jogging, force the words out of your mouth in therapy.

Most people don’t understand how hard it is to live with depression. Even the people who know me best get offended or frustrated or confused when I struggle, because I’m not as engaged with their life as the average person. I can’t hang out, I can’t “just get a job” or enjoy myself at the movies.

Sometimes people are surprised when I talk about having depression because they see me as capable and confident. They just can’t imagine why I’d feel so bad. It’s stupid, isn’t it, to feel sorry for yourself all the time? How counterproductive!

On top of it all I feel guilty for being such a buzz kill when I’m depressed. Writing a blog about depression is not what I want to do with my life. I never wanted this. No one ever wants this.

Depression is so complicated. It infiltrates every moment and everything in your life. I can’t explain it better than that. I wish I could, but depression is holding me back from even my writing.

Sometimes I think it’s the very worst disease anyone can live with. Even cancer is recognized by others. Doctors can see it, target it, fight it for you. There are treatments, charities, whole entire stores you can visit to buy a wig or a special bra or wheelchair.

Depression kills people just like cancer does. Lots and lots of us. And the newspapers won’t even talk about someone’s death by suicide unless it’s a celebrity.

I’m just so frustrated and tired and just fucking done with depression. Someone take it from me please. Someone fight this for me.

The only thing I can do is try to describe it so other people will understand depression a little better. Please share this post. It’s not perfect, it’s fucking depressing, but it’s real. It’s a part of life, a giant part of it for so many of us. At least let us name it and talk about it. It might not be your problem, but I guarantee that it’s affecting someone you know, every minute of every day. It’s a vest we can’t take off, ever, and we’re drowning from it.

ErinThe Full Weight of Depression