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

35 Comments on “A New Room in Depression Recovery”

  1. Dave

    I go to your site every day and it brings a ray of sunshine when I see a new post. Thanks for having the courage I lack sometimes and I hope you can reach a balance. Take care Erin.

  2. Heather Bennett

    Erin, your insights are very welcomed and help me to understand the struggles that arise with depression. I truly appreciate your words. So please keep them coming.
    Thank you Erin.
    xoxox

  3. John

    Like a bumper sticker said, ‘I feel much better since I gave up on Hope’

    I realized I just needed to hand all trust to the Higher Power upstairs. I can’t do it on my own. The more I go forward, I realized I was at the same spot. Going nowhere.

    It is what it is. I am who I am. What happens, happens.

    Striving for happiness just led to more loneliness. I realized I needed to be happy where I am and who I am. I am lucky. Depression is just a part of me.

    There is something good. The simple things are best. We are all different. We are not clones. We have something to offer. Everyone can be a mentor or friend to someone. No man is an island, as the saying goes.

  4. MarieMathilda

    Hi Erin, I liked your post! You are so strong and brave to get off the medication to get relief from the migraines. I hope so much for you that it will work out. Struggling with depression myself, I know how hard it is to post on a regular schedule. But your community will stay here! Can’t wait to hear from you whenever you feel like posting…

  5. Scott S.

    Your words are real and hit home. Please keep posting because your touching so many people with the thoughts they think they are having alone.

  6. Ru

    Erin! We’re here rooting for you! I’m glad your pain has gone down. I hope you find something that helps you feel better emotionally too. Take your time. Focus on the good. You’ve got our support.

  7. Wendy Love

    Erin,
    I’ve only recently discovered your blog. It is delightful. Don’t give up on it. Just the writing of it is therapeutic for you and hey, it is therapeutic for those who read it too, a win, win!
    We simply can’t give in or give up…it is not an option!
    This post is all too familiar for me. I can identify with a lot of what you are going through.
    I have suffered headaches as well but they were usually related to the medications I was on. And so I went off of all antidepressants for awhile.
    And then every time I would get seriously depressed, again, I would try something new, the headaches would return and I would go off of them again.
    This last time I determined to try one more time, a med that did help, a little bit, once, but gave me headaches. This time I decided to go back on it ever so slowly, half a pill for two weeks, a whole pill, etc…. It took me a year to get to the required dosage and with a positive result. Oh I still have some depression but it is slightly more manageable this way.
    It has been over 20 years for me, ups and downs, but it has helped me to just not give up. I keep trying something new whether it is a new med, a new exercise, a change in diet, etc….. The effort has been worth it as the depression is not as debilitating as it once was. And besides, all of those efforts give me something to do!
    Keep writing. You have a gift.

    1. Erin

      Thank you so much, Wendy! It feels so confusing to have antidepressants work and the be counter productive in causing debilitating headaches. Hearing your story helps me feel like I’m on the right track. Thank you for your encouragement and sharing a piece of yourself with me. Many hugs! Love Erin

  8. Bliss

    Erin – just discovered your blog. I have just recently begun the walking the road to understanding depression after living with it for what seems like the last 15 to 20 years. Just turned 30 and Saturn came knockin and boy did it turn my world upside down. But after seeking the help of a psychologist and finally talking about my feelings with my family I know now what it is. We all have the same thing in common. We are constantly at battle with our emotions and the shadow man that rests on our shoulders. Never forget you carry this everyday and in doing so your inner strength is stronger than you know.

  9. Jodi

    A very brave young man once said, I don’t mind pain because I know courage is supposed to hurt (at least a little). Otherwise, why call it courage?

    Brave is a most apt word I know to describe you, Erin. I understand your struggles and it hurts my heart to read about them. But by writing about them, you ARE, helping yourself and, as Wendy Love wrote, you are also helping so many others. The fact that you are finding the energy to do this at all is testament to the fact that you are fighting through it.

    You are in the place you need to be right now. As uncomfortable as it is, it seems you are heading in the right direction. Making plans for the future shows you ARE on a good path. But, oh, I hate that you have to feel so awful.

    Focus on the small things that make you happy. Be good to yourself. And please, please, please, keep writing. You write with a compassion and talent that cannot be taught, though it’s said it comes out of this sickness.

    I’m not a religious woman, but I pray, with all my heart and soul that you see your way out from this darkness.

    Hugs and love from across the pond.
    Jodi

  10. Jodi

    A very brave young man once said, I don’t mind pain because I know courage is supposed to hurt (at least a little). Otherwise, why call it courage?

    Brave is the most apt word I know to describe you, Erin.

    I understand your struggles and it hurts my heart to read about them. But by writing about them, you ARE, helping yourself and, as Wendy Love wrote, you are also helping so many others. The fact that you are finding the energy to do this at all is testament to the fact that you are fighting through it.

    You are in the place you need to be right now. As uncomfortable as it is, it seems you are heading in the right direction. Making plans for the future shows you ARE on a good path. But, oh, I hate that you have to feel so awful.

    Focus on the small things that make you happy. Be good to yourself. And please, please, please, keep writing. You write with a compassion and talent that cannot be taught, though it’s sad it comes out of this sickness.

    I’m not a religious woman, but I pray, with all my heart and soul that you see your way out from this darkness.

    Hugs and love,
    Jodi

    1. Erin

      Thank you so much, Jodi. I really like what you said about courage hurting. And thank you for calling me brave! Hugs and love back. <3 Erin

      1. Jodi

        Nice to see you posting, Erin! My mother always says that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I wouldn’t have said it if I didn’t believe it and I most certainly do!

        Here’s a video of the young man who said that thing about courage (I paraphrased).

        If he doesn’t inspire you, well … just watch it. Unfortunately, Sam Berns is no longer with us, but his spirit is still sending out good karma.

        Be happy, my friend. Feel the sun on your face, enjoy the aroma of flowers and bread baking, savor that fresh bread while it’s still warm and listen to the wind, the rain and birdsong.

        Oh and one more thing. I suffer with terrible migraines too. I just started acupuncture about three weeks ago and it really seems to be helping. Just a thought.

        Wishing you good healing. Keep spreading the love!

  11. Stancie

    Hi Erin. I’m very sorry to hear about what you are going through. I will keep you in heavy prayer. Do you exercise, pray, or meditate daily? This is something I do everyday and it is working so good for me.

    Please take care of yourself, and never rely on anyone else to determine your happiness.

  12. Carla

    I visit your site often without leaving any reply. I just wanted to say thank you. You help me feel less alone.

  13. Alexander

    Hi Erin , your beautiful words make me feel better everyday. Please continue to write as you forge your way forward!

  14. Daniel

    i didn’t realize I had depression until just recently. And after reading your blog and others, I was surprised that all these thing that people with depression feel and do.., well that’s me. I used to cry as a 5 year old to the Sesame Street theme song. It just sounded so sad. And i’d play it over and over. I’d tell people this over the years, hoping somebody would understand or hear the beautiful sadness in the things I saw and heard. I thought I was just different. I cried a lot. Now I’ve found people that do and feel things the way I do, though everyone has their differences, at the heart, it’s the same. Something inside just makes us sad. I’m still trying to figure out where I stand. I’ve cried every day since November. I moved to a new state by myself, trying to be something new, trying to be happy. I wouldn’t trade myself for any other person though. And reading your blog… Well, it’s comforting to know I’m not alone, that I’m not weird. Or, I guess I kinda am. :)

  15. Erin

    Erin,

    I think the fact that you’re taking the time to wonder if this is in fact what recovery feels like, in and of itself, is progress.

    I haven’t hit any of the lows that you’ve described; probably more of a dysthymia type thing. Every low seems tolerable, maybe not in the moment, but when I start to feel better it does. And occasionally I’ll have a calm, peaceful moment, often surrounded by sunshine, that makes it all worth it.

    Don’t stop writing this blog. You’re helping others and yourself.

    You’ll find moments of blissful calm one day. They’ll start of in moments, mere fractions of a second…then you’ll learn to make them longer…then you’ll be thankful you stuck around.

    I know you must have heard this a million times, but gratitude goes a long way. It has helped me immensely.

    Take care.

    A fellow Erin

  16. donna

    Maybe we are just different: we feel too much, we intuitively understand when something is very wrong, and we “see” people more clearly. We love too deeply and forever. Unfortunately, this is all overwhelming. We are tired.
    I’m pretty sure someone long ago just gave it a diagnoses, but that didn’t help at all.

  17. Susan

    Hi Erin,
    I just came across your blog as I have been searching for understanding to my depression and recent medical problems with migraine (they have plagued me for over 15years). I understand being torn between the medication and the depression, and being torn between the pain and the depression. I recently have been told I need to go off my long standing migraine meds which sent me deeper into my depression, but the meds were giving me other sides effects- side effects I’m not sure are ME. I don’t know how to cope with all of this and the change and the medications and the mental changes, but I hear you. Your blog is beautiful, thank you, it’s inspiring and truthful. Sometimes we seeks being told what will make us feel better, but unfortunately only we can seek what those things are. I hope to read more when you are ready.

  18. Rebecca

    Erin, I just discovered your blog today as I was thinking myself about writing through my struggles with depression and anxiety. One of my biggest fears in considering starting a blog was thinking about the times when I won’t be able to post, and the fear I would be letting down others and myself. Reading just this one post today struck me as a poignant reminder that what matters most is not how much we post or try or sleep or cry or struggle, what matters is that we just keep going. There may be long stretches between steps, or between rooms, as you say, but they are still steps.
    Thank you for your inspiring words, and I look forward to reading further into your posts and learning more about your personal journey.

    1. Wendy Love

      Rebecca,
      As a blogger I would like to encourage you to try blogging. It is a really fun hobby and you never know who might be able to encourage by being open about your own struggles and victories.
      You could just post once a week, that is what I do, and you can prepare posts ahead of time, so on a week when you are just not up to posting, you already have something available.
      Go for it!

  19. Katie

    Hi Erin, as a fellow daily migraine sufferer who was also taking antidepressants, I had to look at a couple of things. One was migraine prevention rather than treatment. For one thing, any type of reactive treatment can get you into a rebound headache/migraine thing, you may have gotten relief a long time ago but now the body just expects that treatment & serves up the migraine each day to remind you. Then rather than stopping your antidepressant; change your antidepressant drug classification, perhaps something else out there will work better for you. Then, you should look at prevention. I assume that you have tried all the usual things since you up to stopping your med; one med that I’ve found helpful is Topamax. It is an anticonvulsant medication, but now if you look it up the first indication it has is for Migraines. I really hope that you can get out of this daily migraine pain without having to switch to depression pain. It’s the depression pain that can be the most difficult to deal with, and I always worry so much when I hear of people stopping mental health medications because of side effects. There are almost always different options! You know yourself the best though and always, always talk to your doctor.
    Look forward to hearing how things go for you. Lei

  20. Glen Bonham

    Hi Erin,
    I have just come across your blog and have to say I am seriously impressed. Not just by the articulate nature in which you produce your posts, but also by the courage you show to open up to the world. I personally don’t suffer from depression. Although I have friends who do. I have created my own blog in a hope to remove the stigma surrounding mental illness. Mental illness is no joke and needs to be brought to everyone’s attention. The bravery that you show to get off the medication at the cost of falling back into a dark place is nothing short of inspirational! With your permission I would like to link to your site from mine which is http://www.nolongerdepressed.com. I think the more exposure that your site gets the better. To show people that it is ok to share your feelings, no matter what sort of place you are in emotionally. Look forward to seeing more posts from you, when you decide to share some more. Well done Erin, you are truly an inspiration to many.
    Glen

  21. D.

    Hi Erin. I’ve just discovered your blog today and only read a couple of posts. I am also someone who has been depressed for a long time and can’t take antidepressants because they make me have constant, intrusive suicidal thoughts. I still struggle off the meds (have been off since August 2015.) but I’m blogging about a ton of non-drug ways to cope with the day to day and some of them really have helped me a lot. Here’s my blog link. http://www.graspingforjoy.com.

    Also my daughter has daily migraines and has been prescribed amitriptylline which is a very old school antidepressant, and says that it helps.

    Also, also, I have heard that going grain free can help with migraines, though it is a giant pain in the hiney.

    Please take all my comments (including a diet recommendation, which I know is annoying!!!) with love, in the way they were intended.

    I sincerely hope that we can both beat this thing.

  22. D.

    My blog has been taken off line, I am guessing my custom domain has expired and I am trying to figure out how to pay the bill and get it back online!!! Sorry!

    I’ll be in touch.

  23. Rodd

    Hi Erin! I am about to be 21 years old and as the years pass by, I feel more and more confused about my life. I mean, I don’t know what is happening, but I feel sad all the time. I think it’s depression. “I’m frustrated, I’m confused as hell,” I feel that way as well. I found your blog and I’m reading as much as I can right now. I want to learn how to deal with depression until I get more confident to tell about this for someone that I trust. I’m from Brazil, so my English isn’t so good.
    I’m really grateful for you.

  24. Marianela

    There are still so many things we don’t know about anxiety and depression. And I empathize for one who has gone through the same experience at one point.Know that there is always light at the end. One should stop comparing themselves to others and stop living someone else’s life. Write out your emotions and talk to close peers or family members. Thanks for sharing away =)

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