Working for the Present

ErinUncategorized16 Comments


My bubble tea reads “Happy Enough”

My survival strategy of the moment is just to trust the timing of my life. It’s not my fault that things are the way they are. All I can do is survive the best I can and things can get better.

For example, I had a job interview a few weeks ago that didn’t work out. I’d basically already gotten the job through a rad connection of mine, and I really need the work to make ends meet. I need the social connection and the distraction from pain and the hope for my future.

It wasn’t the job for me. There were a million red flags that it was something I just wasn’t capable of doing right now. I left the mini interview in so much migraine pain I thought I was going to have to call an ambulance. My head pain was SCREAMING at me. Over the next week it continued to scream and I honestly thought about suicide a lot and eventually just said to myself, “Holy shit, Erin, your body is saying NO. You need to say no. That’s all you have to do.”

So I did say no that particular job and my pain eased up slightly. My suicidal thoughts lessened a lot. I’m still having overwhelming concerns about where my life is going and if I’m going to have such severe physical and emotional pain FOREVER, but I’m trying to match those thoughts with the reminder that I don’t have to figure out the rest of my life today.

My pain is going to get better, at least if the weather stops doing this winter-to-spring yo-yo every twenty-four hours. My number one passion is writing, that has always been my calling in life, and I can do that curled up in my bed with an ice pack around my head and a heating pad on my back. All I need is a pen and a paper.

Money will come in time. Until then I’m thankful I have my writing. It’s my number one work. How can things not get better if I dedicate my heart to its calling?

I have a roof over my head. I have my dog. We don’t know what the future holds, and trying to predict it when our bodies are telling us otherwise, well, maybe just focusing on the present and what we can do for now is the best way of all.

I know we all have different struggles, but anxiety about surviving into the future is huge for everyone. There is so much uncertainty and fear in the air. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but for now, let’s just trust that it’s going to work out for the simple reason that it makes our present much easier to handle. That’s all we have really, the present.

Thanks for being a part of my present!


ErinWorking for the Present

16 Comments on “Working for the Present”

  1. J

    This is lovely, Erin — lovely in your warmth, your strength, your sense, your trust in time, meaning, and calling. Thank YOU for being part of my present.

  2. Fay

    HI Ellen

    Please don’t hurt yourself. I just joined the list because I was so touched by your prolific writing. So many people who seek hope from you and solidarity would be shattered if they woke to find you not there.

    Much love and I agree with what you are writing some times life tells you no and even your body . We should all listen

  3. Irma

    Dear Erin,
    you are helping people and inspiring them and you are alive. What a miracle.

    I have an URGENT issue I did not know where to post – I stink at internet research. I need to know what to put in a lock box for a cutter. – to deny access to my child.

    We just found out our teen has been cutting for two years. My husband has taken all the kids away until Monday night to get out of the space and have some fun. Understanding cutting is clearly a learning curve but I do understand other types of addiction and want to remove anything that might tempt her or allow her to act on impulse because she clearly is impulsive right now..

    Dismantled safety razors were her tool of choice but she also used pocket knives. the doc said take them all away and only give the razor to her when she shaves and then take it back. Obviously knives scissors etc. But what else? What about my two kids who get injections every day (the medicine is already in the syringe.

    Can anyone please give me advice, point me to a list… help?

    We are also to inspect her body daily and I learned here that that includes more than just her arm..

    We barely avoided having them commit her for 48 hours which here you can do without parental consent and would have been a disaster – the doc calmed the alarmed psychologist down and we relieved her of liability. We are going to do CBT and he has started her on antidepressants..

    I don;t care about bruises but I care about scars and the possibility the implement might slip – she said it never would but the doc told her he had seen plenty of kids like her end up in the ER for cutting due to accidents. She also made a very half hearted suicide attempt two weeks ago – taking some nonlethal meds and then promptly throwing them up. I know how to proof our house for that I think.

    But until we get to a calmer place – all of us – we really need to know that we have taken away everything a cutter would think to use. It is an addiction. Thank you for explaining that – it is the most valuable information I have been given all weekend and I have been searching everywhere…

    PS I want her to be on this site and have it be her place so if you could possibly take this post and any responses DOWN/DELETE them by next weekend I would be so grateful. Otherwise she will never feel that this is a safe place for her and it seems so perfect. You are so articulate and honest and I am in awe of you. If my daughter gets to where you are now I will be extremely proud of her. We are just in the immediate throes of the initial crisis right now and I desperately need help


    1. Erin

      Dear Irma,

      I am working on deleting your comments, however, I advise you to not comment with things you may later regret sharing online. Commenting under a fake name may also protect your privacy and your family’s. To delete your comments I may have to shut off comments for this whole post and that’s not fair to the other commenters.

      I don’t feel qualified to answer most of your questions. I recommend finding support for yourself as you struggle with helping your daughter. I recommend reading Melody Beattie’s books on codependency, whether or not you identify with that word.

      From my experience having caring parents who wanted to protect me from my own self-harm, I can say that the best thing my parents did to help me keep from self-injuring was NOT examining my body for injuries. Your daughter’s body is her own to harm or heal. It’s her gift and her choice. You can’t stop her from hurting herself. You can only try to understand how much emotional pain she must be in right now. If you take away the option of self-injury, her pain is going to come out in another form that may be more damaging to her body and her life than cutting is. Don’t focus on the cutting. Focus on the feelings. Let her know that her feelings can be expressed in more ways than just self-harm.

      Often cutting arises from pain we don’t have the words to express. No one who cuts themselves wants to be cutting themselves. We often feel ashamed of our own attempts to cope. Examining her body for marks sounds really humiliating. It may be traumatizing her and actually make the situation worse.

      You talk about not wanting your daughter to hang out with a girl whose older sister used to self-injure. But I used to self-injure and you’re looking to me for advice. It’s all perspective. Someone who used to self-injure isn’t hurting themselves in that way anymore. They learned to cope with their feelings. That’s a good thing.

      Please don’t comment asking for my help with your specific situation again. A support group might be a good way for you to help yourself so your daughter can help herself. I hold you and your family in my heart and wish the best for all of you.


  4. Irma

    Same poster – please do not bother to read this if you have info to give me

    PS give me lists, other communities – all welcome, including for suicide. I do understand that you cannot stop someone who is determined. But I don’t think she is. She has friends, participates in various different communities, etc.. I wish desperately I were not so dumb about computer research.

    Final issue. She told us that her best friend’s older sister “used to be a cutter.” The girl has dropped out of college for the semester and spends hours in her PJs – it is not like she is doing an internship. She is clearly depressed and I am worried that she is not a good person to have around my child right now. I don’t want to cut her off from her support system however – her best friend who knew about her cutting for two years before we did. Is it reasonable to say they can come to our house, go to movies, go out to eat, but that she cannot go over there and for now cannot have contact with the older sister?

    And final and perhaps most important complication – why we do not want her committed and instead are willing to do everything we can and keep her out of the hospital, which if we were otherwise healthy I would do just for peace of mind..

    She feels like she is being punished but we have tried to explain to her that our job is to keep her as safe as possible and to try to avoid at all costs having her committed because she has a physical disorder that causes chronic pain and the first thing they will do (based on my numerous ER visits and admissions for the same genetic disorder) is take away her pain meds. Even with them she cries sometimes because of the pain. So she will end up in tears, they will not release her after their 48 hour hold without our consent, and we will have to go to court to get her out. No one seems to understand that the pain is not in our heads or our psyches but rather in our backs and necks and other joints.

    My experience with the teaching hospital where almost all my doctors work has convinced me of this. I have been called a drug seeker, an addict, almost had my bladder burst while an ER neuro resident tried to call in a psych consult (my spine had shifted and all I needed was to be catheterized). I also have been severely reprimanded as an inpatient when I warned the residents not to put another patient in my ICU room because without my pain meds (I had fallen down the stairs, had a brain hemorrhage and shattered my zygomatic arch, so there was more than my normal baseline physical pain) I would be screaming in 6 hours. They removed my new roomate after seven hours but the residents were extremely pissed off at me because they thought my screaming was voluntary.. And of course I felt guilty having upset another ICU patient. My neurologist (who was technically their boss) warned us that we had to get out ASAP because he could only hold off a psych consult for two more days…. and he did not trust what they would do with someone in my situation even if he vouched for me psychologically, which he was prepared…. Chronic pain, a complicated genetic disorder that no one has ever heard of, and hospital admissions are not a good combination. At least I don’t think so. And now we have a plan we just have to find the right doctor and the right meds (I take antidepressants because as my doc says why wouldn’t I be depressed having become permanently disabled and in pain and then finally being diagnosed with my son when I was already pregnant with our last child and watching some of them, especially our teen, suffer severely from a disorder I never knew I had…….

    1. J

      Dear Irma, Obviously you and your whole family are struggling a lot. I think you need to find a different site for YOUR needs. Try the links on Erin’s “help” tab at the top here. I don’t know a lot about parental support groups, except for one, which is Christian; I don’t know if that would work for you? Even if you don’t want to get involved in faith-based support, you could contact them to point you to non-denominational resources though more appropriate sites than this one.
      I hope that all goes well for you and your family.
      I’m not sure what you mean about feeling hopeless at internet research, but I really suggest you stop telling yourself that and have a go at it, as I’m sure you can find what helps YOU. Erin’s site is wonderful, but it is not her role to help in quite the way it sounds like you, as a parent, need?
      Warm good wishes.

      1. Irma

        I completely agree with you that this site has provided valuable insight (and actual hope for me as a parent) but that it is not the right site for me.

        .I hope that Erin deletes my posts because I think this would be an excellent site for my daughter who seems to have a lot in common with Erin and the rest of you – cutting, depression, and suicidal thoughts

        I called every phone number listed here and others and they all told me because I was not my daughter I did not have an emergency, and then would redirect me to another hotline where they did the same thing. That is the way I spent the hours before I posted. Thanks for the link – we are Christians but sometimes believe that God helps those who help themselves and my daughter clearly needs

        and finally, a safe community she can share with without worrying about me looking

        Erin, you are incredibly talented, articulate, intelligent, and are clearly helping so many people. Even when you are struggling you give me so much hope for my daughter – you are sending out amazing Karma to the universe, and I am confident that you will be rewarded not only by all of us but by eventually finding the right job. I know the wrong job can make even me feel suicidal – and after having children it was just not an option. So I quit. But it would be so much better to have started in the right place. You deserve that and I hope you get it soon – anyone would be an idiot if they cannot see your intelligence, writing skills, and great capacity for interpersonal relationships.

        I walked out of a very prestigious place where even getting an interview was considered massively lucky after the HR person asked me if I were an item in the kitchen like a tea pot what would I be and why. That is not the way you test whether someone can think on their feet and she was only an HR person -after all – the people I would have eventually worked with might have hired me. But given that they hired her for HR, I knew immediately that I did not even want to speak with any of my potential co-workers.

        Erin, always trust your gut on this kind of thing – you know that other feelings you have you should not act on, but you really seem intuitive in addition to intelligent. So trust your gut.

        And please trust my gut and delete all the posts from Irma as well as the one response I got. My daughter desperately needs to read your words and become a part of this community because it is not the type of support I am capable of giving. After doing internet research I was appalled by some of the other sites that come up when you put in cutting and suicide and I have no idea what she is reading, but my gut tells me that your site would be invaluable for my daughter. I will keep checking back to see if they are deleted before I direct her here. You deserve all the best and I am confident that it will come to you. I am in awe of your courage and honesty.


  5. hummingbirdpages

    Hey my love,

    I am always here for you, so is Levi, Bear, Tiffy and my Erin ☺ and I have plenty of pics of snoots to boop and toe beans to tickle whenever you need them!

    I’m here with you, even if it’s in text and spirit, always.

    I love you girl.
    Much love,

  6. Olivia F

    I feel like this was a really real post that we needed to read. This post spoke to me for how I feel this week, and last week, and so on. It’s been an uphill battle, but I am glad you are able to share with us whenever you can so we can all know together we are not alone, no matter how isolated we feel. It looks like through the words you wrote that you are seeing something positive, and that makes me feel better for you, and that I can do the same. I may need to read this post a hundred times to believe it myself.
    So thank-you Erin, stay true to your feelings. Much love.

  7. Icky

    Thank you for writing this post. I just wrote in my own blog about the difficulties of listening to your body even though it often knows what’s best for you. I’m so glad that you keep on listening and trying and sharing your story with us.

  8. Ela

    It’s nice that you listened to your gut feeling – when your body is telling you NO to a certain thing, it means something. We’re rooting for you :)

  9. Wayne

    Hi Erin,

    Thank you for writing this post. Just found out about your blog today. I was suffering from a major depression today, and I felt much better after going through your posts. I got rejected for multiple jobs that I have applied to, and it has been a very tough battle for me. Thank you for sharing your stories and letting me know that I’m not all alone.

  10. Cee

    Hi Erin,

    I’ve just subscribed to your blog today after Googling a line of poetry I may have misremembered: “All that holds my sadness is sound.” Anyway, somehow your eyes in the photo of you with your bubble tea promised that I would find what I did find in your writing. I’ve only just read this one post so far. I’ll spend time in the archives when I have more of it. I’m at a similar place in my life right now, it seems, so I will read your stories with interest. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with the world online. There really is so much uncertainty in the air, but more than the present, we do have each other.

    Sweet greetings from a young European expat,

    1. Cee

      Ah! Just saw that you’re in Canada (Canadian?)! Will probably be able to confirm this after reading more. I was born and raised in Canada, left for overseas only last year. Almost one year in and I’m only just now beginning to feel something like myself again. Anyhow, I’ll be happy to read your blog for another reason: news from back home. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *