Coping with World News

ErinDay-to-Day Life4 Comments

The past few days have been a hell of a tragedy overload worldwide. It’s hard enough dealing with life’s daily problems, but what do you do when life insists on reminding you of how much pain exists in the world? Here are some tips I’ve figured out while coping myself.

1. Express your Feelings

It is normal to feel all sorts of feelings when you hear about something that upsets you. When I heard about the recent tragedy in Norway, I felt repulsed at what humans are capable of, I felt angry that such a thing could happen, and I felt guilty that I couldn’t do anything to help. Chatting with my friend online helped me to feel understood and supported. If you don’t feel like talking about your emotions, find another way to express them like through listening to music, writing, doing art, or exercising.

2.  Protect Yourself

External traumas are horrific and affect us all in deep ways, but if you are feeling overwhelmed, take a break from the news or twitter or other things that may trigger you. Surround yourself in aspects of your own life that you find comforting; relish what you have in your life that you are thankful for. Comforting yourself doesn’t mean that you don’t care about the rest of the world, but rather that you know that to best help others, taking care of yourself has to come first. Remember those instructions for airplane emergencies? Put on your own oxygen mask first, then help others with theirs, because if you pass out you won’t be help to anyone.

Read More

ErinCoping with World News

Fight for Your Life

ErinThe Big Picture9 Comments

What does the word “life” mean?

It’s what you’re born with. You exist in it all day, every day. All year, every year. It is what you have until you are dead. It is your only true job on this planet and you are responsible for it. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it?

Especially when you have depression, life can feel like an enormous task. It is one huge commitment and none of us signed up for it, really. We were just born and with that first breath we unconsciously said ‘yes’ to life.

Now, what does the phrase “fight for your life” mean?

You hear it when someone’s been in a car accident or when a doctor diagnoses someone with a terminal disease. In a fight with a lion you fight for your life. In a fight with a person you often fight for your life. But is it something we only do when we are faced with death?Read More

ErinFight for Your Life

The Brave New World of Medication

ErinMedication, The Mental Health System2 Comments

I’m not going to lie: I’m swamped in getting ready for my craft show this weekend and have not written a new post. While I hope to be a Speedy Gonzales-esque writer one of these days and write ten posts ahead of schedule, it hasn’t happened yet. Don’t be disappointed, however! Tonight you get to step into the shoes of a MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONAL. WOOO!!! No university degree required.

mindyourmindpro.ca aims at helping health care professionals help youth. They have a kick-ass blog that I’m sampling from here, a post I wrote in February on educating youth on medication. It was amazing to be able to talk to professionals in an arena where they would be open to my opinions on health care. While the post is aimed at professionals, it has a lot of good advice for people new to antidepressants. I wish I could have read such an article when I first went on medication. Click the “more” arrow below to read the article.

Read More

ErinThe Brave New World of Medication

Glue for the Soul

ErinDay-to-Day Life, Therapy5 Comments

There is something calming in creating something myself. I make buttons and hair clips, I embroider and decoupage. I paint and art journal and customize everything. I took art in high school but always felt stifled with the amount of rules that were enforced. I never connected with art until I let myself create freely.

Collages were my first medium. My sister and I got into cutting up magazines and decoupaging (collaging over another object like a box) one summer and quickly turned it into a daily ritual. I love taking something like a magazine clipping and reworking it into something else entirely, a new piece of art from my point of view.

When I finished high school I planned to take a year off and during that down time my mom, a talented artist, encouraged me to continue making art. I started looking at art online and saw that a lot of young people were pouring their feelings into their work. When I was feeling very depressed, I secretly and tentatively started pouring my darker feelings into my art. As a result I felt a freedom I had never felt before. It was a new way to communicate what words can’t always capture.

Read More

ErinGlue for the Soul

Tangible Tv Land

ErinDay-to-Day Life1 Comment

“You told me about the movie Outbreak when we were about eleven years old and the concept scared the shit out of me. Fifteen years later, I’m finally watching it…and it’s scaring the shit out of me!” I texted my cousin Sunday night.

“Hahaha, That’s amazing that you remember that! I can’t even remember what the movie is about :)”

“A deadly virus spread by a monkey. It has Dustin Hoffman and Kevin Spacey in it. The circa 1995 laptops in the movie scare me the most, though!”

When Cuba Gooding Junior’s character first sees a victim of the deadly virus, he throws up within his airtight antiseptic suit. It was at that moment I asked myself whether it was a good idea for me to be watching such a dark movie. After all, don’t I have a pretty cynical view of the world, one that I’m trying to change? And sure, with my social anxiety, mass amounts of people stress me out, but that doesn’t mean I want mass amounts of people to die to ease my anxiety. And who wants to think about puking in a space suit? Yuck! I did watch the whole movie, though.

Read More

ErinTangible Tv Land

Me & My Twin, Bif Naked

ErinFun2 Comments

About once a week I am told by a stranger that I look like Bif Naked. Ever since I got my baby bangs, it’s been a constant observation by people wherever I go. Especially in the summer, when my tattoos are showing, I get told that even more. My sister is often mistaken for being my twin so she too is told she looks like Bif.

So, naturally when Bif Naked came to London a few weeks ago, my friend Maranda and I had to see her. My sister bought tickets too and I was psyched to take a picture of the three of us look-a-likes together but last minute it turned out that my sister couldn’t go.

Anyway, Maranda and I stood in line outside of Call the Office and as soon as the doors opened we rushed to the stage to make sure we’d have a good view for the show. Call the Office is a small club and we ended up being right in the front by the time Bif came out. She was like two meters away from me!

Read More

ErinMe & My Twin, Bif Naked

Respect My Space

ErinRelationships6 Comments

Sometimes I want to get this Natalie Dee drawing tattooed on my forehead. Or else print it out and mail it to everyone in the whole world. Not only do I not want people to stand in my space, I also do not want them to touch me. Please do not touch me if you don’t know me, and if you do know me, touch me only after asking. You may shake my hand if I extend my hand. No exceptions, no refunds.

Tonight I went to a poetry slam by myself. My social anxiety is pretty bad at things like that but tonight I made myself go anyway. I’m always glad that I attended once I get to slams so I thought I’d be in the clear if I went a little late and therefore didn’t have to talk to anyone. I was doing all right until there was a ten minute break during which everyone got up to buy more beer. I was sitting there, minding my own business, when this older man came up to me. He was probably sixty-five. He squeezed past my chair and I thought he was going to get a chair from behind me, but instead he put his arm around me and started rubbing my back!

“You did such a great job performing your poem so don’t be sad you didn’t get higher scores.” His face was about three inches from mine.

Read More

ErinRespect My Space

Meds, Part Two: Bad Emotional Reactions

ErinMedication, Symptoms and Side-Effects1 Comment

It was basically my worst nightmare to become suicidal from medication because after all, I was taking it to feel better, not worse. Thankfully, I didn’t have any really bad emotional effects from medication until I was well into treatment and could recognize when I was going downhill. Otherwise, it could have been fatal.

As I write this I question whether a) this will scare my new readers away or b) that this will dissuade people from trying medication at all, but this story has a happy ending so I hope you will trust me. Obviously, I urge anyone that is considering ending their life to go to the hospital. Please see my Help Section if you are feeling like hurting yourself. Also, before I go on I want to add that everyone reacts differently to medications, so even though I had bad reactions to these drugs, they could work wonders for you. I am no doctor, just a writer with her story, so work with your own doctor when figuring out meds for yourself.

So, out of the different medications I have tried, two drugs made me feel emotionally worse. The first was a complete shock to both me and my doctor because it wasn’t a new medication at all, just a different form of the same drug. I had previously been taking the generic Wellbutrin twice a day, but when I switched psychiatrists my new doctor told me that the name brand pill came in a once-a-day dosage. It was inconvenient to take it twice a day so I switched from two purple pills to one white pill and thought little of it.

Read More

ErinMeds, Part Two: Bad Emotional Reactions

Fight or Flight

ErinBook Reviews, Symptoms and Side-Effects9 Comments

Someone today thought they were educating me about Cortisol, the stress hormone, and it took all of my energy not to burst out with facts about zebras and pooping.

Wait, what?

Once again, I need to refer back to a post I wrote originally for mindyourmind.ca. It’s only fair that I let you in on the science behind why we need to poop when we’re nervous. You know you’re curious!

This whole stress hormone thing has been a huge issue for me in the past few years with my headaches and stomach problems. In my frustration over not being able to cure my ailments, I eventually went to the library looking for answers. There I  found a book called Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Robert M. Sapolsky. It had a ton of information on the fight or flight response, which up until then I’d only heard about in science class.

Read More

ErinFight or Flight

What’s “Crazy?”

ErinStigma7 Comments

According to dictionary.com, the medical definition for “crazy” states that the word means “mad” or “insane.” The word origin comes from the 1570-1580s, stating that crazy means “diseased, sickly, from craze; meaning “full of cracks or flaws”; the definition of crazy meaning that of “of unsound mind, or behaving as so” is from 1610s. People have labeled others as “crazy” for a very long time.

So, am I crazy? I see a shrink, have been in a mental hospital. I take a lot of pills and have participated in self-harming behaviour. Crazy?

I am really “full of cracks and flaws”, but I do not believe I am “of unsound mind”. That’s what “crazy” means to me. Some mentally ill people are very sensitive about the word general, and do not like to hear it used for anything, not even “Whoa, that movie was crazy!” I don’t really care about the usage of the word unless it is used in an insulting manner. If anyone called me “crazy,” I would assume that the person didn’t understand mental illness at all. Now, if a doctor called me “crazy” then I would believe it and feel devastated. If someone called my friend crazy I would be outraged. It totally depends on context for me.

Read More

ErinWhat’s “Crazy?”