My Story with Mental Health // Rorie

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Dear readers,

may I represent you a friend I've met through the internet, we live on each side of the globe and still haven't met in real life, but that doesn't hold us back from connecting and sharing dreams.
Today she courageously shares her story. It's an honour to have her on A Wildflowers Home and I can't wait for you to read her heart.

Remember to show her some love in the comments below. I'll let you read on..

 

So first off, let’s get the basics down; what do you want me/us to call you?

“Rorie” (artist name, nickname) 😊

 

What decade were you born in & what do you love most about that decade?

I was born in the early 1990s. I love that I got the chance to have a social-media-free childhood. I spent hours in my room writing stories, listening to music, playing my instruments, dancing to cassette tapes and CDs (ha). Now that I’m an adult, I love using social media and feel that it’s such an amazing way to be creative and connect with people all over the world! I think it’s cool to have had a taste of both (even though there would have been benefits to having access a little earlier too).

 

Where/what do you call home?

Anywhere that family is. Sometimes this includes a few different places, but they all feel like home because it’s the people that matter most.

 

What are the things you do now, that you're the most passionate about?

I love to tell stories through music.

 

What was the last quote that really spoke to you?

“and when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost.” – Francie Nolan, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn // I recently read this book for the first time, and I really identified with the main character (especially because I have crazy dreams both while sleeping and awake). I was so surprised that I hadn’t read it before!

 

If you could change one thing in the world to make it a better place - what would it be and why?

There are so many things that would be great to change, but as someone who has worked in the anti-human trafficking realm in the past, I definitely want to see that completely eradicated. Modern-day slavery, sex-trafficking, and any time that a person is taken-advantage of is completely unacceptable.

 

What's your favourite season and why?

I am a typical fall girl. My favorite part of the season is actually the second half (Halloween-Christmas). This is usually when fall allergies start to go away, and everything is so nostalgic with deep shadows, crisp air, and so much beauty. I coined this time of year “deep autumn” both because it’s further into the season, and because it’s a great time to think deeply.

 

What's the last photo you took on your phone?

My handsome and adventurous husband Steven by the Potomac River.

 

What does your name mean?

This seems like a good place to tell the story of my stage name! Erin Rea Ochocki (my real name) is kind of hard to pronounce and look at – so I was trying to come up with an alias that would really fit the sound of my music. Growing up, friends and strangers alike used to tease me (or approach me out of nowhere) and say that I looked like Rory Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. This became a joke that prevailed to the point that groups of people called me Rory for fun. Not wanting to associate myself too closely with the TV character, I changed the spelling to “Rorie” – which ended up being a combo of the letters in my full name, and also a representation of the sound of my music!

 

So, we’ve gotten to know you a little more, now let’s take a dig deeper. How are you feeling right now? (let’s skip “I’m fine”)

I like the idea to skip “I’m fine.” 😊 I’m usually feeling multiple ways at once (guessing I’m not alone in this). Right now, I am hopeful because the season is changing – both literally and metaphorically. After a kind of rough season health-wise during this past fall and winter, I’ve been discovering new ways to be well and to embrace what I love to do. There is also some stress that goes into dealing with chronic health issues, so I have been navigating that and taking care of myself not only physically, but also mentally.

 

What's your "story” with mental health? 

During my late teenage years (about 7 years ago), I dealt with a lot of chronic asthma, headaches, and other related issues, which contributed to what became a season of depression. It’s not unusual for physical health problems to affect your mind, especially when you’re first dealing with them. I noticed that my emotions felt very out of control, which seemed strange to me because I was someone who always wanted to work hard and excel. There were days when I had trouble getting out of bed or looking at situations rationally. Sometimes I would leave class or wherever I was to try and get a moment alone and calm down. My “achiever” personality had created a lot of pressure within my mind to excel at everything, when in reality I needed to give myself some room to rest. I had also moved pretty far away from my family to go to school, and I didn’t realize how much the transition had affected me.

 

How was your process of finding out that you struggle? When and What made you realize that this was more than just a bad day?

I was blessed to have loving family and friends in my life who listened to me and made me feel understood. This was huge because I could approach the situation from a hopeful angle rather than one of complete despair. I knew that there were people around who I could talk to (and some who could even relate), and that they would help me find the right outlet to get help. It made me feel like these problems weren’t the end of the world, and that I would be able to feel free from them again. I know that it doesn’t always feel like there are people around who understand what you’re going through, but I am sharing this because I think it’s a real testimony to why opening up is important and can help so, so much. You never know who will in turn reach out to you when they are going through a difficult season, and your story can be an encouragement to them.

 

What was one of your biggest "relief" moments in your mental health journey?

In addition to some of the above (and without going into TMI), I discovered that my doctor could help me through the process. It made me realize that what I was dealing with wasn’t strange or abnormal, but that there were things I could do to feel better. Being able to find help in that way made the rest of the healing process more effective, and I could put less pressure on myself to “fix” things.

 

Has your life changed because of your mental health?
..if you don't struggle anymore: something you're aware of or do so you won't "struggle" again?

This is a really interesting thought, because something I used to say a lot was “what if this happens to me again!?” I think it’s important to realize how much strength you gain from moving through trials. As a Christian, I honestly can’t answer this question without saying that it is my faith that reminds me that I cannot worry about whether or not I’m going to struggle, because in reality it is through God’s grace that I’ll be able to find the strength to move through anything. There is always, always reason to hope. A few verses that were particularly important to me during this time are: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 1 Corinthians 12:9, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.’” 2 Corinthians 4:7-9 and “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

From a medical standpoint, I still sometimes struggle with the physical/chronic illness that I did before. I am now really aware of what medicine I’m taking, and what kind of food I’m eating (balance is key). There are always going to be good days and bad days, so I find it important to remember that the low moments don’t last forever, and that they aren’t the end of the story. My song “Fall and Rise” talks about this in a general sense: “We rise and fall, we fall and rise.”

 

What things/experiences/memories etc do you feel like your missing out on or have lost because of your mental health?

I am super grateful for my life experiences, and don’t feel that I’ve missed out on anything in particular. I found this awesome (and yet very simple) quote on Pinterest that inspired me to keep being present when I just wanted to hide: “Show up, shine, let it go.” In the day to day, I’m often reminded that overthinking or doubting (something that I have a natural tendency to do) can really hold me back. So that is often something that I keep in mind!

 

What are some of the things you've gained from struggling mentally that you're thankful for?

My love for songwriting was initially a direct reaction to feeling things very deeply. I have been able to move through some of my lowest emotions by writing a song.

On the same note, I don’t choose to dwell in depression so that I can be a good writer. Honestly, a lot of my songs are about deciding to find hope and to believe truth over lies. Without the experiences that I’ve had, I wouldn’t have had that story to tell. And even on the good days, I still tend to feel things very deeply, so there’s always plenty to write about. 😊

I have also been able to have great conversations with friends, both new and old, about dealing with these issues in a healthy way. I remember having a Skype conversation with a childhood friend that I hadn’t really talked to in years. We realized that we had been dealing with very similar things, and ever since then we have reconnected and shared a lot of life together!

 

What tools, advice or help have you used to deal with and help your mental health? Anything you wish you knew sooner?

You don’t have to feel like crying makes you weak. Sometimes a good cry is exactly what I need to literally conquer the day. My mind is cleared and I’m suddenly way more rational than I was before. Sometimes: emotion means movement!

Also, something that my dad told me still rings true to this day: if you’re feeling really down, or crazy, or mixed up and it’s late at night…say a prayer and go to sleep. There is a huge chance that you will feel a lot better in the morning, and even if you don’t, you can find someone to talk to in the daylight and with a rested mind.

 

Something or someone you couldn't have done without in relation to your mental health and/or illness?

It sounds cliché, but family and friends! There are too many to call out individually, but we can all play such an important part in helping one another through the most difficult parts of life just by being present. Sometimes all you need is a completely unrelated hangout with a best friend, and/or a really good laugh.

 

What do you wish the world knew, did or didn't do or say?

That those who feel deeply are the weaker link. Being a quiet/thought-full (literally), and caring person can actually be your superpower! So often I think we’re led to believe that whoever is the loudest – or most entertaining - wins. Whether or not that is true, I hope that we can look at that through a different lens.

 

What would you say to someone who struggles with the same as you?

That there is always, always hope. It’s OK to see medical professionals, talk to someone, take a day off, challenge yourself, and to do what you need to do feel confident and restored. It’s when you are filled up that you are able to give the most to others. We’re all going through something, and you never know when you being you will help someone else feel less alone.

Also, in industries like the music industry, it can be really easy to get caught in a downward spiral of comparison. Constantly comparing yourself to others can prevent you from giving the beauty that you and only you can give to the world. Opening up to friends, cheering them on, and remembering that we are all a part of the same, larger story can give you confidence to shine so that others feel free to shine. I saw a good quote on the “A Wildflower’s Home” site: “A flower doesn’t think of competing to the flower next to it, it just blooms!”;)

 

What would you say to anyone who wanna help a friend who struggles with the same as you?

There is definitely a time and place for giving advice (and listening, and venting), but what a friend usually needs is someone who just wants to be present, whether it be making good food and watching a movie (especially when you just need to rest and not go out!), going on an adventure (hiking, day-trips to nearby towns, or exploring something new in your city are good ideas), working on a creative project together (my personal favorite), or laughing til it hurts.

 

Thank you for sharing! Before we wrap up, any last word of wisdom you wanna share?

I think it’s important to share our stories, because we not only realize that everyone has struggles, but that together they can be overcome. Also, thanks for the interview!

 

If people wanna reach out to you, follow you and/or know more about you where can they find you?

Rorie's Website
Rorie's Spotify
Rorie's Instagram
Rorie's
YouTube

 

If you wanna spread Rorie's story you can use these posters to pin it to Pinterest.

A Wildflower's Home // My Story with Mental Health // Erin Rea Ochocki aka Rorie Music
A Wildflower's Home // My Story with Mental Health // Erin Rea Ochocki aka Rorie Music
A Wildflower's Home // My Story with Mental Health // Erin Rea Ochocki aka Rorie Music
A Wildflowers Home // My Story with Mental Health // Rorie Music aka Erin Rea

 

That is all, I hope you enjoyed reading along as much as I did.

If you want to share your story here on A Wildflowers Home, you can read more about it here and/or shot me an mail. I'd love to hear from you!

 

// Line Xx

 

 

PS:
all the beautiful photos of Rorie are from her website. So I'm not the photographer behind it.

 

15 ways to take care of yourself through the winter depression + a Spotify-playlist

A Wildflowers Home // 17 ways to take care for yourself thought he winter depression + a Spotify-playlist

If you're living in the northern part of the world like me, you're in the winter season which also means a lot less daylight. For some, this means that the mood sometimes drops a few levels.. and then it's extra important to be gentle and patient with yourself. 

Someone I know who struggles with winter depression reached out to me and asked for some advice or things to do when the winter depression is sneaking up on us. I thought she probably wasn't the only one going through this. I know what depression can feel like, but again depression feels different to different people, but I've written some things I know have either helped me or others. And even if you're not a sufferer, we all need some self-care now and then. 

There are different things that work for different kind of people. One thing can be a stress-factor for some and a stress-reliever for others. Find what works for you. Our bodies and minds respond differently to different things..

Here are some ways you can take extra good care of yourself this winter.. 

 

  • Check in with yourself. I received an advice ones, she told me that every morning before she went out of bed, she would ask herself what she had the energy to do that day. She would really check in with herself and be honest. This may take some practice, especially if you have ignored your feelings and body's needs for a long time. The less you've taken care of yourselves, the less you probably have the energy to do, but the more you practise self-care the better your body will feel. Some days don't have the energy to plan a week ahead, some days it's enough just "planning" the day in front of you. Some days it's necessary to take one day at a time. And that's o k a y .

  • Eat breakfast in bed. Some days it's just too much to leave bed, but it can also make us feel even more hopeless. Why not make your own little shelter in bed. Camp there. Bring a cup of tea (the bigger the cup the better). Sometimes I feel good enough to do some "work" (like writing a blog post) in bed. Other times all I can do is read a book or watch Netflix (but let's be mindful of what we watch, sometimes what we watch make us feel even worse about ourselves). Again, it all depends on what we need. No shame in staying in bed. ;)

  • Organise your Pinterest boards. Okay okay, listen.. for some this can feel like a totally unnecessary chore, if so.. then don't! BUT if you're like me and you like organising (bonus: while looking at pretty pictures) then I've found this is perfect for me! I still feel somehow productive and cleaning out old pins actually makes me feel a little better. It's always good cleaning out. On my Pinterest boards whenever I need inspiration, and then I always appreciate that I cleaned up (it's also interesting to see how your personal style & taste develops over time, I should totally write a blogpost about that some time!) and Pinterest's algorithms will know better what to show you.

  • Pin some quotes. ..talking about Pinterest, when I burned out last year I dedicated a whole Pinterest board to self-care. It's called // care, love + grow yourself and I'll link to it right here. So if you're in need of some self-affirmation, good quotes or just wanna read something encouraging - check it out and pin away!

  • Occupy your mind. I'm all about feeling your feelings and give yourself time to listen to what your heart is telling you aka. not pretending like you don't have feelings, BUT there are times when the mind just won't shut up. I usually explain it as "a war in my head". Only you know yourself and if you’re just avoiding feelings by numbing out. That’s on you, but please don't do that for your own good, eventually, they will find a way out. With backlash.
    When all that is said, I have days when my anxiety is sky-high and mthe wars in my head are never ending. It keeps screaming. Music doesn't even work for me on those days. On days like this, I try to distract my brain so that I drown the war going on in there. When I'm feeling like this I like listening to a podcast, reading, writing, declaring, watching something I enjoy, makes me laugh or fills me with inspiration.

  • Listen to podcasts. When music doesn't work for me, a podcast does. Then I'm focusing on someone else's voice. Or an audiobook if you're into that. And I can either learn something new, be inspired or enjoy some good entertainment.

  • Read. If you can focus enough, then read. A book (check my recommendations: "Stuff that shaped me"), a magazine, a blog, some old cards or maybe a dairy from your childhood. I've found that whenever I enter into another world my minds get occupied, just great! Or if I find a blog I really like, I keep on finding new blogposts I wanna read (I recommend Ashley Morgan Jackson and A Girl Named Leney). When all that is said, even though I love to read, sometimes I just can't. I just get too distracted all the time.. and then I forget where I left and you know.. It's better to stop and do something else for a while.

  • Write. Write something. It's a good way to get feelings out of your system. Or just get down on paper all the things swirling around in your head. If it's about a person, write them a letter and burn it.. or hide it, it's up to you. I actually wrote a letter to someone. I was tired of hearing their judging comments in my mind and needed it to stop. It actually helped me - I even shared it with you.

  • Leave a nice comment. Write a nice or encouraging comment on someone's instagram post or youtube video etc. We can all use some love and encouragement. I’m sure we’ve all recieved a compliment or comment that totally made our day. What about making someone else’s day? And what a beautiful thing it is to be supportive of others. Or maybe write a song? It works for the brilliant songwriters like Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran. Let me make it a cliche, write your heart out.

  • Watch. Your favourite YouTubers. Or a great movie (May I recommend The Shack? This is an affiliate link, but 100% my opinion)
    If I need to focus on happier things I either go to my Pinterest board dedicated to The Cat Family. Cats always make me happy. There are so many photos, memes, videos.. may I recommend videos of cats getting scared of cucumbers for an instant laugh?! They're always a joy watching. Especially when you live a place where you're not allowed pets. If you like some food for your mind I also made a playlist out of my favourite bodypositive & mental health videos.

  • Talk to someone. Skype a friend who lives far away. Call your parents or grandparents. Sometimes when we feel lonely or a bit sad is because we simply haven't spoken to a living human being.

  • Fingerpaint. I know it sounds like something a kindergarten would do, but getting all the tools away and litereally using your body, your hand, your fingers to *smoosh* out the paint. Feel the texture. Play around. Let go of all the pressure to create something pretty. Use some colours that fit your mood and make those fingers work!

  • Create a "hygge" atmosphere. It's actually gramatically incorrect, it should say "hyggelig", but since it's the noun version that's taken the world by storm, and probably the only one you recognize then I'll be a little gramatically incorrect, just for you, haha. I actually created a Pinterest board (has the fact that I'm a Pinterest freak sinked in yet? #noshame) it's called hygge by a danish girl. Yes I'm danish. I'm born in the country of hygge; Denmark. Any other danes out there? If you check out the board, you'll know it's the real deal ;) Anyways, whenever I'm feeling a bit weird or in need of some mood-boosters. I put on some of my favourite music, I light up al the candles, I mean ALL the candles, I'll find more if I need too. Make myself a hot cup of tea with milk! I might even make myself a little snack platter with whatever I find like some fruit slices, buiscuits, candy, some yoghurt with müsli.. you name it. Bring out your favourites and when you display it all on a plate it looks fancier, feels more luxurious and might even taste better (no promises). A blanket. Depending on what you need or want you can bring over a friend, a pet, a little brother, a book, a movie.. you name it, but creating a hygge-atmosphere can make it feel more homely. And a nice treat for ourselves. Sometimes just doing something for ourselves can make us feel better.

  • Listen to some upbuilding music. I don't think it's a secret that music can make us feel things and we can resonate with the words. As promised in the title, I created a spotify-playlist filled with songs that bring hope, bring courage, take away fear and makes us feel less alone or makes us wanna change the world. It's called Fight for yourself-playlists. I believe the words we say and listen to effects us more than we know. I try my best to fill my playlists with good music - especially lyric wise. There's a lot of lyrics filled with destructive thinking, not honourable and disrespectful behaviour, not to mention words I'd never say out loud.
    Feel free to share the playlist! (will continue to update it, so send me your suggestions!)

  • Create a self-care-box. Or feel-good-box. Whatever you wanna call it. Fill it with nice things. Like letters and cards you appreciate, cute notes, maybe your favourite perfume, some good-smelling soap, photos of people that make you smile, some nostalgic things from your childhood, your favourite snack (check the expiration date first!), some dried flowers, facemasks, a good hand cream, maybe even some scrubs, things that make you smile, feel better and taken care of.. you name it. I even have a album with screenshots on my phone of every time I receive a message or nice comment I wanna remember. I call it my happy album, with lots of emojis. One can never have too many emojis.

  • Paint your nails & wear some lipstick. What nonsense. You serious? Yes. I've sometimes felt a bit of shame if I used "too much" time in front of a mirror, but you know what? I've found that when I've played around with some makeup, I've actually enjoyed myself. I've used time on me. I took care of me, myself and I. Even if I were just to spend the day at home, by myself. I did it for me, not for you. Actually; painting my nails has worked as a stress-reliever for me. Such a small weird thing, but first of all; it makes me happy to look at my pretty painted nails (as long as they're not chipped), we look at them all day long and the process of creating some art on my body has made me feel better.
    I've heard others talk about the power of putting on some lipstick. It's not the lipstick in itself that brings magic, but the symbol of putting on putting on some war-paint on our lips actually does something to our psyche. Believe it or not. It's a little like putting on a uniform. If you've ever worn a uniform or if you have a special dress code to work, you know that it makes a difference. Imagine a lawyer in a jumpsuit!? Or a cop in a dress? How we dress makes us look differently at ourselves and at others. It's not just about judging people, it's about what signals we send out to ourselves and each other, but let's stay on track. Putting on a little lipstick or painting your nails may not transform you, but can make a little difference in how we proceed ourselves. And on days we might not feel like dressing up (we all have those days) a little lipstick will do.
    And you know what, you guessed it: I have a Pinterest board for that too. It's called // hair & beauty (I've organized them into different sections, so it's easier getting what you/I want ;) You're welcome)

If you've got anything you do that helps you when you're feeling low or some self-care tips, feel free to share with us in the comments. 

I wish you the best winter. I want you to know that this is a safe place. I hope you can feel less alone when you're visiting my online home. Know that the bad days won't last forever and that even the queen has days she doesn't feel good. You're not alone in this.

If it encouraged you, please share it and pass it on to people you think could need a little extra encouragement, I mean who doesn't? 


Thank you for reading. Thank you for being you!


// Line Thybo Xx


PS: if you liked the Spotify-playlist. You can pin this photo. When you click on the photo, it will send you to the Fight for yourself-playlist.