Updated: Feb 28, 2019
Daisy Jorgensen Poet / Actor / Facilitator
Daisy trained as an actress at Guildford School of Acting, she writes beautiful poetry and shares how writing has helped navigate her way through the world and provided a refuge from big city life. She's currently collaborating with fantastic charity DHI to support vulnerable and isolated people in the community to find their feet after trauma, addiction and homelessness.
Daisy: After moving to London I found that work was much more difficult to find than I had imagined, so after graduating, I started to explore different creative activities and platforms to keep me buoyant when theatre wasn’t working out as I had naively planned. In a sort of ‘light bulb’ moment, I discovered the world of poetry; and I a entered a community that felt so much more free and forgiving than my experience of the theatre industry had been up to that point. I started to perform my work at some slams and events and really enjoyed it!
But most potently poetry has been a metaphorical shoulder to lean on whilst witnessing my younger brother develop a serious heroin addiction. He has very bravely and openly allowed me to talk about his experience in my poetry for a while now, and today in this interview, and so I’d like to use this opportunity to shed a light on some of the realities of this experience.
Although it was initially heart breaking, the high stakes of the situation have brought to light a lot of positivity and strength in the mind-sets of those affected. Through this experience I have also been introduced to a wonderful charity based in the South West called Developing Health and Independence (DHI). They support people who are socially isolated due to substance abuse or homelessness. They have been a key support to my brother, and through my poetry I am aiming to spread the word about what they do as much as possible!
"It’s so important to support and connect with our fellow human beings. You never know what someone is feeling or going through."
Kelly: How have DHI helped your brother?
Daisy: They have been working with my brother for the last few years, guiding him through the difficult road of relapses and recovery. He has had ups and downs, but is doing really well and is a true example of perseverance and stamina. I am more and more in awe of him every day and his capacity for working so hard on becoming clean is astounding. I have learnt a lot from him over the last few years and am eternally grateful to be his sister and friend.
Daisy and her brother in Weston-super-Mare circa 1996
Something I have noticed however is that unfortunately there is still a lot of prejudice and taboo around substance abuse in general, and it’s so important for us all to remember that addicts are human beings just like you and I. We are all vulnerable in different ways and often use or need the same types of support as addicted people do. DHI work with individuals on things like affordable or funded housing, financial independence, NA AND AA support groups, employability, family connection, social skills, and they even run a breakfast club so people can come along and have beans on toast and a cuppa!
DHI are working very hard to hold open a space for those struggling with addiction, a space in which basic human needs such as safety, security, community, acceptance and perhaps most importantly connection - socially and spiritually - can be found. The hole created in a person’s life by the absence of these needs is a perfect fit for addiction. It’s so important to support and connect with our fellow human beings. You never know what someone is feeling or going through.
Kelly: How have your shared experiences with your brother developed your relationship with him and your own journey?
Daisy: We have always been close, and I think we have only become closer as a result of knowing what we could lose. He also writes, and I think we feel quite connected by that because we both understand the need to say something using poetry as a tool, or to express a feeling or thought through our work. Inevitably alongside the world of addiction comes a whole party platter of emotions; anger, sadness, disappointment, unconditional love. It’s all part of the recovery process and poetry has definitely assisted us both with that in different ways, so it’s a nice line of communication in our relationship.
"I recently heard a Zen teacher say that all life is like a dance, and it felt very reassuring, the idea that things aren’t permanent and that they move and shift"
Kelly: What are your current projects in partnership with DHI?
There was no way to thank the charity for their dedication, and I wanted to give something back after everything they had done for our family, so I hosted a night of poetry, music and art at The Poetry Café in Covent Garden where I was working as a barista at the time! The team there were unbelievably helpful and accommodating to the artists and audience and we had a really fun night with some wonderful creative friends volunteering their time and skills to raise money and awareness for DHI. I have recently started my own page on instagram (@dayseyepoetry) as a little experiment and to challenge myself to share more work and it’s been lovely to connect to other poets around the world! I am also collaborating with artist Katherine Pearce who has created some illustrated pieces on @KATZManchester, which feels very exciting!
After the fundraising event at the Poetry Café, DHI very kindly asked me to curate a collection of poetry titled ‘Liberated’ they are publishing to celebrate their 20th birthday. I was so happy to be able to help them further and it was a powerful and moving experience reading through all of the submissions from DHI service users, clients and employees. This will available for purchase within the next month or so, and the proceeds will go back into the charity supporting all the brilliant work they do.
Kelly: Where do you draw your creative inspiration and emotional strength from?
I draw from everyday things mostly, people, thoughts, nature. I think the very nature of an emotion itself is creative inspiration, as it’s ever evolving and can take so many forms. I recently heard a Zen teacher say that all life is like a dance, and it felt very reassuring, the idea that things aren’t permanent and that they move and shift. That idea seems to mirror the creative process when writing, or acting, or facilitating. You are constantly adapting or reacting to stimulus and that’s hugely inspiring in itself.
"No one affected by addiction should ever feel isolated or alone"
Kelly: Where can others go when they face a similar situation and a loved one has become vulnerable or in need?
There will be all sorts of reasons, causes, and experiences that might lead someone towards substance abuse. Similarly, there isn't a right or wrong way to react. There are some excellent support networks out there, no one affected by addiction should ever feel isolated or alone, although not always recognized as such, it’s a very common illness and it could happen to anyone. An important first step is acknowledging the problem and talking to a trusted friend or family member. Don’t be scared, life is too short not to give yourself the best possible chance of recovery. It’s also very important for family members, friends, or partners to look after themselves too.