Archive | July 2016

Moments of Weakness…

Remind me time and time again that for the most part I really AM a strong person. There is so much imperfection in the world, in our selves. Some of it is wonderful and amazing, like a broken dish put together with gold (a Japanese tradition I do believe) and other things (like the news recently) are broken and horrible and scary and impossibly dark and so much more rolled into one.

I have written extensively in a post about being the “healthy one” in a marriage and family where one member is definitely in the midst of a process that is ongoing and lifelong. There is a need and a drive to ALWAYS be the healthy one. The knowledge that if I DO get sick or somehow incapacitated the family does NOT go along its merry little way intact or even the least bit organized can be a point of anxiety.

Now I do have family and friends (close family in fact) that are actually diagnosed with anxiety and taking medication for this issue. This is not where I place myself on the spectrum of mental illness with any degree of concern, but then again, we ALL experience anxiety at some point in our lives. Years ago, before I had realized (well any of us including Ken) how ill Ken truly was events combined to create a situation where I actually experienced my first ever panic attack. It was scary and upsetting and all sorts of not want to experience EVER AGAIN sort of things… it is something that I can clearly remember, hiding in the upstairs with the kids in the downstairs on the phone with a friend that I could contact instantly in tears. But in that moment of severe weakness and stress I found my way through it. And afterwards I realized that I made it, I survived the experience, I found strength with the help of another and was able to continue on.

On a regular basis I am faced with my own personal weaknesses… one that I am sure most of you are familiar with… my lack of a license. This is a phobic level issue. The idea of driving and being in charge of a vehicle does literally make me want to just curl up in a ball and hide. The twins have already discussed how one day THEY will get their licenses and drive Mom around where ever she needs to go. BUT, I have taken that weakness, that inability and made it into an adventure. Now at least 3 times a week we are making the 2 mile (one way) trek to the local YMCA and we are spending hours there meeting new people, trying new things (Echo has recently fallen in love with Little Lotus Yoga) and creating an independent moment that is HEALTHY and full of together time for us outside of the classroom and the home. The lack of driving is now a strength.

At the end of the day the tally is out there… so many things in my life are beyond my control, but really, if you look at your life can  you really say that the same it not true? It may not be your transportation or your inability to work in the country not of your birth (not that I WANT to, but the ABILITY to would be wonderful… and will be in time) but we all have our weaknesses. The trick is to find a way to find strength right there in the face of them.

I think I will always worry about what would happen if I couldn’t run the house properly for a period of time (because really it is 6 vs 1 on the let’s live a clean and clutter free life some days), and the driving issue isn’t going away any time soon. I am always going to be too short to reach the top shelves and worried about people who I love and care for. BUT, I am always going to be an optimist, I am also going to be in the corner crocheting my heart out so that I have gifts I can pluck out of my finished pile and send to a soul who needs a pick me up. I am going to be me, weaknesses and strengths and I am going to show my children that we don’t always have to be strong, as long as after we fall down we get back up and continue one!

Maybe one of my weaknesses will end up being a strength I just didn’t realize was there? What do you think?DSCN1124

Daily Life and the Far Reaching Effects of Depression

I know I have mentioned time and time again that our family has been affected by depression on a grand scale, it is a daily part of our life and often dialogue within the house, and within the greater world. This has meant grand and small changes on a very consistent basis.

People have had varied reactions to our choice to homeschool (and have from the very beginning). This is a choice we made when we first married, something we discussed during our engagement in great detail and implemented from the birth of our twins in 2004. But anyway, we have had people laugh, think we are nuts, tell us we will ruin our children, support us with a smile on their face (sometimes this reaction is from the most unlikely of acquaintances), go out of their way to help us find resources and even ask us when we were going to come to our senses and put them in a proper school.

Ken’s therapist stands apart from all that, when he walked into therapy at a low point in his health, where his confidence in himself and his choices was tarnished (in fact, he had sided with some of the naysayers on things that past year simply to avoid arguments and complex situation which was devastating for yours truly) she said explain your family and your home. When he brought up homeschooling she lit up and embraced the situation.

How better to start bringing Ken back into the family and out of his self imposed isolation (seriously locked himself on the computer and in our bedroom while I ran the house like a single parent) than to bring him into our daily lives? Simply have him sit down and read a story, take that first step out the door and walk that nature walk with us while we enjoy Minnesota on a basic level.

Homeschooling is a 5 day a week process for us with a basic and consistent backbone of work and then the varied topics and processes we add as we go. Someone who is actively depressed often cannot slip into that process without resistance and resist Ken did. BUT we had him involved in simple things and through that he reconnected with his kids. Something that was crucial to our FAMILY’S well being.

That is not to say there wasn’t and isn’t hiccups. Part of the process is to give Ken a responsibility… like science, that he will captain. This is a two fold problem. He needs to take responsibility and finish what he starts, but at the same time I cannot allow the schooling to suffer. Give and take, a tug of war, but it is for a good reason. The kids need his involvement and I need the break. Thankfully there is a lovely ebb and flow to schooling. When a month simply does not go according to plan (not a unique thing to be sure), the next month or months compensates.

It is not all sunshine and roses, but that unique bond that is there with the teacher and student allows for interaction and a role Ken can take on and tailor and show the kids that this illness is not going to take him away from them permanently.

This is something I cannot stress enough… while you are depressed, actively depressed relationships ARE injured. You push people away, you put out that false front. Our kids are so much smarter than you think. (HERE) In the middle of your suffering they are suffering too. We all are, I have never felt so alone as when Ken was in full on depression (Capital D depression as we call it). I never signed up to be a single parent (for the most part who does), but there I was coping with everything but rides and minor disciplining, alone. That is hard for the entire family and one of our first steps in recovery and change was to repair those breeches. (not easy, I still have my moments of anger at the situation, guilt at not catching on and sadness for time lost)

Homeschool became the catalyst for that. And while not everyone homeschools (we ARE in the minority right now), there is most likely some activity in your life that would work wonderfully for instigating the regrowth of relationships and personal connections. This is something you should strive for. Contrary to some people’s beliefs we are not islands, we are built for interactions (maybe less so for some but total isolation is never healthy). Any sort of illness will damage or at the very least, affect these contacts. That is one of the joys of becoming healthy, it is a chance to make the repairs a part of your process.

Our entire lifestyle has been altered with the return of Ken’s depression. We are becoming more and more aware of how we need to be an inclusive unit. We cannot allow for someone to hide away in a room for long periods of non productive time (Ken IS a coder after all), to remove themselves from all of the hustle and bustle of a busy family of 7. We need to be inclusive and accepting that this is not an instant thing. Ken took ages to want or have the energy to be involved with us and even today fights procrastination tendencies. This is the reality of things, our reality and really all we can do is embrace it and move forward.

As always I want to thank everyone for their support as I find my voice in this life of ours. I want to extend love and support and acceptance to all that are finding their own path and thank each and every person who is a supporter. No one has to be alone and my family and myself are here!

As well, please feel free to suggest topics or ideas to cover. Many of my newer posts, like this one suggested by a good friend and fellow transplanted Canadian mom (Thanks lady!) are based on a suggestion or even a sentence that triggers a whole new pattern of thought.20160709_201845


This entry was posted on 18/07/2016, in Uncategorized. 2 Comments

Happy America Day

That is what the kids all called July 4th this year after celebrating Canada Day, after all if it is called CANADA Day in Canada… then doesn’t it make perfect sense?IMG_20160704_125240

We didn’t try nearly so hard with this national holiday since we were in the middle of the country actually celebrating it. We did still put up our paper chain (red, white and blue) and our flag banner. The kids figured the rest of the area covered the necessary flags and then some.20160704_110555

For our morning activities Ken and I left the kids at home to do something independent (see what I did there…) on the day… and we took ourselves off to the YMCA which was busier than we expected. After a good go on the treadmill it was back home to crack out some chores and then… veg.

If you can believe it I took a few hours and crocheted and relaxed on a LONG WEEKEND? The horror! Of course pictures were taken, and we had the mosquito bites to prove it! (Gavin is in the white and Zander the red)20160704_110641

20160704_11074220160704_11083720160704_110925_Burst01Our super special July 4th treat was to head over to our homeschool friends’ house for the very first time for some of the most amazing ribs ever, pie and cupcakes totally keeping with the theme. Not to mention a playdate that kept the kids pretty well occupied constantly. It is so lovely when a family meshes with yours so well that age doesn’t matter or gender among the kids they just all work it out and are happy and excited to see each other.IMAG0028

We didn’t even make it to fireworks, they ate like crazy, played non stop… we drove them home and into bed they went. It was the better choice, Echo is really not handling mosquito bites well. They seem to chase her with a runny nose and fever half the time and swelling. Not fun. So outside for fireworks in the dark after all the moisture, not a good choice.

Just amazing homemade deserts AND ribs that were to die for!

Just amazing homemade deserts AND ribs that were to die for!

IMAG0025We took our photographs and found some joy in the day. That was all I really wanted and all I could ask for. So happy Independence Day to everyone… I hope it was a grand one!



And... my ONE photo in a USA shirt!

And… my ONE photo in a USA shirt!