Archive | November 2016

Some Things Are Just Never Going to Go Away

This is another reality that has become very clear to myself and Ken (through speaking with his therapist). There is no true cure for clinical depression (I have discussed this before). There is managing and something of a remission. But there is no out and out we are done with this YIPPEE we are free. And that is ok. This is something we have come to grips with, rationalized about, realized the reality and come to a point of peace with.

Invisible illnesses, mental illnesses, are frankly often something we don’t work to eradicate, rather work to manage, maintain and at the best control. Known quantity to most people… right?

The things that catch us unawares are those that are often symptoms and learned behaviours. Some so deeply ingrained that really you are not going to have them go away.

For our family it is the ever looming issue of PROCRASTINATION. Now, I am by nature, NOT a procrastinator. I am a go at it, get it done kind of girl. Nothing is more satisfying than tackling the issues (even in parts and over time) and managing to hit deadlines and goals. Give me steps and processes and I am your girl. Give me a simple form and a pen and I will sit down and it RIGHT THEN AND THERE.

Ken… well… I remember back in Canada (when we thought he was better, but apparently he was not in hindsight) when he had a form to fill out – something simple, to go back to the government about something to do with his status. Being an adult and all that I let him be, until the date was coming up. He rationalized the not doing it yet as – he was mad at the government for this seemingly duplicate and annoying form so he didn’t fill it out yet… to stick it to them???

Ok… rational and somewhat healthy adult mind goes – WHHHHHAAAAA? What it really was was that Ken’s full blown inclination to procrastinate was totally kicked into high gear. Why do now what can be done the day before a deadline (and believe you me… that is something that drives me MAD – I was a paper done in college weeks early kind of girl).

The reality of our situation is that procrastination is forever a part of Ken and his personality. Where I am like – let’s get this DONE. He is always on the other side tugging back and trying to slow down. It is subconscious (which makes it even harder to deal with) and persistent. It is also diminished as he gets healthier. BUT it is not going to be “cured”.

I think we all have these little… personality quirks. That trip us up. Kid you not, I am really horrible at saying no. I have a hard time hurting feelings (some jokingly say I am stereo-typical Canadian to the core). This leads to emotional investment in making people happy to a degree that is not always healthy for me.

It is on me to work hard to diminish the pull to be something of a people pleaser. Yet, I am always going to want to do it. That is the reality of it.

I think that we are used to adjusting and altering these personality quirks in a “regular” lifestyle. But, you add in mental illness and there is almost a feeling of let down or sadness that this more minor issue (compared to full blown depression) cannot be eradicated.

It can be hard to realize that BETTER or DIMINISHED is a good thing. In fact, compared to the overwhelming pressures of depression these smaller issues are so less dramatic and dangerous on their own that they really are NOT the huge deal they may seem to be when isolated and discussed.

We cannot expect the removal of a personality trait from a person who is NOT suffering from something like depression, bipolar, anxiety… anymore than we can look within ourselves and see to the destruction of some less than savory traits of our own in a healthier mind and body.

Our personalities are a combination of the good, bad and indifferent. While we can improve and alter ourselves we have to realize that we are who we are. The frustration at being unable to completely change a character trait is acceptable, but only if we also work equally as hard to control it. Blame cannot be liberally placed on it being who we are. Instead we need to know that about ourselves, accept outside support and realize that life is what we make of it.

So while Ken works against his instinctual need to procrastinate I have an opportunity to say WAIT you know we want this done in time. It is not easy on either side. He feels an urge not to, and when it becomes a sore spot often seems to be angry at me, when in reality he is angry at himself. Me, I am battling my need to be super fast and ahead of the curve and my frustration that once again Ken seems to blame me for his action. But we talk it out, we share and we try. And that is all I can ask for.img_20160624_221625

This entry was posted on 13/11/2016, in Uncategorized. 3 Comments

Just June

Well there is really no JUST about it… February and June are two of our busiest months. (February) June has our anniversary (16th), Father’s Day, my birthday, my stepmom’s birthday, our two god daughter’s birthdays and of course first day of SUMMER! Yup, lots of mailing and doing and enjoying in the month of June. And don’t forget a welcome visit from TWO of our Canadian friends! You can read more about Karyn and Lauralee’s visit HERE.imag001520160621_161014_hdr

We had all sorts of fun in June – We played Legos at Mall of America.20160618_122751



Of course we did the monthly Home Depot project with Father’s Day as the theme.img_20160604_115142

Spent the majority of our weekday morning at the YMCA enjoying ClubY for the 4 older kids, daycare for Miss Echo (and on Friday’s Little Lotus Yoga) and working out for mom. Plus swimming and an hour of quiet mom time all wrapped up in a 2 mile walk each way.

These are shirts they did up in club.

These are shirts they did up in club.

It was well worth our effort. The kids had a blast playing games, meeting friends, doing stuff without me. Echo was the darling of daycare with her 2 hours a day. And me, well I got on the treadmill, swam with my baby AND had an hour of time that was my own to sew, read, socialize and just be without the kids hanging off of me.

Trinity even managed to find time to get her PINK wristband.

Trinity even managed to find time to get her PINK wristband.

Mommy hour!

Mommy hour!

Gavin worked his buns off on the shawl he entered in the County Fair in July.img_20160622_102422

And while Zander tried to join the run club, he was the only sign up and did not make the minimum count. So off he went to TRACK AND FIELD. Where we quickly learned he is a distance runner and NOT a speed demon.received_10154315595781151

I have to share the amazing yarn Ken picked up for my birthday. A portion of the proceeds went to help the people affected by the wildfires in Alberta. AND it is gorgeous… win win!img_20160629_144758

We snuck in some learning, but for the most part June was a month of outside time.img_20160620_143203

img_20160622_134802Getting to know our YMCA better and take full advantage of our membership. I was never so glad as to be able to walk 2 miles with 5 kids as I was this June. There was whining and trudging but we had so much fun when we got the the YMCA and felt so much healthier by the end of it. AMAZING.img_20160621_114153

New noodles

New noodles


I played around with hair colours too.img_20160616_210718

The one thing that stands out when I think of June is just how much we smiled. So important and simple… we had a month full of joy.img_20160621_133928







When You Just Can’t Understand…

I try very hard to be an understanding and supportive partner. I think for the most part we all do. But in the case of illness, can I truly understand? This is a question I struggle with often. The most “depressed” I have ever felt is really reflected in my previous post in this series about the “Sads.” I have never felt the pull to hurt myself, to end my existence. My sadness and anxiety, though equally relevant is fleeting and often wrapped up when whatever event or trauma I am experiencing is resolved.

I have never felt like I am drowning in my self. Never believed that things could not improve (though I have questioned the length of time improvement takes). All of these experiences are foreign to me on a base personal level. BUT on the other hand… from an outsider watching someone suffer and struggle I feel like I know way too much.

Empathy, sympathy and compassion are three very different things.

  • Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
  • Sympathy is feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune or an understanding between people; common feeling.
  • While compassion is sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others.

Empathy in the case of someone who has not experienced true extensive depression is not really possible. I have to rely more on sympathy and compassion. Compassion is key in a relationship where you simply are not able to put yourself into their shoes. Really, I don’t think Ken would ever WANT me to have that ability. To have someone in the family who can stand up and say I see optimism and joy, I see future and possibility. That is a gift.

My gift to my kids and my husband is that I can sit back and smile, I can find happy in the sad. I can show compassion in my actions when made aware of need. But it is a careful offering. Pity is not what someone who is fighting for their mental well being needs or wants. Reaching out, being an ear or a shoulder for tears, this all has to be offered without a poor you mentality.

Understanding isn’t always possible but it also isn’t necessary to have compassion and be supportive. I don’t know that I will ever understand what is going on in Ken’s head, not entirely. BUT I can listen, I can offer up help, suggest changes to our routine and be open to work towards a greater level of understanding.

So I will never understand completely what Ken feels/felt and has gone through. I can understand what is explained to me, try to comprehend from a removed position. But I will never be able to walk in his shoes. And for that I am both grateful and a bit sad. I want to be as much help as I can, but as Ken has told me… sinking down into depression so I can understand at that basic level is NOT a help. Sometimes it is not just that I cannot understand but that it is better that I DO NOT.

My goal is not to strive to understand but to strive to accept and to show compassion and patience. I want to be a support and to be a support I don’t have to have walked in his shoes, but rather be willing to be there for the journey onward. A compassionate shoulder, a quiet and supportive ear. I can be a foundation support while he builds a whole new structure around his new set of goals and healthy choices. 

Goals and love… seems to be quite the common pairing for us! I hope that anyone who is going through this is aware they are not alone! As always, I would love feedback!imag3046