Tag Archive | anxiety

I Worry…

And I wish I could categorize it as a super power. I have always been somewhat timid, it has just increased drastically since Ken openly acknowledged his severe depression had relapsed. 

I come from a family of people with anxiety… close family members who I won’t name since I did not ask their permission, some even officially diagnosed and medicated for it. I have had conversations about how it is “in the genes”… how we could be know for it, and how we manage to make it work for us. 

My worry solidifies in plans, in back up plans, in back ups to back up plans. I categorize and re categorize everything. This includes my own health. I am always trying to be proactive. Living in the US without Canada’s universal health care has had me in a position of careful self management for periods of time.

And I have succeeded in spades. Working out up to 6 times a week has me active, removing high fructose corn syrup has my stomach aches down to a minimum, I limit my contact use, attempt to get enough rest, walk all summer and spend my time productively. 

But I worry… I worry about the dental visit I will have to finally have after an undisclosed period of time and the fall out from that. I worry that if I drop the ball on any of the above things I will trickle down to a massive physical breakdown (even though I know one less work out a week or that extra can of pop isn’t a final nail in ANY coffin). 

But it goes beyond that… I worry about Ken. I mean… ALWAYS worry about Ken. Is he healthy, is he happy, does he feel in control of his mental health? Have I done enough to assist him in his work to remain healthy? Can I do more?

Of course I also have a healthy dose of “Mommy Guilt”…. that feeling like you will never do enough for your kids. I question my parenting skills, my homeschooling, my ability to provide and discipline and love all at the same time. Will they reflect back on their childhood and see that they were loved and I did my very best for them? 

Don’t get me started on my worries about where I live and the goings on on a grand scale. What a world we live in right know.

So, I worry. And I plan, maybe over plan a little… and I love and I live and I do my very best. 

My master plan is to find a way to make my worry work for me. If it is worthy of worry it is worthy of work. This month I added a 3rd workout class to my schedule (don’t worry I still don’t exceed 6 days a week, I rather changed an elliptical run with R.I.P.P.E.D which I love… I am not THAT crazy after all). I have to wait to face the music at the dentist so I upped my dental care regime to at least keep peace of mind that I am not creating a bigger mess. The kids – well I just do my best and change things up from time to time. December is a month to celebrate according to Zander… so we are! Who says education has to be boring and lack in colouring pages? Not me!!!

And now for the biggest worry of them all (and I admit it, my own worries take a back seat when it comes to Ken’s health, it can just become so all consuming that I am still learning to let him worry about him and me do me.)… KEN… My greatest love, my dearest companion AND my largest worry. 

What can I do? Well, nothing more than I already am, so how to cope? Conversation, crochet, chocolate (cuz what doesn’t get a wee bit better with some quality chocolate?) and awesome company every so often. Yup, online and in person, I am surrounded by some of the most amazing and supportive people who get my crazy. (Or at least pretend they do)

So yes, I am a worrier, I just have yet to let the worry consume me. So if you have a conversation with me that is very wordy and full of circular discussion (like a lot of these blog posts) just realize I am talking through my worry, my neurosis as Ken likes to say. I put my worries out there so they feel less huge, less soul crushing. If someone I trust can tell me it is a tiny worry, well, maybe I can believe it too?

Do you worry? I would love to hear how you cope. Or, if you need me to, listen to your worries so you can feel heard. We worriers need to stick together, if nothing else than so we can enjoy chocolate, crafting and conversation… some of the best “C” words out there! 20171204_170413

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

Onward and Upward

I have always loved that line, well part of a line, out of C.S Lewis’ The Last Battle (Narnia series)… it has always felt like life has led us onward and upward. We must press on, not sit and reflect back. BUT with depression there is always an element somewhere in treatment where there is a time to stop and look back. Figure out what may have triggered the situation, what led you to the path you are on. This is really quite necessary because if we can understand the roots and foundation of the words in our heads, the thoughts we can’t quite throw off, we can move on and find ways to create a new dialogue, to understand how not to fall into the old patterns.

BUT what about the future? Recently I asked Ken… will we always be running a current dialogue about depression? Is this the new story of our life that will never quite be closed, will it always be at the forefront of our interactions with others, with our planning? Will we always have that specter hanging over us that Ken is DEPRESSED?

Sadly, the reality is that Ken will never be… CURED… not like you can remove a wart or cure some physical illnesses. Rather, we are working for what we term “remission”. Our path is to managing and reducing the effect of this invisible illness not curing it so that he can say, well that was life X number of years ago… here I am fit as a fiddle not a random negative thought in my head.

I think we would all love a CURE. We pray and work for cures to all sorts of things, cancer, HIV/AIDS, TB… And, at times that becomes possible. BUT with an invisible illness, especially those related to mental health, there seems to be no end point. Not if  you are chemically depressed that is. Remission is management and successful management. It is the ability to realize that while Ken will never be free of those thoughts and feelings that have plagued him for years he WILL learn to embrace the process to diminish their control over him.

Our onward and upward is to a diminished schedule of therapy visits, perhaps even a lowering of drug dosage, to a new lifestyle of positive thinking, of open dialogue between ourselves and the kids about how we feel and think. Our remission is one of process and progress. Where we take moments of joy and hold onto them, relish them and embrace them while also accepting and to a degree embracing the negatives as well.

I have often spoken of lifestyle changes in this series of posts. I feel that for anyone suffering from depression, bipolar, anxiety this is a key step. One of the easiest things to do is to wallow, to fall into bad patterns and to, for all intents and purposes give up. There is no giving up when you are onward and upward. If you are sitting at home in the basement in the dark no amount of therapy is going to make life fun. If you are willing to ignore things that need to be done and embrace procrastination no amount of drugs and vitamins is going to help you get organized and successful.

I know I sound like some sort of peppy self help guru but… they have some truths in their spiels. We really are our own worst enemies, healthy or not. And I will state right now… procrastination, wallowing not just depressed/etc. people do it. We are ALL guilty of these poor behavior choices.  What Ken and I have noticed is that when it comes down to it and our brain says “I don’t need to do that right now” my first reaction is to buckle down and do it, his is to… well… not… It is not easy to embrace that do it right now attitude, even as the healthy one, I struggle often with intent to avoid and the feeling that things should not be done right now. Ken on the other hand, does not struggle (did not as he is working on this) rather he embraces it and… well let’s just say, we have had a few arguments.

So what I am trying to say is, don’t give up. Work on that dialogue within yourself that will bring you to action, remind you of your worth. Downward and backwards often looks like the easier path, but the reality of it is that the harder path is the path of the most reward. Join us on our upward path of exploration, acceptance and joy. This of course ties into the last post about finding a REASON for getting healthy. Nothing spurs on a process like a good reason.

As always I want to remind you that no matter what side of this situation you are on, suffering, supporting you are NOT alone. Myself and my family are here, in person, online we are here for you. I am so amazed by the amount of people who have read these posts, some have shared them, conversations have been started. It is all good. If you have a suggestion of a topic for a post, or a question, please leave a comment below. I would love to hear what you think about my thoughts on something that has become a permanent part of my life! Bless!11109704_10153350636781151_3450574700329309778_n