Tag Archive | depression

Rethinking And the Capital D Depression

I know I have covered this topic in some detail ages ago with my post called Having the “Sads” and Other Confusing Terminology…do take a look back if you are so inclined as I explain my own emotional well being descriptor words. But with today’s active conversation on the usage of some very important words in certain very specific arenas I felt the time was good for a bit of a refresher.

Of course, I must say this is all MY personal opinion born of our family’s attempt to normalize and understand how mental health has affected us and our future… and here I go.

Depression … I mean the word, what does it mean to you? Depressed, how do you use it? Is it a common word used to describe a vast series of emotional (and not so emotional) situations? Do you keep that word on reserve?

In our family the word depression/feeling depressed has been given a special weight to it. Now there is a reason for this… mental health is not a tangiable thing, you can’t see the illness, you can just see the effects.

I am sad that the ice cream fell off my cone, I can rally back with a new ice cream, a different treat, or the knowledge that this is just something that happened.

I am depressed when I cannot rally back, I cannot just pull myself out of what others perceive as a “funk”. I am fighting against a current (well not so much me, as this is not something I have personally experienced… but as Ken has explained it to me. And other likewise diagnosed friends), possibly stuck or sinking down. That is depressed.

I have often discussed with my kids the importance of proper word usage. The English language is an evolving language. It is our responsibility to realize that our words have power. It is our responsibility to try and understand that some of these words have gravity.

I want my children to know that if they come to me and say, “Mommy, I feel depressed, things aren’t right”. That I WILL take them seriously. I will take you, my reader, my friend, my family member, or even just someone who needs to say it seriously.

Depression is not spilled milk or a cancelled movie. Depression is heartbreak and soul tearing sadness and fear. It is suicidal thoughts and negative voices. It is serious and I want to respect that. I need to know that if Ken were to tell me he felt depressed I need to take it seriously.

I think this conversation is timely and worth repeating now especially. The holiday season (whatever you do or do not celebrate) is not jolly for all. Repeated reminders of joyous families, large gifts and happiness can have an opposite affect for some. So let’s hold onto the knowledge that if someone were to say the feel depressed right now… maybe, just maybe we can listen and make a difference.

I felt sad this past week because there is so much family togetherness going on right now and my dearest friends who are family and family are a country away. But I easily was able to rally with phone calls, cards posted and gifts finished and sent off. I was not depressed, I was sad and that is valid. Not using the word depressed for that situation does not invalidate the experience but it does (I find) help keep it in perspective.

So, I hope I have gotten the conversation rolling again. Let’s ensure that we are aware of our words… English has so many beautiful options for degrees of emotions.

And if you need to use the word depressed, depression, worse yet suicidal… speak up. If not to a therapist or religious guide, I am here and willing to listen. My family to yours… we love you all. Thank you for entering my dialogue and listening to what I have to say. All my love in the holidays to everyone!IMG_20171210_002613_555

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

The Reality of Near Loss

Months, actually now over a year later I have come to reflect on the potential of loss. The fear that still remains that I could have lost the one person I share my entire life with. Depression is a scary scenario. One we will live with for the rest of Ken’s life. And 2 years or so ago I could have lost him.

There are so many people who are not as lucky as I. Ken is a strong personality, and as hard and deep as his depression went, his will to survive was that much stronger. He had plans, he had ideas, and he spoke out. This is not the first time. In our marriage alone, this was the second time we had to start over with building back up to a healthier life. I know of one other time during the years I have known Ken, back in college, that he hit this same point.

One of the reasons I look back is really to put into perspective how well we are now. Ken is propelled forward to new tasks, has the skills to work with his issues and embrace the fact that perfection is not a reasonable goal for everything we need done.

I face this reality of near loss head on to remind myself that I HAVEN’T lost him. Even though back at those other times I felt alone and isolated as he (and I) missed the signs of the severity of his condition.

I doubt that I will ever forget the feelings and fears wrapped up in these periods of my life. I am not honestly sure I WANT to. It is this awareness that helps me to be a support to him and others in the same situation. I know how quietly and stealthily this roller coaster can sneak up and overwhelm us.IMG_20170407_180036_180