Tag Archive | depression

Potential… Lost… Found and Tapped

***Woo busy few weeks… Grandma Visit, Easter… I promise to get back into the swing***

Potential. What does it mean to “have potential”? To “tap into potential”? To “waste potential”?

Through out my life I have often wondered what my own potential truly was. Have I actually found a path that uses my potential the best way? Is the potential gone after I chose my path?

Potential as a word has a few definitions:

  1. having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future.
  2. latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.
  3. the quantity determining the energy of mass in a gravitational field or of charge in an electric field.

Well… we can ignore the last one (I am not a whiz with physics). For my use here I am focusing on the first two. In high school there is a lot of discussion about your potential – your capacity to become something in the future. What direction is your life going to take as you reach adulthood? Now, I was told I could become pretty much anything I wanted… which was sweet. Though, thankfully, my Dad did suggest not a doctor (I am queasy about blood), maybe not something that requires strong knowledge in the sciences (yah… not something I excelled at) and possibly NOT maths (yah I have a hate hate relationship with higher level math… if it doesn’t hurt me, I won’t curse it out… much).

So… I went from high school to college and a direction in the fine arts. I found I had a lot of “potential” with courses that required a bending of thought and discussion… philosophy and religion. I found a direction – I PLANNED to become a minister in the Lutheran church (specifically the ELCIC – Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada). Potential tapped… right?

Ok, some come along with me here – I think EVERYONE reading this blog has realized something – Lisa is NOT a minister… or a philosopher… or a religious scholar… or (and this is grasping) a university professor in any of these disciplines. Nope, 100% wife and mother. So answer me this…

Did I waste my potential?

Who I was in high school with her interests and dreams and graduating marks, who I was in college with my wide eyed enthusiasm and excelling marks… did these “Lisas” get wasted? Or has it gone into hibernation waiting to be tapped?

Where 20 yr old Lisa was sure she would be a minister… 37 yr old Lisa is sure she is a good mother, a strong teacher, a rather fantastic crocheter (if I do say so myself). She has tapped into a NEW potential, something that was not held up as a solid opportunity way back in high school (because really, motherhood at 17/18 years old… nope not for me). I don’t believe I wasted it, I tapped into my potential for those 3+ years. I learned, I grew, I argued, I laughed and cried. BUT, in the end, I found NEW potential.

I found those latent (existing but not yet developed or manifest; hidden; concealed) qualities that were not tapped by my college education with our decision to start a family. Do I regret it? Nope! Amazingly enough, I filled my yearning for working in the church with committee work and promptly learned – I suck at politics. And, as much as I love the church, in any organization there are politics.

On top of that… and this should be no surprise for people who know me, I am shy!

No, I don’t think I wasted my potential. Would someone from the outside looking in come to a different conclusion… possibly. But here is a new question for you – does that matter? Often you will hear people talking about someone’s wasted potential. How they SHOULD have done this or that instead of the career they chose based on their own knowledge of that person at particular times of the person’s life.

She should have gone with that career in writing, after all in college she wrote such amazing papers. He should have gone into medicine, look at his amazing marks in science. They would have made an amazing singing group – after all they did all that singing in small bars during college.

The saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side”, comes to mind. Looking at his or her life as a youth, as a college student it may look as if they SHOULD have gone this way or that, but can we ever truly be in another person’s head? This is something that Ken has to deal with often. Depression, plus high intelligence and add in a strong personality and you have someone with lots of potential.

That potential is there with options. Some are absolutely obvious, some deep inside and kept secret. Using Ken as an example (cuz… Depression = Ken = my examples) he was an athlete up through to college and rather successful (this was known), he was and is very good with computers, but deep inside that muddled head of his is an artist, a bit of a scientist, maybe even a comedian.

So… let’s review what he did with his potential. Sports ended before we got married (choice and illness). Computers continued through to today. Art is something that he toys with and need to come back to again (again choice) and scientist has gone by the way-side.

So has he lost potential? Wasted it? Well, we came to realize now that sports/athletics were actually negatively impacting Ken’s mental health. Competition on that level and the stress to his body was not helping his inner dialogue. Of course, on the outside he broke records, played hard and won. BUT while everyone watched that potential being tapped a whole new potential was brewing underneath – the potential to lead to self harm, depression and possibly death.

Direction changed to computers, which has morphed now into the much healthier (due to having to be accountable daily to many and face to face communication) project manager. Project manager may not seem like the height of tapping potential but I am sitting here watching him grow and excel.

So, while some may say he had so much potential, I see it as he has so much adapting potential. KEN has adapted to a whole new lifestyle post depression, he has adapted to our family as it has grown, found a career that makes him the best he can be and stretches his limits. No, he is not an athlete, or a scientist or currently an artist BUT he is Ken. Amazing, ambitious, unique Ken.

So we have each tapped some potential and are always looking to find more. That is the other thing. So I am a mother, but I found a new potential in crochet, and I am not half bad at the recorder, maybe the piano will be some untapped potential I never even knew I had! That cannot be wasted if I never knew it existed, right?

Together Ken and I have the potential to be amazing, I kinda think we already are… just a bit! After all, humans are creatures of change even as we fight to stay the same. So, doesn’t it mean that our potential is ever changing, ever growing and morphing into something new? Now, I doubt I will ever have the potential to be a fighter pilot (ACK heights) or a sumo wrestler, but who knows, maybe… years down the line… you will come to read about Lisa the biblical scholar and Ken the divine artist?

After all, depression or no, personal limitations or not, our potential is there! And we ALL have the potential for greatness on some scale or another. So be that great person – after all… I already know you ARE!!!!IMG_20160624_221658

 

 

Fear of Loss and Regression

There are few things scarier as the spouse of a person with severe and clinical depression than a regression or a “slip up” on the new life patterns.

Thankfully my current and more recent experiences with these “lapses in change” are few and far between, but it happens. Add in work stress, deadlines, someone at the office quitting suddenly and equally quickly I see Ken slipping into old patterns. Chores undone, choices in chores a wee bit wacky (he seriously is the only person I know that, when he falls back into old destruction choices finds himself a BIGGER chore to avoid the ongoing list). All I see is a great big red WARNING sign.

MY frustration is quickly felt as household promises fall to the wayside in favour of work and stress. After all, part of Ken’s therapy is the realization that (as long as it won’t endanger the household) it is not appropriate for me to swoop in and do something FOR Ken. That gives him an out, like a child who does a chore badly to get out of it (and I HAVE experienced that, I might add). Rather, I have to (equally frustratingly) sit back and leave the chaos to rest until Ken comes round to the mental and emotional realization that he must stop running from that particular responsibility.

This is all something which, when Ken is in the moment, he DOES NOT SEE. And there is a balance there too, I can’t just scream out DO THE CHORE the second day on, he has to have the opportunity to become self aware (little heads up – we are NOT there yet… quite). Self awareness is a tricky thing. Do we ever clearly see our own actions when emotionally compromised?

There is always, in the back of my head, a little voice saying – “keep aware, be diligent.” I know I have mentioned this before and talked extensively about being the “healthy one,” but sometimes it is a hugely frustrating endeavor. I am not sure WHEN I will ever assuage myself of the guilt of missing cues. Why didn’t I see the spiral earlier on? Why was I so blind to the now obvious suffering of one of the most important people in my life? So there is the additional worry that I will be hyper vigilant or accidentally take to “calling wolf.” (are we all familiar of the story of the Boy Who Cried Wolf? If not HERE)

Luckily this newest roller coaster (mini as it was) was over messes at work that were not the fault of himself, and deadlines and crazy hours (like skype at 3 am… kid you not, darn international companies!). What is utterly amazing is that every phone call, ever little WORK related deadline or promise was hit, met and exceptionally dealt with. Just don’t ask about the dishwasher issue, the pictures that need to be hung where tall people live, or the room we tore apart to paint… oops.20170214_210130

The Grass is Always Greener…

on the other side… I am sure we have all pretty much heard SOME variation on that old saying. But is it really? I wonder, at times, if anyone sees MY “grass” as greener than theirs.

If you take the saying literally and look in my backyard (heck let’s be honest, front yard too) it is obvious, the neighbour’s grass IS greener. But, that is mainly because weeds masquerading as grass will NEVER have the plush vibrant green of true lovely grass. So, yah… my grass is not greener if you want to get TECHNICAL.

Now take the saying as a saying… do you see my life as better/easier/greener than yours? I have a somewhat skeptical view when it comes to the idea that someone would see my life as simple and fun from the outside looking in. Let’s lay it out as I am rather sure it appears:

  • 5 kids
  • homeschool
  • stay at home mom
  • no license (because I don’t have one)
  • husband has been diagnosed with severe depression AND a hearing disability
  • one income household
  • idea of a good night – anime and crochet

Some good, some bad, some awesome in my mind. But I am not sure it is anyone else’s idea of an enviable lifestyle as much as I love my life. Ups and downs and all. So as a full out overview – my grass seems a little… sparse… but there are aspects… I get to homeschool, I have chosen to have my say fully in their education and embrace it as my life. I get to be at home, with my babies (and honestly, I hate working), which if I am utterly honest is a bit of a double edged sword. My husband is DIAGNOSED, and as far as we have seen CORRECTLY. I wonder if anyone can grasp the huge relief and gift that is. We have titles and names and symptoms and, even more important, a plan to a healthier life.

Now you can envy all you want on that last one – I get to craft… and watch anime… bliss.

I have made it one of my active choices to NOT look at the outside of someone’s life and be jealous or judgmental. What is the saying – still waters run deep? You can see a dictionary meaning HERE, but really what I mean by that is that what seems like a beautiful and gilded life is often masking turmoil, trial and tribulations and so much more. So, unless I want to let myself place a huge amount of worth on the physical possessions of others… well it is so much better to simply be pleased for them and realize that my life is mine. It is the sum of my choices, the result of my experiences. There is a lot of truth in the belief that without the ups and downs you would not be the person you are.

And, when I look deep inside, I like me. I am a good person, I try my best in all things, I love well… I try to live well. Your grass, your choices and abilities and possessions, the are not mine. And that is ok. We all do what we can with what we have.

Now that is not to say I haven’t seen someone’s new toy or home or adorable fluffy, sweet kitty and been a wee bit jealous. Honesty is important, and I REALLY want my own little kitten to love and pet and snuggle. We all are weak to that I think… no, not cats… but to a wee bit of jealousy. But do I want their life… do I want to give up my own and fit into theirs? Nope.

It is really important that, at the end of the day, we see the good. This is something that was super important early on in Ken’s journey to a healthier life, and remains important even to today. At the end of the day I can always see something special, something positive, something ours that happened. The more you can embrace the life you live the less you see the need to gaze at someone else’s.

I think at times I really wonder – would ANYONE want my life? The thought makes me giggle, so many people say they could never do what I do. Good! Because if you did I would be out of a job. And that wouldn’t work. I could not imagine my life any other way. Could you?DSCN1497[1]