Tag Archive | procrastination

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

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

 

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