Thursday, November 24, 2011

giving thanks: in sickness and in health

When I started this blog, in the wee hours of the morning almost two years ago, I thought it would be a homeschooling blog. Where I wrote about our journey—for me as a homeschooling mother, and for my kids as learners. I wanted to record our learning, and think about our methods. I wanted to focus on our love for learning, especially our creative learning and how important that was to our day.

Loving to learn was born. No fanfare, just a simple Plop, or perhaps a tiny Plink, and it was there.

I began to write. Very sporadically at first. More and more deeply as time passed.

I found myself writing not just about homeschool, but about parenting too. About choosing Yes in my parenting days over No.

I found myself

walking into Yes.

Into everything that meant. In our homeschool days,
in learning in general,
in our life.

Choosing Yes opened my eyes.

That choice became a turning over of the soil for me. It began a deep digging down and a deep unearthing.

It became clear that I wanted and needed to share more.

I began sharing myself, my own story.

My journey into and out of sadness, and how Choosing Yes was in fact a part of a bigger picture.

That of Finding Joy.

Seeking and finding joy, is for me,
the way I try daily to save my life. To lift and fill it.

This blog has become something Else.

In writing it, and in the passing of time, I have become something,



I am

a grown up

a writer

and a mother,

but I am ALSO

and have become

a homeschooler

a learning 'facilitator'

a student—of art, crochet, cooking, maths, astronomy, physics, history, knitting, sewing, gardening and lego robots

a cook, a cleaner, a dog washer and the owner of two fairly challenging cats

a lap (available at any time)

a vegan

the mother to two bright young artists, writers, inventors, and musicians (who are an inspiration to me)

and the wife to one extraordinary, beautiful man.

I am also


someone suffering from clinical depression.

As of this moment. As of Right Now.


as of yesterday, after a visit to my doctor, and a long long talk,

I am also possibly, probably,

someone with bipolar disorder II.

I am someone who will have to get treatment. See a counsellor, see a psychiatrist, go to naturopaths and to doctors. Someone who must seek help. Someone who might have to go on medication for life.

Where does that fit? In this life of mine that is

so beautiful?

So full? So blessed?

How is it even possible?

And how does that fit here, into this blog?

Where and how do I write about that?

Really. Without people squirming and looking away?

How do I write and not think: This is too much. This might make people see me differently. That label is not for people like me, is it?

Is it?

It must be, if it is true. If it turns out to be part of who I am, then it is. As much as any of the things on my list of Me.

On this day, I am either moving into good-bye, because writing about this was never what this blog was meant to be about.

Or I am beginning a new journey here. Where I write about finding the joy, more and more. Where I show our day-to-day and our Good,

along with the Hard and the Healing.

I wonder which one it should be.

I do know that having been swept hard into the undertow, I'm barely writing. I know that right now, I rarely leave comments on other peoples' blogs. That makes me sad, because I have found so much support and so much inspiration from their (your) words. I know that some days putting one foot in front of the other, thinking of what to have for dinner, finding moments to smile and laugh and really BE with my family, is an effort.

So what does the future hold?

Wellness, I hope.

Joy. I believe.

It will find me giving thanks,

every single day,

for the life I have, the people in it, the love in it.

I know it will see me
walking daily into love.

Today is Thanksgiving.

Today I am scared. I am sad. I am uncertain.

And I am so utterly thankful.



  1. I was diagnosed with bipolar last year. Not long after we had taken the girls out of school. Not long after diagnosis I was so down I ended up in hospital for 3 months. I am not very good at getting my thoughts into words (especially not compared to you), but I have found my blog is a place for me to share the very best and the very worst. It has helped me find people who consider bipolar no different to diabetes - an illness that needs to be treated like no other. Unfortunately the medication I have been on has done more damage than good (for me) and I have spent the last 6 months researching natural treatments that can help manage bipolar if you want me to share what I have found please let me know and I will email you as there has not been a whole lot of research into it. Stephen Fry also has an awesome documentary about living with Manic Depression or Bipolar (and it will make you very please to be a type 2 like me). I currently am sick and exhausted which is why I am a bit blunt and not all flowery about bipolar not being the end of the isn't.

  2. Do not stop writing. So what if your blog topic path seems to have changed? Really, I don't think it has. Loving to Learn goes for ALL of life. :) I know how intimidating the beginning of a journey like this can seem. Just know that many have gone before you, and many have found relief and a new way. I let post-partum blues go untreated for 3 years. Between medicine (for a year) and therapy (for 6 months) I Learned so much and got better.

    You are smart and determined, so I know you will find your way. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it will take time, but you will get there. If you choose to share the journey here, I'm sure you will have lots of support.

    And Happy Thanksgiving. :)

  3. No squirming here. No looking away. Nothing is different, nothing has changed. No one has changed. A name, a diagnosis- those things will hopefully be little more than useful tools in understanding and managing and finding ways to cope. YOU have not changed.
    Still eloquent. Still deeply thoughtful. Still appreciative. Still loving. Still caring. Still a mother, writer, dog-washer...all of those things. Still a source of light and inspiration to others.
    If a reader turns away because you speak of it- that's their choice. We're all drawn to each other's writings for reasons best known to ourselves. We usually don't know each other personally so its not fair to ourselves or our readers to take it personally if someone stops following our blog. You may lose readers. You'll probably gain readers too as you move into areas that are of more interest to those looking for a different kind of ispiration or understanding.
    Wishing you well.
    And waves to Mrs. McAwesome...sorry to hear you're not feeling well.
    Light, love and wellness to you both.

  4. No turning away here either Helena. It is ALL of you that we come here to love and hear about. Never ever doubt what an impact your life ( through real life and blog life) has had on others. Your love, your honesty, your perspective, your finding the joy, your sharing the journey of learning... All of it, all of you is beautiful and wonderful and sensitive and real. There have been many times your words have healed and restored us. We now want to continue to walk with you into your journey of healing and wholeness (if you will have us!) So whatever, or whenever you write, we are right here with you. Sending big love your way... Love Deb B

  5. I love you and your words my beautiful friend! I don't think you could possibly scare me away, my heart is meshed with your beautiful soul already. Getting the words out no matter where they take us... is a healing in itself. Wish I could find the time to sit and get mine out. I am rather guilty of holding back for the most part when it comes to what I really want to say on my own blog more often than not. Keep looking up my lovely! We are right here with you always xoxoxoxox

  6. Helena,

    Happy Thanksgiving. The alternative to NOT dealing with what we have been dealt with is so much worse, wouldn't you say? ALL of us have something that we struggle with for none of us can ever readh a state of physical and mental perfection, no matter how hard we try. We celebrate our accomplishments, our successes, our trumps and our joy. We try not to dwell in the sorrow, the pain and the sadness too long.

    Blog. Blog all you want or none of what you want. You words help others, that is evident just by the responses to some of your posts that I'm sure were difficult to write. Or maybe because you HAD to write them, they were easy. A blog is an evolution, just like our life. To remain stagnant is to not grow, learn, live. Our blogs are a place for us to connect with others over the paths our lives are taking.

    I for one, will hold your hand over the miles and smile with you through the happiness and cry with you through the sadness. I wish you peace. You will find your way through this. A diagnosis is just that. A statement of symptoms. The treatment is for you to discover on your own terms, with the cooperation of a good clinician.

    I so wish at this moment you were just around the block so I could pop over and give you a hug but my words will have to do. I am thinking of you.


  7. I ditto what everyone else has said. And this is the power of blogging my dear friend. All these wonderful words of support, love, and encouragement. If we all lived in the same neighborhood, we would be there with you now, with tea, cakes and hugs. We love you dear Helena.
    Things will be okay. This is just another season for you to travel, and what you will have on the other side is a whole other set of strengths, as well as a candle of hope for anyone else that will go through what you are going through right now. Happy Thanksgiving dear one, with all my love...

  8. I too understand the want to hold back vs. the need to share honestly. I struggle daily, posting my sick days on my blog wasn't easy but I find they are more loved than other blogs I write. They say: I am here, real, & human. I won't tell you to keep writing that is up to you but I would read it! For me I have considered splitting my blog into two, one about homeschooling life on a farm and the other about my fight to live well.

  9. Never turn away. Helena, I don't think you realize how much we adore you. I am feeling very happy about this, now you have a name for it. Now you will get help to make it more bearable. And whether you throw it out here in blog land or not I will be cheering you on. Your friendship means so much to me. And one day we will sit in a place together and laugh and giggle and marvel at our amazing kids. If you ever need to talk or yell or shout or cry I am an email away. Love you bunches.

  10. No squirming here, either. It's just a new name for something you have been living with.

    Your blog often gives your readers so much more than a peek into your homeschooling life; many of us gleen an opportunity to think with more focus, or feel with more empathy toward others, as well as toward ourselves, on this parenting journey.

    Whether you write your blog or you don't write anything, you will always be a wonderful writer who can move people with the word. Whether or not you respond to comments, you are still Helena, the compassionate, intelligent, and inspiring woman.

    You may feel swept in the 'undertow' because it's all part of processing new information, or perhaps seeking new definitions--of yourself, or of your blog. Thanks for letting us know you're still there. I'm still here, too. (((hugs)))

  11. And if I wasn't thankful enough, here you all are. WIth your kindness and generosity and love. I am SO incredibly grateful. So touched that you would write and share and connect. TRULY, you lift me. TRULY, your words give me light. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  12. Well, having touched my big toe, ever so slightly, into blogging and writing, I think the blog needs to go where it needs to go. Like a novel that takes an unexpected path. Isn't that what life is all about?

    Labels. They are funny things. You can be scared of them, or you can take them on board to help you figure out the best path (for you) from here. Whether the label is homeschool, or giftedness, or depression, or AHDH, or autism, or bipolar - you now have a name for something that was causing you issues, and you can go research it and learn more about it and do something positive.

    For what it's worth, I still think you are pretty cool and I for one would be a little sad if your beautiful words didn't pop onto my screen every now and then.

    As always, take care of yourself and big cyber-hugs :-)

  13. Helena, there isn't much I can add to all of the wonderful words in the comments already written here, but know that you don't make me squirm or turn away either! I love reading your words, and I will continue to read them when you feel like sharing. I wish you the absolute best as you get through this time. Hugs!!

  14. What everyone else said.

    also: Depression is a lying bastard. Remember that.

    I am happy to read whatever you choose to write. I like YOU.

  15. Where is the "like" button....Deb has a good point there!

  16. Everyone above has already said it better than I could
    Helena. So just adding my voice, so you know that I'm still 'here'. I've been very much in non-blogging mode of late and you know what? It doesn't matter! Write when you write, comment when you comment - as often or seldom as they may be. Don't thank us, your readers, ThankYOU for sharing what you do! Xx

  17. Oh Helena. I don't read this blog because you write about homeschooling and learning. I read because I like you. I like all of the writing, the happy and the sad, and I like the genuine emotions your write. Don't hide what you want to share, unless you aren't comfortable with it. This is YOUR BLOG. You can let it evolve and grow as you see fit.

    And would you tell ME that having a bi-polar disorder makes me less than a person? Or that I shouldn't write about it on my blog, even though it's a "mommy blog"? You would probably have some lovely words of encouragement and love. So, I hope that not only will you see this comment as MY words of encouragement and love, but also that you extend to yourself what you would extend to someone else!

  18. Dearest Helena, firstly, I want to apologise for not visiting lately. We have been so incredibly busy and blogging went on the backburner :)
    Secondly, I want to tell you that I think you have so much courage and beauty about you. It really does shine through your soulful writing.
    My father has bi polar and other mental health issues too.
    I know that very creative people are often prone to emotional highs and lows. It can be very painful, but at the same time it is what makes them unique, vital and beautiful, just as they are.
    As you are :)
    Sending love and (((hugs)))
    Take Care
    And write about what is true to you, embracing all the facets of your personality!!!


I love hearing from you! Thank you for your heartfelt, thoughtful responses—they lift me, and give me light.