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Author: Amy

The Black Dog

The Black Dog

 

I’m going to break an internet rule and apologize for not posting in three weeks.

I could tell you it was because I was busy (which I was) and that things are crazy (which they are) and that I’m putting my energy towards helping my daughter make her college decision (which I am – she has 9 days, people!) — but that would only be a part of the story.

I want to be honest with you here because I know you, as highly sensitive people, are not immune to what I’m about to talk about.

A few weeks ago, my typical acquaintance with depression and anxiety turned into a all out brawl, and I was losing.  I had been sliding down for a long time, but this was tail over teakettle into a ravine.

I became re-familiarized with the term, The Black Dog, which didn’t in any way seem to do what I was going through justice, although it brought up thoughts of Sirius Black from Harry Potter, which produced at least a little ray of light in an otherwise dark world spiraling out of control.  My Black Dog was more like a pack of black wolves with rabies.

I normally have a lot of deep troublesome thoughts or things going on in my life, which I can typically carry around tidily as if in a suitcase.  The problems or thoughts are there, but I am managing them.  Lately,  not only has the suitcase gotten too heavy, but it sprung open, getting lotions and dainties everywhere, just as I was running for the gate so as not to miss my plane.   Plane missed, stuff everywhere, me sitting in an emotional, embarrassed heap, unable to clean it up or move on. (OK I’m done with the metaphors, LOL).

Two days ago I stopped a medication that I think might be contributing, but it’s only a guess because it’s supposed to act in the opposite way. It’s too soon to tell if it was helping. I only took it 10 days out of the month, and my depression was every day not just those days, so I’m guessing if it was a contributing factor it’s more of a cumulative thing and will probably take time to get out of my system.

Or it has nothing to do with it and I’m just totally out of whack.  Not sure I ever was IN whack, LOL.  Actually, not even sure what whack is. 🙂


I have spent a lot of time in the last few weeks thinking about this blog and the fact that I wasn’t blogging.  Mostly wondering where I want to take this blog.

My oldest is graduating (!), my second is in a local high school, my now 7th grader wants to go there when she hits 9th grade, and yesterday #4 asked to go to school as well, before high school.  My youngest has no desire for school, but I can imagine that will change when his best buddies are all gone.  I don’t blame them.  I try very hard not to let my mental state affect them, and am usually very successful, as I’m a good faker around people.  But slowly things have changed around here over the past few years, both educationally and socially.  They are lonely and need things I can’t seem to manage.  So the highly sensitive homeschooler may soon be the highly sensitive NOT-homeschooler. Probably not next year, but soon.

Blogging about being overwhelmed by homeschooling seems disingenuous to me if I’m not right there in the trenches with you.  To me, at least.

I’ve thought about selling the URL and associated “stuff” if anyone is interested. 🙂  It’s just a thought at this moment, and I’m not sure how I would go about it all, but I’d be happy to talk to anyone interested. The right person could really fly with this blog because there is a great need for writing about this topic. I just don’t know if I’m the one to do it.

I also am having a problem with the way I’ve been blogging — part of me wants to do the traffic driving “10 Ways to Be the Best Homeschooler EVVVVVEEEERRRRRRR” posts, and part of me hates them with a passion, LOL.  The other part of me just wants to hang out and chat about life, but I worry about it turning into a whine-fest.  As HSPs life can be overwhelming, so when talking about the HSP life I’d be talking about being overwhelmed.  A lot.  Especially as an HSP dealing with anxiety and depression. And I don’t have *answers* so I’m never sure what to say.

The flip flopping between the two types has made me feel two-faced.  I know I should just follow my heart, but my heart is all.over.the.place.  If I don’t get traffic here I’m just talking to myself, but in order to drive traffic I’m not being true to myself and having to be over-salesy (for me).  Like, if I see one more highly staged instagram photo, I’m gonna quit life and go be Thoreau at Walden Pond.

I’m just going to stop there here, and ask for your thoughts.  I’m not even going to give you a question to answer, just throw it all out there to me, whatever you are thinking, about any of it.  I feel like a conversation needs to happen, but I’m not sure how to start.

 

Lessons I’m learning from Ernest Shackleton

Lessons I’m learning from Ernest Shackleton

Lessons from Ernest Shackleton

 

 

One hundred years ago, Ernest Shackleton led a voyage to Antarctica on his ship Endurance that turned into the most incredible journey of human strength and, well, endurance.

((Spoiler Warning! I’m going to try to keep it light on the spoilers but you will learn about what happens in the book through this post.))

I recently finished reading Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing (affiliate).  What an awe inspiring true story!   And the irony is not lost on me that I’m super excited that I finished a book, like that’s some sort of accomplishment, when the book was about men getting through the most amazing polar adventure filled with death defying feats of strength and (I’m going to say it again!) endurance. 🙂

Hurley and Shackleton at camp after leaving the Endurance

Ernest Shackleton was a brilliant adventurer and also a astute observer of human nature. He was “an explorer in the classic mold — utterly self-reliant, romantic, and just a little swashbuckling.”  I just love that description!  The next time I want to do something or stand up for myself and others are giving me a hard time, I’m just going to say I’m swashbuckling and do it anyway, LOL.

Reading about him and the adventures of his men taught me quite a few life lessons. Not for the first time, I’m sure, and definitely not the last, but I’m not a quick student when it comes to learning to live life in a harsh world. I know I can apply these not only to my life, but to my homeschooling and my parenting as well.

 

Lessons I’m Learning from Ernest Shackleton and the crew of the Endurance

Demoralization of even a few members of a group can be the difference between a survivable experience and outright mutiny and misery. Spreading discontent was a sin of the highest order.

 “Of all their enemies — the cold, the ice, the sea — he feared none more than demoralization.”

Unity of the group is of utmost importance in difficult situations. It’s OK to go to great lengths — proactively and intentionally — to keep people close knit and under (parental) control, including flattering people who need it and helping people feel important.

Having a clear cut task, no matter how potentially impossible that task may be, can be easier and more exhilarating than waiting and worrying without direction, doing nothing.

Trying to cut a path in the ice for the ship

Five minutes with a person can tell you an awful lot about who they are. (Shackleton’s interviews for his crew rarely lasted longer than this and he was notorious for selecting compatible men.)

Almost anything can be endured with good humor, creativity — not just for survival but for entertainment — and quality companionship.

The men left behind on Elephant Island

 

Fill your mind with beautiful poetry and meaningful books so that when things look grim your mind will capture snippets of wisdom or beautiful verses to hold on to.

Sometimes you need to separate the dogs to prevent fighting.

Tom Crean and his dogsled puppies

Sometimes those burdened with plans for every contingency fare worse than those that sacrifice total preparedness for speed.

Nothing is harder than having hope rise and be dashed, rise and be dashed.

Launching the James Caird

Weeks of primitive living, of having to make do and learn how to make and use what is necessary, can be very enriching. Keeping productively occupied, combined with regular times of rest and relaxation, is the key to a good life no matter what the outside circumstances.

“They had been tested and found not wanting.”

If you have to give disappointing news, have something productive for the men to do immediately afterward.

Sometimes when you are in the dark, in a storm, when all seems lost, you are actually being blown to a better place.

Never lose hope.

 

Homeschool Interview Series

Homeschool Interview Series

 

Did you ever wonder what other homeschoolers think about homeschooling and how they run their days? Well, Amanda from Sicily’s Heart and Home is doing a great Homeschool Interview Series and today is my turn!

Head on over to today’s post to hear me ramble on some more about our crazy homeschool, successes and failures, burnout, and a typical day. Honestly, I could go on and on about it here, but apparently I went on and on about it over there, so I will spare you.  😉

Hope to see you there! Have a wonderful day!

I’m reading an actual book!

I’m reading an actual book!

I picked up Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage {affiliate} at the library last week (along with a bagful of other books you know I will probably renew for 9 weeks and then try to panic-read when they are due in 4 days – this does not bode well for my reading challenge!). I have wanted to read this one for ages.

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Homeschool Standout

Homeschool Standout

 

I’ve just started reading Standout 2.0 by Marcus Buckingham. It’s supposed to be about “winning at work,” and honestly, I got it out of the library to take a peek at for my older daughters. They are both wondering–at 16 and 18–what the world holds for them career wise.

While I got it for my kids, I was immediately struck by how applicable it is for homeschooling moms.

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Things I’m loving right now

Things I’m loving right now

I love the feeling inside me that wells up when I find something that I just adore. It makes me so happy to think about or be with that thing. Is that a little twisted? I have an inkling that that feeling should be reserved for people, but most people don’t make me feel as happy as these awesome things here. 😉

So here is a list of things that make me feel guilty I love them so much.

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