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Author: Amy

Feel your feelings

Feel your feelings

For me, the last few years held a lot of illness, but more than a few silver linings.

One of those benefits was learning more about trauma and its effects on the body.

A life changing idea I came across (I believe it was in the Primal Trust community) was that I was most likely not feeling my feelings, I was *thinking* my feelings.

It is important to your physical and mental health to feel your emotions to their resolution, in which they dissipate and you return to baseline. But if you are “thinking your feelings”, this doesn’t happen as easily.

Let me give you an example of what thinking your feelings is vs. feeling your feelings: let’s say a driver cuts you off and you are put in a momentary dangerous situation. Thinking your feelings is how you say, “What an idiot! He almost caused an accident! He could have killed me! I’m so mad! I can’t believe he did that! Bleepin, bleep bleep!” In the past, had any one asked me if I had felt my feelings in that situation, I would have said yes! See I was mad and scared and I said (or thought) so!

But in the same situation, *feeling* your feelings looks like: the guy cuts you off, and you realize your heart is pounding, you are hot, your stomach is tense, your feet hurt, your hands are tight on the steering wheel, maybe you are shaking. You take some moments or longer to experience those feelings to their fullest. Accept and notice the feelings, without judgment.

The difference is, feeling the sensations of your emotions, and sort of “leaning in” to the feeling of them, while quieting the mind of the chatter about them, helps them to be processed and released faster. In my experience, thinking about my feelings tends to rile me up to continue to be hyper aroused, as I have trouble letting go of the negative thoughts I’m having.

While I have not tried using this technique of feeling my feelings in the direct aftermath of a big ticket trauma like a recent death or accident, I have used it often in the day to day stresses of raising a family, dealing with old trauma, and living with chronic illnesses, and it has worked almost every time to bring the feelings of the moment to some kind of resolution. It feels like they “flow through me” and out. My body usually prompts me to yawn or take a deep breath, both signals that my nervous system is processing and shifting into a healthier state. My mind may bring up the stressful event multiple times, but each time I try to get out of my head and into my body and work on dissipating that feeling again and again. This is OK, and to be expected.

As highly sensitive individuals, we often stay up in our own head. We think about everything, and sometimes don’t really have a sense of what is going on in our bodies in terms of emotions, in a real and embodied way. If this is true for you, it might take some practice and some embodiment work to learn how to have a felt sense of your body in any given moment.

Try not to distract yourself from the smaller, handleable stresses, and feel those feelings. As your body learns to do this, you will be one step closer to being able to deal with the bigger things.

The usual disclaimer: This is not professional advice. If you find the actions I described too overwhelming please do not do them without medical/professional counseling advice.

Photo by Jason Tran on Unsplash

I’m small and it’s OK

I’m small and it’s OK

The new year is here and as usual, I have big ideas.

Grow my blog! Lose all the weight!  Be the best wife, mother and homeschooler EVERRRRR!


After almost a half century of life, I also know myself.  The first week of January I will be all gung ho, spend all the money, do all the things…and I will crash and burn before Martin Luther King Day rolls around.  I will, very quickly, come face to face with the fact that I am small and I need God.

Looks like I’m not alone.

From Emily Freeman’s book Simply Tuesday (referral)

(Jesus) constantly turned to his Father in everything refusing to hold his own glory, walking as the most dependent man who ever lived.  And now the Spirit of the most dependent man who ever lived has made his home in us.

If it’s good for Jesus, it’s good for me.

There are so many ways our smallness shows up in mothering and homeschooling, especially when you are introverted and sensitive. Heck, just the sheer amount of talking at me here on a daily basis is enough to make me cry!

I think many of us were taught in various ways, mistakenly, how big we are. How we were expected to fix others, to make them happy.  Unfortunately, that never really worked, did it?  We were told we had God’s job and it was impossible for little us, although we tried. We were shamed for being small, and I know I still carry that inside me like a lump of hot coal.

Instead of forgetting or running from my own smallness, what if I chose instead to look it in the face, to settle down into the place where I am, to notice what is happening around me on my ordinary days? What if these small moments are the very portal into experiencing the kingdom of God? I believe they are — and if we miss them, we miss everything. We run right by the kingdom’s doors, and no matter where we go, we have missed the door that leads us home.

I’m not saying I, or you, shouldn’t have goals and dream dreams. I think they are important. But let’s embrace our own smallness, our own small moments:

…reading to your insatiable toddler (extra points for the same story over and over), feeling your heart swell to the vision of your child on stage for the first time, explaining long division, explaining long division again, spill wiping, laundry doing, staying up late listening when your body is screaming for your bed, burning dinner, and laughing to family jokes over take-out.

This is it. This is the kingdom of God. Right here in your midst.

I’m slowly coming to grips with my own smallness. I’m small, and it’s OK. In fact, it’s beautiful.

Learning to Swim

Learning to Swim

I was watching a Brave Writer video the other day on copywork and learning disabilities (linked below). In it, speech-language pathologist Rita Cevasco is talking about choosing the difficulty level of your students’ work when she says,

“You’re not learning how to swim when you are drowning.”

You are not learning how to swim when you are drowning.

Is anyone else having bells go off in their head when they hear that?

Not just about your students, but about you?

How often we are drowning as HSPs and moms??  The noise, the smells, the chaos and lack of sleep? The never-ending-ness of it if you are also homeschooling? Or have littles and are up at night so one day just blends into night and into the next day?

And how many of us just push and push through, telling ourselves that it shouldn’t be this hard, so we must be doing something wrong…it’s US so we’ll just keep trying to be like the non-HSPs next door.

Yet *denying* that that is my reality, that I am sometimes (often) drowning and not swimming, doesn’t help me any!  “I should be able to do more! I should be able to stand this!” Saying these things does not make them true.

We need to learn to live within our abilities, even if they are less than we want, even if others are shaming us for them, even if we are “disappointing” people.  In the end, that is on them, not you.  It absolutely hurts when the condemnation gets aimed at us, but *they* are wrong, not you.

I know there are so many things we can’t drop if we are mothers and homeschoolers.  SO. MANY.

But maybe we can jump way back, out of the minds of others where shame and condemnation live (sometimes our own minds are the worst for this), out of the culture that bases worth on productivity and usefulness, and think about ourselves and our own needs.  Pray for wisdom about what is yours to carry.

When I’m not drowning, the gifts God has gifted me with get a chance to shine and be used.  Little by little I’m learning to swim.



Here’s the Brave Writer Video.



A Day in the Life of a Type B Homeschooler – First Day of School!

A Day in the Life of a Type B Homeschooler – First Day of School!

(Times are approximate. I’m severely Type B, after all.)

Technically, the first day of school was supposed to be this Tuesday, the day after Labor Day. That was the day my other kids started high school outside the home so it made sense to me.  However, some day in July it made sense to me to make a long doctor’s appointment for my son on Tuesday.  Not sure what I was thinking…but it worked out in the end.  It was even a good visit – we don’t have to go back until December, and his joints are looking good! (Thanks to lots of horrible drugs /insert scowly eye roll here).

So Wednesday rolls around and I figure I can’t put off starting school forever just because I missed what would have been the perfect first day. I did think about it though! “Maybe we should start NEXT week.”  No Amy, just do it. So a day late and half a curriculum short, and here we go.

(links may be affiliate links)

6:30 ish AM – I hear people banging around outside my room and know it’s time to get rolling. The school girls are getting ready. So I lie in bed for a long time scrolling through Instagram. I’ve become an Instagram Stories junkie lately.  I’m secretly thankful it wears my battery down too fast or I would do it more often, when I should be doing other things. Like getting up and starting my day. Ahem.

7 AM – I say goodbye to dh and the girls and go shower.  Today is the first day of homeschooling! I’m going to be ready. Well, at least I’m going to be clean…”ready” is saying a bit too much.  I haven’t shopped for this year, I have vague plans…. yeah, “ready” is a little optimistic. But I’ve had a horse in this race for *gulp* 15 years now, so I’m just going to roll with it.

8 AM – the youngest two are up  (they are 12 and almost 10… 7th and 4th grade) and getting ready. Getting ready means, hmmmm, not much.  They sleep in shorts and t-shirts. They do school in shorts and t-shirts, LOL.  They brush their teeth.  I make snacks!  This is not an every day thing but something nice for the first day.  Belvita Bites, crackers, chai, tea, veggies.  Shocked that they eat the veggies before the Belvitas and crackers. Make a mental note to put out veggies more often. Dip is a lifesaver.

9 AM – School starts!  Find the kids. They are excited for their first day. I *know* that will not last, but it is nice for today.  We gather on the couch, our only soft place to sit…we moved this summer and can’t afford more furniture until we sell our old house. 🙂  I suggest we start with a prayer.   It was awkward but heartfelt. I never know what to say!  “Thanks God. Help?!?!” LOL

After a prayer blessing our year I open A History of US Volume 1.  My daughter has asked to learn about Native American history and cultures, and my son has no opinion right now, so Native Americans it is. (An aside:  I’m agonizing over how to refer to them…Native Americans? Indigenous North Americans? Something else? Even a google search brings up interviews where no one is in agreement of what they call themselves. Usually prefer their tribe name. Which doesn’t help me name them as a whole for blogging and discussion purposes. So Native Americans it is…with an explanation of all this to my 12yo LOL) (Yes I’m an overthinker, why do you ask?)

9-10 AM – We read from A History of US, 2 chapters. This hour is a great example of my teaching style. Discussion based and all over the place.  A History of Us starts with a poem, “This Newly Created World (a Winnebago Indian poem)”.  We are doing “history” but stop to discuss the poem.  There is some great imagery and metaphor…we discuss it and what a metaphor is. I don’t beat the poem to death, I just say a few things until it starts feeling unnatural, and then I move on. I know there will be another poem at some point to talk about something else. We talk about Winnebago and wonder about the name and where they lived/live.

The  next few pages have several quotes, and we read them. They discuss the meaning and importance of history and my kids have opinions on it they share.  There are brief discussions on who some of the people quoted are. We look a few things up.  I’m happy nothing started us singing Hamilton songs because then we may never have fully recovered. 😀   We did sing the preamble to the Constitution when it came up in the text. I cried when we were done, trying to explain to my kids how cool it was that they were singing the same song I learned from Schoolhouse Rock when I was young.  I am *always* crying during read alouds so they might as well get used to it now.

We have a little side discussions about: math/physics/physiology (the size of mammoths and length of tusks vs their legs), geology, evolution, vocabulary they didn’t know, what a theory is vs. things we know as absolute facts, weaponry, whether it’s OK to eat animals. We are about 18 pages into the book…and have covered history, math, geology, physics, biology, ethics, and language arts.

10ish – we hit the end of a history chapter … not a pre-planned stopping point, just a good one… so move to our read aloud: Prince Caspian. We finished The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe at the end of last year, so this was an obvious choice. 🙂  I read and they listen and draw and snack.  There are a few side discussions but not like with the history book.

Getting on my soapbox: I don’t “ruin” a book I’m reading aloud by asking comprehension questions.  Asking comprehension questions while reading doesn’t teach kids anything, it is just *testing* them over and over.  If a kid has comprehension problems I would address that separately, and probably pick easier (and very engaging) books as my read alouds with them.  I know my kids are following for the most part because I’ll talk about what I like about the plot, or ask them if they remember where we left off yesterday, and they can usually converse pretty well about it.   We cover a few new vocabulary words as we hit them. “Do you know what _____ means here?”  I read a few chapters until my throat starts hurting.

I’ll pick a paragraph I like at some point next week for copy work, especially for my youngest. He had arthritis in his right hand for years and so I didn’t force handwriting.  He’s doing well now, but his grip is weak and he needs practice.

11 AM – Time for math!  They are both doing Life of Fred this year. We are in Pre-Algebra 0 with Physics for my 7th grader and Kidney (LOL) for my 4th grader, although so far it seems easy.  Meaning, he is understanding the concepts, not necessarily remembering all his math facts right away or the steps to long division. I walk him through problems, and it will come with time. (Methotrexate Fog is a a real thing).   I read to my son as my dd does hers on her own, surprisingly in the same room. She usually wants quiet.

Life of Fred works much like our other curriculum in that the author brings in random topics that send us down rabbit trails.  Some people hate it but it really works for us. So today we talked about idioms, which is great because they showed up several times in our other work, music, alphabetizing, and fair salaries.

Does this take a long time? YES! But it seems to all balance out in the end.  Because now, when we hit “idioms” in whatever language arts program I might use, they already know about it, and we can skim or skip. And they learned it in a more natural manner, so it seems to stick better than if it’s taught just because we happened to hit the “idiom” chapter in our book.


12 – Yay! So it’s about 12:00 and I know I, at least, am seriously hitting my wall for continuous interaction. We fend for ourselves for lunch and when they are done I put on a video.  Lydia wants to learn about animals and asked about bird behavior, so we find Beaks and Brains on Netflix and watch that in my room on my bed together.   Did I know we would watch this today? No, but I knew Netflix had a ton of animal videos and we would find *something.* We talk about it while watching, I throw in a few facts I know, it’s all very casual and fun. It really was fascinating learning how smart these birds are! 🙂

Before they are “dismissed” for the day to do whatever they want, they do some chores. We’ve introduced a new chore system that is working really well so far.  I will go into it in more detail in another post, but here is a sneak peak (which you already have seen if you follow me on Instagram).

So that is it!  We were done by 2, and it was by far the best first homeschooling day ever.   I mostly read aloud and talked and discussed, and kept my expectations low.   This works for us.  I know it doesn’t work for everyone, it didn’t even work for everyone in my own family which is why two of my children are in high school right now even though I have gone through high school by homeschooling a different child.   Let me clarify…I think it may have “worked” to educate them had they tried it for high school, but they *prefer* a much more structured, school-like atmosphere.  It is a good fit for them.

I hope you liked this little peak into our first day. If you have any questions or want more detail on anything just drop it in the comments!


They all rolled over and one fell out…

They all rolled over and one fell out…

Well hey hey, look at that I’m actually blogging. 😀

The upcoming start of a new school year has energized me to want to blog again. I finally feel like I have some things worth sharing! So much emotional turmoil over the summer kind of left me tongue tied (I’m sure I’ll talk about it eventually), but the promise of new books and school year fun is always nice to chat about.

This year my homeschool feels like the song “There Were Ten in the Bed.”  Three years ago Emma went off to high school outside the home, two years ago Elizabeth went off to college, this year Juliet joins her sister in high school, and Lydia and James T are my only homeschool students left.

*singing* There were three at the desk and the little one said, “Move over! Move over!” So they all moved over and one fell out…and rolled all the way to high school leaving us wondering where everybody went. LOL

Considering one of my homeschool struggles was getting stressed by multiple students all needing different things at the same time, I think having only two students will be good for me this year.  My adrenals are shot, my thyroid is messed up, and I need to reduce stress in a big way.  Having only two students…go me! 😀

My plan is to combine them for science and history. James T is in 4th grade this year, but is very close to the cut off so could almost be a 5th grader, and Lydia is in 7th. I think James can handle anything I’d throw at Lydia in the science and history department, as long as I accommodate for the major brain fog his arthritis drugs cause, and his lack of writing instruction compared to his sister. The amount of brain fog his Methotrexate and Humira cause cannot be underestimated. I’ve seen the difference when we increase just .1ml a week. Isn’t that crazy? But even other professionals saw it and knew from experience that’s what was happening.  I’m SO glad he’s homeschooling right now.  He’s really a smart kid under all that medication, but has trouble thinking straight when on it.

Lydia is interested in learning in depth about animals this year, and also indigenous cultures of North America so I see a lot of great reading and activities in our future. If you have any resources you love, please share!  Right now I’m just putting a million things in my library’s list page to remember.

Math will continue to be Life of Fred – James is on Kidney (such weird names for these) and Lydia, I think, has made it to Pre-Algebra 0 with Physics. Maybe some Teaching Textbooks thrown in for fun.

I won’t keep you all on this first day of school for many…just wanted to pop in and say hi, and hope to be back here much more regularly in the coming days. We’re off to go on a field trip – a poorly scheduled rheumatologist appointment! 😀

Belonging, or just fitting in?

Belonging, or just fitting in?

I was just watching videos from The Light of the Moon Cafe, where they talk about struggles with food. They really get us highly sensitive people over there.

In one of the videos Dr. Johnston was talking about how many people, especially women, will accept fitting in as a substitute for really *belonging*.

Fitting in: “when you abandon who you really are in an attempt to look like and act like and think like and feel like what you imagine how others want you to look and think and feel and act.”

Belonging: “feeling a kinship, a connection to others while you feel a connection to your true self.”

As children we are wired to *need* to belong, but sometimes our families of origin or friends aren’t emotionally healthy and don’t want us to belong, so we settle for fitting in, as our small (and older!) bodies crave connection of whatever kind we can get.  Of course, if we are only fitting in and not belonging, we realize deep down something is missing.   We are highly sensitive and can usually perceive the tiny hints that others miss.  We know something is “off” even though everyone around us says everything is fine.

When we speak up about this in unhealthy families, it doesn’t turn out well for us.  This is when we start thinking there must be something wrong with us. This is when we start numbing ourselves with food, with perfectionism, with addictions.

Why did my mom abandon me? Why did my father get upset when I said I was hurt by something he did? Why isn’t mom talking to me now? I don’t remember doing anything wrong…it must just be me. It must be who I am. I’m not good enough to be loved and cherished.

There’s more good stuff on the website so I won’t, and shouldn’t, summarize the whole video for you (I was watching the free Soul Hunger Video Series on the sidebar).

Oh but that “fitting in” vs. “belonging” — what an eye opening moment. Now, I have understood the difference for a long time, and have probably been studying attachment since I was in college taking psych classes (i.e. in the dinosaur ages, LOL). But hearing it said this morning made me realize how often I *still* do this.

Still settle for fitting in. Still think there is something horribly wrong with me.  Still think I’m unlovable so I might as well just fit in, at least then people will stop arguing with me and trying to prove themselves right (and me wrong).  It hurts less this way.

But does it? Does it really? In the moment, yes.  But deep, deep down, you know it doesn’t.  I know it doesn’t.  A lifetime of pretending to be someone else so that you can be loved and kept and safe catches up with you. You wake up at 35, or 40, or 52 and wonder who you even are, and why is there this huge empty hole where “I” should be?

The claiming of my “self” has been difficult and painful and I still don’t even really know what I’m looking for, but every tiny gain of reality has been worth it. It’s almost like I actually feel a tiny puzzle piece click into place. I realize now if people don’t know me, even if they say they like or love me, they don’t *really*, because I have never shown them who I really am. They like (or don’t!) the “fake girl” – the nice girl, the calm girl, the helpful girl, the girl who doesn’t know how to say no.

I hope I can get to “real me” some day before it’s too late.

Life Update

Life Update

Ok, so I’ve updated you all on what we are doing homeschooling wise this year (which has morphed even since writing that, LOL – added a Spectrum Language Arts workbook for ds to cover some holes in the easiest way possible for us).

Now I’ll dive into the crazy that the last few months have been.  Warning: long and whiny.

I guess the biggest news is that my mother passed away right after Christmas. Back at the end of August she had an incident with her heart/lungs that put her in the ICU for about a month. She was very near death but fought and rallied, and after getting a tracheotomy was sent to a specialized rehab in another state to help her wean off the ventilator, which she did. Moved back closer to home to finish “rehabbing.”  She finally got fed up with living at rehab and was close enough to being able to be released so they fought to go home.  She really struggled being home though, and was on her way back to rehab with my father  when she passed away.  She had very severe scoliosis for the last few decades of her life and it impinged on her lung and heart function. She finally just couldn’t fight anymore.

I’m not grieving in any way I’ve ever heard of.  I’m most definitely a complete mess and falling apart in ways I haven’t felt since my most severe bout of post-partum depression,  but my thoughts don’t seem to be normal “grief thoughts.”  I’m just going to leave it at that because saying any more would probably get me labeled a heartless monster. Maybe that is what I am, who knows. 🙁

In other news, my son’s been struggling with side effects of his rheumatoid arthritis and it’s medications, so we have added a few other drugs and are changing around some others. Have I mentioned that I’m a crunchy mama and that having to give my son these horrible things just kills me?   Natural things weren’t working, although a neighbor is going to talk to me about a few other things I might be able to try.  I’m not going to try anything until all our medications are switched and settled in because I need to see what reactions are coming from what.

He’s developed uveitis which is inflammation of the eye. It is somewhat common in juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. It can cause scarring which leads to blindness. Luckily we caught it early and he has started on steroid drops to help it. They are working for now.  He had to take them every two hours at first and now he’s down to 4 times a day which is much better.

He’s also developed a rash that looks like psoriasis. Again, not uncommon in rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, as psoriasis is an autoimmune skin condition.  He’s on methotrexate (a chemotherapy drug, which they just increased because of the eyes) and Enbrel (what they call a “biologic” – it’s a tumor necrosis factor inhibitor that can help JRA sufferers) which is helping his pain and swelling, but apparently not good for his eyes or skin.  Increases in his methotrexate turned him into Crazy Boy instead of my nice calm boy. Really not that bad, but I didn’t put two and two together until the optometrist mentioned something about his behavior. “I can see they increased the methotrexate!” LOL  OMG is *that* why he hasn’t been able to listen to me all week?  Mmmm, hmmmm, yup – this is just what he was like when he first went on it, and I had forgotten.  (Blocking out the trauma, LOL)

So we are being switched off of Enbrel to Humira (another TNF inhibitor with a different pathway).  Good news, we only have to inject that one once every two weeks. Bad news, it hurts like the seventh level of hell.  My son is already very sensitive and needle phobic.   I’m terrified of needing to do this to him.  It’s going to be ugly.  I’m so tired of ugly.  Luckily we have at least a week to wait because his shot is due today and we haven’t received the Humira yet, so we’ll give Enbrel.

One good thing is that since Humira should work on his eyes and skin, we can eventually *potentially* move off of the methotrexate, which is giving him awful stomach aches. Don’t get me started on the fact that his pediatrician and his rheumatologist disagree on what to give him for the stomach aches.  “Prevacid can’t possibly help”…yeah, well, it’s working, if even just psychologically, so imma keep him on it for awhile, M’Kay?  Unless you want to come hold him while he screams because his stomach hurts so bad doc, go right ahead. 😛

Rereading all this doesn’t sound like much, but the two together, on top of normal (i.e. difficult) life around here and just being “full up” all the time, I’m clinging to sanity by the thinnest of hairs.  I’m binge reading fiction just to keep my mind off things, while everything else falls apart all around me.  And then I leave the house and put on my usual fake smile for everyone so everyone thinks I’m doing so well.  But it’s like I’m actually about a foot outside of myself.  I can feel myself “leaving” – I can now turn it on at will.   But it’s exhausting. You’d think it would be easier, but it takes a lot of energy.

And I think it’s why I’m not grieving normally.  I’ve spent the last very many years being “outside myself” when with my parents because it was not safe to “be me,”  so there was no real relationship because I’m not really there. Some other girl is there.  Some happy, helpful, emotionally stable chick that morphs to be whatever you want if I can see you are not a safe harbor for me. Nope, definitely not me, LOL.

OK, I’m going to stop before I say something I’ll regret, insert a few random pictures that make me happy, and call it a day.  Thanks for reading.  I’m hoping now that I’ve gotten this off my chest I can go back to more normal posting because you’ll understand the backstory.

Love to you all.

So. This happened.

So. This happened.



I don’t even know how to describe the purging of my life that has happened over the last few weeks. Much of it has been at my own hands. Not exactly purposefully, rather making mistakes and then undoing them by destroying everything because I didn’t know what else to do.

If you look around you’ll notice everything at HSP Mom is gone. Not only that but I lost two other blogs as well.  All because I was purposefully removing two other websites for businesses I am dissolving.  Long boring story, but I messed around too much on the back end of things, kept scrambling to make it better which only made it worse, accidentally backed up the wrong thing…and then just said…nevermind.   This has happened in similar ways in several other areas of my life.

I’m only listening to the part of me that is saying, “YES! Fresh start!” Because I think if I actually gave a fraction of a brain cell to caring, I would fall apart.

Yesterday a cold front whipped through, taking with it most of the leaves off of the trees. I’m not sure where I’m going with this, other than to say it was beautiful watching those leaves whip around, and necessary for the life of the tree, but I still feel a little like those trees look right now. bare-trees

I’m looking forward to coming back into this space six months from now and telling the story of how this mess was instrumental in the amazing life I’m then living. Until then, you’ll just have to put up with me wondering aloud at the crazy that is my life.  Thank you for sticking with me. 🙂

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  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.


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