Sunday, April 22, 2007

So, I've been thinking. I've been thinking about life, mommyhood, american culture, san fran bay area culture, kiwis, stressors, depression and many other things.

If you met me in person you would probably think I'm a laid back person, who likes to laugh and tell corny jokes. I'm fairly adaptable and I have friends from all walks of life and I float freely between them.

But the reality is that since childhood I have been ridden with anxiety. From thunderstorms to waiting for my Dad to come home from work my stomach has been twisting most of my life. In the past 8 years I have had 2 children, lost 1 pregnancy, experienced a major tragedy (loss of my sister-in-law), had 3 major moves across the US, husband has been laid-off, had a son with learning disabilities and a lethal allergy to tree nuts, tried to keep up with two active boys, and have spent the last two years in a stressful international adoption. So it is no surprise that last year I experienced a major depression.

I am now out of that depression but I am now dealing with the after effects. I have what is called Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome. To state it simply, I lived at such a high stress level for so long that my adrenal system began to fail. Fun huh?? I entered a pre-diabetic state. **no more sugar** I developed hypothyroidism. I still have strange tingling sensations in my face related to having been at a high anxiety level for a long time.

I share all this not to garner your pity, but to say that I am not alone. I look at my American friends and so many of us are barely hanging on! I think of our culture and what is expected of us. We may not be expected to be Super Mom's with careers anymore, but the idea of perfection is still there. Here in the Bay area, mom's are expected by culture to make the perfect choices, have your kids in the right programs, buy the right products ***I still don't understand how everyone is affording bug-a-boo strollers!!***, to feed my kids edamame, to have a themed over the top birthday party for your two year old and to make sure the take home goody bag is especially good.

If I wasn't a Christian I would have gone over the edge a long time ago trying to keep up with cultures standards. So much of this has kept me from truly embracing life. When I am constantly surrounded by my apparent failure as a parent and a sober knowledge of my sin, it is hard to feel motivated. I am at a stage where I feel life's stressors acutely. But then I thought of Kiwis. The people, not the fruit.

I thought of our blogging friend, Kate. I loyally read her blog and I link to and lurk her friends blogs as well. Kate is funny, creative and full of life. But I see a pattern in those Kiwis that I don't always see in my American counterparts. Or maybe I should just say, me. They throw themselves into life. They actively pursue it with purpose and joy. Now, I know they are human and I'm sure they get stressed and have hard days with their kids. But reading Kate's blog has reminded me that there is life outside myself, outside of San Jose, outside of the US.

God is to be pursued and we are to enjoy him forever!! He is to be worshiped and out of worship comes joy.

So with joy, I fly to Boston in two days to see Wedding Girl and Sweetpea for 5 days. I want to laugh, chat, gain perspective, rest and simply enjoy my two dear friends. And maybe, just maybe we will feel some of that Kiwi perspective. : )

That's fantastic, Liz. You betcha we're gonna have a good time this week!!!
this post really hit home to me...I have struggled with anxiety all of my life too...and my husband cycles to work 20km each way in the city!!!!!

I know that if I wasn't a Christian I would have fallen down a big balck home long ago. I find that creativity and trying to live a homebased life is so important for me.

Thanks for sharing
Karen ( the Kiwi!)
thanks for sharing.....see you very soon!!!!
It's hard to be a mom and a woman in this age. Thanks for your good story.

And ...I promise this isn't self-promotion; I just couldn't resist ... I think Kiwis are closer to God, too!
Lizard, thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed reading these thoughts. I hope you have a fantastic time with sweetpea and wedding girl!
I could feel my jaw clenching just reading the description of your tension and anxiety.

So much of life is an intermingling of the physical/mental/spiritual. . . Where do the physical cause/effects of anxiety begin and end? The spiritual?

I know my struggles with depression have been "easier" for me in many ways than it has been for my family. And then I look at my kids--one shows signs of the anxiety you described in childhood, another has had SAD. . . And they are just kids! I want to help them (physically, emotionally, spiritually) and yet. . . living it out. . . not easy.

Anyway, I know this is spinning way off. . . Enjoy your trip, embrace life!
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