I've been working on this blog for weeks now. I've written the intro in my head dozens of times and they've all been great. But then I put my fingers to the keyboard and nothing comes out right. So, I'm just going to try to briefly explain why I'm doing this and what my goals are for this blog.
In a way, I've been working on this for over a year. After giving birth to my second child, I felt great for about 6 weeks and then everything tanked. Postpartum depression hit with a bang and my body just fell apart. It was all I could do to get out of bed every morning and then sit on the couch until my husband came home at night. He took over almost everything--the cooking, the cleaning, the parenting. I just tried to survive each day. I've dealt with depression for several years, so I knew how to get help for that. But the extreme exhaustion stuck around. I began researching different things and then went to the doctor to be tested for Adrenal Fatigue, even though I was already certain I had it.
As I sat in the doctor's office I saw a magazine headline, "How to Fake a Good Night's Sleep". And it hit me--that is the problem of so many of us women today. We're trying to be everything to everyone and of course, coming up short. So, we try to fake it. That's so stressful! And that's why I was sitting where I was sitting. Because I had tried to be the perfect wife and the perfect mother for so long that my body had given way under all the stress. And when I couldn't I felt like I had to make the world believe that I was anyway. I felt like the whole world was watching and judging my every move. If I bought a frozen pizza, I knew the cashier was thinking what a horrible mom I was for not giving my family a home cooked meal. If I walked during a morning run, I knew that everyone driving by was thinking how weak I was for not being able to finish my workout. If my kids didn't look perfect, I knew everyone would wonder what was wrong with me. If my husband didn't have a great lunch to take to work, I knew his co-workers would think I was a terrible wife. And the list goes on and on and on.
Sound familiar? I know it does to some of you because I've talked to you and learned that you feel the same way. And yet, when the tables are turned, I would never judge any of you to be those things. We're all willing to cut each other slack but there's none left for ourselves.
And that leads to the title of my blog--"Abiding Joy". I made that the title because that is my goal. I'm trying to stop wasting my energy appearing to have a perfect life and start spending my energy on appreciating what I really have. I really have a great life, one that should be full of joy. But I'm so busy putting myself down that although I can see the joy in my life, I can't really reach it. It's like standing outside a bakery window seeing and smelling all the wonderful pastries, but not being able to taste any of them. Why can I recognize that I have a wonderful husband, two healthy and adorable children, a great family, and fabulous friends, but I can't always feel the joy that all of those things should bring?
I'm learning things that help and I want to share those things with anyone else who can benefit from them. I also want input from anyone else who has gone, or is going through something similar. This includes depression and anxiety because I think that it is all very similar and connected. I think my lifestyle breeds stress which then breeds depression and anxiety. But I also deal with clinical depression. I have finally accepted that. I also finally accept that it isn't a sign of any weakness or defect on my part. Like someone with diabetes, it's a condition I have. That doesn't mean that I'm depressed all the time, thankfully! But I know that I will have bad days and good days, just like everyone else. But what I want is to not feel so distant from the joy in my life when I am having one of those bad days. And I definitely could feel it more even on my good days.
So, this is just a forum for us to share and discuss and learn to let the joy in and to make it stay so that we all can experience abiding joy.