The last two years or so, things have been pretty crazy for me and my husband. In the fall of 2013, we found out that I was pregnant with our now 1-year-old son. That’s why we left Shenzhen in the late spring of 2014 to stay in Austria for the birth of our son and a few months after. On our son’s 100 day birthday, we took a flight to Beijing and a train to my husband’s hometown Siping, thinking we’d soon move to Dalian. My husband quit his job in Shenzhen and registered his own company, but due to a few changes of plans, we’ll be staying in Siping for now.
We’ve moved apartments at least 8 times since getting together, and – as you can probably imagine – with a bump-turned-baby-turned-toddler in-tow, we really do strive to get some stability into our lives (I just deleted the back before into our lives, because it seems like life has been very fast-paced ever since my husband and I met).
Needless to say, I feel pretty fatigued. But that’s only part of the story. I have dealt with exhaustion and fatigue, combined with depression and anxiety, for a very long time already. The lack of restorative sleep (most young parents can probably relate) and lack of financial, geographical and social stability in our personal lives has just really topped it off.
Meeting my husband and becoming pregnant has made me forget the depression and some of the anxieties for a while, but with new anxieties hitting off a few months after birth and increased exhaustion because good quality sleep is hard to come by when you have a baby, I’m very much aware that this is something I need to work on (I’m working on both my emotional and physical health with a naturopath in Austria, where I stay for a few weeks with our son).
In recent months, I’ve found it hard to open up and write anything personal on my blog. My writer’s block is partly connected to the happenings around the Shenzhen creeper, wanting to protect my family (still trying to figure out where exactly to draw the line), taking care of a little child, and both my physical and emotional health in general.
The personal is why I started reading blogs in the first place. It’s also what I still love about them. Instead of reading how perfect other people’s lives are all the time, I prefer posts that talk about the struggles of daily life, about the woes of making ends meet, the challenges of raising a child in a different culture. Of course, I don’t want to read only negative articles – I need to get some more positive into my thinking – but I do like articles that are real and make my struggles feel normal.
On a related note, I just read a post by Marghini from The Love Blender about Asia burnout. Marghini mentions me alongside Jocelyn from Speaking of China, Grace from Texan in Tokyo and Rosalie from Rosie in BJ as some of the people she thinks are immune to Asia burnout. Nope. None of us is immune to it. I know we sometimes seem like superwomen who are able to do it all, but I guess many of us are far from being the superhuman we seem to be and struggle with life just like anyone else. It might just sometimes seem like we are immune to burnout, anxieties, depression or other challenges life has to offer when we choose not to blog about the negative things going on in our lives.
In recent months, I remember reading lots of personal posts touching upon the topic of feeling burned out, out of place, suffering from depression or just wanting to leave for good. I remember Grace talking about burnout (she also mentions dealing with depression and anxiety in her wonderful comics), Lauren from English Wife, Indian Life posting about suffering from fatigue, Jocelyn from Speaking of China writing about the anxiety of putting your life out there through blogging and Rosalie touching upon the challenges of raising her child in China. We’re all human and living abroad doesn’t mean we’re free from the daily struggles of life.
So, I’m trying to get the personal back into my posts. I still won’t stick to a schedule, since I have to work on my health first. But know that I am working on it right now.
To end this post on a more positive note, I’d like to list 10 things and people I’m currently grateful for in my life (in no special order):
- my husband, whom I love so much
- our son, whom I also love so much
- having the help of our in-laws
- blue skies
- cool water
- being able to experience life in a different culture and learn along the way
- working on illustrations for a book called Santa and the Christmas Dragon (written by Amanda Roberts, who is looking for a publisher)
- reading great blogs and books
- friends who I don’t see all the time, but who are still there for me
- connecting with other Western women in relationships with Asian men, who I share a special bond with and who I know can relate to many issues an intercultural marriage like ours brings with it
Now it’s your turn to comment and let us know if you’ve recently had any struggles in your personal life. Or, to share some positivity, you can also list a few things you’re currently grateful for instead.