It’s late morning here in Thailand and I’m finally sitting down to write this post. After starting this blog 6 years ago, I’ve rarely taken time off from posting, mainly because of how much I enjoy this space and the creative outlet it provides. Yet last month I went silent. It wasn’t a planned break. It was more of a forced-upon-me-by-life-circumstances break. And it was so needed.
I’ve actually been amazed at how much I’ve been able to blog this past year despite how crazy life has been. I can’t share all the nitty-gritty details, but Brett, Harper and I have basically lived like nomads the past year and a half. It all started in November of 2018 when Brett and I returned to America in preparation to have Harper in our home country. Since then we’ve either been living with family or in hotels, traveling from one state or country to the next, and constantly readjusting to new living environments. We’ve had to pack and re-pack too many times to count and let me tell you, living out of suitcases gets old quick. Oh and lets not forget that I became a first-time mom last year, so you can tack on the stresses (and joys!) that that brings as well.
Yeah. It’s been a hard year and a half. Things out of our control have forced us into a nomadic lifestyle, when what I really desire is a home, stability and routine, especially as a new mom. Brett is quite the stats guy and he did the math to discover that out of the last 545 days, only 45 of those days were spent in a place where we call home. 400 of those nights were spent in 15 different family’s houses and 100 nights were spent in 25 different hotels.
That leads me to January. Since our “nomadic lifestyle” began back in November of 2018, I’ve been able to take things in stride, adjusting and readjusting to each new living environment as needed. I have an adaptable personality and generally love traveling so it didn’t seem too bad at first. I also genuinely loved all the family time we were getting after 2 years of living in China. Life was hard at times and not as expected, but I still felt like my usual, joyful self. But after months and months of not having our own space, things started to get harder. At the start of the new year I found myself having a breakdown whenever we would “unpack” in a new place. It felt good to feel semi-settled, but knowing that it was only for a short time would bring a wave of sadness over me. Soon these bouts of sadness got closer and closer together and I found the emotions that came with those breakdowns start to trickle into my everyday life. No longer was my sadness confined to a moment of grief over packing and unpacking, it was now penetrating the mundane parts of my day that used to bring me joy. I no longer felt like experimenting in the kitchen. I no longer had energy to take food photos. I didn’t want to socialize with people I love. Playing with Harper turned into more of a chore than a gift. I physically had no energy to workout or be active. Life had lost it’s spark.
Thankfully throughout this entire year and a half, I’ve been able to talk to Brett about everything going on. Even when the signs of sadness and depression were subtle, I could share with him how I was doing. This openness and vulnerability with Brett allowed us to act quickly when the signs of depression became more clear and closer together. I’m so grateful for that!
To be honest, writing this post feels like I writing out someone else’s story. It seems like ages ago that I was at my lowest point, when it was really only just last month. I believe that being open with Brett and seeking help as soon as possible is what spared me from plummeting into a deeper depression and has helped me to start healing so quickly.
So that leads me to now. Things aren’t fully back to normal, that’s for sure. I still experience really hard spells where I’m forced to ask for help as I feel physically unable to do much. But those spells are getting shorter and farther apart. I feel like I’m on the upswing. One of the biggest reasons for that is that we have a house to ourselves for the next 5 months. We are subleasing a friend’s house in Chiang Mai while we figure out where to move and settle down next. Being unpacked and settled in a house has been a game changer. It feels like home as we are no longer living out of suitcases and have settled into a routine. The neighborhood we are living in is super kid-friendly as well with a park nearby, streets to walk on and lots of other young moms to meet and interact with. We have community here too and I’ll be starting counseling next month as well (we wish it could have been sooner, but that was when the next available opening was.)
Another big thing that has helped the healing process is learning to rest and take care of myself. The first friend/counselor we talked with gave me homework to do until I could officially start seeing a counselor. He told me to do something every morning and afternoon that used to bring me joy. This homework made me realize how little I let myself rest and often do what I think I should do versus doing what I want to do. Yes, I have non-negotiable responsibilities that I need to perform each day, but I’ve realized that so many things I do during the day aren’t necessary and may be causing me more stress than joy in this season of life. I guess you could call it self-inflicted busyness–which is so often praised in our culture. In a good way, my depression has literally forced me to rest more. To sit on the couch and look at a magazine. To ask Brett to take Harper on a walk so I can have some uninterrupted time to myself. To eat out instead of spending lots of time in the kitchen. Learning how to rest has honestly been a gift and I hope to continue creating space for rest in the future.
This post may seem random or out of the blue to many of you, but I really wanted to share what’s been going on personally in my life. Life has been hard lately and I didn’t want to keep blogging about food as if everything was fine and dandy. I want to be open with you all. Also know that I’m doing okay. I’m feeling more like myself each day and I have lots of good help and community nearby. Yet, even though I’m already feeling much better, I still wanted to write this post to acknowledge how hard life has been and to allow space to grieve the losses I’ve experienced this past year.
I hope you all know how loved you are. I hope you have safe friends and family who you can confide in when you go through hard seasons.
Thanks for being here and following along on my journey! Now let’s get back in the kitchen!