17 September 2007


Sometimes an upcoming situation is stressful because it's not been experienced before, and the unknown is unsettling.

Sometimes an upcoming situation is even more stressful because you've been there before and you know exactly what you're in for.

I've been feeling pretty stressed lately and it's resulted in a cold. Today, as I rested at home while Grant and the boys were at church, I had the chance to think about things and to work out exactly why I'm feeling so wound up lately and why I have an almost constant feeling of butterflies in my tummy and have begun clenching my teeth (hello, anxiety, anyone?) It's because, as usual, experiencing one great life change (Grant's new career) isn't enough for us at once. We need to go the whole hog and throw another couple of stressors in (new house, oh, in a new town, meaning new school for Daniel, new doctors to be found, learn the area, etc). While these are exciting ventures, they're also stressful, of course.

I thought back over the last 12 years and had to laugh - it's no wonder I'm a basket case. I feel stress fairly easily, and yet, these are the experiences we've had over the last decade - this is a list of the most stressful experiences I copied off a website and added our dates to. (Please note the special blend of more than one experience at a time that we tend towards. New baby? Ooh, let's throw in some post-partum depression, and a house move, and unemployment, and my mom's stroke into the mix! Should spice things up. Becuase, you know, having your first baby isn't enough to deal with at once.)

List of stressors

  • Death of spouse
  • Divorce (my parents' 1995)
  • Marital separation
  • Jail term
  • Death of close family member (except spouse)
  • Major personal injury or illness (I experienced health problems from 1995 - 1999)
  • Marriage (1995)
  • Being fired from work (Grant 2001)
  • Marital reconciliation
  • Retirement
  • Change in health of family member (not self) (Mom's stroke 2002)
  • Pregnancy (2001 and 2004/5)
  • Sex difficulties
  • Gain of new family member (2001 and 2005)
  • Business readjustment (started business 2003, sold in 2004 and started different business 2005)
  • Change in financial state (constant since 1995!! worst being 2001 when Grant was unemployed for a while)
  • Death of close friend
  • Change to different occupation (Grant 2001 / 2007, Jen 2001, 2005 and 2006)
  • Change in number of arguments with spouse (2001 / 2002 - having a new baby will do that!)
  • Mortgage over $40,000 (first 2003 and increased 2006)
  • Foreclosure of mortgage or loan
  • Change in responsibilities at work (Grant 2001/ 2007, Jen 2001 / 2005 / 2006)
  • Son or daughter leaving home
  • Outstanding personal achievement (does giving birth twice and moving home countless times and starting business twice count?)
  • Spouse begins or stops work (2001 / 2003 / 2007)
  • Begin or end school (1993)
  • Change in living conditions (1995 / 1996 / twice in 1998 / twice in 1999 / 2000 / twice in 2001 / 2003 / 2006)
  • Change in personal habits (self or family) (ongoing - does this even count?!)
  • Trouble with boss (1994 - 1997, Grant 2000 - 2001)
  • Change in work hours or conditions (1997 / 1999 / 2000 / 2001 / 2002 / 2003 / 2005 / 2006 / 2007)
  • Change in residence (1995 / 1996 / twice in 1998 / twice in 1999 / 2000 / twice in 2001 / 2003 / 2006)
  • Change in schools
  • Change in recreation (ongoing - does this even count?!)
  • Change in church activities (ongoing as our callings change)
  • Change in social activities (ongoing - does this even count?!)
  • Mortgage or loan less than $40,000 (2003)
  • Change in sleeping habits (hahahahaha most notable 2001 / 2005)
  • Change in number of family get-togethers (1999 onward when we moved to England)
  • Change in eating habits (most notable 2007)
  • Vacation (1999 / 2001 / 2002 / 2003 / 2004 / 2005 / 2006 / 2007)
  • Christmas (every year - kinda hard to avoid!)
  • Minor violations of the law (errrrrrr...)

And my own special timeline:

1993 - graduated high school

1994 - got a job; got another job; parents having marital problems; failed driver's licence; met Grant

1995 - parents got divorced; I got engaged; passed driver's test; bought a house; got married

1996 - moved into our house; battled with health problems and very stressful job

1997 - continuing health problems; got a new job

1998 - continuing health problems; sold house; moved in with Mom for three months; moved into new house

1999 - got health problems addressed at last; applied for visa to England; sold all possessions and rented out house; moved to England; moved into first flat

2000 - did various temp jobs; got permanent job; moved flat again; began trying for a baby

2001 - trip to South Africa; got pregnant with some homeopathic help; quit work; Grant lost his job; moved to Lancashire; moved again; had Obstetric Cholestasis (life threatening to baby) which nobody would believe me about until tests I demanded proved it; was induced two weeks early; gave birth

2002 - postnatal depression; Mom had a stroke; Mom remarried and moved to Norway; Grant got a job

2003 - bought house and moved again; started my own business (Scrapworld - online scrapbooking products store)

2004 - began trying for second baby; sold business; got pregnant; trip to South Africa

2005 - Obstetric Cholestasis again but tests wouldn't prove it so they wouldn't believe me even though had all symptoms; convinced them to induce 2 weeks early; had baby; found cure to my ongoing depression (hooray!); started new business

2006 - sold house and bought new one; moved to new home; supported one of best friends through seperation

2007 - Grant new career; house on market again - oh, and one of my very best friends moved 3 hours away and another has had major surgery for cancer (her tests are all clear now, praise the Lord!)

Bottom line? I do embrace our life. Each of these experiences has made me who I am today. They've strengthened my faith. I'm looking forward to the changes coming up. But I need to find ways to cope with the stress involved. I've begun stress eating, which is no good! I have decided that even though it's the last thing I feel like, once I am well again I am going to get on that treadmill and pound out the tension a few times a week. I also need to spend more time with my friends and be more organised with our home and daily routine.

I'm bracing myself for the next bend in the river, which always seems to contain rapids.

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