I haven't been sure how to write this post, and so I've been puting it off for a week or more already. But I do want to continue TCKmom and it can't continue without new content . . . so at last I sit down at my keyboard determined to find the words to explain the absence of the last 2+ months.

I want to share a little bit of our story. Not as an excuse, but because maybe it can help someone else. Maybe you can learn from our mistakes, or if you're already struggling, maybe you can be encouraged that you're not alone.

Over a year ago, while we were still overseas, my husband went through burnout & depression. It was a dark time for both of us. For months, it felt like we were barely surviving. We clung to the hope that returning to the States and having a time of rest would fix everything . . . but it didn't. As our time in the US went on, and we realized that we wouldn't be able to return to our foreign home as planned, I became as depressed as my husband. We knew we needed help but didn't know where to turn. It felt like a very hopeless time.

We finally found a counseling program for hurting overseas workers and enrolled for the next available session. It was a very intense time, dealing with a lot of emotions and issues, but those three weeks changed our lives! As my husband described it - there's light at the end of the tunnel now. We turned around and realized that the light was behind us and now there's hope - we're headed in the right direction!

There is so much I could share from the experiences of the past year or more, and maybe over time, I will. For now, I'd like to encourage you in one of the biggest things that might have prevented our situation.

PLEASE TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. As a wife and mother, you have a demanding job. As a wife and mother living in a foreign culture, you have a gigantic, overwhelming job. Don't try to be superwoman. Don't try to do it all.

1) Take breaks. Take a few little breaks throughout the day, to breathe, to pray, to read a few inspirational paragraphs or smell a flower. Take a bigger break once a week, to recharge your emotional "batteries" by reading a good book, enjoying a hobby, journaling, drawing, or whatever energizes you. And please, as a family, be sure to take regular vacation time to focus on each other and get away from work for a while. Breaks will keep you from burnout.

2) Lower your expectations. Evaluate what are the real priorities and let the other things go. Don't be afraid to say no.

3) Don't feel guilty. We often feel like we shouldn't take time for ourselves, shouldn't do things for ourselves. But what do they tell you when flying - in case of emergency, put the oxygen mask ON YOURSELF FIRST before you help dependent passengers. You have to get the oxygen you need - spiritually and emotionally - in order to keep going for those who are depending on you. It's not selfish. It's essential. Identify your needs, make sure you're doing what you need to so that those needs are being met, and don't feel guilty about it. Take care of yourself.

And lastly - if you're already struggling, if it feels like you're trapped, if life is dark and hopeless, if you're not sure how to survive the next week - please get help. THERE IS HOPE. Don't keep struggling on alone. Don't tell yourself that you just need to pray harder and be more spiritual. There is help available. Please find it.

 Blessings to each of you dear ladies! Thank you for being patient as TCKmom has been on hold through this time. New content is on the way!

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