Stress is defined as: "Stress is your body's way of responding to any kind of demand". This article goes on to address some of the things that can cause stress, as well as touching briefly on how damaging stress can be for a person.
Since adding Katya to our family, our family has all experienced varying levels of stress, due to the increased demands our family faces. We all have various ways of showing we are stressed, and we have times where some of us can manage to support those who are the most stressed, and other times where we all feel like we are in melt-down-mode due to the stress.
Praying and leaning hard on God are helpful. That is the only thing that has gotten us through this far. The other thing that is very helpful is the support from those who I think of as our "Aaron's and Hur's". Sometimes it's really simple--like the encouraging word a guy gave Paul the other day. Something about how much improvement he sees in Katya and that he really sees how we are helping her. That comment was very timely . . . People have left encouraging notes on our blog and (primarily) on Facebook many times that have helped us. It's easy when we are in the trench to lose perspective. The smoke is pretty thick down here, and can hide the scenery outside the trench. Comments can help us see a little more clearly.
There are those who tell us, "I'm praying for you." There are those who have slipped us a $10.00 and said, "Use this for whatever you need." Occasionally there are those who have sent larger gifts that have enabled us to make an urgent payment on a medical bill. Sometimes we are given a cooler full of meat and veggies, or someone offers to pay a bill for us.
I'm also extremely grateful for our Social Worker who has allowed me to be completely honest with her, even when it means she gets an out burts of tears.
Don't get me wrong--we love Katya dearly and rejoice that she is alive and with us. But it doesn't mean that our lives have not changed in ways that are hard. It doesn't meant that we fearlessly float as we navigate our way through the shark-filled waters and that we love battling the school for services for her, and that we don't get exhausted beyond words emotionally AND physically.
Reality is that life is tough. Our whole family is making daily sacrifices to meet Katya's needs. Stress is high. In spite of that, God is good, and we all love Katya dearly. We work hard to try to give each family member what they need. And even though we can't do it perfectly, I am grateful that with God's help and the help of our friends, we are still standing. We are certainly weathered, and exhuasted, but we are still up on our feet.