Last Night

July 7, 2015

If you follow me on twitter then you know I’ve been tweeting about my bizarre dreams lately. Ordinarily I don’t remember my dreams. But I’ve been on an anti-depressant/anti-anxiety med for the past few months and those always make my dreams weird and memorable. Here are some tidbits from last night because it’s too much for 140 characters. There were multiple dreams so some of these are connected and some are not.

I somehow ended up on the telephone with a Hillary staffer after getting a 404 (page cannot be found) on her website while searching for the word “research.”

FIL, Momz and Tiger Woods all made an appearance.

FIL picked up a waitress in a restaurant and lectured me about being aloof and difficult to get to know.

Momz somehow had a topless photo of me and a friend on her phone. [Note: my mother barely knows how to use her cell phone]

Some random dude was hiding in the backseat of Momz’ car. I had to text a pic of him to the police. Which is how I found the above photo. Then I kept trying to get back to another photo I found that I wanted to send to my phone but I couldn’t find it.

I kept trying to escape Momz and FIL (they were not together) to get back to my friends. When I finally escaped to find my friends Tiger Woods appeared.

Has anyone found the theme yet? Perhaps it helps if you’ve been following along recently – or somehow living in my brain – but the theme is that I keep trying to get somewhere or accomplish something and I keep running into obstacles or getting stuck in a loop.

mcescher

Dream interpretation. Not so difficult.

Even with forward momentum on the adoption front I still feel like I’m going nowhere.

Holy Triggers Batman

April 7, 2014

What a truly bizarre two week wait.

I expected some of this. But not all of it.

I know how I felt during my FET.  It was WAY WORSE than I imagined it would be (even though I didn’t write about it all until later).  I thought that this time, since it’s not my body, it would be easier. And it is. At least in the fact that I’m not worried for my physical self. I thought I might be worried for B’s physical self.  But I’m not. Not yet, anyway.

What is happening is that I’m reliving the 2ww from my IVF (PTSD much?). My first injectibles cycle.  The one I postponed because Pops was in the hospital.  And then he landed in the ER at 4dp3dt. Which was yesterday for this surro FET cycle. He recovered fairly quickly from that ER visit.  Thankfully, he was at home doing fairly well by the time I landed in the hospital a month later.

And of course his cancer came back while I was still recovering from that pregnancy. And then he died.  And then I was cleared for FET.

And now my almost 16 year old hyperthyroid renally challenged kitty seems to be boycotting both food and the litterbox.

So.

The two week wait.  Pregnancy.

They STILL equate – in my brain – to death and dying. Even when it’s not my body.

So yeah.  This is tons of fun.

NOT.

It is a truly bizarre thought process.  My headshrinker says it’s completely normal. Memories are stored chronologically and when you access one you tend to get all the ones around it. Particularly if they are traumatic. So apparently I am not a raging lunatic for equating pregnancy (or even potential pregnancy) with death.

A negative beta will end it most likely as that will be a different outcome from the past. 

A positive beta (or home pregnancy test) will likely keep the triggers coming for a few more weeks.  This is not about the outcome of this surro FET cycle.  I mean, it partly is but it’s about so much more.

I should have seen this coming.  I suppose I did to a certain extent. But it’s proving to be far more powerful than I anticipated.

At least I’m not having panic attacks. I am not literally terrified like I was last time.  I just can’t stop the emotions from coming. Instead of abject terror engulfing me I’m staring at a tidal wave of grief. Preferable, yes. But still quite large and consuming.
 
I miss my Dad. I want to talk to him. I want to cuddle my sick kitty but she won’t let me.
 
I will be OK.  I always am. But this is going to be rougher than I anticipated. But also, once again, reaffirms that those embryos are way better off with B right now.

Thoughts on Empathy

February 17, 2014

I think I have always been fairly empathic. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to imagine how I might feel if something bad happened to me. So whenever I saw bad things happening to others I was capable of empathy.

However.

There is one area where I was lacking empathy. Because I couldn’t imagine what it felt like. I can imagine a house fire, cancer, death, unemployment, etc. But I always struggled with mental health. I saw people who struggled with mental health issues as weak. There are a lot of reasons for this but I don’t think it’s necessary to list them. It’s not important why I couldn’t empathize with people struggling with mental health issues. What IS important is that I now can.

What changed?

First, my divorce. I had some very rough moments with that. It left me with a slightly better understanding of depression. But only slightly. It sucked donkey balls but I got through it. And without professional help – mostly because when I sought professional help what I found was an idiot. I also got through it without meds because I felt that I was supposed to feel miserable. It seemed wrong to me to medicinally suppress the pain that I knew was normal. Perhaps because it never got truly out of hand.

What gave me a real understanding of depression was my first pregnancy coupled with Pops’ third cancer. Frankly it was mostly the pregnancy that caused the crippling depression but knowing that my father was dying did not help me see the light at the end of the tunnel. I knew that once I got through the pregnancy I would still have hard times ahead. And when I say “get through the pregnancy”… perhaps I should remind people that it took five months to kill those twins. Five months of blood draws to check my HCG levels. Levels that kept stalling or rising when they should have been falling. It got to the point that I stopped believing that I would EVER be NOT pregnant. The anxiety was overwhelming.

But that’s another story which has mostly been told already.

In addition to my personal experiences with situational depression and anxiety that got out of hand I have met a lot of people (mostly women) on Twitter who suffer from depression and/or anxiety (among other things). I’ve learned so much more about mental illness in general – just by being on Twitter. I no longer see these people as weak. And I no longer see them as the “crazy” people on the bus to move away from.

Having taken care of Pops for almost 7 years I am also now more empathic to people in wheelchairs and/or people who have “accidents” in public places. It can be difficult to get to the bathroom when you are physically impaired.

And now for the story that prompted this post.

Last week a man got on my bus and sat next to me. He was mumbling to himself and clearly not quite right. I could make out most of what he was saying since he was next to me. He was counting the stops until he could get off the bus and telling himself it was going to be OK. Clearly, riding buses gives him anxiety. Perhaps it’s being crowded in. Or maybe he fears all vehicles and the inevitable accidents that occur. And maybe the fact that the driver accidentally closed the door on a woman behind him didn’t really help his anxiety (she was OK).

All I know is that I used to see people like him and move away and think “crazy” and “weak.” But this time I saw a brave man doing something he was scared of. Despite being scared. And so I thought “brave” instead of “weak.” And when I heard him say, “It’s going to be OK, it’s going to be OK” I turned to him, smiled, and said, “Yes. It will be OK.”

Seen on a bathroom stall door

Seen on a bathroom stall door. A kind word can go a long way.

He seemed surprised I had spoken to him but smiled back and said, “Yes. Thank you. It will, won’t it?” I’d like to think I helped him make it one more stop. Regardless, I have finally found a silver lining for all my suffering: Seeing people for how brave they can be on the inside rather than how weak they look on the outside. I think it makes me a better, kinder person and I am proud of myself for still being capable of learning new behavior. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? 😉

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You all will have to excuse me as my blog derails from all things infertility related and explores all sorts of other issues in my life. This is, after all, my space to write through my personal challenges. I’m no longer undergoing fertility treatments and surrogacy is still several months away. I will return to infertility related posts but for the moment I have other things to write about.

I’ve been told that I’m a fairly decent storyteller so perhaps it will be an enjoyable diversion for you (you can always bail). Although the next story I’m thinking of telling is not so enjoyable. Neither was the last one about losing a friend. And I will likely password protect anything that is super personal both for me and others. I do not feel it is right to share others’ actions quite so publicly without their consent – particularly when I’m passing judgment on those actions and they have no opportunity to defend themselves. Passwords will be available to people I feel I know well enough and/or long-time followers. If we have had interactions you will likely make the cut. 😉

Tweet @FurrowedFox or email xmarxthefox AT gmail DOT com if you are in need of a password. Moving forward I’ll try to use just one password so that if there are multiple protected posts the same password will work for all of them. I have no idea at this point how far I will take this. Maybe one post, maybe many.

Over the years I’ve attempted therapy whenever my life got too crazy. For divorce. For Pops’ cancer. For my ectopic pregnancies. But I always stopped going after the initial crisis had passed. When the outer stresses on me lessened I felt I didn’t need the therapy. Or didn’t have time for it. I am a relatively well-adjusted and self-aware adult for whom therapy is not always critical. So this is the first time I’ve stuck with it past the point of crisis.

I’ve always known that I have “Mommy issues” that should probably be addressed. But I never felt that I should seek out therapy for those issues alone. I have a working, if strained, relationship with my mother. Nothing can change our history. And I doubt very much that I can do anything to change how she interacts with me. So I’m not entirely sure what the goal is. Personal growth, perhaps?

Momz was briefly remarried to a man who behaved pretty horribly to all of us and especially to my brother. As I said, the marriage was short – about two years – and there was no physical or sexual abuse. Or even verbal abuse. My therapist tells me it was emotional abuse. It was behavior that I find difficult to categorize in terms of traditional ideas of abuse. Also, it was a different era. A time when it wasn’t considered abuse to spank your children (with hand or other instruments) or put them out of the car to walk home on their own because they were fighting in the back seat.

And so I have always viewed many events in my childhood as misguided rather than abuse. I think that is truly the case for most of my mother’s actions. My step-father is a different story, however.

I have always shied away from referring to myself as an “abused child” or referring to certain events as abusive. Not because I’m ashamed of it, but because I believe it gives the wrong impression. Certainly I suffered things that are NOW considered abuse. But they weren’t then. And they weren’t done with malice. Again, with the exception of my step-father’s actions.

But they are also things that I would NEVER do to my child. And it is because of all these things that I am driven to parent a child – any child. Preferably my own, but my main goal is to parent, not procreate.

Stay tuned.