Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Remembering to Feel

Struggling through trying to have a child with infertility for the second time never stops surprising me with its ability to hurt in new and different ways than it did the first time around. It is as if all of the coping skills I thought I had found the first time have disappeared. Or maybe what has happened, is that my life has changed so drastically that I have no choice but to learn new coping skills that fit with the life I have now. 

The biggest problem I have realized, is that I keep forgetting that I have a problem. When I was trying to have a child the first time, absolutely everything else stopped. The only thing in my life that mattered was my endeavor to be a mom. I put all of my mental, physical and emotional energy into it. There was nothing else that really needed my attention and it mattered so much, so it was easy to do. And when I was feeling heartbroken due to a failed cycle or a loss, it was easy to throw myself into that pain- to really feel it, cry, mourn and work through it. Everything is completely different now. Now there is so much in my life that I happily devote my energy to. My daughter, my marriage, my volunteer & advocacy roles, my network of friends- these things keep me busy and give me just enough things to smile about that I keep forgetting that I actually am in pain. 

I haven't started to believe I am feeling better, instead I have kept myself busy enough to forget there is even anything to be unhappy about. My brain keeps forgetting, but my body remembers. It isn't until I am sitting on my couch, wishing I could make my to-do list disappear, turn off my phone, curl into a ball and stare into the abyss for the rest of the day that I start to remember that maybe there is a reason for it. And even then, I first spend half a day wondering why it is that I don't want to talk to anyone or do anything before I think that just maybe this whole infertility thing is the problem. Because that's the thing- I am not thinking about it everyday. I am not disinterested and lethargic everyday and when I do feel that way, it is not in response to any sort of external trigger or even any internal thoughts. It just comes on and I feel helpless to understand it. I am not even sad. I'm just numb. Yesterday, I enjoyed dinner & wine at a friend's, laughing and conversing the whole evening in a genuinely good mood. Today, I can barely crack a smile or even fake excitement about scheduling a weekend vacation that I should be thrilled about.The back and forth is confusing & making me realize I still haven't properly allowed myself to wallow and then work through the hurt as I know I should. 

The problem is, I am not sure how to access my feeling and get through them. I have inadvertently forced myself to push them down & now have no clue how to bring them back up. Do I watch a tear-jerker movie just to get the ball rolling? I know from experience that the breakdown waiting for me if I don't figure out how to deal with this, will be far more explosive than it has to be if I can just get it out now. It's so weird, knowing that I should cry, feel pain and emotion but instead I just feel numb and hollow. I have nothing close to tears or even the sadness I felt even a week ago but I know it's all there under the surface. Last week, it was so accessible that just hearing a triggering phrase in my yoga class had tears flowing down my cheeks. I felt slightly crazy, but it was also mildly cathartic to feel that direct connection to my feelings and to healthily express them. Today I am just empty. I even went to the same candlelight yoga class tonight, hoping that the stretches, breathing and moments of peace would just help me feel more like me- more in touch with myself. Instead, I could not wait to get out of there and kept wishing I could be home on my couch, curled under a blanket. Writing this post is my last attempt to force myself to be in touch with, at the very least, my numbness if I can't tap into the cause of it right now.

Is this what depression looks like? Or am I just having "one of those days"? I am always so hesitant to even think about that because I don't want to assume that just because I am sad and numb today that I will be sad and numb tomorrow. I am a forever changing yo-yo lately. Plenty of my days since that last BFN have been genuinely good ones. Maybe this is my new way of working through it. Instead of putting my life on hold to focus solely on infertility, my current struggle and my feelings about it, maybe I just have to take it one day at a time with one step forward and two steps back. A few hours of very good feelings followed by half a day of sad, numb ones- experiencing these things little by little as I face each new moment as it comes. Hopefully, I will slowly find the place within myself and my life that I can be at peace with my body, my struggle and with whatever happens next.


Jess said...

Hi Holly- I can identify with where you are coming from- I'm so sorry. For me, secondary infertility comes with a whole new bag of guilt that wasn't there for primary infertility. Hang in there. You've been such a support to me and others- know we are here for you too.

Holly said...

I am here for you anytime you need to talk. We can cry or laugh together. Whatever you need sweet sister. I love you and the mommy you have become.