Did that just happen?

So…I have to attend a mandatory 3-4 hour “assessment” through my company’s employee assistance plan provider to “validate” the assessment of my medical doctor and registered psychologist. This is standard for anyone “claiming” mental illness as a reason to be off work. 

I understand process and I accept that it’s a requirement. But the choice of wording and language is poor. 

But it gets better. 

When I called my assigned nurse to inquire about the length of the assessment (seems excessive to me), she gave me the explanation and then…(she is aware of the background of how I ended up on leave)…

Her: You know, I just wanted to tell you a story about a former colleague of mine that wasn’t able to have children…

Me: [mentally preparing myself for the inevitable “just relax” story]

Her:…and they ended up adopting two children and they were so happy and they were able to help out another family. 

Me: I see. [in my head: did you honestly just go there?! Did you honestly think that we haven’t thought about adoption?! FML]

The conversation ended quickly after that. 

Why do so many people think adoption is a substitution for biological children? What’s even more baffling to me is that it  is almost always people with children who bring it up. Don’t they love having a connection to their kids? Seeing their eyes and their husband’s hair? His temper and her sass? If it’s so much the same – why didn’t they adopt? Did they not have the deep rooted animal desire to have their own offspring? And if so, why can’t they understand?!

The decision to grow your family through adoption is a very serious one. It’s a choice not easily made, it involves a lot of soul searching and introspection. It’s not as simple as replacing one desire for another. The wonderful My Perfect Breakdown has illustrated this journey so beautifully – it’s a must-read for anyone wanting to understand what adoption really means to a family. 

Not only is mental illness poorly understood, so is infertility.  We need to start a dialogue on both. 

Now. 

Advertisements

Below the Surface

It’s my 34th birthday today.  Not at all how I thought I would spending my birthday.  It hurts.  It really does.  But that doesn’t mean I am sobbing all the time.  Actually, with the amount I cried last week I would be suprised if I had any tears left.

I am sad. I am having good days and bad days and I am just trying to take things one minute at a time.  I can’t answer the question “How are you feeling?”.   I don’t know how to answer that.

People are surprised I am not sobbing in bed all day.  That’s what they think depression looks like. Like someone holding their head in despair – which as illustrated by this article and campaign – is just not true. 

The week I broke down I had been to volunteer meetings, an industry dinner, a wine night and the Rihanna concert.  I was exhausted from holding it all together.  From playing a part but from the outside looking in (or from my Facebook page), I am sure is seemed as though I was living a semi-charmed life.

Even now, I was out last night for a drink and a catch up with some old friends.  And I am sure that’s what the people in the pub saw – a table of four friends.  I saw an idiot talking nonsense because she was afraid of the silence.  Afraid of letting the conversation get “too real”.  (That idiot being me).

I don’t know how to talk about and so I don’t.

But just because I don’t talk about it, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening.  I spent most of today in bed.  Wasting the day away because I just can’t believe this is my life.

What a mess.  What a f**king mess.

 

 

 

Day 1

For once, “Day 1” is not referring to any kind of cycle timing and that feels completely bizarre.

In this case, Day 1 is referring to the first day of my medical leave from work following my spectacular crash.

It is also Day 1 of National Infertility Awareness Week in the US.  This year the theme is “Start Asking” (#startasking).

I realized on Friday that I need to start asking for help and that’s what I have done.

How fitting, then.  Here we are on Day 1 and I am starting by asking for help and I want to encourage others to start asking for help.

A brilliant post by Sarah over at Infertilty Honesty got me thinking about the trauma that comes with infertilty and she referenced this article about how fertility treatments put women at risk for PTSD – half of the women in the study met the official criteria for PTSD. That’s a huge statement.  That’s time to #startasking for help.

img_4559-4

 

Crash Into Me

There were many titles for this post: Tipping Point, Broken, Masquerade and more.  Finally I settled on “Crash Into Me” because that’s what happened.  I came crashing down onto myself.

It was a combination of things that had been building.  Between work, personal life (friends and family) and of course, our never-ending fertility battle – it all suddenly became too much and I went down.  Fast & hard.

The last six weeks have been getting increasingly difficult to even function as a normal adult.  Everything looked great if you were on the outside looking in. Inside it was a maelstorm of darkness swirling around us, around me.

Last week, I was coming off the temporary high of a great weekend. The higher you are, the harder you have to fall.

We had an appointment with the clinic on Monday. I had to take a vaction day on Wednesday because I was finding life suddenly very claustrophic.  Thursday I had an issue an at work and all the darkness came to a head.  I broke down sobbing.  Sobbing hard in front of my co-worker, office mate and friend.  She kindly told me, “I think you need to go and see a doctor”.  I begged for an appointment the next day.  I cried off and off all day, all night.  Even more so when the clinic (our doctor personally) called again (but that’s another post).

In the doctor’s office, I lost it.  A sobbing hysterical mess in front of a relative stranger (it wasn’t my own doc, but someone else at her clinic).  I have never been so humilated and so broken.

He told me, “you need to take some time off work”.  I took the note to work, told my two bosses (yes, I have two…) and left. For at least two weeks.  I cried more there too.  Again, more humilation. I don’t know how I will face these people again.

And I don’t know what the next two weeks are going to bring. I have a new anti-depressant to try. I have an appointment with my psychologist on Wednesday. I plan to use this blog as a journal.

It’s my 34th birthday next week.

 

Do we stay or do we go? 

I don’t know what to do about our new newphew. The one that’s a month younger than our rainbow baby that didn’t make it. 

I think social convention dictates that we have to go and see him.

They live a 6 hour drive away and we are out of vacation time so we have to fly. That’s $600 right there. Not that we don’t want to pay it – but we don’t. That’s a lot of money for a 1.5 day trip. 

We also aren’t close with them. The brothers aren’t close and we have almost nothing in common as a couple or individuals. They are very one-dimensional people and they lack authenticity in their communication and we just don’t connect. 

Oh and we haven’t been invited – but that’s not a surprise. It’s very likely we will have to invite ourselves regardless. 

So my question is this – how long is too long?  What’s the social norm for visiting an immediate family member’s baby when they live out of town and you aren’t close? All advice appreciated.