Thursday, January 28, 2016

Grief is Why We Tell the Story

I've been listening to the soundtrack for Once on this Island over and over as I introduce the older kids to it (and then keep playing it when they're not in the car, which is most of my driving time).  If you go by the measurement of how long it takes me to wear out the CD, Wicked is definitely my favorite musical, with Once on this Island and Ragtime close behind.  This song made me tear up as I was driving to work this morning.

For those who aren't familiar with it, the end of the show is very bittersweet, as the main character dies for her love.  This song celebrates the sharing of stories within societies and families and across generations.

"Life is why we tell the story
Pain is why we tell the story
Love is why we tell the story
Grief is why we tell the story
Hope is why we tell the story
Faith is why we tell the story
You are why we tell the story."

This fits with why I talk about my loss of Otter.  The whole story of Once on this Island is being passed down from older generation to younger in a peasant village, and it made me think of telling my son some day about his sibling, or of telling any other children we may be able to have about their other sibling that they never knew.

All of these are why we tell the story.  Otter had life, even if it was not life outside of my body.  We loved Otter, and losing her (see past post for why Otter has a gender in my writing) led to pain and grief.  The circumstances surrounding the loss ruined the hope that we had, but they also led to the possibility of new hope (if I could only feel it myself) of conception not being affected by endometriosis.  I try to have faith that we will be able to have another child.

And my son (as well as any others we may have) is why we tell the story.  At some point in the future, he will know what a miracle it was that I was able to conceive and carry him.  Because even though Otter came and went after him, it is somewhat his story as well.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

#MicroblogMondays: The Sands of Time

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is?Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

It's amazing how time dribbles away in little things.  I think I have a long gap in my day, and I plan things I'm going to get done in that gap, and then it's gone and I've done very little on my list.  Some of that is Facebook+gaming+ADHD.  Some of it is things taking longer than I think they will.  Some of it is needing at least some mental break.  Some of it is getting new referrals to call, which is a very good thing but still takes time I haven't planned for.  It seems to hit every time, though.  I need to work on that...when I get a chance.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Thin Line Between Depression and Anxiety

I've always been anxious, but for most of my life I didn't know it.  I used to always think that feeling in the pit of my stomach was guilt.  Guilt for everything I had messed up.  Guilt for everything I had left undone.  Guilt for everything I had done that I shouldn't have.  Guilt for everything I hadn't done quickly enough or perfectly enough.  Guilt, guilt, guilt, always guilt.  It wasn't until a few years after becoming a mental health therapist that it finally hit me upside the head one day...BOOM!  That's not guilt!  That's ANXIETY!!


You'd think that knowing that and being a therapist, I'd know what to do about it, what techniques to use to help myself relax.  But I can't.  Because along comes the depression to tell me I don't deserve to relax, right along the anxiety telling me I can't afford to relax.

I have ADHD, so I always have something, somewhere that I'm screwing up or haven't done or haven't done well enough.  Usually lots of somethings.  And that's even with constantly worrying and trying to focus on everything I have to do in a vain effort to keep up with things.

So when someone (most often my husband) tells me to relax and calm down, it feels like doing so would be the equivalent of fiddling while Rome burns.  Because I already screw everything up as it is, so how much more would I screw up and drop the ball on if I did give in and relax???

I can't afford to relax.  I can't afford to go to bed when I'm merely tired and not collapsed.  I can't afford the time, because every time I relax, there's yet another thing that I fail at.

I'm trying to give myself permission to relax.  Right now, I've got a glass of wine (brought by my husband) and Cake Wars on (put on by my husband) while I blog.  But I'm also feeling guilty for taking the time to blog when there's other things I didn't get done today.  Even though I didn't get them done because I was doing other things that badly needed doing.

I'm trying.

Monday, January 18, 2016

#MicroblogMondays: Brrrrrrr

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the inaugural post which explains the idea and how you can participate too

This weather needs to shit or get off the pot.  My biggest pet peeve is waiting for the next book in a series to come out, but my second-biggest pet peeve is when it's cold and it's not snowing.  I did appreciate when Indian summer lasted well into December, but now it's COLD and dry.  Yes, that's better than sleet, but I want snow.  There's a big storm predicted for my home state this coming weekend, and I'm jealous. I at least have warm, fuzzy pajama pants with penguins on them, but I can't wear them to work.  :-(

Friday, January 15, 2016

Proud of Myself

The closer I got to my due date, the harder it has been to be around tiny babies or people who were pregnant, especially people who were as pregnant as I would have been.  But I had an intake today with someone who was visibly pregnant, and I braced myself when I noticed, but it didn't hurt.  I didn't have to hold back the feelings until after the session because I wasn't actually having the feelings.  This feels like a big breakthrough, and I'm proud of myself.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Meta #MicroblogMondays: The Nature of Blogging

Not sure what #MicroblogMondays is? Read the original post which explains the idea and how you can participate too.

I was writing in my other blog, SnarkFood, tonight, and my husband (who wrote last week's post) was asking me how it felt to be writing it again after a hiatus.  I couldn't really answer that because I've been so much more focused on how it felt to be blogging on this site again.  I've needed the outlet and the connection.  I was really disappointed to see that ICLW and LFCA stopped while I was gone, so I'm hoping that #MicroblogMondays helps me to make connections again, because I was lost, now I'm found (cue background music of "Amazing Grace"), and I want connections to abound.  Right now I'm full of blogging energy, and when I stopped blogging before it was because it was awkward to continue, not because I didn't want to, but this will probably also be good for me when the energy does run low as it often does.  So yeah, we're going meta for my first Microblog Monday.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

The Pull Between Isolating and Reaching Out

Agitated and upset.  Wanting to talk about it.  But also wanting to hide in a hole and not talk to anyone.  Scrolling through the chat section of my Facebook feed to see who's online.  Not clicking on anyone.

I don't know this person well enough to talk about it.  That person can't relate.  This person won't want to hear about it.  This other person would relate but isn't online.  I could talk to that one, but...and I still don't click.  Because it might just be easier to keep playing Facebook games and refreshing my news feed while I try to get paperwork done.  Then I know I'm not bothering anyone.  And I can continue to hide in my hole.  It's comfortable in there, wallowing.  Kinda.  At least I kinda know what to expect there.  And I don't have to risk bothering anyone, nor do I have to find other things to talk about to avoid bothering them with what's really upsetting me.

But then I click on the chat list again, just to see if anyone different is online.  Maybe that person I was thinking of who would relate has jumped on.  Or that other person who I can chat with about little things and cheer myself up a little.  Nope, no one else has jumped on Facebook in the 30 seconds since I clicked the last time.  So I should go write a client note.  And then I click again on the chat list, and still do nothing.

That's part of why I started blogging again.  Part of it was to reconnect, but part of it was because there's less pressure (that I know I put on myself) here and less concern about bothering people.  Even though I got some criticism from friends and others when I was writing on this blog before, it's other people's choice of whether to read or not.  So if they don't like what I write, they don't have to read it.  And if I would be bothering them, they don't have to read it.  But I still get to write it.

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Finishing Out The Week

Today was more of the same pull between holding it together and...not holding it together.  I still managed to keep the not holding it together contained, letting the ugly crying happen while I was driving.

There was something that my work BFF said that made me feel a little better, though, even while it made me tear up.  She said that she believes our babies are together in heaven and that Got has told them plenty of time that their mommies are friends and love them beyond words.  I like that idea.  One of the things that helped me a little when we first lost Otter (what we called the baby, like my son was Penguin in utero) was the thought that my mom was holding her.  (We didn't get any testing done, so we don't know the gender, but we thought of Otter as a girl all along, and I'd rather use a more specific pronoun than "it" because "it" doesn't sound like a baby, a person to me, "it" sounds like a thing.)  So now I have the mental image of my mom playing with both of our babies, spoiling them like she always wanted to do with her grandchildren and like she didn't get the chance to do with my son.

Friday, January 08, 2016

It's Over, I Guess?

I was numb until about lunch today (which, based on my client schedule, came at 2).  I don't know whether it was wine from last night or fatigue or being emotionally drained, but I felt like I was moving through a numb haze as I took the baby to daycare, walked the dog, snuggled with the dog for a nap before my first session, went through my first 4 sessions.

The numbness wore off as I was heading to lunch.  Interestingly, it was triggered as much by my mom as by the due date.  (For those that I don't know IRL, I lost my mom to cancer in September 2014.)  Because of the due date, it really hurt that I couldn't call her and talk to her.  From that point on, the day was back and forth between struggling to hold back tears and failing to hold them back.  I'm just glad I managed to be distracted enough from my feelings to keep control during sessions.

It was nice being off work early enough to pick the baby up from daycare before it closed, especially since he was in a good mood.  As I was getting home, though, I found out that my husband needed to run out for spaghetti sauce.  I was already feeling like I wanted to stay at work until the kids were all in bed because I was afraid of breaking down in front of them and scaring them, and then I had to manage 2 of them alone (my husband took my car, with the baby in it).  I had to wipe away tears before I walked in, both from all the emotion and from fear of not holding it together well enough.  The fact that one was doing homework and the other had other things she could focus on gave me the ability to just cook and load the dishwasher.  My husband got home quickly, at least, which took focus off of me.  I was able to do a decent amount of isolating without it affecting the kids by being the one to put the baby to bed, and I got the side benefit of baby snuggles.

After we got the older kids to bed, I semi-unintentionally made a cushion fort in the corner of the sectional while my husband brought me mint moose tracks ice cream with whipped cream and crumbled Thin Mints on top.  That got me able to do the notes I had to do tonight for work.  OK, that and more wine.  What the hell.  I'm not pregnant, and for all I know I never will be again.  And that hurts.

But I do have a toddler that I love very much and who is finally getting better with sleep.  This would hurt a lot more if I also had added to the pain the question of whether I would ever become a real parent.  And I have a husband who loves me dearly and brings me ice cream.  And I have a dog that loves to snuggle.  And I know that on other nights, I will not feel this bad.  But right now, I do.  And I know that's ok now that the kids are in bed.  I didn't want to burden the kids with seeing how awful I felt.  But now I can show it and be honest about who I am and how I feel because anyone who would be bothered by it can choose not to read.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

I Didn't Want to Need This

I hadn't done anything to deactivate this blog or anything, but I thought I had outgrown it in my process.  I had been able to conceive quickly in my second marriage, and I have a healthy now-toddler.

But then after getting pregnant unexpectedly in May, we lost the baby at 10 1/2 weeks.  And I almost died.  (Literally, not hyperbole here.)  Apparently, I was a once-in-a-career case.  I could have lived better without that recognition.  Long story (which will probably come out in another post) short, the type of miscarriage was misdiagnosed, and the true cause wasn't figured out until I was bleeding out on the table during my D&C.  In the end, I lost my right tube and ovary and went to ICU overnight, and we learned that I had endometriosis.  Which, for the record, spellcheck doesn't even recognize as a work.  That says something to my cynical little heart.

Today would have been my due date.  January 6 or 7, depending on whether you focus on counting weeks since LMP, like my husband was, or the date guess from the first sonogram, like I was.  That's why I'm posting at night like this, to be right on the border between the two.

I've got so many feelings that I can't even identify all of them.  And I'm a therapist, so that takes a lot!  I had been managing ok (as compared to what I expect from tomorrow, at least, since I was focused more on tomorrow as the due date) and bracing myself for tomorrow.  And then I ran into my best friend from work, who had a miscarriage at the same time I did.  And I lost it.  Sobbing into her shoulder.  Which makes sense, I know.  But it broke the seal on all the feels.  The rest of the day, I've been pinging back and forth between falling apart and holding myself back from falling apart.

One of the main feelings that is predominating (aside from pain so deep that I can't really describe it from there right now) is a deep and burning anger at the medical professionals that I've dealt with over the years.  I've been a patient for excessive PMS pain since my freshman year of college.  I spent all of my time from when lesser meds didn't work (spectacularly) until I was ready to start TTC with my ex on the strongest Pill that is even still made.  I loved the doctor that prescribed a strong NSAID so that I had something to take when I wasn't taking the Pill anymore.  But why just give me more and stronger meds without ever bringing up the possibility of endo?  I had about a year, all told, of various infertility testing and monitoring.  But why didn't anyone bring up the possibility of endo?  When doctors didn't bring it up, or dismissed it if I did, that sent the message that I should just suck it up and manage with the meds because periods hurt and that's just what happens.  And that almost killed me later.

I don't know how often I will be posting.  I tried to do another blog before and when I was pregnant with my son, and one of the main things I learned was that I had neither the time nor the energy for blogging.  But I think I need this.  I need to reconnect with the ALI community.  I need to find other people like me.  I was scanning FB tonight looking for people on chat to be able to talk to and relate to, and most of the people who were on at the time didn't have the experience to relate.  And I'm glad they don't.  I hate that my work best friend can relate.  I hate it for other people who have told me they can.  I don't want anyone else to be able to relate.  But since there are people who have already had their losses and are still in their struggles, I need to find them and connect with them again.