Infertility & My Nervous Breakdown

This is my 2nd blog post for National Infertility Awareness Week. I wanted to share a more personal story then my first.

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I have a dirty little not so secret, secret. It’s something I openly discuss, depending on the situation, if you catch me in person, or have made passing remarks about on Twitter. But not something I blogged about, or really spoke about on Facebook. I think partly due to shame, and partly out of fear.

In October of 2013, my husband had to call the police on me, while I was at work, out of the very real fear that I might kill myself.

Let that sink in. 

I had had a bad day. Hell, a bad year at that point. My job was high stress, my life was high stress, and I still wasn’t over the loss of the only pregnancy I have ever had. I work online, so I also spend a lot of my day watching social media and talking through different chat programs. Bill and I typically chat throughout the day while we are both at work.

On this particular day, and at this point I don’t even remember the exact day, I was uncontrollably upset. I was ranting to him and he somehow pissed me off. I made what I knew was a passively suicidal threat, then logged off of everything and ignored my phone buzzing. After about 10 minutes, I gave in, as I typically do, and went outside and checked my phone. Except at that point it was too late. The ball was already rolling.

I’d recently been so not myself, so uncontrollably hostile, that Bill truly was worried I would leave work and go kill myself. When I didn’t answer my phone, he made good on the promise he had left on my voice-mail and he called the police and reported that he feared for his wife’s life, gave them my work address and told them the make, model, and plate of our car.

I called him back in a frenzy, knowing the police appearance was imminent and begged him to call them off. But it was too late. Any call like that results in the person in question being taken to the hospital.

So I had to frantically make up a story about why I had to leave work with the police, and be taken down to the local hospital for a psych evaluation.

They put me in a room that has a door that locks from the outside in the ER. Bill eventually showed up with my things, and they let him sit with me. I couldn’t apologize enough for having scared him. I hadn’t realized how bad things had been. That he truly did fear for my life.

After a few hours the on call Psychologist made his way down to me. He talked with me for about 40 minutes and decided that I wasn’t really a threat to myself and that I could leave, but recommended I start a program they had for inpatient counseling. I brushed it off and ran home. Scared, ashamed, angry at myself. Why couldn’t I just get my shit together?

tumblr_murzoxCrvf1s5xq5ko1_500I went back to work the next day and spent a few days pretending things were still fine. Because that’s what I am amazing at. Pretending things are awesome. The worse I feel, the more awesome things appear to be. Slap on the fake smile and everything is just peachy. Nope, I’m not wishing I was dead. NEVER. Smile smile smile laugh.

After a few days though, I knew I wasn’t going to just fake my way out of this. I called off work and tried to find a psychiatrist with an appointment opening, but no one could see me for months. So I called the number the ER Dr had given me and signed myself in.

I spent 2 and a half weeks, Monday-Friday from 9 am to 4 pm in intense group therapy, getting a medication regimen, and doing some one on one counseling. In the end, my psychiatrist declared the root of my problem was major depressive disorder, brought on by infertility. He also recommended I stop pretending everything was great and recommended I open up about my struggle. He said a large portion of my problem was that I didn’t let myself feel the pain I was dealing with, and I just kept it all to myself.

That experience was the final push for me in opening up about my infertility. I had kept it to myself for so long, it drove me to being passively suicidal.

This is what infertility can do to you.

Since then, I have learned to use my voice. I am advocating for change, while still struggling through affording treatment for my disease. I am fighting my insurance company, my state, my country, to recognize and provide treatment for my disease.

It’s given me power over something in my life I have no control over.

It’s let me know that while I feel alone, I’m not alone.

I share my story to let you know you aren’t alone. You don’t have to suffer in silence. Our stories may all be different, but we can still be here for each other.

I will be your voice if you can’t. We must affect change. The shame, silence, and fear will not keep me quiet. We can’t let the disease win.

You Are Not Alone

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For those who are unaware, this week, April 19-25 2015, is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). The point of this week is to help educate the public about the realities of infertility and increase the conversation surrounding infertility. Each year they provide a topic for us to blog about. Last year was my first time blogging specifically for NIAW.

This years topic is You Are Not Alone. An idea that is near and dear to my heart. I have spent the majority of my time dealing with my infertility in silence. Answering prodding questions about when I would have children by brushing them off and not admitting to anyone that not only had we been trying for a long time, but that I knew something had to be wrong. I kept it all to myself and never have I felt more alone.

The problem is that infertility is a disease we suffer from in silence. There is so much shame in the idea that something is wrong with our bodies, and when we try to talk about it with our very Dr’s it is brushed off. How could we ever open up about it to our friends, family, and peers?

Reality however is different.

1 in 8 couples in the US will have difficulty conceiving a child.

That is over 7 million people.

Reality is you are not alone.

We need to break the silence. Break the fear, the anger, the hurt, the shame.

By breaking our silence and speaking openly about topics that make people uncomfortable, we break the barrier of shame and silence surrounding our disease. By breaking the silence we finally realize that while we might feel alone, we are not.

In the time since I have been candid and open about my struggle, the sheer number of people that have reached out to me and confided that they too struggled has been staggering. If we all raise our voices and fight to be heard, we can and will change things so that future generations will not have to suffer the same loneliness we have.

At the end of the day, always remember, even if you feel alone, you aren’t alone. Reach out. Own your story. Find your tribe. We’re here waiting for you.

I Need Your Help!

blogbutton250x250ATTENTION! I need everyone’s help! For anyone that has ever wanted to help me in my infertility journey and wondered what they could do, this is your moment.

As many of you know, I am going to Advocacy Day in May to speak with the representatives of Congress for my state. To help get the point across though, we are collecting letters from everyone we know, in any state, to show the level of support we have. We can’t affect change in how infertility and adoption costs are dealt with in this country without a legislative push.

And so, I need your help. I am collecting letters to sort and send to everyones state representatives. All I need from you is to go and fill out this form and I will do the rest. You will find a copy of the letter each of your representatives will receive on the form page.

It really is that easy. Fill out the Google form and I will look up your state representatives, fill out the letter for you, print it out and take it with me to DC.

Thank you all so much for your support. I need all the help I can get so please pass this on to your friends and family!

Making an Impact at Advocacy Day

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As I have struggled with infertility, I have become an advocate for those suffering from an inability to build a family. A large part of that advocacy is fighting for better infertility and adoption benefits.

To further this cause, I will be attending this year’s RESOLVE Advocacy Day on May 14th in Washington D.C. I will be representing the state of Ohio (specifically the 14th District). More importantly, I will be representing the millions of men and women across the country that suffer from infertility.

I will be meeting with delegates from the offices of Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, as well as Representative David Joyce. We will discuss both the obstacles we are seeking to overcome, as well as the legislation to tear them down. I will also be presenting them with letters from those that could not make the journey, but still wanted their voices to be heard.

This is a volunteer effort, and, as such, I will be paying for all travel and advocacy costs (gas, hotel, food, materials) out of pocket. I am asking for donations to somewhat offset those costs, and to help spread the word of those not fortunate enough to make the trip.

One in ten people in America suffer from some form of infertility. Do you know ten people in your life? Twenty? Your donation will help spread the word of those suffering mostly in silence. Any contribution will help to spread awareness and to advocate for help for the 30 million people who are dealing with infertility across America.

Happy Birthday, I Guess?

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I’m not typically one to be upset by my aging. Death, in some bizarre twist of fate, does not scare me. My birthday since facing infertility though has been a tough pill to swallow. I had hoped to be done family building by now, even having married “late”. Yet, here I am, turning 33 in 6 days, and it’s all I can think about. I will not have children before I am 34. That is simply reality. I may, possibly, be pregnant by this time next year, but even that is too much to hope for at this point given my track record. This starts in on the math. How old will I be when a first possible child graduates high school? College? Marries? I’m going to be the old mom at school functions and play dates. Will I be able to keep up?

Is it fair to them, given my family history to even have children at this point? No one has a crystal ball, but given my family history it’s definitely something that weighs on me.

I’m just frustrated. Frustrated by being lapped. By being excluded. By living life on hold for something that is 100% out of my control.

I clung to the idea for so long that if I worked hard, I could change things. That things will get better. But it’s a lie.

Instead I get another year older. Lose another year of fertility. I sit and age, watching my fertility decline while I scramble to find the money to pay out of pocket for treatment of a disease I have no control over. Something I did not inflict on myself. All the while watching everyone around me pass me by, isolate me further and further away.

I’m tired of being lonely in my corner, but too fragile to deal with the emotions that come with not being in the corner.

Here’s to another year I guess.