From Life

Anything having to do with day to day living.

Trying Mindfulness

a0dbcc28de7f1125fdd8dd0d51259fc7

One of the things I was recommended during my extended counseling was to find a counselor and/or pick up some books on mindfulness. It was also something they regularly practiced during group sessions. It is however something I kind of shrugged off and ignored once I left the program, and haven’t worked on since I have yet to find a counselor I like locally.

Recently though I’ve finally admitted to myself that while I don’t often have suicidal ideations any longer, I am constantly on edge and am easy to set off. Of course the person that bears all of this pent up anxiety and anger is my husband. As my husband calls it, I suddenly act like a “normal nagging woman” as opposed to my typical laid back self. So while to outsiders I might be acting like a “normal” person, it is completely out of character for me. And it’s getting to me.

To try and combat this, I recently picked up the book Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman. Now I just have to calm the hell down enough to focus, read, and try to practice it.

Does anyone out there have experience or other recommendations for practicing and/or learning about using mindfulness in day to day life?

Advocacy Day 2015

11169997_10155439816665697_2820525110515962266_n

Last week I got to attend Infertility Advocacy Day. Advocacy Day is a RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association event that gives those of us in the infertility community a chance to sit down face to face with our Congressional leaders and discuss infertility and adoption.

So last week I drove to Washington DC with 1,308 letters for Congressional leaders from 45 different states. Intent on making a change.

I was chosen by RESOLVE as one of 25 people to be a part of the Inaugural Ambassador Class. I spent Wednesday with 24 other infertility community members and the RESOLVE staff getting valuable training on how I can rally my local community to support RESOLVE and the infertility and adoption community.

Thursday was the big day! I spent from 8 am to 10 am receiving training, and then we were off! One amazing part of this is that RESOLVE makes your appointments and gives you your schedule. All you have to do is learn about the Bills and go to your meetings!

Everything went well. There were 5 of us from Ohio to meet with the staff of both Senator Sherrod Brown and Senator Rob Portman. Afterwards, Jessie and I split off from the other 3 and went with each other to our respective House Representative meetings. We met with the staff for both Representative Dave Joyce and Representative Jim Renacci.

This year RESOLVE really focused on the words we used when discussing the Bills and as such there was a real difference in how we were received. That combined with the CDC’s National Public Health Action Plan and we saw a lot of positive feedback this year.

My 2 days in Washington DC are, without a doubt, the most empowering days I have had in my entire life. It really has given some control in a situation I have no control over. It has also connected me with some of the most amazing and powerful people I have ever met in my life.

It’s an absolutely amazing feeling to sit in a room with a couple hundred other men and women that, while their story is different, understand exactly what you are going through. To know we are all fighting so that future generations don’t have to suffer the way we have is absolutely uplifting.

Be the change you want to see. I am.

I’ll leave you with a gallery of pictures from my trip. Now the countdown to next year!

Control Freak

a6df485aa31175652c08a60204e7dbb8One thing that has come about with my infertility is a realization that I am a control freak. This was a surprise to me given the fact that most people that know me would describe me as fairly easy going.

I wrongly had this idea in my mind of someone that likes to control things as someone who is high strung, nagging, yelling, always organizing, etc. Basically every bad trait the media portrays as being the signs of being a control freak.

But I am a control freak. I’m just a control freak about my body and my surroundings. I seem totally laid back as long as I have a sense of control (IE: I can leave when I want, I can take medication to fix something, I can work harder). If you take that control away I become a depressed, ruminating train-wreck of anxiety.

I’m sure this is brought on by numerous things, not the least of which is the very idea that if you work hard you can do anything. Reality is a cruel task master and it likes to remind us sometimes that that is a lie. There are certain things in life that are outside of our control. Some people can cope with that notion.

I can’t.

And that has been a large part of my issues surrounding my infertility. My inability to give up control over what is happening to me. My body is failing me in a big way and there is not a single thing I can do about that. All the thinking and hoping in the world will not change the fact that I will never make love to my husband and create a child. Something so seemingly basic and primal, something the majority of the population takes for granted. Something the majority of us are programmed to do, I simply can’t do.

So while dealing with the monthly grief that comes every time my body fails, I also have to come to terms with the lie that if you work hard you can get anything you want. That I simply cannot control this situation, and that is okay.

And therein lies the problem. How do I stop a thought pattern that has done me well in every other part of my life? I wouldn’t be where I am currently if I hadn’t changed my way of thinking. Of banking on the notion that I am in control of my life and that if I work hard I can change it. It’s worked until now. It’s gotten me a better life partner, job, home, circle of friends, everything. Now there is this one last, most important thing and that line of thinking does nothing but make it harder.

And that’s where I am currently failing. I have to change the way I view my ability to have a family, without hurting the way I view everything else. And right now, that’s still an impossible task.

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.

Depression-depression-33252751-500-401

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

NIAW-FB

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.