The tip of the iceberg

I had the meltdown of all meltdowns last week. I should have known after such a good week the week before that it would all come crashing down in a big heap. Starting with my birthday on the Monday I cried nearly every day….but Wednesday was the worst. I guess everything’s just hitting me hard at the moment. I’m 34, no longer “early thirties” as our ‘About Me’ section would suggest; my biological clock is ticking – not that that matters entirely because my eggs are already well-fucked; it just feels like time is running out and there’s nothing I can do to fix/help/stop anything.

This whole process just wears away at you bit by bit. I’ve been trying to do things that make me happy to improve my lot but then one of the things that make me happy is my friends, and being there for them and that can wear away at you too in a way.  It’s been a hard time for a lot of my friends lately and I a) don’t feel like I can do enough to help, and b) struggle to hold myself together enough to be of any use sometimes.  My boss once suggested that our emotional state is like a battery and the energy can be sapped by various things.  You can recharge your battery but it never really becomes fully charged again as long as the major drain on the battery still exists.  I can understand that but for me I visualise it a little differently.

I feel like we’re all giant 3-D jigsaw puzzles and I don’t have enough hands to hold all my pieces together.  Every time I reach out to try and help someone else hold their pieces in, another piece of my jigsaw falls out, which is fine as long as you have a break at some stage to pick up your fallen jigsaw pieces from the floor and put them back in their place.  It’s when there’s no time for this that you run into problems. Eventually your jigsaw becomes so unstable that it explodes – picture a standard jigsaw that you’re deconstructing to pack away into its box, you start to destroy the pieces from the outside and the pressure causes the inner pieces to explode, cascading down all over the table.  Anyone who has felt the joy at annihilating a jigsaw puzzle will know the effect I’m talking about.  So my jigsaw explodes and a meltdown ensues.

Unfortunately this time it wasn’t the best timing but you just don’t have control over these things…you can hold them off to a point but eventually there’s just no stopping it.  Generally I try to keep them to outside of work hours so as not to appear a complete fruit loop to my colleagues, hmmmm, no such luck this time.  I now not only appear to be a complete nut bar but, because the jigsaw pieces had collapsed enough to stop my brain from function properly, I couldn’t even explain to my boss what the issue was/is, so also appear to be an unsupportive selfish bitch as well.  That thought of course fuelled my meltdown even more as I try my hardest to be a supportive and caring person, and the thought that I’m the opposite makes me feel awful.  Needless to say my poor husband had a hard night trying to get me to talk through my hyperventilating and tears to calm me down, what a frickin mess.

I feel so stuck at the moment.  Stuck and confused and there are so many elements at play that I’m not sure I can even express them in any kind of coherent stream.  I feel like I don’t have time to do the things I need to do to sort out my body and brain and prepare myself for the future.  I feel like I shouldn’t be upset about our current situation but then I feel guilty when I do get upset.  I feel like I need to move on but also feel like I can’t until we’ve exhausted every possibility.  I feel like there’s no one I can talk to.

Stop.  Break these down.  One.  I feel like I don’t have time to do the things I need to do to sort out my body and brain and prepare myself for the future. Where does this come from?  Life feels so busy at the moment that I just don’t have the time to stop, to breathe, to focus on what I need to be doing to sort myself out.  We’ve been doing a lot of things to our house so I’ve spent most of my time at home busy doing things.  Work’s been busy so we’ve been staying later a fair bit.  I’ve also been trying to fit in other things such as acupuncture and the gym to get my body in shape but don’t feel like I have the time to do it.  I’ve been trying to schedule acupuncture outside of work hours (quite difficult sometimes with the hours my acupuncturist works) as I feel bad leaving work to go to my sessions and also feel I need to stay in the office – which leads onto my second point.

Two.  I feel like I shouldn’t be upset about our current situation but then I feel guilty when I do get upset.  This is a hard one to put into words so let’s start with how it feeds into needing to stay in the office.  I work closely with two other women and to be honest we’ve all been having a shit time recently – for different reasons.  It’s not compulsory but on the whole it’s better if there’s always one of us in the office throughout the day.  Now I know this doesn’t have to be me but because I don’t have kids and the other two do I feel like it’s more important that they have the flexibility to do what they need to do.  It’s not a matter of them making me feel that way or that they work less than I do because both of those statements are most definitely not true, it’s just that they have tangible/real/physical commitments (their children etc.) while mine is just imaginary, a wisp of future potential not yet realised.  Yes, I understand I impose this feeling on myself, but that doesn’t make it any less real.  I feel that I shouldn’t be upset or need time away from work for something that doesn’t, and possibly never will, exist when others are suffering just as much, if not more, over things that subsist in the real world.

Another side to this second point primarily comes from other people’s reactions to us doing donor egg IVF.  Everyone is so excited for us, and thrilled that we’re taking the next step, which is fantastic and trust me, I’m super excited too.  There’s just this conflict of emotion within me that is really frickin hard to deal with sometimes.  On one hand I’m thrilled to able to progress in our journey, and am absolutely stoked that we have someone so willing to help us, but on the other hand I’m still trying to grieve the loss of a genetic child and deal with the guilt of it being my defective body that has cost us so much time, money, and most prominently, heartache.  I am the reason for my husband’s suffering, for my mother’s lack of a local grandchild, for every dysfunctional infertility-related thing that’s happened to us over the last three years.  It’s all my fault.  It’s a hard thing to work through and just when I feel like I’ve made some progress, that I’m starting to accept that this is just the way things are, everything falls to pieces again.  I feel like this is a time I should be filled with hope so I find myself riddled with guilt when I’m sad about how things have come to be.

Three.  I feel like I need to move on but also feel like I can’t until we’ve exhausted every possibility.  The need to move on stems from the conflict in point two I think.  Mentally I need to push forward, to take my life back and not have to think about infertility any more.  The trouble with this is that I know I will forever live with guilt and regret if we were to quit without pursuing every angle.  Is a life of remorse worth living for the sake of a short term relief from my anguish?  I don’t think so.  Perhaps in time I would come to accept our decision, come to ignore the regret, but I know I’m not one to let things like that go easily – why is it much easier to forgive others than to forgive yourself? – and there would always be that nagging doubt of “what if”.  No, I need to be brave and propel myself forward through my current set of emotions until we’ve tried everything we possibly can to realise our dream.

Four.  I feel like there’s no one I can talk to.  It’s been so long now that I feel like I’m a broken record forever skipping back and repeating the same couple of bars.  I know people care about us and about our situation but I no longer feel I can talk about it freely without people being absolutely sick of hearing about it.  I guess in a way this feeds back into point two – people think we should be happy that things are progressing and don’t really understand how I can be upset.  Perhaps I’m not being fair, perhaps it’s more that people are happy about the way things are developing and if they concentrate on that happiness then I will be happy too.  This is true to a point, I love that people are thrilled for us and it does make me happy, it just also results in me feeling like I can’t talk to anyone about my internal conflict as that makes me ungrateful or uncomprehendable.  I don’t want to burden my friends and family with my sadness and guilt.  I can’t lean on my Twitter friends because I can’t even face Twitter at the moment with all its babies and success stories – don’t get me wrong, I’m truly happy for all those success stories and other peoples happiness, it’s just with where my head is at at the moment I can’t help but think we will never be one of them, and that makes me sad…..and I feel like I’ve got my fill of sad at the moment I can’t possibly fit any more (cue more guilt at not being there to support others again).  I suppose I should really go and talk to our counsellor but while she was great when talking through DEIVF, I find I can never get the words out when talking about myself.  I always seem to be in a good state on the few days I have been to talk with someone, and it’s much harder to get to the bottom of the issues when everything feels fine.

So I’m back to feeling stuck.  Stuck waiting for DEIVF to progress, stuck waiting for myself to work through my emotions, stuck on a dream that has the propensity not to exist, stuck in the groove of my broken record spinning round playing the same old tune.

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2 responses to “The tip of the iceberg

  • spiritbabycomehome

    I am very sorry you are struggling to keep so much in play while feeling alone with it all (whether any actual isolation is self imposed or not – it still feels like you have no one to talk to but your husband when the jigsaw shatters).

    I wanted to comment on the guilt, anguish and sadness about moving on with DE IVF while some parts of us still struggle with not having the ability to use our own eggs for the same purpose. First, it isn’t your fault. But deep down you know that. What is true is that we may never stop feeling sad that we can’t create a child with our own genetic material. The proportion of sadness to other feelings will change if we are able to carry and birth donor-conceived child/ren, however (I believe). Or if we don’t and eventually we choose other paths in life. The piece of the pie chart held by sadness/guilt/etc over not having kids of our own genetics (or at all) will shrink with time. Right now, that piece and it’s companion – worry over how we will feel if DE IVF does work and how we manage everything needed to get there – is a disproportionately large chunk of the pie. How could we not feel off-kilter and overwhelmed by that? How can it not seem to preoccupy some part of every day, hour, minute we are awake (and some in which we are not)? This is our normal. The investment here – of ourselves and of resources outside our physical, emotional, spiritual selves, is huge. HUGE.

    What you are going through is normal. Shitty. But normal. And you aren’t alone in going through it. But I get why you feel that way. IVF and IF are so isolating and depression-inducing. Adding a need for donors or surrogates just compounds the isolation and emotional toll.

    I feel and have felt lost and scared and overwhelmed often. Daily at times. But now that things are underway (God and other forces greater than me willing), I also feel hope. Hope and excitement are pushing despair and grieving over in the pie chart and those feelings are losing ground. They have to. And I’m glad they are.

    Back to you. I would encourage you to follow your own lead about the counsellor. Can it hurt to make an appointment? Perhaps you can bring a printout of this blog post to help focus or start the discussion? You have too much going on and deserve support to re-ground yourself and work through this. Meanwhile, I’m offering a huge virtual hug if you’d like one. Or seven.

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