On Needing Help

3 Jan

When I first started this blog my intention was to write about the process of getting pregnant, being pregnant, and being a mother all while battling anxiety and depression. Clearly, I have gotten away from that as TTC overtook my life for the past year. This blog became something else as TTC became the focus of my troubles. In some ways, TTC even became a distraction from my other troubles. But in the past few days, those invisible monsters have began to creep back into my life. Consuming everything thing I do, but more importantly everything that I don’t  do. I in no way regret the tone that my blog took on. In fact, it has been such an incredible blessing to make so many wonderful e-friends. E-friends who cheer me on, feel for me during the hard times, and are able to completely understand this journey that I am on. I have no intention to stop writing about TTC by any means, but if you are still reading my corner of the internet then you might begin to find personal stories about my life that have nothing to do with TTC. Perhaps they’ll be even more personal than writing about my ovaries, my sex life, and my period. At least it feels that way to me because my brain, my secrets, my thoughts, and my fears are what make me me. Baby or no baby, I will always be this same woman.

All this is to say that I have an anxiety disorder and depression. And I need help.

I have battled anxiety and panic attacks for about the past 8 years and depression for even longer than that. I have been in and out of therapy since I was a teenager. If you click on the “anxiety” link in my tag cloud, you should be linked back to posts I have written about it in the past. Therapy has done a great job at keeping me afloat. It has provided an outlet for me to discuss topics that I can’t talk about with anyone else or that everyone else is beyond tired of hearing about. It has provided me perspective and a great deal of comfort, especially over this past year. But I no longer think that it is enough.

I came to the conclusion that I am generally unhappy. And I think I have been this way for so long that I don’t even know what it means to be happy or to be content. This is the largest reason why I haven’t really done anything to change my circumstances…because I don’t have anything to compare my current circumstances to. I have never truly known what it feels like to not be depressed.

Of course I know moments of happiness. I have a wonderful husband, great friends, supportive family, and I am capable of deriving joy from life. It’s just that, for me, it’s fleeting and never sticks around long enough to carry me to the next time that I might experience those feelings. I can certainly string together instances of feeling full, but the gaps between those instances keep growing larger, darker, and more intense. I recognize that this is no one’s fault but my own, my brain must be wired to work this way. I just can’t even conceive all of the all-consuming, every day, general satisfaction that I think most people experience.

Sometimes I feel like my anxiety has ruined my life entirely. Rarely does it explode into a full blown panic attacks, but it is always my constant companion. It dictates practically every decision that I make. I avoid highways, some bridges, left hand turns, trains, planes, and cars in which someone other than myself or my husband is driving. I avoid being alone or being with others; sleeping or waking up; staying in or going out, depending on what kind of mood I am in. My anxiety exists in a way that is hard to explain because it is so intangible. It’s a shape shifter evading capture and control, which is ironic seeing as it seems to have a pretty good grasp on me. And when it strikes I lose all control over my decision making ability, my only thoughts are that I can’t, I won’t, I must escape. No matter the consequence, I must get out. That’s is the one and only way that I know to ensure peace within my mind.

Then there’s the whole chicken or the egg question…which came first, the anxiety or the depression? They seem to just feed off of one another. I’m depressed because the anxiety is holding me back, keeping me from living my life. Then I am anxious because my depression feeds my head with thoughts of self-doubt and feelings of failure.

The worst part of all is that this mental illness no longer affects just me, but my husband as well. He is my partner though and through, but our partnership is way off balance. I am causing him stress, grief, and worry that is so unfair to ask someone to shoulder for you. And it’s not just worry about the practical things such as mortgage payments and would-be trips to Europe. It’s worry about our future. About me, about us. Sure I fear airplanes and bridges and traffic, but I fear nothing more than losing that man. But I fear that one day I will just be too much for him. Too much for him to put up with, to much for him to take care of. Too much of a liability to his own happiness and fulfillment. And I know he fears this too.

Recently, I have found myself unable to work. I started my new job yesterday and it has basically been one giant disaster. The thing is that I have to work for financial and personal reasons. I simply can’t let my anxiety/depression rob me of one more thing or else I fear I will find myself in a hole that is too large to climb out of. And yet, I can’t, I won’t, I must escape. My reactions are immature and selfish, I know this. But my reactions are also ingrained in me on a level so deep that it has become to much to handle on my own. So I am getting help.

For 10 years I have worked in the field of childcare. For 10 years I have loved (almost) every moment of it. Until yesterday when something snapped. I hated it. I hated me in that situation. I looked around and all I saw were babies that weren’t mine. Parents that were my age or younger that aren’t me. Co-workers who clearly enjoy what they do. And I have never felt more out of place in my life. In fact, I felt like I was dreaming. Surely, this couldn’t be my life, my feelings? Something I have always prided myself on excelling at has become something makes my skin crawl and mind revolt. A switch (bitterness, anger, discontentment) was activated and I don’t think there is any going back.

I know that part of this certainly has to do with my inability to get pregnant, but I think larger part is spawned by my depression. I stopped and asked myself what is it that I want to do. If I could be anywhere and doing anything, then where would I go and what would I do? I couldn’t come up with a single answer. I didn’t even want to be home. All that I could picture was myself in my bathroom leaning over the tub bathing my baby. I know that it’s a simple dream. I know that the pay sucks. But it’s the one thought that keeps me going. It’s the one image I could conjure that felt like it contained possibility, contentment, and hope. This is how I came to know just how lost I really am. I don’t know where to go from here and I don’t know where it will lead. I don’t even know if I am capable of making a change. The only thing that I know through and through is that I am not happy. And I think that I want to be.

I am going to see a doctor about trying medication–a route that I have yet to explore. For so long I have wanted to do this on my own, by myself. As if I had something to prove. My pride has caused me to lose out on innumerable and valuable life experiences. I’ve been unable to get pregnant thus far and maybe that’s some kind of mirror for the rest of my life because there are so many things that I am unable to do right now. I’ve avoided medication because I truly wanted to get pregnant and not have to be on medication at the same time. However, I know that it is all about weighing the risks with the benefits and for now, the benefits are far greater.

So, here I am. Waving white flag. I am getting the help that I deserve.

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19 Responses to “On Needing Help”

  1. veetamia January 10, 2012 at 6:17 am #

    This is such a honest & powerful post; thanks for sharing! 🙂 Being on the TTC road as well I understand how hard it can be sometimes, and it’s hard to deal with those feelings plus our own emotional struggles. Kudos for being so brave!

    • Jenn January 10, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

      Thank you 🙂

      I know it certainly helps me to read about other people who are feeling the same as me, so I figured I should share. Crazy how to the big, giant internet can help you connect with other people in your same position and to feel just a little less lonely.

      Good luck on you TTC journey! I will keep my fingers crossed for you.

  2. searching for middle ground January 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    I admire you so much for posting this. Please take comfort in knowing that you are not alone in this battle. It takes a lot, I believe, to admit that something is not right and that you need the help of someone else/a professional. I’m on the hunt for a doctor at the moment… though there’s a lot of anxiety involved in deciding on one and actually picking up the phone to make the call. One step at a time… Thinking of you!

    • Jenn January 10, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

      One step at a time, exactly! I hope to hear how your doctor hunt goes. It can definitely be an anxious experience, but one that I hope is worth it in the end. Good luck and keep me posted!

  3. amy January 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    Are we soul sistas?? I find it interesting that you and I “met” through sharing the anxiety journey, and now we find ourselves sharing the infertility journey….both of which are just terribly hard to deal with. I’m so so sorry you are feeling down and all that goes with that…I just wanna give you a hug!! As we talked about previously I, too, would like to try meds…there is just such a stigma with them I think, so between that and TTC I’ve just stayed away too. Although, I know that for so many it can be life changing for the better, so it’s definitely worth a shot! Personally, I really wanna try accupuncture for infertility and anxiety…and yoga feels great too 🙂

    I’m also sorry about your new job and how you’re feeling about it 😦 Maybe once you settle a bit, you will feel different? I think finding some type of spirtiual connection would be ahhhmazing for you too 😉

    So, this page is acting a bit wierd, so I’m gonna stop typing. But know you are always in my thoughts and prayers and things WILL get better, there is always light at the end of the tunnel friend 🙂

    • Jenn January 4, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

      I think we might just be soul sistas! It’s too coincidental, but I am so glad that I have “met” you!I think I am at the point where I just have to try meds, although I definitely want to try acupuncture as well. If you ever do it, let me know how it goes!

      I ended up quitting that job. It was just a toxic place for me to be and I had to put myself first. I have few other things on the horizon though so we’ll see what happens.

      Thanks for being you, lady 🙂

  4. jell jell @ I'll Sleep When They're Grown January 4, 2012 at 1:35 am #

    Oh honey, thanks so much for your kind words in my dark place today, and I want you to know that I’m right there with you. Sometimes depression is so dark and heavy that it’s hard to even get enough energy to say “help me.” I’m proud of you for going to therapy when you’ve needed it, and recognizing that it’s time again for you. I went though about a year and a half of therapy 7 years ago, and I think I’m headed in the same direction as you. Double white flags. Or as the Bloggess recently wrote, a silver ribbon, to recognize depression and take the shame out of it. Hugs.

    • Jenn January 4, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

      I’m sorry to hear about your dark place as well. I soooo get it. But the help is there so we might as well use it right? I’m all about removing the shame and stigma around depression. Keep truckin’ 🙂 xoxo

  5. TheStorkWhisperer January 3, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

    Good for you for getting it out. I bet it felt good to finally find a voice. I think a lot of what you are going through is a direct result of your TTC journey. I’ve always been the anxious sort myself, but putting TTC on top of everything else has taken its toll.

    Medication isn’t all that awful–I’ve taken it for years and while it does not make me a new improved, super-happy person, I feel like I am more balanced. Hope you find the support and help you need.

    • Jenn January 4, 2012 at 8:36 pm #

      It did feel great to give voice to what I was feeling. And also to feel proud that I am still willing to share my voice. I hope to find balance as well and I love hearing about other people’s experiences with meds, so thanks!

  6. K.Smitty January 3, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

    Aw, Jenn, I’m so sorry to hear you’re in a rough place. What you wrote really touched me because I know what that hole feels like, as well as that evil cycle of depression that causes anxiety, that causes more depression, that causes more anxiety, etc…

    I hate to be the one to give unsolicited advice, but there is a school psychologist I work with whom I admire very much, and while discussing advice he gave a student once, he dolt me what he says, and I liked it a lot, so I thought I’d share, and I hope it helps. Basically, he talks about the importance of looking at your wellness from a holistic approach…mind, body, and spirit. The mind is what we as counselors and psychologists try to fix the most, but sometimes, in order to help your mind heal, you need to work on the other two. If you already take good care of your body, maybe look into your spiritual wellness. That can mean a lot of different things for a lot of different people, and although I’m a Christian, I will be the first to admit that I’m not sure if there’s a “right” answer. All I can tell you is so much of my own anxiety and depression has gone away since I worked on my own spirituality as a Christian. It’s still hard, and I still have struggles, but I seem to have so much more trust in the world around me and the people around me that I don’t have panic attacks nearly as much as I used to. It has changed my life for the better in unspeakable ways. I don’t promise it can help your anxieties about traffic or bridges, (but it might), but I do believe it could help you with your job and your marriage, especially if you and your hubby grow spiritually together.

    I hope I don’t offend you with this, and if I do, I apologize. If I were there with you, I’d hug you to bits! But no matter what, I do hope you get the help you need and certainly deserve. MUAH! XOXO

    • Jenn January 3, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

      No offense taken whatsoever, I appreciate the advice. In fact, it’s funny because I was JUST talking to my husband about this tonight. He’s a staunch atheist, but derives a lot of comfort in that. I’m sort of on the fence about the whole thing, never being a person who has been able to accept things on blind faith. However, I do acknowledge the mind-body-spirit connection and plan to do a little spirit searching of my own and I guess time will tell where I will find it.

      Fortunately, my marriage isn’t suffering too bad. My husband and I go through our ups and downs like any couple, but we are really good at talking things through. In fact, we had dinner together tonight to come up with a game plan for what I am going through and I feel really hopeful about it.

      In the end, I know everything will be ok. I truly appreciate your support and your advice! xoxo

      • K.Smitty January 3, 2012 at 9:56 pm #

        Aaaaaahhhhh….I love those kinds of talks with hubby where the world feels right again afterwards.

        Good luck again! I’ll be praying for ya either way…

        • Jenn January 4, 2012 at 8:37 pm #

          Thanks for the prayers, lady. I’ll take all the help I can get 🙂

  7. gettingitsorted January 3, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    wow that’s a lot of honesty, here’s to you finding a better place to be in 🙂

    • Jenn January 3, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

      Sorry if it was too much..it was kind of hard to hit “publish.” But in the end I needed to get it out and writing often helps me sort through things. I have a hard time NOT being honest. What good would that be? Thanks for hope of finding a better place 🙂

  8. Rachel @ Eggs In A Row January 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    There is a lot I want to say on this, but I hate work and how it stands in the way of my blogging. 😉 But I wanted to say “YAY! CONGRATS!” in the meantime. xo

    • Jenn January 3, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

      Work gets in the way of so much, haha! Thanks for the congrats 🙂

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