Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How to be...

I don't think I've ever mentioned it on my blog but I've been going to therapy since November. I think I was kinda embarrassed by it but really it's been my saving grace. God has used this young man to really get through to me and now I really look forward to my sessions even though for the most part I leave tired and emotional and somewhat beat down. But I always feel better later.

Well one of my issues is my lack of emotion - mainly sadness and grief. Why don't I allow myself to be sad? I was asked to figure that out and really think it through.

So I started thinking. First I have a relationship that is VERY on the verge of crumbling. An important relationship. That's highly stressful and I feel somewhat guilty about it. All of you who know me know I am a "fixer". Why can't I fix this? But I can't.

All I can do is fix me. It's hard. But probably for the first time in my life I am concentrating on self care. I can't be a good wife or mom if I don't. Amy moved out last summer, Larrah moved out in January and my mom moved about 20 minutes away 2 weeks ago. I have had so many people around for so long and I love them SO much but I was craving quiet and less people around and now I wonder what to do with the quiet. LOL. There's nothing for me to fix this way. I am trying to learn to be mindful and just "be" and not feel like I have to do or fix everything.

I really find therapy hard but I look forward to it every week. I need it. I am still working on dealing with how easily frustrated I am and snappy etc. Two weeks ago I started crying in therapy and trying desperately to stop and my therapist wanted to know why I didn't want to cry. And I really didn't know. I feel so weak and out of control when I cry. I do cry when I get super angry but that's a different kind of tears so I think it's different. I went home and watched the Biggest Loser for almost 2 hours by myself and cried the WHOLE episode. OK I know the show didn't do that even though it can be a tear jerker but still. Why was I crying? I went back last week and talked to him about it. He wanted me to try to figure out what I am actually feeling when I am angry or frustrated or sad.

So Sunday Brian REALLY hurt my feelings over something stupid. I really needed to let what happened go. He just really had a clueless moment. But I felt myself starting to get furious and then somehow I just quietened my heart and ended up walking away. Then I started tearing up. Not bawling or out of control but I let myself get sad and you know what? It wasn't the end of the world. And I didn't start WW3 over something stupid. Well it wasn't totally without merit that I was upset but it wasn't worth WW3. So that led me to really think about sadness and I came up with this:

I didn’t start out being easily angry or frustrated. I am actually very sensitive and get my feelings hurt easily. To be honest I was a cry baby. Why do I not want to cry now? In the past my emotions were all over the place. I would cry to get my way or just cry because I couldn’t not cry. This was all before I turned 27. Then when I was 27 something VERY traumatic happened and I found myself isolated and unsafe emotionally and I just couldn't be that cry baby anymore out of self preservation. Plus I had cried almost my whole life. I was tired of crying. Somehow I decided crying was something that made me weak and was definitely not needed.

I wasn’t even easily angered or frustrated back then. Brian and I met and then got married and life was good. I wasn't a cry baby and I wasn't easily frustrated. For a while my emotions seemed in a good place. Then infertility hit. It broke me. The sadness was over whelming. I cried so much and it just seemed to consume me. I cried every where. At work, at home, with friends. I let too many people in trying to find a way out of my sadness that I eventually alienated everyone I guess. When people can’t help you – they stop trying after a while. At least that’s how I interpreted it. We struggled to have a baby from the fall of 98 until January 02. Then I did IVF. All the hormones did me in but IVF was easy compared to the rest. Needles didn’t bother me anymore. Then we got pregnant. Then we had triplets when we only transferred two. Then one of the identicals died. Then a second baby died at 22 weeks. I cried until I couldn’t cry anymore. Then I stopped crying. I don't think I had any tears left. I think that’s when I started purposely trying not to cry. I found it didn’t help and I felt like I needed to be strong. To be strong I felt I had to not cry. And I felt like crying just isolated me even more. I was on bedrest for 14 weeks and alone so much of it with Brian in school and at work. At first I had visitors from work and church and then that stopped. Every week I trekked to the doctors office 2-3 times – mostly alone. I had to be strong. I had to survive this. Brian wasn't even as sad as I was. But he also wasn't carrying a deceased baby inside him and a living baby and wondering if she was going to die too. It was hard to even wonder what life would be like with her. I fully expected something worse to happen. So I felt I had to be strong. Plus I couldn't stand the pity I felt. It wasn't sympathy but pity. If I was strong people wouldn't pity me.

Salem was born and I felt such a HUGE immense relief. Then her health issues started. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. It’s different when you struggle within but when you see the child you hoped and prayed for struggling with life – not even barely able to eat – it destroys you. I think that's when my anger really started. I loved this little girl more than life but I was also mad, furious even that I went through all this CRAP to get pregnant and get Salem here safely, lose 2 babies, and then this. It was freaking NOT fair. I didn't deserve this did I? Did I do something to cause this? Certainly she didn't deserve it. So I learned to pretend all was ok and do what I had to do to get through the day. I called it surviving.

When people found out about her health issues they would ask how we were but I soon felt they really didn’t want to know. And I didn’t have a strong friend during this time to lean on. I became Salem’s mom and her strong advocate and fought for everything she needed because people here don't understand Noonan Syndrome and I will always be that advocate but I lost myself in the process. Just the shell of a person doing what she had to do.

Today 6+ years later I think I get so frustrated and snappy because I don’t know how to let go and be sad or hurt or frustrated without feeling out of control. I think I feel like it would consume me. How would it feel to cry and cry and cry and really let go and then just go to sleep and then wake up the next day and start a new day? Would it overwhelm me? Would it lead to destructive behaviors?

This is a year of total self care for me. From the physical to the mental to the spiritual. I feel like it all is depended on this. So I am trying to figure it out. How do I let go without going over the edge of sadness? I know the answer is in God and just letting myself be sad. But I am still fearful of letting go and falling over that edge. There is such a fine line and I am tired of searching for it. I want God to just fix it. I am tired. I wrote most of this on Sunday the 15th. Today I went to therapy again and I did just weep and probably for the first time didn't try to stop it.

When I got home from therapy today I got this email from a friend. Talk about God timing.

"May today there be peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.

May you be content with yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us."

This is my prayer: I need to be at peace and feel free to be where I am. Even if the sadness and grief is overwhelming. I would give someone else the grace and mercy to be sad and grieve. I need to give it to myself. God I can’t find it in me to be thankful for what has happened to me. But I am thankful your presence has been with me through it all. Thank you for giving me the courage and strength to get through this time in my life. Let me have peace to be still, peace to feel sad, even peace to be angry and in all of it not let the sadness or anger become infected and ugly but healing.


bcstark said...

Thanks so much for sharing all of this - it's a hard thing to be transparent, and you really shared yourself in this post. Just wanted to offer a hug - you are amazing!

Anonymous said...

I can definitely relate to infertility and pregnancy losses putting you through the emotional ringer. I think I mainly struggled with jealousy - wondering why it was so easy for everyone else to get pregnant.

It's definitely something not everyone can totally understand. God bless you!

Smartie Duck said...

I admire your courage and am glad you're taking the time to take care of Leah.

Love you.

glenna said...

((Big Hugs))