Friday, February 25, 2011

So far*

today is not terrible. Not bad, actually.

It's snowing and cold, which is a disappointment after the warm weather we had a week or two ago. Kind of feels like my state of mind.  Up and down and all over the place.

After a week on the super-duper folate supplement, I called Dr. Shrink and told him how I was not only not feeling better, but possibly worse.  Up and down, a lot.  Or rather, okay and then terrible.  A lot.

He asked if I had a family history of Bipo1ar.  Yes.  My maternal grandfather. (and lord knows who else.) He said that in some depression that is resistant to treatment, there may be other things going on like (sub-clinical) bpd.   According to the research I've done, the hyp0mania just looks like normal, active, energetic, productive -- functional. And the depression is the depression. Started me on something for it, about 10 days ago, but it's the very low beginning dose so I have felt nothing.

No, not nothing.  Headaches and poor sleeping.  Sadder, if that's possible.

After my appointment with Dr. Shrink I had an appointment with my regular therapist, which went poorly, then tried to meet with my adviser who, after several delays told me she double booked our time.  Fine.  Teary.

Really tired of being teary.

Dr. Shrink had offered me the folate supp, saying that we may be moving on to another (more intense) antidepressant, the kind that is referred to only by letters, the one that begins with M.  When I asked him, wasn't that kind of drastic, he said, "You're telling me you find no joy and pleasure in your life."  He wasn't wrong. 

Two days later, couples therapy, in which my regular therapist tried to communicate to me her concern about my state of mind, but did so in such a way as to make me feel even worse. Even C conceded this. She was worried, she said.  Worried that my next steps my be ECT and that would have even more major implications on my life. Worried about how depressed I am.

"What can I say in response to that?  Oh, okay, if I knew it was that serious, I'll get right on that."  I asked her again and again, what do you want me to say?  I don't want to feel like this, but I don't know what to do.  It's not *just* grief* it's not *just* infertility it's not *just* depression. I'm going to therapy, I'm taking meds that are doing lord-knows-what to my head, I'm getting up and teaching when I have to, meeting when I have to, trying to work (and failing) I don't know what else I can do.

What do you want me to do?

I'm also failing my friends, feeling distant, far away, isolated from everyone who knows and loves me -- who reach out to me and I can't seem to reach back.  My colleagues are pleasant enough, but I feel like a freak, disconnected -- talking too long, or not enough, or not appropriately.  or so it feels.

And if I want to adopt, I can't be in this state of mind, I mean,  "I wouldn't give me a baby."  And she said it, too. "I wouldn't give you a baby.  I wouldn't give you a baby with you like this. I wouldn't give you a baby.

Three times she said it. After I already acknowledged it.

And I hate my body, I say.  And she says, "well, you've put on weight."


C said there were practically tears in her eyes during this session.  Can you say "in over her head"?

I called Dr. Shrink and said I had concerns about my therapist, who, like C, said, "Well, are you looking for someone who has had the same exact experience as you so they can understand how you're feeling?"


NO. I just don't want to have to educate my health providers about the impact of infertility and loss on those experiencing it. And I told him that.  Both of them.  (Gosh, THAT must be why I hate my body.  The weight.  From all those cookies I ate trying to swallow all those feeling of  gut-wrenching horror and grief. Oohhhhhh.) 

Dr. Shrink said he'd get in touch with my therapist to get her perspective.

So, I did it anyway.  I tried to educate my therapist about what it means to be infertile. About the lived experience of my nightmarish birth experience. I sent her links to resolve, and Mel's place, and I gave her a Word document of the posts I did for the anniversary account of those 10 days.

Tuesday was my next appointment. I gave her a copy of Mel's book and the McCracken book. She had read and went to the links I sent her.  I asked her for her response to what I sent her.

She went on and on about how perinatologists and neonatologists, they try so hard, wanting to give patients hope, but you know, when there isn't any really, and you know, with births and epidurals, you really never know how it's going to go, like this one woman I know who labored so fast she didn't even have time for the epidural.  "Did she deliver a living, healthy baby?" I asked.



And, my brother, he just wanted to help so much, he didn't know what to do.  "Except he left the day the babies were born."  Well, we all grieve differently.

We got into some discussion where she is trying to convince me to let go of all my dreams of motherhood, since treatments so far didn't work, and I was (evidently) such a mess and that of course i couldn't ever adopt.

And somehow we got to the question of what kind of reaction did I want from her, after reading the account.  And I said something like, "I don't know... 'I'm sorry you went through that' or 'What a terrible experience' or even 'wow, what a story.' "  You know, it's not like i was looking for her to weep and tell me god I had been through hell and how did I go on living and no wonder I'm so depressed. 

She said, "Well, in all this time we'd been working together, I thought I'd already communicated that."

All I wanted, expected was just a small acknowledgment.  A reaction, like, after you see a powerful movie for the second or third time and you just think, "wow."  That's all.  (C's response was, "did she say anything supportive at all?"

 I had already handed her the McCracken and Ford books, so as I was leaving, I asked for them back.  She gave me a funny look, hesitated and asked why.  I said something like I didn't think they were relevant or that she already knew what she was going to know, so just give me the books back.  More funny look, more hesitation, and she said I'll give them back to you in our next session.

Fine. Whatever.

I talked to my sister after, while sobbing, and she said, "Okay, that's it. We're going to find you someone who can help you."

And she has been working to help me find a therapist who has some actual knowledge/experience with infertility and might be willing to work with me long distance, like through skype or something.

I talked to one woman in LA who might be good.  And talked to another who seemed totally, like, Wow, you need more than over the phone therapy.  And I've reached out to a few friends in the mid-west and east coast. So we'll see.

If you know of anyone wonderful, I welcome the suggestion.  Especially in SW Ohio. Where they tell me that I was doomed if I wanted to reproduce at age 39 or later.

Friends drop a line.  They can see I'm not doing well by fb or just send me emails I can't seem to return.  I'm weepy.  These past couple of weeks have actually been among the worst.  And it's not simply the loss.  I feel damaged.  broken.  Mentally. Physically. Like I've ruined my career. My brain is so messed up from my biological history of depression and 2.5 years of meds that only sort of work. Or maybe I was messed up to begin with.  Maybe there's bipo1ar to add to the mix. And maybe after all this I shouldn't be a parent, ever, anyway. Or maybe I never should have.

I called Dr. Shrink this week to tell him about my sleeping (waking at 4-6am) issues and that I think I may feel worse.  He was quiet, and asked all the right questions, but I feel like I'm bothering even him. Frustrating.  I can't even do this right.

I started out a superstar in my program and now the chair won't even look me in the eye. I'm disconnected from my work, afraid to jump in.  Quick to anger, quick to frustrate.

I know C is sad and worried.  My family is worried. I don't know what to say to them.

But I do have good hours.  Good chunks of time where there is even some laughter.  And I think, okay, maybe the new drugs are starting to kick in now. Maybe I'm getting better. Maybe just sorting out the fertility and family stuff will give me enough of a bounce that I can start living a little more.

That would be nice.  But just like I had that doubt when folks said Mom's tests were headed in the right direction, I get that weird, disbelief, distrust in my gut.

But that would be nice.

The snow has stopped, mostly, and there seems to be sunlight pushing through.

The dog snoozes.

And it's time for me to take my pill.

(ETA: Today was not terrible. Not all that hopelessness I've been fighting, though I didn't interact with anyone but C. Writing helps, I think.  Thanks for listening.)

*really long post.


Anonymous said...

I love you, Sue. I wish there was better help for you. I wish I could be your therapist, but of course I can't. But I will stick with you through the long haul. XOXOX

Anonymous said...

Not sure if I've ever commented before, but wanted you to know that I am thinking of you. I hope that you can find a therapist who can help you. I haven't been through the things you have, but I've had my own highly unusual and difficult, emotionally painful medical situations. It can be so isolating to feel like nobody understands and nobody else seems to have to deal with the huge load of crap the you do... Hold tight to that awesome husband of yours.

Many of us are out here reading and rooting for you.

Love's mom FOREVER said...

I am new to your post, but just finished your husbands and read it cover to cover (well, you know what I mean). I have just started reading yours and I feel for you so much and wish there was something I could do to help. Just please know that there are people out here that care for you and are rooting for you and understand what you are going through. maybe not all of it, but enough to know how much it sucks, and how hard it is, and how there are no words that will fix it.
I won't even try to give you some gem of wisdom, because I don't really have any to be honest. But we are here, and reading, and thinking of you and Joshua and Jacob.

It is what it is said...

I am a long time follower and my pervasive feeling about this post is "get thee away from this woman". She is NOT the kind of professional you need. And, just her passive-aggressiveness in not giving you back your books as a tool to insure you'd keep your next appointment is shameful. I get that you need help. I get that you are in this dark place. But, you are a grown woman and she should treat you with a degree of respect. Who would fault you for not going back to her? You're not giving up on therapy, you're giving up on someone who isn't helping you. That is on her, not you.

I am looking for a therapist myself and I KNOW it is hard to do. But, I have to find the right person to help me.

I highly encourage you to reach out to Carole Lieber Wilkins if even to get a referral to someone local to you.

Sending you support from afar.

Ya Chun said...

After reading this and your last post, it seems like your therapist is trying to moonlight as a fertility doctor... I don't know that it is her place to push you in one direction or another.

You are on meds, you are in therapy. I don't know what else you can do but seek some alternative complementary therapy. Regular excercise might help. I really do feel better when I get moving. Yoga or Tai Chi class? I also really love my chiropractor and massage therapist - sometimes just getting the gunk in the body moving helps the mood.

I felt like after Serenity died, I just had so much gunk - medications, greif, all the negative emotions, not taking care of myself. I needed detoxed in a major way. Massage, chiro, acupuncture. The shrink will really think you are crazy then though.

Oh, Sue, I just wish I could give you a big hug. For like a day.

loribeth said...

Finally catching up after a hectic month. I haven't read any of your later posts, but I am hoping you are doing better & finding your way forward. (((hugs)))

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