Thursday, October 20, 2016

My Monster

Infertility is a very lonely diagnosis. Even though the statistics are now 1 in 6, you feel very alone. Especially during this time of year, when the holidays are starting, there's lots of family activities, traditions, and child-centered activities. It is very lonely to be surrounded by your friends and family who were so easily able to have children, who have no idea how this feels. You think absolutely awful things. You feel absolutely awful things. But mostly, you stay inside your head a lot, which is not the best place for a lonely, emotionally unstable person to be. 

As someone dealing with infertility I have quite the "social" life. This week I have been to the doctor (always a fun experience), gone to my monthly support group, and gone to my weekly art therapy. My support group is AWESOME. Imagine being surrounded by a group of women, all going through the same traumatic experience you are, and all know exactly how you feel, why you feel it, and we're all there to support each other. It's a very cathartic experience, hearing other women talk about their experience and getting advice and tips on the next steps in your own journey. I always feel so much better after going to meetings. 

There is a study in Richmond on the effects of art therapy on women suffering from infertility, specifically focusing on depression. Having never been in any sort of therapy, I was really nervous at my first session. I had a hard time opening up and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to artistically express my feelings to a stranger. I had no problems drawing my feelings; in fact, I was rather surprised to see what I had drawn (I will post pictures of my artwork at the end of the study). What was more amazing to me was that it worked. I felt better. I learned how to process some emotions and how to deal with triggers that may cause breakdowns. And that was only my first session. 

At my second session, I drew something that I was ashamed of. After my first session I made myself promise to be honest with my therapist and myself during our sessions. So, I drew what I was ashamed of. I call her "My Monster." 

I have often "joked" with Trey that he didn't know he was marrying a monster when he married me. I may not have had My Monster when we were first married, or maybe she was just lying dormant. But this experience has brought her into the foreground more times than I care to admit. 

My Monster is me. She is this thing that I have become since being diagnosed with infertility. She only cares about babies, timing ovulating, the two week wait, hormones, shots. She does not care about Halloween decorations or having a clean house. She does not care about her friends and what their lives are like. She does not care about being nice to the strangers at the grocery store or not running over the annoyingly slow people crossing the street. She is the cause of my awful thoughts. She is the deep sadness that I always have, even on good days. She is the cause of my exploding anger at nothing and no one in particular. She is the reason I want to be numb sometimes. I feel her presence all the time, off my right shoulder. She is always there. She comes to work with me, she goes home with me, she goes on trips with me. She is the niggling feeling I have when I am happy. She is the reason true happiness doesn't last very long these days. She is my guilt, my punisher, the worst things of me. She is My Monster and she lives in me. 

My therapist asked me about making the decision to stop treatment and what it would mean for me to make that decision. I told her that would break my heart to have to make that decision. I would not make that decision lightly and it would probably the hardest decision I would ever have to make. I don't want to give up. I have gone through so many failures already that I cannot make the decision to just stop, not right now, not when there is still hope. When I finish my journey I want to be proud of the decisions that I made. I want to be proud of the woman that I am. I don't want to look back on myself, at the most critical parts of this journey and think that I could have done more, that I should have fought harder. I don't want to be ashamed of myself. 

And so we come back to My Monster. She sucks. I hate her. I wish I never met her and that I don't have to live with her. But, she is me and I am her and so I will try my hardest to not let her screw with who I am. 

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