Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
This is not going to be easy to write. It is not something I have wanted to share with you for fear of what you might think. Almost weekly I get emails from lurkers telling me that this blog has helped validate feelings that they thought were unnatural. They tell me that this blog gives them strength and hope. These emails remind me that what I am doing with Scrambled Eggs is important, both for myself and others. By keeping this inside I am both cheating myself out of a very real way to heal and cheating others dealing with similar emotions the chance to connect.
I have been suffering. A lot. Several weeks ago I saw a therapist and after a long, tear-soaked session walked away with a prescription for Prozac and diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The Professor’s mouth gaped as I told him this. PTSD is what veterans have after seeing people blown to pieces. This is what happens to people who have experienced senseless violence. This is not what happens to silly little girls in Kentucky with chronic uveitis, infertility and a miscarriage. It just couldn’t be. And so I reached out to the only person I knew to go to – Mo. Mo has written openly about her struggles after her monumental loss. She is a no-muss, no-fuss blogger who I believe would tell me if I were being overly dramatic.
Within a few hours she responded and her reaction was not what I expected. This is common. What I have been going through is monumental and horrific for ME and is something many women experience after a loss. Take the Prozac and trust my doctor.
What the fuck, y’all?! I thought I was doing better. I thought I was handling this well. Everyone cheered me on during my loss, saying what a strong woman I was and how well I was dealing with everything. What the fuck happened between then and the start of my last FET?
When I started the progesterone to induce a cycle following the loss, I felt myself begin to crumble and every day a little more fell apart. My mind turned to horrible dark places. Places where there is no healthy viable pregnancy. Even darker places where I am dying from an incurable disease. My panic over the silly remark months ago that I might be showing early signs of scleroderma rose up and swallowed me whole.
I could not sleep. I spent hours staring at myself in the mirror, flexing my face, poking my skin. I poured over photos of myself during the past few years looking for changes. I saw them. But were they real or imagined or Photoshoped? (Yes, I Photoshop the photos of myself. No I don’t slim my thighs but I sure as hell improve my complexion). The more I worried the more I FELT changes. On bad days my facial skin feels so tight that it burns. Then, as soon as I am able to redirect my attention the feeling goes away. If that is not psychosematic, I don’t know what is.
I have no way of knowing if I’m developing any of these diseases. There is NOTHING I CAN DO other than enjoy the present. I knew all of this, yet still, I could not escape this black oily funk. During the entire FET I was a disaster worrying about my skin. I put very little thought into the FET or the potential baby and instead obsessed to the point of madness about disease.
Then my cycle failed and suddenly I started feeling better. It was over. My thoughts went back to other things, like the Professor, the cats, sewing and cooking, friends and family. The oily fear of disease started to retreat. CURED! I thought.
Later I listened to the Bitter Infertiles Podcast where they talk about my situation and I cried, a lot. Yes, I’m the unnamed blogger going through emotional hell. I’m not cured, I’m just at the end of a cycle and no longer have to hide my fear of another loss under the fear of terminal disease. What is going to happen when we start our next FET? Will all that panic come back?
On September 14 I started the Prozac. Just 5 mg to start. Three days in and I was sleeping soundly. I had entire days when the thought of disease would just pass through my head. “Oh, hello fear. Carry on now.” And the fear would pass. I was overjoyed and reported to the Professor the days when there was no disease panic. He hugged me tightly and said he will let me know if he sees reason for concern.
My period started on Sunday. CD1. The start of the next cycle. The next transfer looms and with it comes the next opportunity at pregnancy success or failure. You know what came with the period? Fucking fear of disease. Yesterday I spent all day flexing my skin, worrying. It started to feel stiff, dry, hot. My hands felt funny. My mind raced to terrible places.
I think I see a trend. A new cycle = a new chance for disaster and pain. I’m no head shrinker, but I am pretty sure this is my mind redirecting my fear of another loss.
Last night I joined a group on Mindfulness for Women. During the meeting the leader said something that really resonated: “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”
I’m suffering and I don’t have to.
Have any of you been diagnosed with PTSD after a loss? How have you handled the fear when a new cycle begins? How many of you have used antidepressants to help you through a loss? I would love to hear from other women who have had similar experiences.