I am finding it hard to write openly about my depression, and because of the depression I’m finding it hard to write about anything lighthearted. Even after several months of therapy I still feel ashamed about my situation. Then this week I suffered a pretty big setback and I felt like this blog was as good as gone.
I have been having massive panic attacks again and dealing with extremely disturbing intrusive thoughts. My days are peppered with sudden thoughts about my dying, terror attacks, shootings and natural disasters. I worry about dying before my child is old enough to remember me. I worry about all of us dying. I worry about cancer, explosions, murders and more. I worry when we ride through the deep subway tunnels that only have an elevator exit. I worry when crossing the street with a stroller. I worry when I drop my child at nursery school. It’s exhausting.
I have all these horrible, disgusting thoughts about awful things happening to us and I don’t know how to make them stop. I don’t know who to turn to because, honestly, who the hell thinks this stuff?
“Crazy people. That’s who,” I said to my therapist. “I can’t tell people this because how do you lead in? I can’t bring it up over lunch with my friend. ‘Hey, I’m like totally drifting out of our conversation because what if someone came in and shot the restaurant up?’ is not a great thing to dine to.”
*My palms are sweating as I write this.*
My therapist responded by affirming that yes, our world is fucked up right now and that it is ok to feel some fear. She assured me that with time and practice I can learn to retrain how my body and brain react and eventually feel better. And then she reminded me of a statistic that I have since written in my wallet. I am 1 in 7 women affected by some form of postpartum mood/anxiety/depression disorder. What I am feeling is not weird or even unusual. It is all around but few are talking about it.
I openly discuss infertility statistics – 1 in 8 will experience infertility and 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. I am a crusader for change when it comes to educating people about what is infertility, how to navigate muddy waters of treatment and how to support those that are suffering.
1 in 8 is a lot.
1 in 7 is more.
The next morning I awoke to a very brave blog post from a friend describing exactly what I have been feeling. Her intrusive thoughts were so much like mine that I could have written the post. It was eery to read just hours after speaking with my therapist, as this is the friend I used in my lunch example. She is the person I feel close enough to in NYC to even consider opening up to, but I was afraid she would be repulsed. In actuality, though, she is experiencing the same thing.
1 in 7 is so many.
When I consider all the emotional trauma that we as an infertility community have endured just to become parents I realize this statistic is probably much higher in our demographic.
I’m sad I did not come to my safe little blog place sooner and that I took the unkind words of the few who have never suffered to heart. But I’m here now, and it feels good to type this out – sweaty palms and all.
I don’t have a rosy way to end this post. I want to say that I am feeling much better and deem myself cured, but that is doing no one a favor. Instead I’ll open up the discussion to all of you (or the few of you who remain). Are you 1 in 7?