(Start with "Monday" if you can. If you're snowed in in the North East...again, it's time to get the hot chocolate and blankie and cuddle up with a good blog...maybe you can read mine until you find one.) So, what were we talking about? Oh right. The similarities between the deep, dark, bottomless hole of infertility and the deep, dark, bottomless hole of depression. And of course, sometimes, they're the same damn deep, dark, bottomless hole. Shall we dig and try to find the funny? The beauty of infertility (there are four words you seldom hear together and which I for one will probably never use in succession again)... The beauty of infertility is that it doesn't sneak up on you. You don't wake up one morning and say: "Damn, I could get pregnant yesterday. What the hell happened during the night?"
I probably suffered from the only type of infertility that does creep up on you. Old age. I apparently had hit the snooze button on my biological clock one time too many. When I was thirty-two the radio would come on to wake me up, "Good morning, precious. Probably should get up and find a husband."
When I was thirty-five it became a gentle buzzer, "Buzz buzz...Those eggs aren't getting any younger."
By the time I was forty it was a big fkn gong. "Bong! Bong! Wake up!! You're forty! What are you waiting for you lazy moron?!"
But infertility for most people is part of a long arduous process. You either were told when you were a kid that you might not be able to get pregnant or you thought everything was fine and then tried.... and tried some more... and your thoughts went from cautiously optimistic and nervous giggles: "We have a lot of fun trying...tee hee" to "Crap, this is not good."
But depression is a bacteria. It seeps into your crevices. And the problem when you're dealing with infertility is that you've got so much on your mind: Money, doctor appointments, disappointments, needles, prescriptions, you don't have time to notice that some of that bacteria slithered its way into your syringe and got injected into your bloodstream.
(Okay, I know you guys are smart, but on the outside chance that I just sent somebody scrambling to the phone to call their doctor to order lab tests and an antibiotic... here's my disclaimer: The last thing I said was a metaphor. It is absolutely impossible to inject depression into yourself... Unless, for some reason, you invite all of your relatives that you don't really care to see over to your house to spend the weekend. Then, yes, depression is being injected into your life... and you did do it to yourself.)
The point is: Yes, occasionally I do have a point to make... Keep an eye out for that depression thing. It's easy to dismiss when you're going through infertility: "I'm exhausted, stressed out, running to doctors, given a bunch of different treatments, nothing is working, I don't have anymore time to use at my job to keep going for treatments, we've exhausted our savings...Of course I'm depressed!"
And to an extent this is of course valid. But when your life is altered by overwhelming sadness, and you don't find joy in life anymore...and there is joy in your life...even with this sucky infertility...but if you can't see it... do something about it.
Start exercising, eat better, go to a therapist, meditate, do yoga...anything to get you to jump out of it and start feeling better! The problem with depression is that part of the disease is that you can't see it. You're not hopeless. It makes you feel that way. It casts a big black sheet over you that smothers you and that's all you can see.
Sometimes someone else has to bring it to your attention that you need help. Listen! Don't just throw back excuses (which is also a by-product of depression: "I'm just upset because of this new test I had... you would be too!" "I just want to be left alone.") Listen to them and listen to your own thoughts...if they're all negative...somethin's up.
On the other hand: Nobody has to bring infertility to your attention.
"Hey you've been trying to have a baby for ten years. Do you think you might have a problem?"
"What do you think I'm an imbecile? Of course I have a problem!"
Take a look at Tracy Birkinbine's article about infertility and depression featured this week. She, unlike me, practices therapy with a license.
Listen, I gotta go. Ground Hog day is only a week away and I haven't even started my shopping.
I'll talk with ya again tomorrow.