Monday, November 15, 2010


I'm sinking. Or, rather, I'm realizing how far I've already sunk?

I feel so hopeless right now, so full of "what's the point" type questions and other existential angst.

After realizing how I'm running from everything to get to some mythical Other Place where the ghosts can't find me, I've been thinking about how my whole life has felt like a series of "When....then..." statements. "When I get married, then I will be happy..." "When I lose ten pounds, then I will feel happy with my body..." "When I get that job that I love, then I will know career fulfillment..." and on and on and on. "When I have this baby...."

And now it all seems so futile. So stupid. And endless treadmill or hamster wheel. "Now" has never been good enough for me. And now, especially, "Now" is absolutely empty and hollow and depressing and miserable.

And of course, I'm still playing the "when-then" game...Most of it centers around having another child.

"When my body is healed enough for us to have sex again...
"When I know I am ovulating..."
"When I take a pregnancy test..."
"When I make it through the first trimester"
"When I make it past 24 weeks"
"When I make it to the c-section"
"When the baby is born, alive"

And the worst part is, these aren't When Statements, they are all Big, Fat, If Statements. Replace "when" with "if" in every single one of those statements. There are no guarantees. At this point, it feels so far off to even be getting to the TTC game in the first place, not to mention actually being successful at that game.

And I'm sick of living in the world of Whens, Ifs and Waiting Until.

I want to live, now. I'm sick and tired of chasing dreams, only to have my heart broken, my dreams shattered, my prayers ignored. I'm sick of the game of constantly replacing one "if-then" statement with another as I realize I am never satisfied with what I have.

This smacks of depression and the past few times I've had serious bouts of it. I know. So, what? I need a lifeline, some method of surviving these darkest days. What I'm doing barely seems to be working, and I'm getting tired of it, fast. And I can't find any good suggestions. E thinks I need a different therapist. My mom thinks I need meds. I don't agree with either of those options, but then again, I can't figure out any better ones, and feeling optionless also feels really hopeless right now.

There are all sorts of reasons why I don't want to go on meds right now. The two biggest hurdles in that thought process are that we are totally F#$Ked right now with regard to health insurance, and we are already applying to have to pay out of pocket and looking at exorbitant bills. Add a big old mental health piece on top of all my other stuff and it's just not very pretty. The second part about going on ADs is that I can't handle the weight gain right now. It may seem vain or superficial, I agree. But it's already taking every bit of compassion and self-love I have to not totally despise the state of my body right now and losing pregnancy weight right now is a tangible thing that is theoretically helping me in some coping sort of way. Stalling that by adding meds into the mix just won't work. Please don't try to tell me it wouldn't happen this time, because I know my body and I know how it responds to the meds and I fell for it last time and I gained 15 pounds on them.

Not to mention that this isn't necessarily "depression" - it's grief. I don't feel right about going on meds for it.

But E told me today he's really concerned about me. And I'm getting concerned about me too. I'm isolating. I find myself pretty awful to be around, so I can't imagine that others would want to be around me either. And I have no patience for any of their bs, either. I don't want to be around people. I don't even want to be around my dogs right now. I don't know what to do.


Merry said...

You are deep on the downward slope of the worst part of this. I wish there was something I could say to make you feel any better, or know there is hope for your state of being.

I know I have a different life, but 7 months on, I am doing better. Honestly, if you were doing well right now, it would be a worry.

I don't know if it would help, but when I feel in a pit, I go back and read the letters I have written to Freddie and see how I have changed over this time, how far I have come.

In a few months, and I know it seems endless, you will have just enough perspective to be able to handle the downs and see them coming, you will have changed so much. Right now, to cry and rage is right.

I'm so sorry hunny.

Maddie said...

Give yourself a break - it's so early. I remember all those feelings very clearly. My husband was worried about me too - he was scared I was gone and for a few months I was. I isolated myself socially for most of the first six months - I couldn't cope with people and having conversations. I'd saw a few select friends and that was it. I remember going to my BIL's 30th in May (6 months) - it was the first social event I'd been too and I made Mick sit beside me the whole time and counted down the minutes until I could go. For the most part, it was awful.

Re meds - I never went on them. Both my GP and pyschairist said they were an option about until about 5 months out they said everything I was feeling was normal grief. At 5 months when I was still teary a lot and socially isolating myself my pysc thought we should seriously consider them. I didn't want take them because I was pregnant again by then so we agreed to wait a month or so and things started to improve after that point.

Like Merry says I know it seems endless but give it a few months and you'll be able to look back and see how far you've come.

On the not being able to enjoy the now - I've always tried to live my life enjoying the now but after losing Matilda is just wasn't possible. It just felt like getting through the days until I was in a better place.

My pysc said distration is a valid way of coping with grief - not all the time but you need to give yourself a break. I watched TV series on DVDs (Friends and Gilmore Girls). Can you plan a trip away? The first 6 months are a real blur to me looking back but we got away a couple of times and while I was away I got a break from the all consuming grief.

Maddie x

zubeldia said...

oh sarahlu, I am so glad you have these wise, wise women around you. I know that I would feel similarly about the meds, because this is grief, shattering, shattering grief. My sense is that people suggest these things because they are so desperate for you to feel any sort of relief. I trust you to really know yourself in this regard, to know what you need and what feels unhelpful, and yet all that said I hope you can keep those connections, those tentacles of being with others, because so often these are only life lines.

I'm thinking about you so much. Love, A

Maddie said...

Forgot to say before - I'm not sure if you've been in contact with any other babyloss Mum's IRL but I found that a huge support as well. We have a few organisations here (I'm in Australia) that offer free counselling and support groups. Not sure if there is anything similar in your area?

Angela said...

I hit this point three months out. It is dreadful, and it feels so awful and hopeless, but it does get better.

I remember going to my naturopath's and falling to pieces in her office. I wailed at the top of my lungs about life being hopeless, about how I didn't want to live anymore. She stuck an IV full of vitamins in me as quick as she could, which helped calm me down a bit, and then explained to me that I needed to get my hormones in balance. Once I did that I felt a lot better.

My midwife told me the first three months after a baby is born is difficult. She calls it the fourth trimester. It's hard for everyone, but for those who have lost babies it's nearly impossible to navigate.

I think it's okay to withdraw, be isolated, and refuse medication. You're still in the early days. Be gentle with yourself.

kate said...

i am so glad that merry, maddie and angela are here to offer you their wisdom.

sweet sarah - you are experiencing terrible, soul destroying grief. to echo merry's words, if you were doing well right now i would be concerned. i am not surprised that you are isolating, i am not surprised that you do not have time for other people's petty grievances... but i am glad that you write here and are not completely "gone". i am glad to hear your voice.

i completely understand about not wanting to use meds. i gain weight on ADs too... and end up more depressed and anxious than ever (about the weight gain), plus there are the complexities that arise when you want to wean off them.

BTW, FWIW, when i saw you, you looked amazing - so beautiful it brings tears to my eyes to think back to that day. i understand that you might not feel beautiful right now but trust me, you are... and you are loved no watter what.

kate xx

sarah said...

ladies, thank you. I am so grateful for each of you, for coming here, for offering your wisdom and your support and your love. this just feels so dark, and so empty.

angela, I'm going to email you about what your naturopath told you about hormone balancing, and what worked for you. I've got a few supplements and things I'm trying, and I don't know if it's just a matter of time, or if there's something I could be doing different that might work better.

still life angie said...

Sarah, I just want to echo what others said. I found where you are right now to be absolutely the worst part. It just sunk into my bones the realization that this giant suck is my life. And the postpartum hormones, or lack thereof, were part of that shitty cocktail, and all of the when questions. I totally get that.

I also think that this is still grief. Others might be concerned, but this is grief. It is not pretty. It is not tidy, and able to get wrapped up when others are ready for it. You will know when it is depression, I think, and this, well, sadly, this is still grief. Or not sadly, I don't know if that is bad. I got to a point at this time you are at where I felt so sick of me, and the grief, and I just wanted a moment without it, and I couldn't get it. It was like I was running away from me, and wanting to recreate this life, and I just felt angry and sad and all of it together. Therapy made me feel redundant and silly. What am I talking about here? I cannot change anything. She is still dead.

Not about me, but just wanted to say that you are in the shit right now. This is Grief 'Nam. And you are in the trenches. It gets better, Sarah. I promise. But it won't feel better for a while. But we will still be here to listen. XO

æ said...

hi sarah love,
you remember how awed we all were at the people--the crowds of people, really--that you let in? it's because the rest of us could feel that craving for isolation in our bones. when people are worried about you is kind of when it's not time to worry. you are so wise and you have signed the no hard lefts pact.

love to you, so much. please let us keep being here.


Anonymous said...

Precious Sarah- I want to sit with you and hold your hand my friend.
I believe this is grief. It is a complete and utter mind fuck. I think the fact that you can even see enough to write this says a great deal about how strong you truly are. Trying to make it through each day when we are not in the place we had hoped to be is so difficult, and the grief compounds it. Looking into the herbal options could be a really good idea- there are some amazing herbologists and/or homeopaths out there.

I too am trying to live in the present. I have not been very successful, but I continue to try. Though I am not buddhist I took a link from Janis and am reading some Thich Nhat Hanh... it's a start...

Call me whenever you need me my friend... anytime day or night. You have a signal receiver always on standby- I promise.

hayley said...

a footprint and all my love.


Missy said...

My new doctor really tried hard to push the AD's. I said no. I have had horrible experiences in the past and feeling overwhelming sadness is a normal part of the grieving process as far as I'm concerned. I have been contemplating 5-HTP though. Not that it's any different, but it is sold without an rx. I find myself falling into this line of thinking that something like this just cannot happen to me again. I know how irrational that is, but I still allow myself to think like that. I'm pretty sure I am setting myself up for renewed failure on a grandiose scale.

Hope's Mama said...

My goodness I'm sure I have posts like this in my archives. I most certainly have been there.
I just want to say I'm sorry. And send some love.

brianna said...

Sarah, the death of Otis is still so new. You are still learning how to incorporate this into your life and it is not an easy or comfortable process. You need to give yourself some room to grieve. Please don't put too many expectations on yourself right now.

It is ok to just work through what is happening right now and not to worry about too much else. That feeling like you have never been able to "live in the now" can wait until you work out some of the grief you have over Otis' death.

Perhaps you could look into seeing a grief counselor or going to a group for bereaved parents. It is possible that you can learn new skills that you would help you during this terrible time.

hungry for hunger said...

Hey buddy,

I'm pretty sure there are circumstances where it's ok to be isolating, ok to be awful to be around, and ok to have no patience for anyone's BS. On top of everything else to feel bad about; you're feeling bad about feeling bad. Understandable (and expected because you're still someone who - somehow - cares about other people's feelings), but it is just that.

I know that thing. That 'if only' or 'when we...' thing. It's more for the Mrs. than me; but we've got several of them. Everything will be better when we have a baby, everything will be better when we move closer to friends and yeah, gotcha...It's sort of the antithesis of any 'rejoice in the moment/be thankful for what you have' bullshit, but I'm pretty sure it's fair game to stab anyone in the eyehole who says any such thing, no?

Jenn said...

Oh, honey, it's still so early. You're doing fine, you really are, and eventually it will be better. I went through (and often still am in) a period of isolating myself. I wasn't interested in being around just about anybody. I think I even posted about it and got lots of reassuring comments that it was normal. It sucks to be in the place you're in, but you won't be there forever. Be kind to yourself, take is slow, you're doing wonderfully given the circumstances. (hugs)

Tess said...

Breathe Sarah.

I'm all for trying to be in the moment, but it does suck - who wants to be where we are right now, stuck in the darkness at the bottom of a big pit of despair - our babies died, this is going to be totally shit.

This is grief and you sound like you're at rock bottom... That is okay, things will and do get easier. The isolation is survival right now, concentrate on yourself. I'm right there with you - I have been out to test the waters and found its just not worth it; it causes me more harm than good. The safety of home is truly underrated.

The 'if/when, then' game you play with yourself, is your hopes for the future, your dreams showing themselves - recognise them and work towards them; you just want them realised.
Just know that this grief isn't going to be easy, you love Otis with all of you - how do you accept the fact that he is gone, who wants to do that?! It is tough, so be easy on yourself, take the path of least resistance and do what you feel is right for you.

I want to echo Maddie's question, 'can you plan a trip away?' I found a weekend away gave some well needed relief.

Much love and strength to you

Simply Me said...

oh sweet sarahlu,
we are all here for you. so so very glad for the wonderful mamas here who can understand and support you in ways that i can't. just wanted to stop by, leave a footprint, and let you know that i am here. your grief is so understandable - what you went through is pain that few can imagine, and god i wish you didn't have to feel all of this right now.

so much love and tenderness for you.

Ava'smummy said...

Another mummy who wanted to post and send her love and understanding to you. I also resisted ADs as I felt it was grief and not depression, but it is very much a personal choice. Grief is so overwhelming and all encompassing, you are doing well to just get through the days I promise.

I too isolated myself (and still do a little at 12 months down the line after losing my daughter) but that is my way. I did find that some time away helped to 'just be' if that makes sense.

Sending all the love and strength I can muster to you.

Abbie xxxx