By far, one of the things I hate the most about this journey of infertility is the intense, and sometimes unexpected, emotions. On the other hand, I do think these emotions are here to inform me - and I have learned a lot and grown a lot in the last 2+ years as a result of paying attention to them. But feeling so out of control (isn't that the theme of infertility - lack of control?) and so governed by them - it is hard for me.
It's like there is always this ache in my heart - this reminder of the "not yet", this waiting, this longing, this disappointment, this anger and frustration, that fills up so much of my heart and mind that my space for other things, my reservoir to respond to anything else in my life - is very very small.
I have always been a "survivor". I have always fought hard to find my way through any challenge life would bring my way. I have always valued my strength, my ability to endure. In fact, when I was 17 and was in college for the first time - I took this a step further and actually pushed my body and mind to the limit just to see how much I could take. I even managed to land myself in the hospital a couple of times that year due to exhaustion and dehydration. (I don't recommend trying to take a final exam after staying awake for 5 consecutive days - not pretty). I have also always been intensely independent. For most of my life I had to be. And now? Well, old habits are hard to break.
Really, in the last three or four years, I have been forced, against my will at times, to learn to listen better to my body, my mind, my heart. My first semester back in college, finishing my bachelors degree at 30, I broke out in hives all over my face and neck because I just couldn't take the stress like I used to. My body was rebelling. I remember an adviser reminding me of this as she helped me to craft my degree and my plans for the future. She said something to the effect that my constitution was not one that could tolerate lots of stress....I nodded in agreement, but internally I felt so much shame. Who had I become? I was supposed to be a warrior-woman! I can handle anything! Hear me roar!
I have had to learn when to say, "Enough", and "No". I have had to learn how to ask for what I need from others, to ask for help. This one is hard - and still very much a work in progress. Mr. Spicy and I revisit this almost weekly. He actually said this weekend, in the heat of an argument, "You share more about what's going on with you in your blog than you do with me." He's right, mostly. When I am happy, when I am pleased, when I am excited - I cannot wait to tell everyone I know. But when I am sad, depressed, stressed out, angry - I withdraw, it is very hard to share this with anyone, or to even know how to. I have learned in my life to only count on myself to get me through these times. It feels incredibly vulnerable, to the point of actual discomfort, to invite anyone into that space with me. And yet, I am so lonely there. It is a catch 22.
Infertility has added a whole new dimension, a whole new battlefield if you will, to this struggle for me. Not only is infertility itself a deeply personal and intimate struggle - but I am nearly constantly in a state of emotion that leaves me feeling anxious, isolated, and exposed in the presence of others. So enters social anxiety. Fun stuff. I am reminded constantly how I cannot just will myself through this. I cannot climb this mountain with my strength alone. I am forced to recognize my own fragility and brokenness. I am continually invited and coerced into relating far outside my comfort zone.
And as much as I love to talk about and celebrate transformation and growth - this shit is HARD!
This shit is really really hard.