I'm still in the very hopeful mentality that there is a solution out there, it exists, I just haven't figured it out yet.
Every time we do something that leads us nowhere and then have to wait for the next cycle, it's like when you type in the wrong password too many times and then you get locked out for 24 hours. It's aggravating because I know there is a correct password that will work, but now I have to wait even longer to figure it out. I don't mean to minimize the severity of this issue and I know that there will eventually be a breaking point when I lose this hope (although hopefully we don't get there) but right now, frustration is the key emotion I've been feeling.
In psychology, we learn early on that you cannot effectively take care of others if you're not taking care of yourself. One of the biggest reasons psychologists get reported for ethical complaints is because of "boundary violations", which plainly means that the psychologist is using the relationship to meet their own needs and not the needs of the client/patient or otherwise taking advantage of the person. This usually happens when the psychologists' not taking care of themselves.
It's been ingrained in me to monitor and be proactive about taking care of myself so that I can take care of my patients. Especially in this case because my patients are all kids.
What do I do? How do I "self-care"? Here is my current list of things that bring be calm and help me cope:
- Writing this blog. Getting out my feelings. Being anonymous but still sharing with the world is my equivalent of screaming out over an unpopulated ravine to hear the echo.
- Crocheting. I used to do this in graduate school and recently got back into it because it forces you to focus on something but is still somewhat repetitive and, in the end, I have something to show for my work. Plus the yarn is soft and cuddly. My therapist recommended that I make something for our future baby, which initially I was against because I've been avoiding doing anything that would jinx us. No baby books. No baby things. The possible baby room is currently very actively used as an office. But then I decided that baby things are cute and I can say that I'm not jinxing myself because I know of several other people who are also trying to conceive so just because it's a baby thing doesn't mean it's my baby thing. So I am working on a blanket. Mentally, I haven't committed it as my baby blanket, although I do admit that it's a lot of work and I'm not sure I want to give away when I finally finish it :)
- I have seen a therapist. I met her when I was going through a really stressful time at work and she was very helpful in getting me through that. I reconnected with her because I decided that I deserve any extra support that I can get and, while my health insurance doesn't cover infertility treatment, I do have good mental health coverage so I might as well take advantage of it.
- C and I are regularly attending the support group meetings put on through RESOLVE. I would definitely recommend this as a strategy to people, especially if you can convince your husbands to come. Since going to these meetings, C has been so much more understanding and supportive (not that he wasn't before, but it felt like there was more of a disconnect) and I have been able to put our situation in perspective and take comfort in the fact that we're not alone in this. It's also nice that C and I have something we do together to cope.
- I talk about it to people who are supportive - but only when I want to and not to most people. I've been pretty private about our struggle, mostly because I want to avoid the stupid comments. Most people know me as someone who is very career driven so I don't really get the "when are you having kids?" comments and it's usually been helpful to lead two separate lives. At work, I am a psychologist and I am driven and productive and happy. With many of my more casual friends, I am just a fun person to hang out with. I do discuss it with my parents, with my sisters, and with two close friends (who are also in the mental health field so they're great at providing support!). And of course with C; he knows the most about my feelings and thoughts. But even with these people, I am quick to tell them that I'm not mood to get into it when I'd rather focus on distracting myself.
- I also watch a fair amount of crappy TV and read good books to think about other things, exercise (but this feels still more like work than coping), eat yummy but unhealthy things (not so helpful as an overall approach), dabble in photography, and surf the web. These are things I do that haven't been as helpful, but I still do them because they're easy or good for me or because no one is perfect.
So, yes, I get frustrated. I get emotional (still blaming the hormones on this one). I can be negative. But I also am able to put that all aside when I'm at work or with friends doing fun things or having quality time with my family. I spend much more time happy and content then I do frustrated and distrought. Given the crap that we're going through, I think this is just fine.