Monday, June 28, 2010

Perfectionism attack

I often think of myself as a recovering perfectionist. However, I often stumble and lose the recovering part.

Approximately 70% of the time I'm quite kind to myself. I believe I eat well, am relatively fit, and run my life in a relatively conservative fashion with a good balance between work, friends and home (reading/cat time, house/garden time and husband time). I'm quite happy in spite of my worries and emotional roller coaster rides. And I feel secure in my world.

However! I also experience times of anxiety when my evil perfectionist twin attacks. Suddenly exceeding my monthly parking budget means I'm financially irresponsible and I feel ashamed to have to pay the extra 10-20$ parking costs for the month. The monthly slice of cheesecake and my lunches out are suddenly the leading cause of infertility and endometriosis. My inability to decide on my investments or to decide whether I'm going to d0 my PMP this year is a clear indicator of my inevitable failure to succeed and I'm sure I'll be miserable and destitute someday due to my lack of planning and having wasted all my opportunities when I had them. My cat having a muscle spasm means I'll have to put her down and I've been a horrible terrible owner to the poor creature.

This kind of thinking/anxiety/perfectionism gets me nowhere, except perhaps closer to the next slice of cheesecake. (Thank God for a forgiving metabolism!) It's a familiar pit and I know that it's a pit I can get out of eventually. But boy I wish I could avoid it altogether. I've fallen into it a few times this past week and I'm feeling pissy over it.

However, one good thing to come of it is that I've identified a trigger: change!

Changes I hope to make: more nuts, less meat in my diet, more heat, fewer painkillers to deal with PMS pains, more meditative time, less TV and books in the evenings.

You wouldn't think these few things would have me attacking myself but they do. They do because they may have some affect on something that means a great deal to me - fertility. So I'm hypersensitive about it and I revert to all or nothing thinking. Example: if I don't have the perfect diet, how can I expect to have children. Logically, I know this is insane, but emotionally those thoughts actually hit a very sensitive target.

What I want is to be able to initiate new things, make changes in my life and try different approaches without attacking myself.

Awareness is step 1. Acknowledgement is step 2.

I'm slowly making progress.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Only way out

A and I have a saying, "The only way out is through." I don't know where he/I read or heard it but it comes in very handy and it's true for so many circumstances in life. This is one.

I've spent the past 2 weeks processing the need for surgery, the concern about eggs, my own fears around all of that. I'm still processing but it's getting a little easier. The first week felt like crisis. The second week was about preparation and action.

I've got a fistful of referrals from my Doctor - phycologist, accupuncture, massage, nutritionist. I'm going to get through this as 'healthily' as I possibly can. (Is healthily a word?) I actually already had my first accupuncture appointment and it was amazing. I had some strong reactions. This week I've got massage and accupuncture and I'll start making some calls to psychologists to see if I can find one that 'fits.'

I also found out my surgery date - end of July, day before my birthday and smack in the middle of our planned vacation. I'm surprized, relieved, grateful and disappointed at this. (Nothing is simple these days. :)) Except, now that I know the date, everything else can fall into place around it. I'm giving myself permission to do whatever I think may help me be happier and feel better until the surgery date.....and maybe after too. Not a bad way to approach life in general really. Why does it take extreme circumstances to make me care so much for myself? Ah, so many lessons to learn in life.

Monday, June 7, 2010

That's not Nothin!

I don't know if I mentioned it before but part of the crazy of the whole infertility cycle often has people hoping for something to be wrong. As in "please let this be something that can be defined, and fixed so we can move on from this."

I didn't know what to hope for from my visit with the specialist today. I didn't think it would be anything more than a consult; a get-to-know-you, go over all the details, ask all the silly questions about the things I've been trying and not trying and thinking of trying to make things happen.

It was not like that.

It was probably a total of 15 was very fast, lots of information, lots of questions, three different 'exams' and then.....not nothin. I'm left reeling and thank God my great husband was there so I can tell him what I remember and see if it jives with what he remembers. So as I freak out, he can reel me back in.....see he's got a better perspective than me, which may be easier since he's got the super-sperm that leaves all the doctors going, 'whoaho boy, no issues there!' Which is great, it's something to be very grateful for. However....

The great specialist looked at all my details and said, "high chance of endometriosis." This means surgery to determine the extent, which will mean about a week off of work! It's real surgery. It also means there are some treatments but no cure and I don't know yet whether the extent of it will mean infertility long term or not. That's not all though.

I also don't have as many eggs as what he'd expect to see in someone my age....that, along with the shorter cycles and the maturity of the eggs so early in my cycle is reason for concern. It means we want to move quickly. It means he'll likely be recommending assistance down the road. We don't have time to play around with here.

I'm shell-shocked.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cycling Core Work

I'm starting to wonder if I'm becoming an expert cycler or if God is working a miracle. No this is not a post about exercise.....or maybe it is.

I was hopeful this month. Really, really hopeful, practically certain! And in my experience, generally the higher the high, the harder the fall. As I started to see the first signs that this month was not yet the month, I began to feel the now familiar despair descend. My chest felt heavy and tight, tears were close to the surface. I was away from home, at a women's retreat with a focus on God and Hope, I really didn't want to be miserable. As we were singing that night and I was on the verge of losing it I thought, "I don't want to be crying all weekend, I don't want to be sad." And suddenly the thought that followed was, "I don' t have to" and the feeling that was just about to swamp me lifted away. It hasn't returned.

Now I don't know that it won't return but I'm glad to be free of it for now and I do thank God. I had a fantastic weekend with lots of laughs and lots of prayer and for that I'm grateful. The specialist appointment is right around the corner and I'm very hopeful that help is on it's way.

If I could choose (and maybe I can to some degree) I'd prefer to never face the depths of the down cycle again. It's such a place of anguish, hopelessness and utter grief and it's so hard to pull myself out, gain any perspective or even express what it's like when I'm experiencing it. Yet ironically, often if I let myself just spend time in that place and feel the very worst of those feelings, I end up descending to the bottom and I find it to be a place that is ...unyielding. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say I find a part of myself that is unyielding.

When I bend so far I feel like I'm breaking, I find a part of me that will not give in, will not be silenced and is prepared to fight. It's almost like when I can bend enough to accept where I am, I also find unlimited strength to keep going or look for a new direction. I think that's the part of me that loves the word roar. It's a piece that says, "Fine, this might be the way it is right now but this is not the way it will be." And I'm suddenly ready/eager to move on to whatever the next step is, to pick myself up and not spend another second at the bottom. It's not just tenacity, which serves me so well at work. It's more like a core of me that knows grief and knows there is another side to it.

I've experienced grief and crisis before and I know time helps and healing happens. I know there are better times ahead and frankly, I'd rather be there already! But having the ....opportunity? to experience the deepest lows and find that core of myself that is indomitable, well that's a gift too.

It sure would be nice to be able to find that core without having to descend into the depths.

Maybe that's what's happening this month... I've found my core closer to the surface.

Thank God.