Thursday, August 14, 2014

Hiding Behind A Smile

I am deeply saddened by the recent news of Robin Williams' death.  He was such an amazing man and gave so much to the world that he didn't have anything left for himself.  My heart breaks knowing that he felt that he had no other options but to take his own life.  That news really got me thinking about depression and my own life.

Through the years I have suffered from what I call situational depression. I have had bouts of depression caused by life events at that time, such as my husband's deployment to the middle east and the death of my grandfather.  I was very fortunate to be able to overcome the fears and sadness with a little support. However, after many many years of cancer and infertility that depression grew and I realized that I needed more support than I really wanted to admit. It's very hard for me to share publicly that I suffered from depression.  Like infertility I think depression is often considered a taboo subject that people don't want to talk about. Nobody wants to admit that they are having difficulties coping with their lives and the world around them. Nobody wants to admit that they are weak and need help.  Far too often we are so worried about what others think that we hide our true feelings through smiles, jokes and laughter.  I know this all too well.  For most of my life I have used jokes and laughter as a defense mechanism and to hide my true feelings.  If I was laughing and making jokes at my own expense then it didn't hurt as much when others did.  If I could just smile on the outside no one would know just how much I was hurting on the inside.  If I faked I was happy nobody would know that I just had a miscarriage or we were suffering with infertility.  Do I suffer from chronic depression? No.  Have I suffered from severe depression at times? Yes.  If I am no longer experiencing depression why do I bring this up now?  Why would I share my personal history of depression with the world?  Because we lost an amazing man this week that was always smiling, always laughing and always joking on the outside. The facade he showed to the world was hiding what he was truly feeling on the inside.  As a survivor of cancer and infertility I know the pains, the heartache, the tears, the sorrow and the angst that come with diagnosis and treatments.  I know all too well how easy it is to blame yourself, to feel that you are worthless and to feel that the world is a far better place without you in it.  I remember after my first miscarriage having trouble getting out of my bed let alone leaving my house.  I repeatedly told my husband that he should just leave me and give himself a shot at a better life with another woman.  I even had those moments of darkness where I wondered what the world would be like if I wasn't in it.  Was I thinking of taking my life? No, but thankfully, my husband recognized that I was spinning in the wrong direction.  My smiles were few and far between in those days and I needed help.  I needed a professional equipped with the tools to help talk me through those feelings of sadness and hopelessness.  Dr. M offered me the support I needed to grieve those losses, talk to my husband and find peace and happiness in my life again.  I am thankful that I got out of my own way and listened to G that I did indeed need help.

I encourage those who are suffering through infertility to reach out to others and get the support you need to help get through an extremely trying and emotional time.  Its OK to admit that you can't do it on your own.  It's OK to ask for help.  It's OK to be sad, but it's not OK to let it consume you or control your life.  I also encourage those who have loved ones in the infertility trenches or facing that diagnosis to reach out to them.  Don't try and "fix" them just give them a soft place to vent.  Let them know that it is normal and it's OK to get help if they need a little more than an ear of a loved one.

Monday, August 4, 2014

(Guest Post) Resting

I sit here after eighteen hours of hospital time.  For those who have sat through hospital time, you know that a hospital minute is even longer than a microwave minute.  Today was a long day, but a good one.  I'm glad to say that C's surgery went well and early pathology reports were firmly in the category of what you hope for.  She is resting now, maybe not peacefully, but any rest at this point is welcome.  Delays in the start time led to idle thoughts which are rarely happy ones in such situations.  Thanks for all the texts, tweets, pokes and emails of encouragement that helped keep us both in good, well, better spirits.  Thanks again, G