Damn the feelings!

Going to a therapist reminds me that I can’t, and shouldn’t, do it on my own. Going to church gives me the same feeling.

The difference is having someone to talk to one on one who can say what they see from a viewpoint completely different of my own. Someone who can help me decipher what God is trying to tell me and what my body is trying to tell me.

My viewpoint: I totally got this.
Therapist: You are burying it; let’s dig around

She called me out today.

Her: Let’s talk about anger.

Me: Anger? Why would we need to talk about anger? I’m totally fine.

Her: I want you to tell me what you could possibly be angry about.

**We play the silent game for a bit until it’s clear she has all afternoon to wait for me to answer her.

Me: Ok, well I mean, I’ve been dealing with infertility for ten years.. *clears throat* and.. I guess the embryos were a hard reminder that I’m still in it, and well, my husband’s dreams of having children genetically related to him are over, and my dreams of experiencing pregnancy are over. And I’m tired of throwing money at adoption and fertility treatments. *Tears welling up* And you know, it’s not like I can just “get over” infertility. It will follow me for the rest of my life. *Tears falling* And every month that I get my period is a reminder that once again I am still infertile and cannot grow my family in a way I had always dreamed I would. *Sobbing* And even when I’m through menopause and the kids are out of the house, they will be navigating relationships with not only me but also their biological mothers. *Ugly crying* And although I will always be their mother, I will never be their only mother. I will never be anyone’s ONLY mother.

*Weird breathing-asthma-attack-style-crying for a bit here*

Her: *also crying* We can’t go through the life force of grief without dealing with anger.

We continued on for a bit with conversation and crying. She then did energy clearing techniques on me and we prayed like we always do at the end of each session.

Dear Holy Spirit, please bring healing and peace to my heart.

She brought my reality back to light. I am angry. I am angry that I have a “condition” that seems to cause endless sadness. I have to live in it, silently suffering. Obviously I’m not so silent about it, but so many people are, and so many more people don’t know how to be with someone who is infertile, so maybe my writing it down will help lessen the awkward conversations out there.

Why do I have to continually go through these incredible disappointments? Is God punishing me? It’s hard to think I am not being punished or being taught a lesson like a child that can’t seem to listen. The truth is that Jesus came and died to save us from our sins. To save us from being punished. So based on this, I know I am not being punished. I feel like I am though.

Could it be that I am punishing myself over and over again for being a failure to my past dreams? Keep trying this treatment and that treatment and maybe that will cure me of my inability to create life.

I listened to a podcast yesterday that talked about women not having children out of choice. Like there are women out there that have absolutely no desire to be a mother. They can create other things in life and be totally satisfied in that. They can live a beautifully fulfilling life without needing to be a mother. There are other women how never had the desire to create life so they adopted. Why couldn’t I have been one of those women? Wouldn’t that be the dream for any infertile woman? Why do we have to go through the humiliation of broken lady parts or man parts or whatever. Humiliation because you have to answer all of the inappropriate questions that come your way. I hope your comfortable with your lady parts because people ask you all sorts of questions about them.

“So are you infertile or is your husband?” “Tell me about your lining” “Have you tried having sex?” “How often do you have sex?” “What is your husbands sperm count?” “Have you had your tubes cleaned out?” “Maybe your ovaries are dying.”

Please, let’s talk more about my vagina, uterus and ovaries.

From as far back as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a mother. Not an aunt or Godmother. A mother. I saw myself being pregnant and giving birth to become a mother. Adoption was never even something I considered. I didn’t know anyone adopted and really hadn’t heard much about it. It was a foreign idea. Talk about the power of visualization. I had it down. Except for the part where my reality did not catch up to that visualization.

I love my kids more than I can describe to you. I am their mother in every possible way. This is my reality. And it’s a pretty damn good one. It’s nothing that I had ever expected or dreamed of, but in a way it is. I get to do everything a mother does, because I am everything a mother is. I’m only missing the creation part – just those first nine months. Yet that creation part is the part I’m hung up on. I’ve only lost nine months, but really I’ve lost a lifetime. The mourning isn’t close to over. It’s constant. It’s there every month when my period comes and again I am not pregnant. Every pregnancy announcement my heart clenches a little tighter. When will this suffering end? When will I come out from this dream and just be satisfied with what I have (which again, is a lot of awesomeness)? When will I not want more? It feels like I’m doing my kids and my husband a disservice by not just “getting over” my infertility. Can I love them with all of my heart and soul and still be sad? 

It may not seem to the naked eye that I have lost anything on this infertility journey. The grief and mourning I am experiencing is because I have lost everything I thought was truth from childhood. A version of my reality has died. There is no memorial. There are no condolences. You don’t get flowers for having a broken reproductive system.

SheilakChester

When Fire Consumes Your Soul

Sometimes God calls you to do amazing things. Sometimes you hear it loud and clear. THIS IS YOUR CALLING!! So you run into the fire with God as your shield standing behind you saying THIS IS THE WAY!

Today, the fire consumed me.

We have been pursuing embryo adoption since 2014. The summer of 2015 we tried two transfers, both ending with a momentary pregnancy. We spent the next year searching for more embryos. We went through two failed matches so we decided to start the long adoption process again. Three months into starting that adoption process we got a call that we were matched. It took 2 months to approve that embryo match and another 6 months to receive the embryos at our clinic. The same time we were working on our adoption home study. It was taking FOREVER. We were at 6 months into the home study and I was calling the agency daily to get them to move along. I started medications for the embryo transfer and one week later we got a call from our adoption agency that they had a child for us. Now it was all happening at once. All of the babies at one time. I could see the miracles happening before us. I was truly living inside a miracle.

Our sweet girl came home and our lives were perfect. We delayed the transfer by a year. God gave us this child and these embryos for a reason. Then for some icing on the cake HE encouraged me to try breastfeeding and I did. I successfully breastfed my daughter for six months. Just enough time to get started on the next round of fertility treatments.

And here I am today, waiting for the nurse to call me to tell me the embryos are perfect. As I’m driving to drop the kids off at daycare a song comes on the radio.

Let me preface this a bit by explaining that I just started listening to Christian music on the radio. I’m pushing myself deeper into my spirituality so my challenge to myself (and from my friend) was to start listening to Christian music.

So a song comes on the radio.

I’d never heard it before, but I’ve only been listening to Christian radio for about a month so no shocker. But I listened intently to her words. Thy Will Be Done. In my prayers every night I’ve been adding, May Gods Will be my will. But ultimately may Gods Will Be Done. My spiritual counselor said this to me many times last week as well. Thy Will be done.

So what’s the story?

My nurse called after I dropped the kids off to say that the first two embryos didn’t survive the thaw. I held it together, because I had two left.  She recommended I stay relaxed and take a valium… I’m not gonna argue. So I took my valium and downloaded the song and listened to it again. What is God trying to tell me? This doesn’t sound like an uplifting song.

My nurse called me at 11am… she was sobbing. The remaining embryos didn’t survive. My heart sank.

She said the embryologist and fertility doctor were devastated. They were honestly trying to figure out if they had any embryos designated for donation that they could give me today.

The first time I walked into this fertility clinic was 7 years ago. I’ve been working with them on and off for 7 years in-between adoptions. They are truly friends.

Now what?

The words God gave me in my prayers last night were this:

For the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.

Deuteronomy 16:15

The truth is, my Joy is complete. I am no longer chasing “more”. More will come if it is His Will. More in all ways. More love will come in children, in my marriage, in my soul.  God tells us to expect miracles, so maybe in some way this was a miracle to bring me more joy. I just can’t see that through the smoke right now. I do know its out there.

I pray this adds to my story. I’m wearing my wonder woman shirt today, because I’ve got this. I can cry today and mourn the loss of these children that will never be. Tonight I will hug my complete family tight knowing that they are my dreams come true. They are my people brought out of miraculous circumstances.  My husband, my son, and my daughter. Miracles from God.

Today I walked into the fire with God by my side. I feel Jesus in my heart, the Holy Spirit in my head and the true love of God engulfing me like a fire blanket.

Infertility has rocked me to my core. It has made me hateful, angry, depressed, anxious,… and then something changed… it has made me loving, compassionate, complete. Infertility pulled me away from God and then brought me back in grand fashion.

No matter your fire, you are never alone and there is a bigger story to be told.

Discover the stillness of the cyclone.

Sheila K Chester

 

Thy Will by Hillary Scott

I’m so confused
I know I heard you loud and clear
So, I followed through
Somehow I ended up here
I don’t wanna think
I may never understand That my broken heart is a part of your plan
When I try to pray All I’ve got is hurt and these four words

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done

I know you’re good But this don’t feel good right now
And I know you think Of things I could never think about
It’s hard to count it all joy Distracted by the noise
Just trying to make sense Of all your promises
Sometimes I gotta stop Remember that you’re God
And I am not
So

Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Like a child on my knees all that comes to me is
Thy will be done
Thy will be done
Thy will

Where the Spirit leads me

My spirits (aka angels, consious, guides, ect), of late, have been somewhat forceful and put themselves in the lead. So much so that they woke me up tonight and “forced” me to write this.

I’ve been delaying writing this one but they keep me awake at night pushing me to share. Nothing like another crazy Sheila story. You are welcome.

The last month has been quite eventful and I’m starting to pay attention. I’ve been seeing an “energy therapist” for a year now. She has helped me understand my path in life and really tune into my body, mind, and spirit. Since seeing her I’ve been capable of manifesting incredible things, including my daughter, breast milk, amazing friends, and now pregnancy. (See what I’m doing there, manifesting, that’s what)

My body and soul have been pushing me to dig deeper. My body is literally speaking to me through pain, tiredness, energy, dreams, and literal voices in my head.

I’ve been asking my body what it needs to be fulfilled. I heard, be strong. So I hired a personal trainer and got strong. I loved it! I became obsessed with becoming strong. Then I pushed harder, went longer and my body said REST. I resisted.

I cannot rest! I must be strong. I must lose weight. I must gain muscle. Lose fat. Yes, that’s what it wants. I stopped listening and kept DOING. Soon my body retaliated. My back began to ache so i worked around it.

Failure.

Then my knee goes out. I rehab quickly again and jump back into it. I went to my energy healer. She said REST. I continued to train. GET STRONG is what I wanted.

Then, my back went out so bad that I couldn’t move. Bulging disc with nerve pain shooting down my leg. I couldn’t even lift my baby girl. I had time to think about my situation. I returned to my spirits. They said REST! I was frustrated. First you say get strong then you say rest. What the hell does that even mean?? Am I talking to myself here? Oh, I am? Well, it’s not the first time.

In the time my back was healing, I overcame some fears and helped a friend in labor, I was rocked by the news that another friend had terminal cancer leaving her young son behind, and rocked by more news that my home town lost a young man. I reflected on many of my friends suffering. A friend who lost a child a year ago. A friend who is dealing with her childs persiatant brain tumor. All this suffering just within my circle. I’m paying attention.  

God, what are you telling me? What do you mean by REST?

When my people are in need my reaction is to fix it. When my body is broke my reaction is to fix it. My mind was racing… how can I fix these things? I started to develop a rash. Seriously my body is speaking to me and I just keep DOING. This rash is where I have gotten shingles in the past. It was a warning. I had to stop my mind. Its been 10 years since I’ve had shingles. Why now? I’ve been under much worse stress than this moment.

My fertility nurse called to say a few of my blood tests came back wonkey and I needed to start on some medications. These are blood tests I’ve had done several times in the last few years and always come back normal. My angels are messing with my test results now. I should probably pay attention.

I’m listening now. REST.

Rest your mind, they said. Open your eyes to what is happening around you and rest your mind. Allow the spirit to work within you. Muscle strength is good, but I need to also strengthen my soul. Love my people. Love myself. Surround myself with souls that build me up. Surround myself with energy that brings me peace.

So I meditate and pray in my sanctuary. My war room. My meditation room. With my Bible and my angel cards and my crystals and my journal.  God almighty with all His angels are here guiding me, calming me, and strengthening me.

With the help of meditation, the beginnings of that rash is gone. I’d say it’s unbelievable, but I know better. I no longer have pain in my knee or my back.  With in 10 days of having a bulging disc I have NO PAIN. Rest. I’m learning to just BE THERE for my friends as they and I go through life altering events. I’m learning to BE HERE for my body. I’m learning to be gentle and kind with myself. I am no longer in fix it mode. I am just here, listening.

Now that my mind is clear, I can see the road signs guiding me down my God given path. I always thought my path included money and great success, but great success is in the eye of the beholder and money is just a tool that comes and goes. I have both.     

I am exactly where I am supposed to be. It has taken me years to understand this. I am RIGHT where I am supposed to be. I am not missing out on anything, I am living in the now. I have amazing things ahead of me that I am very excited about; but today I am resting, loving my little ones, lifting and loving my husband, soaking in the energy and love of my dear friends and learning to love and trust my mind and body.

I will not race to my next destination. I will sit here and soak in the gifts that God has lovingly bestowed upon me in His perfect timing.

Patience is a difficult practice. But it is just that, a practice.

I know this was a little off from what I have posted in the past, but I want to be able to sleep tonight and I am told by sharing these thoughts, I can rest.

Thank you for getting to the end! I hope a part of this resonated with you this morning. Thank you for being a part of my life and supporting me in all the ways that you do.

With my deepest Love and Gratitude,

SheilaKChester

This is Us

This is us.

The show that has everyone experiencing a straight up emotional back hand. Thank you television for making me feel my emotions. Something I’ve tried to avoid for my entire 35 years.

Not only does this show evoke emotion in me, but it evokes emotion in my husband. I have never seen him react in any manner after a show or movie other than… that was good. But there is something about this show that digs deep into his soul. It’s not just the adoption party that catches us, its the relationships. Life is a series of relationships and this show captures those relationships with vigor.

For one, watching Randall connect to both his biological father and his adoptive father has my husband on his knees. I get why Randalls mother didn’t want him to know his biological father. It’s fear. Fear that our children can’t love two people with similar titles at once. Yet as parents, we can love more than one child. Why wouldn’t we expect our children to do the same?

The last episode where Jack and Rebecca got into a huge fight before she kicked Jack out of the house…. We were both stunned. We had that fight. We had that fight several times. Before finally deciding to build our family through adoption, we were at each others throats. We were on the verge several times of just giving up on our marriage. I wanted to leave. I was tired. And it seemed there was no end in site. We were stagnant in life and blamed each other for our lack of movement. It’s because I wouldn’t do IVF. It’s because Justin didn’t want to adopt until we tried all medical options. It was because we were tired and blamed ourselves for this infertility. I’m sure we had other selfish issues on top of the infertility that played a role in our bickering.

It probably doesn’t help that the same day we watched this last episode, was the day of our monthly marriage counseling. I was expressing some insecurities I had and didn’t feel like I was being understood. I left that session feeling tired and confused.

That night, after the show, Justin turned the tv off stood up and looked at me. He stared for a moment and then said, “I think you are the most beautiful woman in the world. You are gorgeous. The way you look is beautiful. Your heart is beautiful. The way you are a mother is beautiful. You are a beautiful, gorgeous woman and wife. I’m sorry I don’t say that enough.”

Cue Tears. And silence.

I didn’t know what to say. I’d been so hard on myself the past several months (probably years) for not being enough. I’ve been steadily gaining weight for the past 5 years and I’ve finally hit a tipping point. I feel unattractive, undesirable, and unlovable. He was telling me those thoughts in my head weren’t true.

I am attractive, I am desirable, I am lovable.

I hugged him for a long time then we were off to bed. I feel like my response to his outpouring of love was sub-par. I don’t know how to take compliments like these? Automatically my mind said, he is lying. He is just trying to make you feel better. But he wasn’t lying. He was sincere. My husband opened his heart to me to try to explain to me how much he loved me.

How do I turn of that internal voice that is so mean to me? Those thoughts?

Forgiveness.

I forgive myself for gaining the weight. I forgive myself for being so angry all those years. I forgive myself for having those hateful thoughts about myself.

That’s all I can do.

To love someone else is easy. To love yourself, well that’s another story.

Time to build that relationship with myself. I wonder, if I had as much love for me as my husband does… how would my life be different. Well, hopefully I will find out soon enough.

– Sheila Chester

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Maintaining My Zen Amongst the Crazy Inside My Head

So first I share all my crazy with you and now I share with you how I’m learning to deal with it. If you missed me sharing my lifelong battle with anxiety and depression, read here. It will help you understand this one.  My form of crazy is permanent. The mental illness I experience isn’t just for a season. I’ve spent years fighting this but have decided its OK to be with my crazy. So here is what I do to to attempt to maintain my zen.

As I stated in my previous post, I started taking prescription anti-depressants in 2010. It took about 3 months of trying different brands and doses of anti-depressants to find the right fit. I remember the moment I walked into the therapists office for the first time. In tears, I explained what I was feeling. She  gave me several ideas to help me deal RIGHT NOW but also suggested I contact my doctor to get on anti-depressants. I had explained that I had been on anti-anxiety pills and they didn’t seem to work. She then explained the difference between anti-anxiety and anti-depressant. Anti-anxiety medications are often times tranquilizers. They get you through the moment.

Oh sweet tranquilizers…. the memories.  I had a lovely relationship with Lorazapam (Ativan)for some time, but apparently taking that on a daily basis isn’t recommended. Something about increased tolerance and addiction come to mind.

I was showing signs of dependancy and my doctor could see it. It wasn’t the first time I came to her about anxiety and possibly depression.  She said if these feelings were consistently happening every day I needed an SSRI. My brain needed help.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) -These modern medications make more serotonin available to the brain by blocking neurons from taking up the extra serotonin after a nerve spike.

Side effects of SSRIs may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sexual dysfunction, headache, weight gain, anxiety, dizziness, dry mouth, and trouble sleeping.

Oh goody. This does not sound nearly as fun as those tranquilizers were. But would I rather be a slug for the rest of my life or a functioning adult? It’s a toss up.

No more ambien or lorazapam with these pills. There are too many risks combining all these medications. So sleepless nights and sad feelings will be my near future.

Here is the deal with anti-depressents. They are a bitch to prescribe. As in each of the options have pretty severe side effects and work differently with each person. They started me on Zoloft first.  I understood it took almost a month to start feeling the effects of the medications. Afterall it has to adjust your brain function and that takes time (unless you’re a tranquilizer… obviously). I drove straight to the pharmacy and picked up my prescription. I immediately took one of the pills and went home… waiting for it to kick in. An hour later the pharmacy called.

“Ummm, ma’am, have you taken the drug yet?”

Me:”Yes, Why?”

“well, the pharmacist gave you the incorrect dosage.”

Me: thinking this is probably not a big deal.

“You were prescribed 10mg and we gave you 50mg”

Me: Shit

Within 3 hours my head was pounding and my chest was aching. I called the pharmacy throughout the evening to make sure I didn’t need to go to the emergency room. They assured me I would be ok. I did not feel ok. The headache turned into a migraine which lasted 24 hours. I was dizzy, exhausted, in pain, and thought I was dying.  (I understand some people get regular migraines that could last for days. This was my experience and it sucks. I have sympathy for people who deal with this more often than once in a lifetime.)

The next day I switched to my prescribed 10mg dose but the chest pains didn’t go away. It was like severe anxiety – which is a side effect. That’s super helpful. Lets take some anti-depressants that cause anxiety. Genius. The chest pains lasted 10 days before my doc changed my prescription over to Prozac.

It took another week for the chest pains to subside. Within 3 weeks I started to feel the effects, but I wanted more. We upped the dose to 15mg and then 20mg. When I was on the 20mg, I was exhausted all the time. So back to 15mg. Then I found that some seasons were harder than other seasons.   I had to find the sweet spot.

Being on depression medication with the current negative social stigma is hard.  I battled feeling weak for having to be on them. In fact, I figured if I could just figure out what normal felt like then I could figure all my head stuff out and TADA … be able to deal on my own. Like a big girl.

So off I went. One year on, six months off, one year on, one year off, one year on, six months off…. how long am I going to do this to myself before I realize maybe I’m not one of those people that gets to go off of this medication. Insert sad face emoticon here. Last summer, I forgot to call to get my prescription resent (I mean I remembered every day I just forgot or was too lazy to actually make the call to get them shipped). I went 10 days without medication. That means, I didn’t wean off of them carefully like is required, I went cold turkey. I was a train wreck. Finally I called in the prescription and requested an emergency dose from my local pharmacy. Needless to say, that will not be happening again. I’m cool with being a lifer (as of this moment). I’ve experienced depression and anxiety long enough. I’m good with being a functioning human for my husband, my kids, and myself. That being said, I’m still fighting the stigma internally and externally.

I heard a woman in my moms group make a side comment about all the moms out there who just take meds to deal with life. I guess that’s me. The problem is, I wasn’t dealing before. I was curled up in my bed, trapped in my mind, and had a potential of physically endangering myself. So maybe she doesn’t need the meds, but I sure as hell do. I’m no longer going to defend my need for being on them, but embrace it. Hell yeah I’m on anti-depressants! THEY ARE FANTASTIC! I feel like a normal person. I’m not overly happy. I still can get sad or anxious in certain situations, but I’m not so hard on myself that I feel sitting in the dark closet by myself is the best plan of action. I can function in society with the best of them and that, my friends, is awesome. So if you are in a place of depression, give it a shot. Be patient, but give it a shot. Live your life as your BEST SELF! And realize, not everyone needs to be on anti-depressants permanently like I do.

I’m also realizing that I can’t just count on my medication to cure my depression. I also have to adjust my lifestyle. I have to take care of myself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Body, brain, and spirit.

With that, I start with therapy. Working with someone to heal your brain and spirit. My therapist clears my brain from the clutter I have built up in my lifetime. She helps me bring in positive and helpful emotions that bring me peace and understanding. I have 2 therapists. One for my marriage and one for myself. Both end up helping with healing my entire self. My self worth has improved. My spirituality has grown exponentially. My patience has increased as a mom and a wife. I’ve become much more compassionate… considering before I proclaimed often my emotionally dead heart… kind of a big accomplishment here. I’m finally happy with where I am in life. As an anxious person, that is saying a lot. Before I was never enough, I was always playing catch-up with those around me. I am enough. And I’m not just saying that because it’s a cool phrase these days. I am enough. Fully. I 100% blame my therapists and the work they have forced me to do on myself for this revelation. I’ve started reading the bible more and building my relationship with Jesus. I feel like this is the first time I’m doing this, but I’ve known Him for so long… I just never let Him in. I should probably write more about that, but I’m not there yet.

Therapy has created the person I was always meant to be. But the work is not easy. It’s constant. I have to forcibly shut down the negative talk within my head. But I can finally do it. I can finally ignore the angry self deprecating thoughts that constantly pop up. Therapy is like a personal trainer for your brain and spirit.  I wish I would take as good of care of my body as I have been my mind, but I’m sure it will come. It is part of my goal every day to maintain physical strength in some capacity. Lately it’s just been carrying my baby around everywhere which hardly counts. It’s better than fudge and soda I guess.

Every day is a new challenge between mind, body, and spirit. I wrote in my journal (the one that is hidden under a pile of laundry I have yet to fold) all the things I wanted to accomplish in a day. It goes like this:

 

  • Wake up at 5am
  • Shower
  • Drink 24oz water with vitamins (Get 100/oz water each day)
  • Meditate 10 min with essential oils (frankincense usually… because WWJD?)
  • Visualize my day in a positive way accomplishing easily all of my tasks.
  • Exercise for 10-30 min
  • Listen to a motivational book for 10-30 min (during exercise)
  • Write or journal for 10-15 min.
  • Connect with 2 friends. Build relationships.

 

 

 

So far, I have completed all of these things in one day… never.

That journal entry was dated a year ago. So I’m not some sort of amazing human that takes care of every aspect of her body, but the point is I try. I probably get MAYBE one of those things on my list done every day.

So that is how I keep the sanity in my day… I try things … every single day.  I’m not perfect at it, but at least I try.

Giving myself every possible opportunity to be authentically me in the most peaceful and inspiring way I can, is the greatest gift I can give my body, my husband, and my children.

-SC

Losing My Sh#! on a Daily Basis

For as long as I can remember I’ve had anxiety almost constantly. Regardless of the situation. Then when stressful situations did come up it would create a full on panic attack. I remember anxiety induced chest pain most of my life… as in I got so used to it I assumed it was normal. When I was in first grade I had a spelling test to study for, rather than studying the week of, I was in a hyperventilating crying fit (every night) because I knew I would fail. Anxiety… since 7.

When I was in middle school, my teachers got me into the gifted program. WTF? Seriously? I would go to the gifted classroom with the actual smart people and not be able to play any of their smart people games.

Answer: I don’t fucking know! I literally just had 3 full blown panic attacks trying to find this damn riddle example. Can we just color?

Side note: Adult coloring books? Yes Please!

I would be sitting their sweating, knowing the truth. I’m just here because my teachers feel sorry for me. Everyone knows it! Is this some sort of big joke on me? So much discomfort. But that is what middle school and high school is about. Awkward. Uncomfortable. A Phase. A shit storm of emotions on a daily basis. Something I can’t seem to grow out of.

In high school, I dove into music. I had a talent. I could sing. My boyfriend taught me to play the guitar and I was hooked. This was my thing. This is what I could be good at. I could sit for hours playing my guitar, writing songs, and singing. But I would sabotage myself. I would practice songs I wasn’t performing so when I would get to my performances, I would freeze up. I didn’t want to practice for days on something I was probably going to mess up anyway. It was the same story as my studying. Don’t do it or you will prove to yourself and everyone that you are an idiot. If I study and fail that means I really am a failure. If I practice hard and still mess up, I was never good to begin with. Save yourself the shame and just go for mediocre. This is what I told myself all the time. It was a hate hate relationship between my heart and my mind. I’m a good person right? I have no clue. I couldn’t get past the bitter self-hate.

I cannot believe I even went to college. I didn’t JUST go to college. I went to 4 colleges because I would transfer thinking the next college would be better, less stressful. I was just taking the wrong classes. I was just in the wrong program. I was just… excuses excuses excuses blah blah blah. I kept jumping back and forth between arts degrees…. Which one is going to make me SUCCESSFUL. That’s another post all together. Those will be titled ‘What is success’ and ‘College is a waste of time’.

I always get myself in uncomfortable situations and then run for the hills only to find more uncomfortable situations. I finally just realized my life was a series of uncomfortable situations. So I might as well get used to it.

Not only did I go to (4) College, but after completing my degree and working in my field of study for 3 years I changed career fields… again and got my real estate license. Because taking another test and learning something COMPLETELY different seemed like a good idea. Idiot. (I really need to work on my negative self-talk). I spent 6 years in CONSTANT anxiety in this career field. Every client was a potential for me to disappoint. I had my client to disappoint, the other agent, my managing broker… My disappointment list just got bigger. It’s like I was trying to shake my anxiety with as much anxiety as possible. FIGHT ANXIETY WITH ANXIETY! Take that. Ok, look, it didn’t work. I came out of that experience with a few less brain cells… and a permanent eye twitch.

The best plan of action at this point was to get pregnant and become a stay at home mom. That would solve all of my problems. So you won’t be surprised when I tell you I am currently coming on 9 years of infertility.

I wasn’t just dealing with anxiety though. It was bigger than anxiety.

I recall in 2007, before infertility, before real estate, I was driving to work and thought how much easier life would be if I just drove off the bridge. Not metaphorically speaking, but I actually wanted to drive off a bridge. I didn’t want to hurt anyone else, just myself. And I didn’t want to die, I just wanted to be in the hospital for a month or so. (At least a month) It’s so vivid because I contemplated this every day going into work for months, probably years. I figured if I could just get a month with nothing to worry about except my own health then I would feel better. I started taking sleeping pills to deal with my depression. At least I slept good at night, right?

I didn’t feel bad enough that I wanted to check myself into a psych department… or at least I didn’t think I felt bad enough. I didn’t deserve a weekend retreat at a yoga camp or meditation camp. Plus that cost way too much. I figured insurance would pay for a car accident. Besides not being crazy enough for the psych department, who knows if insurance would cover it and I wasn’t interested in finding out. Yes.. a car accident seemed like the most logical best thing I could do. Plus it would be an ‘accident’ and not my fault at all.

So what did I have going on in my life that made me feel so hopeless? Nothing. I had a good job and a great husband.  I was going to school part time as well. I suppose that was a large stressor. Ultimately, I felt like people could see right through my shallow soul. They would soon find out I was a fraud. I felt like I was awful at my job (even though my bosses and co-workers praised me often). I felt like I wasn’t smart. Why bother going to school? I’m never going to be able to hold down a career. I’m not nearly as smart as the other students in my classes. My mind was constantly filled with negative self thought.

Anytime someone would point out a small error or remind me of something I forgot I would come down on myself hard. How could I ever hold any job down if I can’t accept even the slightest criticisms or reminders. Granted I was (STILL AM) a procrastinator so I never made it easy on myself. My husband would try to help me through all of it, but how do you logic with the illogical? Much of this negative thought came home with me as well. My husband was afraid to talk to me. I often overreacted. And then he overreacted at my reactions. Cycle of pain.

So was I depressed or anxious? What is the difference?

de·pres·sion

dəˈpreSH(ə)n/

noun

feelings of severe despondency and dejection.

anx·i·e·ty

aNGˈzīədē/

noun

 a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

Its hard to say. I experienced both anxiety and depression. So lets call that Depriety or how about Anxession. Yes. That is exactly what I have.

In 2010, after 2 years of infertility, I decided to beat my depriety with exercise. I would tell my body and brain who is finally boss. I own you! You don’t get to decide my fate! I trained for a half Ironman. 70.3 miles, 7 hours and 45 min of screaming at my body.

I HATE YOU! YOU ARE AN IDIOT! YOU HAVE NO PURPOSE IN THIS LIFE!

The wind and my muscles screaming right back at me, but I did it. I finished the race and my body lovingly rewarded me with MONO. Yes. I got mono.  I also was diagnosed with anemia and low vitamin D. My body was done. My body told my mind that it was done. I will shut you down until you get your shit together. I got home from that race, booked an appointment with a therapist and my PCP and got on anti-depressants immediately.  Within a month my body finally relaxed. My mind finally relaxed. I could breathe.

This is the story of my personal crazy. What goes on in my head. I could keep writing and I will. But today, this is where I will stop. I write to educate you. I write to help you. I don’t write for sympathy. I’m figuring this out. I want you to know that you can live WITH (not against) this bullshit called mental illness.

SC

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Of the worlds population, 5% of us suffer from depression. That is 350 Million people. In the united states that number is 6.7% – or 15 million people over the age of 18 suffer from depression. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population. (Source: National Institute of Mental Health)

YOU are not alone in this. Depression and anxiety doesn’t have to make you weak. Choose to treat your disease. Do not try to fight this on your own. Call a doctor, call a friend, call me. Get a therapist. YOU ARE NOT ALONE unless you choose to be.

you-are-not-alone

Suicide prevention

If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm or hurting another person:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency number.
  • Stay with the person until help arrives.
  • Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
  • Listen, but don’t judge, argue, threaten, or yell.

If you think someone is considering suicide, get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline. Try the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

She Was Not Ours After-All

October 31st, 2012 2pm

I answer a call from our agency,

“Your daughter was born at 2am this morning, would you like to meet her?”

ken-baugh

Rewind 4 years. November 30th 2008

I call my OB, “I think I just had a miscarriage”

That was the start of our journey to parenthood. We hadn’t even started “trying” yet but everything within me said it was time. I wasn’t ready and I was ready… The feelings I had at this moment confirmed that. It was time. We needed to start a family.

Those years of struggling with infertility were some of the most challenging years of my life as a woman and our lives within our marriage. Every part of my being was challenged. All I could do was ask WHY? WHY? WHY?

I wanted answers. Still in my twenties, I thought I was too young to have fertility issues. No one could explain it. No one had answers for us.

I did so many invasive tests just to know why. I went to therapist after therapist. Even seeing a chiropractor who claimed he could potentially cure my fertility issues. I looked everywhere I could for an answer. When no answer came, I dove into fitness training. Completing a half Ironman in 2010. In the process of that training I became extremely ill and exhausted. My body was revolting. My spirit telling me the answer wasn’t there.

What are you running from?

I put everything into a new career. I put everything into new beliefs. I walked away from God. As far as I could go. I cursed Him. Often.

What did I do to deserve this?

We finally decided to adopt. It was a contentious decision. We knew nothing about adoption. We didn’t know anyone who had adopted. This was new territory. So I put everything into adoption. I studied and read up on it. We picked an agency, got on a list and waited.

Just 2 months into our wait we got the call.

October 31st, 2012 2pm. I answer a call from our agency,

“Your daughter was born at 2am this morning, would you like to meet her?”

We rushed to the hospital calling family and friends saying, “THE DAY IS FINALLY HERE!!”

Tears streaming down our faces, the weight FINALLY being lifted.

Then there she was, our baby girl. She was six weeks early and in bad shape. I refused to leave her side but the hospital had no place for us to stay so we left as late as possible and came back in as early as possible.

At 9am the agency called us, “Her biological mother is having second thoughts.”

We spent as much time with her as we could that day. Our hearts were sinking. At 2pm on Nov 1st 2012 the decision was made. The biological mother signed over custody to a relative. We needed to go home.

She was not ours after-all.

I will never forget that moment. The impact that 24 hours had on me was HUGE. But something happened in that moment that brought my husband and I together in a way that we naturally could not have made happen. We were equally crushed. Equally devastated. Equally Numb.

We grew close at that time. Our arguments stopped. We were in this TOGETHER. From this point forward we were a team, holding each other up as it should be. As it should have been since we committed ourselves to each other. But marriage is like that. Ups and downs. Twists and turns.

We spent days explaining what happened to friends and family. Reliving that moment over and over again. How could there possibly be a silver lining to this?

Ye of little faith…

That moment brought upon the birth of an online support group that now has over 350 local members. It brought me some of the closest friends in adoption I could EVER ask for. The people I met because of this moment will be lifelong friends of mine and their children lifelong friends of my children.

That moment has helped numerous adoptive families build lifelong connections. Within the group people have connected in ways that brought their children home. Connections that might have not otherwise happened.

So did I fulfill my purpose in that moment of suffering? I think I am fulfilling it. Here I am with my two incredible miracle children looking back on a moment that is still defining me as a wife, a friend, a woman, and a mother.

And for that, I am forever grateful.

-SC

darkness