It’s no secret that I’ve battled with depression and anxiety since the age of about 13 years old. The depression would come and go whenever it saw fit and eventually left me alone in 2015. My anxiety however has remained a constant for the last ten years. Most days are pretty manageable but others are crippling where even getting out the door becomes the hardest thing in the world. I can’t go to new places alone, I’m yet to join everyone from work on a night out, and I would rather the ground opened up and swallowed me instead of having to meet someone new but that’s just who I am now. Recently though the depression has made it’s way back in, but this time things are different and I know exactly what’s caused it… our good ‘friend’ infertility.
The last four months have been hard, harder than I’ve let on to anyone and I’ll be honest I’m really struggling. Back in January when I received the news that the NHS would no longer be helping me on our infertility journey (you can read about that here) I was immediately taken back to how I’d felt when I received my diagnosis two years before. For two years I had worked so hard to piece myself back together from the crumpled mess that my diagnosis had left me in and there I was right back at the start as if those two years had meant absolutely nothing. I was devastated, angry, and disgusted but I stuck a smile on my face and I’ve carried on with everything…sort of.
I promised myself that I would be as honest as I could on this blog so – I’ve reached a point where I can barely even manage to lift my head off the pillow in the morning, let alone do basic everyday things such as cook, clean, and sometimes even shower because I feel so depressed. I’m in a constant state of wanting to curl up in bed and go to sleep, while knowing that I have to pretend to the outside world like everything’s fine. I personally think it’s worse this time because in 2014 all I had to deal with was a diagnosis. This time around we’re dealing with a diagnosis while actively trying to conceive knowing that we’re not going to get any help from anyone, leaving me wondering why we’re even bothering. There have been nights I’ve cried myself to sleep in Mitch’s arms because I feel so useless and like the biggest failure on the planet, there have been times when I’ve been so angry at myself because my body can’t even get this right, and there have been times when I’ve been so heartbroken because I know that I’m probably never going to have that baby I’ve always dreamed of. Right now I’m broken but I can fix myself, I know I can. I’ve done it before and I’m sure I can do it this time, I just don’t even know where to begin or what to do. Poor Mitch has really taken everything in his stride and is keeping the house running, but we both know that he shouldn’t have to be doing everything around the house. Especially when he’s trying to deal with this too.
The sad thing is though that I know I’m not alone. There are millions of men and women going through the same thing that I am yet there is no support, asides from the community that we’ve built ourselves. There are people out there who believe that infertility is something you deal with and get over, and that really isn’t the case. We have to process and deal with a diagnosis, then deal with the new ways we see our bodies while trying to remind ourselves that we aren’t the failures we think we are. We also have to deal with how close friends and family change the way they look at us and the way they speak to us. We have to live with our minds going four thousand miles an hour and deal with our diagnosis, while also trying to keep our sanity. Unfortunately though something’s got to give and for me I think it’s safe to say it’s been my mental health. My mum actually asked me a month or so ago if I was okay because it would be understandable if I wasn’t, I said “I’m fine. Why wouldn’t I be?” but I’m not fine and I don’t think I will be for a long time but I’m going to work on it (Sorry Mum!!)
No one ever prepares you for infertility because it’s such a taboo and you’re taught in school that it’s so easy to get pregnant and that”s why you need to be so careful. God I WISH it were that easy. Nobody ever prepares you for the mental effects of infertility either, and I’d honestly say those are worse. Dealing with the knowledge that you may never have your own child is something you can sort of get your head around, hating everything about yourself and blaming yourself is something that you never get over. Ever. I’m learning though that it’s okay to be feeling this way, I am allowed to be sad and no one can tell me otherwise. Infertility is a loss and should be grieved as one, we all grieve in our own ways but I’m sure I’ll get there eventually… I hope.