Knowing When to Seek Professional Help
No, I'm not referring to hiring a housekeeper or a personal chef, I'm talking about finding a professional to talk to. A therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, etc.
Last week was a rough one for me. I had been dressing my face in a smile and plowing through the myriad of things that were on my plate. And adding more and more to my plate. And then a little more. In two weeks' time, my back went out and I came down with the flu. In two months' time I had battled a cold, had my back go out twice, and come down with the flu. In three months' time I had suffered a sinus infection, a UTI, another cold, my back going out twice, and the flu. If I went back another month, there would be yet another cold added to the mix. Yet, I still didn't get it. I honestly thought that it was just back luck, until I reached the breaking point.
It began with being ticked-off...at the world. Then I began crying spontaneously. Finally, I just found it difficult to breathe. I had had it. Even my daily routine was difficult, especially with the stress of obligations, looming deadlines, and self-imposed work that needed to be done. I cracked, lost it. I won't go into the details here, because really, I think you get the picture.
My husband was the target of my pent-up anger, sadness, stress, and anxiety, all rolled into a big ball of bitterness. I lost it -- did he even realize that our first angel baby would have been due around this time? It's true, men and women deal with miscarriage very differently, but honestly, I just didn't deal with it at all. I came to the realization that I hadn't even dealt with my first loss, let alone the loss I suffered right before Christmas. My husband is practical about it: miscarriage just happens; it's sad, but it happens and you have to move on.
You know how I moved on from my first miscarriage over the summer? I treated my life like a buffet line, putting every possible thing I could on my plate. I made myself so busy that I barely had time to think about my loss. And once I became insanely busy, I got pregnant again. I was busy and I was happy. Things were taking off for me professionally and we were expecting another bundle of joy. Yes, I was wary and cautious with this baby, not really accepting the pregnancy into my heart, vowing not to accept it until I hit 14 weeks.
Two months into my pregnancy, I started warming to the idea that we would be welcoming a baby right around our son's birthday in the summer. And then the bleeding began. I tend to bleed during pregnancy, as my husband constantly reminded me, but I had already been wounded by miscarriage and my heart was heavy with a sense of foreboding. After a week of bleeding, and around eight hours of labor, I held my baby in my hand. A far cry from the sterile D&E I had done this past summer. This was real, and intense, and heartbreaking.
Then end result? Two miscarriages in six months' time. I'll be honest and tell you that I think it's completely unfair. I know it's selfish to think that way, especially when I already have a healthy little boy. Devastated. But, I pulled myself together to get through Christmas with my son (my god, that was difficult). A month later, my plate is full, I can't say no, and my life is busy again (insanely busy).
Great things are happening for me professionally, and more opportunities are coming my way, yet my moments of happiness and excitement are fleeting, momentary. I've worked very hard, and been patient, to get to where I am, and where I continue to go. But, I hit the breaking point I mentioned above. It's not normal to break into tears at the sight of a pregnant woman, is it? To sit alone in a house with a toddler and cry, for no apparent reason?
My husband mentioned the D word, and suggested that I go speak to someone. That we would do whatever we needed to make sure that I was okay. He presented me with a list of people to check out and possibly call; I made my first call yesterday. The first person was not taking patients, so I'll call my second choice today.
You see, I had been going so hard, so fast, that I didn't allow myself to think about my losses (I didn't want to think about my losses). The minute I had a break in my work, I collapsed. In reality, my body had been trying to tell me that everything wasn't okay for a few months now.
Sometimes taking care of oneself means having to seek professional help. I am so deep in my depression that I no longer notice that I'm sad, because I just feel numb with a bit of anger sprinkled in. I will keep calling until I can get in to see someone. I'll keep trying to say no, and stop piling my plate so high. Right now it's really all about taking tiny steps in the right direction (once I figure out what that direction even is). Somewhere, deep inside of myself, I know that I'm good enough and that I deserve to be good to myself.