Exposure

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There is a lot of garbage on T.V. lately, and unfortunately I partake in watching some of said crap. One particular fascination of mine is Hoarders. I don’t know why, but this is one train wreck that I can’t take my eyes off of. I know it is a legitimate disease that causes people to behave this way, but holy dead-cats-under-the-garbage, I can’t wrap my head around it sometimes.

The family of the “hoarder” will rally around in support, but they are usually too close to the situation to be calm with the friend or family member they are trying to help; this is where the therapist comes in. Generally a therapist is present to help the person deal with the strong emotions they feel while trying to sort through all of their belongings. One of the techniques the therapist will commonly use is exposure therapy. The hoarder is asked to choose an object to discard, and just think about getting rid of it. At this point, they will be asked on a scale of one to ten what their anxiety level is. Usually during the first exercise it is pretty high. The therapist will let them just sit with the anxiety and once it comes down to a five or a six they move on to the next step. Usually the steps get progressively harder, and produce more anxiety. They may watch something of perceived value being thrown in the trash or, be asked to discard it themselves. The therapist monitors the progress along the way, helps them deal with, and lessen the anxiety so that the clean up efforts can become a life long change and not just a band-aid solution. I realized earlier this week that I have inadvertently applied this technique to my own life.

As I’ve previously mentioned, there is a pregnant woman in my Sunday yoga class. By now she is mega pregnant and I was pretty sure she was due fairly soon. She generally sets her mat on the opposite side of the room than me, which suits me just fine. Last class we had been using props (blocks, straps, ect.) and they are all stored in a closet on the far side of the room, right where pregnant lady’s mat is. It gets a little congested at the end of class when everyone is trying to return their items to the closet. So as I was standing to the side, waiting to put back my blocks, I found myself right next to preggo’s mat. Since I was sort of awkwardly standing in her way with nowhere to go, and I was curious, I asked her how far along she was. “Hmm, 35 weeks now.” was her reply. I congratulated her on still continuing with yoga, returned my props and went back to pack up my mat.

It was a small interaction, but one that I would normally avoid at all costs. But because I truly was curious how far along she was, and I was already in an awkward position being in such close proximity to her I figured I may as well take the leap. There was a small burst of anxiety but it dissipated fairly quickly, and now I know I have at the most 5 more weeks of her bump attending “my” class.

It made me think of some of the other things I avoid because of IF, and that maybe I should try to deal with them instead of putting myself, or other people out, to try to protect myself. Although we will shortly be starting our IVF process, who knows how long we’ll be on this IF journey. And we all know that even after a successful IVF/Pregnacy/Birth/Adoption/Ect. that surviving is not without its battle scars, and most come out the other side a different person, so I’ll still have to deal with the repercussions of IF for the rest of my life.

I have also sort of been avoiding Best Friend. I probably haven’t seen her since before Christmas, as her pregnant belly has been ever-expanding. I knew that I was avoiding her but I kept making excuses for myself, that I was too busy, or she was too busy. So a few days ago I sent her a text, as she has a schedule c-section in a little over a week now. I asked her how she was doing, and if she was ready. We chatted a little back and forth, I told her I had some goodies for the baby when he arrives, and that I would offer her an extra pair of hands once the new one comes home and she has two little ones to contend with. She seemed genuinely happy to hear from me. I think she had been hesitant to reach out to me, as I hadn’t heard from her in a while either and when I did it would be sporadic and brief. She had always been my IF confidante, but when she became pregnant things changed somewhat, and then when our third IUI failed I pretty much stopped updating her. I’m glad to have bridged the gap somewhat, as I will be visiting her and the new baby (as soon as he arrives), I may as well take some steps towards that point.

Just today at the pharmacy when I was picking up my thyroid medication, I inquired to the (young, female) pharmacist if they stock fertility medication, as I would be cycling in a couple of months (actually 5 weeks, but whose counting). I know it’s not a big deal discussing fertility meds with pharmacy staff, but when going through my IUIs I would discreetly get my clomid, and then disappear, pharmacy bag stuffed in my purse. I basically do not discuss our infertility with anyone willingly, except for my doctor, nurses and psychologist, so this was a big step. We chatted back and forth a bit; they can order them in but I don’t know that it would be timely enough for me, that most people get them from the pharmacy the hospital recommends because they would have everything in stock, but I get points with the store loyalty card through my current pharmacy, and $5k plus of meds is a lot of points. It was a pretty casual, easy conversation even though I was openly discussing my infertility treatments (other people could have heard me, gasp!)

Now, I obviously didn’t expose myself as an infertile to the yoga preggo, and best friend already knew, but I am hoping that by slowing increasing my discomfort threshold, I may eventually feel more comfortable openly discussing it with other friends and family. Time to start exposing the IF chunk of my life, a little bit at a time.

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Expression

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I don’t really know how to properly express myself. I feel so much, but I am very much in my own head. I am not creative or expressive. I am not religious or spiritual. I know some people see this as a life lacking but I prefer to leave out the things that I do not have the need or want for. I am very analytical and skeptical.

I read other peoples posts and poetry, about life and infertility, and I think to myself how amazing that they are able to express themselves so clearly, poetically, or poignantly. I so wish I could do that.

Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m feeling. I don’t know how to articulate it. It is frustrating to me, though I don’t know that being able to label what I’m feeling will make me any more apt at dealing with it. Sometimes I overreact, and over think things. Other times I think that I may be under reacting, or some things just don’t registry as hotly with me. And this is not just with infertility but life itself. Obviously infertility has brought out a lot of complicated feelings and has cracked most other aspects of my life wide open.

Sometimes I want to be introspective, and broody. Lie with my thoughts, and feel their weight. And other times I just want to slip out from under my worries and anxieties. Wear my shiny happy face (Which I do have, it’s not always “put on”, sometimes it’s really real). Laugh, and have fun. Convince myself that it will all be ok. Fill my mind with uplifting thoughts and know that I will get through because what choice do I have. Which is true. So perhaps my mind is just confused.