S.A.D.

Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I think I have it.  Er, something.

One of the reasons I love living here is that, even in winter, it’s sunny almost all the time.  The rare days it’s not, all I want to do is curl up under a blanket and go to sleep.

Today was one of those days.

But it’s not just because it was cloudy.  I’ve been tired all week.  Initially, I blamed a string of sleepless nights last week.  Then there was the period from hell.  I don’t think that’s it either, though.

I’ve decided I’m fighting off some nasty virus that I probably acquired during one of my recent home visits.  I’ve been sneezed and coughed on.  I’ve had boogers and snot flung in my general direction.  I’ve had kids’ filthy little hands in my face.  This is not new.  But one of them must have been harboring the plague, and now I’m trying my hardest not to succumb to it, too, and it’s exhausting.

Hubby complained yesterday that I was being more bitchy than normal.  Which made me cry.  But then I reminded him that I wasn’t feeling well, and he sort of apologized.  Later, when he tucked me in (which is a real thing that happens in our house because I have to get up for work at the ass-crack of dawn, and his only commitment for the day is a class he teaches at 6 pm), I asked him specifically what I had said or done so I wouldn’t repeat it, but he couldn’t come up with an example.  Is there such a thing as generalized bitchiness disorder?  Yet another side-effect of infertility.

Speaking of conditions that should be included in the DSM-IV, I’ve been seriously considering giving therapy another shot.  The only experiences I have had sitting across from a supposedly well-educated and empathetic professional, I’ve left feeling worse about myself.

The first time, when I was in grad school and seriously considering quitting because I’d cried during every single one of my teaching practicums, the “therapist” from the student counseling center (who was still a student herself) suggested I might be slightly antisocial because I answered a 100+ item questionnaire honestly, including admitting that I’d cross the street if I saw someone I knew coming toward me.  That’s not antisocial.  That’s called I’m-in-no-mood-to-put-up-with-mundane-chit-chat-I’ve-got-more-pressing-concerns-to-worry-about-thank-you-very-much.

The second therapist, whom I’ve written about before, diagnosed me as introverted as if it were a disease and put me in group therapy with a bunch of other introverts.  Because just what an introvert wants to do is sit in a circle with complete strangers making uncomfortable, rule-based conversation about real issues.

So I went to RESOLVE’s website looking for a qualified therapist whom I wouldn’t have to educate about infertility, only to discover that there aren’t any in my state.  At least, not according to RESOLVE.

I then went to my health insurance company’s website, where I found a dozen of them within 10 miles of my zip code, although most of them seemed to have clicked every possible area of expertise when filling out the online form, which is not really helpful when you’re looking for someone who gets it.

It feels like just another excuse for me not to follow through with this.  Even though it might actually help this time.  Even though I think I’m really going to need it, whether this transfer doesn’t take and I’m devastated or I end up an anxious pregnant infertile.

Cristy had an awesome post advocating for marriage counseling to help couples get through the trauma of infertility and/or loss, based on her and her husband’s own experience.  I’ve considered this, too, but Hubby’s eternal optimism always shoots me down.  He doesn’t think he needs therapy, which makes me think we need it even more.  But I can’t do anything to change his mind.  He’s just about the most stubborn person I know.  I’m trying to find a way to insert my ideas into his most frequently visited websites, so that he won’t realize they’re coming from me and, therefore, will suddenly think they’re great.  Still working on that plan.

In the meantime, all I can do is try to work on myself.  I think seeing a therapist is part of that equation, but I’m having a hard time actually picking up the phone.  Even as I write this, I feel my jaw start to tighten, my eyes welling up with tears.  Why is it so hard to ask for help when we need it the most?

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16 thoughts on “S.A.D.

  1. I went to two therapist that I did not like before I found my current therapist that has helped me through some very dark and difficult times. My counselor in not a specialist in infertility but his daughter went through IVF and he has a perspective that has really helped.

  2. I’m not sure what state you live in but I actually found someone who specialized in infertility through my RE. She runs the support group that the office sponsors and that is who they send people to for counseling before using a donor. Might worth a try to see if your RE can recommend someone?

  3. “Why is it so hard to ask for help when you need it most?” A great question and one that i thibk many are trying to understand. Part of it has to do with how out society views therapy. another part is that it takes some work to find a qualifies therapist. The truth is, a lot of people need to spend time hunting for a therapist that will be a good fit. Some blame it on there being too many bad therapists, but I think it comes down to finding someone you can work with. Which is a hard thing to do when you’re suffering.

    Where are you exactly? Drop me a comment and I’ll talk with Dee to see if she knows of anyone in your area who qualifies as an infertility counselor.

    Hang in there. The hormone crash after an IVF cycle is brutal. So be good to yourself.

  4. I’ve thought about seeing a therapist too, but don’t want to actually fork over the money to do it. But I think it’s a great idea for anyone, and especially for someone dealing with infertility. It’s not always easy to ask for help, but it’s almost always worth it in the end. I hope you’re able to do that, and to take care of yourself, as you plow your way towards making a baby. ~ hugs ~

  5. I’m a huge believer in therapy, and also that not all therapists are equal! You can always chat on the phone for a bit or see if you can do a free first session to find a good fit? Good luck, I really recommend trying to do it – help is so important through this incredibly rough stuff

  6. I’m just the same, finding it really hard to ask for help, so I question if I really need it. Sigh. And a bunch of introverts in group counseling, doesn’t sound right to me. I’m also an introvert and wouldn’t want that if I didn’t ask for it myself. I hope you find a good fit in your area.

  7. I think I’ve lucked out with therapists in the past myself, and though I never did see one while we were going through infertility I did see one for various other things in my life and found it to be very helpful. The thing with therapists though is that you really have to find the right one for you – like literally shopping around for one. I say give a few in your area a try – you can always leave. An emotionally intelligent enough therapist should be able to relate somewhat even without the background knowledge of infertility.
    I do think GBD (general bitchiness disorder) is in fact a side effect of infertility. Hubby had to have a few conversations with me over the 3 years about my general attitude towards him, life, and how it felt like my quest for babies was more important than anything else, him included. Because it totally takes over your life and that is difficult to explain to anyone else.
    HUGS

  8. I really hope you manage to find a good therapist that you can talk to about your infertility. We had a mandatory visit with one that was scheduled by our clinic when we started IVF, and in an effort to “relate” she spent a ton of time talking about her own infertility (ultimately unresolved) and the fact that it destroyed her marriage (which is my worst nightmare). It didn’t exactly make me feel like she had things figured out. So maybe at the least you can find someone who’s sensitive about it but hasn’t necessarily gone through it themselves.

    Oh, and I cross the street to avoid people all the time. Especially if they’re only casual acquaintances or old classmates or anyone else that I feel like there’d be an awkward “how’ve you been” conversation followed by a halfhearted “we should get together sometime!”. I feel like I’m just saving everyone a lot of trouble. I guess that makes me antisocial too.

  9. Daryl,

    Your post absolutely resonated with me.

    First off I am sorry you were having a S.A.D day.. I get those occasionally too… and especially in January.

    You have had a crazy past few weeks, and actually much longer than that…it’s true what another commenter posted, be good to yourself as you have been through a lot, plus if you are fighting a flu bug or who knows what kind of bug.. rest, rest, rest- and in no particular order.

    With regard to the Therapy… I am beginning to understand that it may in fact take a few different attempts with multiple therapists to find one you connect with.

    I had my first therapy session last week, which I will soon blog about, because it was so offensive and I left balling my eyes out. Granted I booked the appointment through my insurance with an “unknown”, bad idea.

    My personal beliefs, is that I absolutely believe the right therapist will help others, and I believe a good therapist will help you too.

    My own personal infertility experience has changed who I am, inspired me to attend Grad school so that I may turn around..in a few years, and help others in my same shoes …because I too have struggled finding the right therapist, as you have, and I do believe there is a greater need for therapists educated and sensitive to infertility..

    Please keep us posted on your situation.

    Ps. Picking up the phone is sometimes the hardest part. (can you email?)

    Ps.ps. I have actually on multiple occasions crossed the side walk or walked out of stores after seeing people I knew because I wasn’t feeling social that day.. Its’ A.O.K.

  10. I love therapy. I don’t go for any particular issue, I just like paying someone to listen to me for an hour 🙂 Now that we are in cycle, I go once a week. Yes, to find the right therapist for you, you often have to go through a few bad ones. I had one who said “why are you here. you arent depressed. your survey shows that you feel like you are on the beach drinking pina colads.” haha! So he was not my guy! Visit one or two, tell them what you are looking for, and see if your style gels! I highly recommend it!

  11. You are so right. It is very hard to ask for help, particularly if you are an introvert, particularly if you are going through what we have. I laughed at the crossing the street part because that is so me. It’s not because I’m anti-social, I just don’t have the emotional energy to invest in a conversation.

  12. I am most definitely suffering from General Bitchiness Disorder. My poor husband. I snap at him all the time. I hear myself doing it and I realize it’s not necessary but I can’t stop myself.
    I very much need to go see a therapist and actually stumbled across one who specializes in infertility while looking into a Resolve support group. She used to run one and wrote me a very nice email about how she doesn’t run the group anymore but is a private therapist now and if I ever need to talk I could give her a call. She even outlined her therapy approach for me and it seemed like something I could do. That was weeks ago and I can’t seem to pick up the phone. It really is so hard to put yourself out there and ask for help.

  13. I am pro-therapy, especially during IF. Could you call RESOLVE directly and see if someone there knows of someone in the area, even if that person isn’t listed on their site?

    Ah yes, we are well familiar with generalized bitchiness disorder. It generally comes when I’m stressed about time constraints, but it can pop up for other reasons too and affect everyone in the house.

  14. Dude, i am a huge advocate for shopping around for psychologists – I have had four, plus two psychiatrists, and about a year ago finally my GP recommended a psychologist and he is the most awesome one ever. he has no experience with infertility patient issues but brings it all back to basics, which totally works for me. Maybe ask your GP (normal doctor) to recommend someone good?

    And dude, go ahead and cross the street to avoid people – at least you are out on the street and not shut up isolating yourself at home. i think you are brave and awesome.

  15. I finally got my husband to agree to a therapist this past November, and I think it’s made all the difference for us. This journey just takes its toll on marriage in so many ways.

    Also, I totally get that you want someone who has experience with IF, but I’ve always felt like finding a good fit approach/personality wise was as important as the particular speciality of the practitioner. I guess I feel like unless you’ve been there, there’s only so much expertise can give you, and compassion for the issues is way more important (I’ve just posted on a similar topic myself). Either way, I hope you find the support that you need

    And yes, they should *totally* include generalized bitchiness disorder in the DSM-IV! I suffer frequently, I thnk. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  16. Oh my god. I jumped here from your most recent post on your new therapist. Woman, these two practitioners sound absolutely terrible at their jobs. I’m sorry you had that kind of experience with the mental healthcare system. And huge props to you for going back after this sorry display!

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