Running The Gauntlet

depression-2

By nature, I’m a morning person. Despite the fact that I used to hate having to get up early when I was a child (I mean – who wants to leave a snuggly bed to go to SCHOOL instead of staying home to watch cartoons? Ack!), as an adult, I’m definitely a subscriber to the “early bird gets the worm” philosophy (more on that later).

There are a few reasons for this. First, my mother was an early bird. I’m convinced that she instilled in me the beginnings of blossoming agoraphobia, so that I will now go to almost extreme lengths to avoid crowds. Case in point? I have NEVER shopped on Black Friday – in fact, the mere name of it conjures up not images of fantastic deals in my mind but, rather, another term for pestilence.

It’s one of the many reasons why I LOVE stores that open early – the earlier, the better. I love that Starbucks caters to people like me by opening most of its locations by 6am, even on weekends. I love that my grocery store opens at 6.30am, and even though I absolutely despise Walmart and won’t set foot in it unless it’s a dire emergency and my preferred choice of grocery store is closed, I love that they’re also open early (although I’m aware of the fact that they’re not open early, technically, since they’re open 24/7).

To me, everything is better in the morning. Yes, everything. Normally, I’m happiest if I’m bustling around the house by 6am, mainlining caffeine, getting chores done – so that, by 10am at the latest, I can sit back and do whatever the hell I feel like doing. Like getting started on Mount Everest, also known as the growing pile of fall magazines that *somehow* made it into my house in just two visits to my personal Mecca (aka The Book Store).

My absolute nirvana is achieved when my love of early mornings is combined with dropping temperatures – and I bring out the fur-babies, a steaming mug of coffee, a twin size comforter and  pull up one of the Adirondack chairs on our patio to snuggle up and enjoy the scenery. Those are the moments when I wish we had way more trees in our backyard, of course, so I wouldn’t have to worry about Smoky Smokerson (aka one of our neighbors) marring my view. But, still – it’s pure bliss.

However, there is one huge drawback to being a morning person: THE SCHOOL RUN.

Not mine, obviously – everyone else’s.

What makes it worse is that we live in a subdivision where the most expedient and straight-forward way to get to the main road leads you directly past a school – meaning that if I leave my house or come back at certain times, I inevitably run into a slew of cars dropping off their kids or picking them up.

I try not to cry, I really do.

I try not to be resentful – especially of people like a woman before summer break who was, I can only guess, running a little behind and basically ran a stop sign, which almost resulted in a major collision…all with a child in the backseat. I’m still reeling from the shock of imagining what could’ve happened (not to mention the heart palpitations I had, since I was right behind her) – and the feeling of resentment towards people who have children but apparently fail to realize (a) how lucky they are, and (b) how easily/quickly their blessings could disappear in the blink of an eye (followed by what I imagine would be the sickening sound of crunching metal).

But in the last few months, something has changed – and it’s really scary to me. It’s one of the reasons why I figured that I need to reach out, write, say something…because, to be honest, I’m kind of terrified:

I basically don’t want to leave my house anymore.

As I wrote this line, just now, I really struggled not to burst into tears. Deep down I know I’m probably on the outskirts of PMS – which means all bets are off for even trying to contain a potential meltdown – but I also know that what I feel, and admitting to it, feels like DEFEAT.

It reminds me of what Rachel said on Friends (although in completely different circumstances):

“I really thought I just hit rock bottom. But today, it’s like there’s rock bottom, then 50 feet of crap, then me.”

That’s exactly how I feel.

I thought I had already hit an all-time low in dealing with IF – because, believe me, if you’re lucky enough not to have to deal with it, or if you are struggling with it but are lucky enough to have an active support system, you have no idea how incredibly marginalizing and ostracizing it is for most of us.

If I had a penny for every time I’ve read a post from someone who has (or, more than likely, had) a friend and/or family member who either said something mean, unsupportive or pledged their support and didn’t follow through; if I subsequently had yet another penny for every time I’ve read from other women, just like me, how lonely they feel in their struggle with IF because (a) no one seems to care/understand, and/or (b) once they opened up to those around them about their problems, people just started distancing themselves…if I had a penny for all those stories, I’d already be well on my way to affording an IVF cycle.

But, like the quote, that’s where I thought I had hit rock bottom.

WRONG!

As someone inherently sociable and outgoing – an extrovert, really – it’s completely out of character for me not to want to be around other people. But, as time went on and there was no baby, it became more and more difficult to be around others who seemed to get pregnant without even trying – or, in some cases, even wanting a baby. And because I didn’t want to be a “Debbie Downer”, I just stayed home. I made excuses.

First, I just declined invitations to baby showers. It made perfect sense because I felt that I couldn’t hide my own dismay well enough, I couldn’t bring forth enough “fake enthusiasm” – not because I wasn’t happy for someone else, but because my own sadness was so overwhelming that it basically swallowed everything else.

But then, more and more, I stopped declining other invitations. I knew that it wasn’t good for me, but social interactions felt increasingly forced and fake. If it wasn’t all about mothers and babies – which I couldn’t relate or contribute to (talk about sticking out like a sore thumb) – I was constantly trying to suppress my growing anxiety and panic over not just my own inability to get pregnant, but the constant fear that I would suddenly burst into tears at the most inopportune moment. Crying in public? Not without some kind of real, tangible injury to curry sympathy with. Crying in public and then either having to make up some lame excuse on the spot, or fess up about the real reason and “Prepare To Be Judged” (and, by extension, be talked about behind your back)? NO THANKS.

So I stopped accepting invitations. I continued to interact with my “friends” through FB, reminiscing, “liking”, catching up, commenting, ribbing each other and even going so far as planning some get togethers with out of state friends.

But then all the pregnancy announcements got too much to cope with and, after yet another “OOPS! Looks what happened even though we weren’t even trying/I was on BC/we already have 3 kids”, I’d had enough: I closed my FB account.

Apparently, with that, I committed social suicide.

Aside from a handful of people, the vast majority of my “friends” disappeared into the ether and haven’t been heard from again since – now going on several years. And while I’m not exactly devastated, I can’t say it did anything for my already bruised ego, either.

But, going back to the quote, after my “social suicide” there were 50 feet of crap, and now I feel like I’ve reached a new low where I literally no longer want to leave the house. I’m constantly terrified of someone asking me about when we’re going to have children – or, worse yet, assuming we already do (understandable, given our ages). What’s even more embarrassing, of course, is the quagmire of how to respond to a question about children. If I say we don’t have children “yet” – which I keep trying to tell myself is what I need to say along with “when” instead of “if” (positive reinforcement!) – I keep thinking that I’m just asking for snorting, raised eye-brows and a derisive “WHAT are you waiting for???”

To be honest, I’m just tapped out. I feel like I have nothing left keep me going – which, in turn, makes me feel even more horrible because of my loving husband who has to deal with a defective wife…

 

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One thought on “Running The Gauntlet

  1. I am so sorry you are feeling this way. I know just the isolation/withdrawment (I think I made that up) that you are talking about. I really don’t want to sound like a broken record (so I am sorry if am), but after I started taking my thyroid pill and testosterone/prog creams, the low lows I was experiencing have disappeared. Maybe you’ve gone through all that, I am not sure, but I hate the thought of anyone feeling this way one more day and so I mention it when I can. My low testosterone caused depression, especially before AF, as though that disappointment were not enough. Thinking of you…

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