Wishing you courage

"Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying 'I will try again tomorrow'."
- Mary Anne Radmacher

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Your body knows, you know.  Even if you didn't jot down that date on the calendar.

It has been well documented here how agitated I've been this week and days ago I consulted the wall calendar to see if it was the anniversary of Embryo M.'s (who I don't like to talk about) positive pregnancy test but that's on the 20th.


Reviewing the past, you can point out the life changing events; August holds three for me.  Both of my pregnancies existed during an August and while I was thrilled about Toren's pregnancy, the way it ended and the loneliness aftermath, August where Toren is concerned is .... bittersweet?  no... ironic?  no... acrid?  perhaps.  It's a huge slap in the face, like, "here you go, here is a baby, conceived in love, inspiring further expansion of spousal love, making it look like you are finally on the right path and things are about to become beautiful - heeheehee ... HaHaHa ... HAHAHAHAHAHA!  Just kidding!  I can't believe she fell for that one!" 

What's the word for that?

August is also when I found proof that my husband was a cheating liar.  It was August 2004.

I could search through old handwritten journals to identify when I started to suspect that hubby was searching for lovin' outside of our home but I know the suspicions were there by August of 2003.  My undergrad degree was completed in May 2003 and we were taking a year to save money and figure out where to move to, which would depend on the graduate program I got in to.  At some point that summer I said that we need to re-evaluate our marriage and if things do not improve by moving time we would go our separate ways.  But we got so caught up in the excitement of buying a house in a new city and moving across the country that we forgot to consider if we wanted to be together.

It felt like a new beginning for our marriage since we were so far from the girls he had crushes on and for about 3 months I was very hopeful for our future, after all, we had our first house and I got into a competitive grad program which surely would make me more attractive to him.  Intelligence and drive are pretty, right?

A tangent that is important to the story:  There was no college prep in my family.  I graduated from high school and floundered around the west coast until deciding to attend college.  That didn't work out so well.  Coming from a poor family means no college fund and my mother, frustrated from paying on her student loans for decades for a degree she didn't finish, told me not to take out student loans.  So I worked 2-3 jobs at a time for a couple of years to save money for college and let me tell you that it is very hard to pay for college on minimum wage and it's hard to attend classes while working enough to pay for college.  I got married, moved away from my mother and her advice and got student loans to attend a state university.  I loved undergrad!  Loved, loved, loved!  So much that I wanted more.  A class taken in my junior year pointed to the direction for graduate school and I wanted the best program!  It was almost ridiculous to think that a person like me (poor family, state university) could attend a top school but I got in and when the email stating my acceptance arrived I jumped up and down like a kid.  All of this to say that attending this graduate program was the most important thing to me at that time.  There was nothing I wanted more.

During grad school orientation week in late August 2004 I was using hubby's computer and found Yah.oo chats where he was asking to see photos of girl after girl and if they sent one he would say "very nice", even if they weren't.  Some engaged in chats and he would ask to meet them and described his penis and when questioned further confessed to being married but not being sexually compatible with his wife.  There was one where he made plans to meet the woman, for a discreet adult encounter, and it was set for a time a few weeks prior when I  was out of town.

Again, there is not a good word for the feelings upon reading those messages.  I suspected stuff but seeing proof is ... life shattering.  I remember sitting on the floor of our bedroom in the house we bought 3 months earlier making this noise that I didn't think was possible - it was between a wail and a moan and a scream.

It's hard to learn something new and horrible about the person you think you know best - the person who promises that he loves you.  He denied it all at first even though I was reading what he had written back to him.

That was a Wednesday.

As cheated on folk know, then comes the question of what to do next.  As a teenager I had promised myself that I would not stay with someone who cheated on me; I had seen that pattern and the accompanying lack of self esteem many times. We were out of money having spent all of our savings on the house and move.  I didn't have a job since we planned that I would just go to school.  My options were to stay with him to attend school or move back to the other coast and live with my mother. 

At 10am the following Monday I was in class, appearing "normal" while secretly hating myself for not being desirable enough to inspire marital faithfulness and completely lacking self respect.


Anyhoo, August holds memories.  August holds the anniversaries of choices made that led down a road that would be questioned later.

I should have correctly interpreted the glaring signs in August 2003 and left the marriage.  August 2004 was a second huge sign.  That's bullshit, it was more than a sign, it was more than a suspicion that could be debated away, it was PROOF that he was a liar and had no regard for my feelings or those stupid vows we made to each other on the day we married.  But I didn't have the perspective and resources that come with experience that I do now; the events of August 2003 and 2004 would have inspired very different responses if I knew then what I know now.


August 13, 2007 was the day when I took a home pregnancy test and found out that Toren existed.  I didn't know anything about him but I knew that I loved the little being that joined our family.  It's been 3 years and 1 day since my being has been focused on Toren's health and happiness.  It feels like yesterday.

Two years ago, on the anniversary of the last day that I didn't worry about Toren (8/12/200), I wrote:

What would I tell my self of a year ago who had no clue that a nightmare was tip toeing up right behind her? It would be "My Dear Girl, you have mere hours of blind bliss left, enjoy these moments of being young and carefree". A year ago I would have argued about that carefree bit since my cares started rather early in life; who knew those were relatively lighthearted days.

What I would give for thoughts from my self a year from now. Next August 12 will I be remarking on how much beauty and joy has entered my life or will it be another shell shocked statement of "didn't see that

A year later the response:

Well Anna from the past, if you could have heard your thoughts from the future, this is what you would have been told ...

You will still be a bit shell shocked from living another year without Toren and a good portion of a year without your husband - yes, he will leave your ass without hardly a word. But by August 12, 2009 you will also be so thankful for the joy that entered your life. You never would have believed that housemates would be a good situation for you but it is so great having C and L around! Also, you will spend this terrorversary with a boy - he's nice and fun to be around and tonight we see if he can cook. 

Three years later?
Anna of the past, that boy from 8/2009 stuck around!  He is super sweet and you are eager for him to move in with you.  Life is still messy and when Toren died almost 3 years ago you would have run away screaming if anyone told you that you would still be mourning for that little guy today.  The comparison of what was lost is still overwhelming any gains BUT you gained things that you didn't even know were missing!  You have your own thoughts and are learning how to stop suppressing them; this is harder than it sounds.  Life without your husband is necessary and should have happened a long time ago, but the past is what it is.  By the way, you still can't stand your ex and sometimes stalk him on facebook ... maybe that will change by next year.  Of course your present life began with Toren's death, would you trade self-awareness and a non emotionally abusive relationship to have Toren with you?  Well, this question is unanswerable.  Toren DID die.  It already happened and cannot be undone.  All you can do is try your best no matter what horrible situations you are dropped into, I suppose.

Thus begins year 3.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Trying to kick ass

My rewriting the story post is mentioned in Mel's Blog Roundup.  How embarrassing that since then it's all just been ranting and TMI - too bad I can't say that the rants and mood swings are not the norm!


Thoughts on personal training, aka, the longest 30 minutes of my life each and every time:
Over a year ago I signed up for training so I could work with a boxing coach because I was so angry that I needed to hit something.  Then my coach left the gym.  Then, a year later, I was feeling fat and blobby so renewed my contract but instead of once per month I purchased one session per week.  I had a lot saved up though so I can go to two session per week for several months.  I hate it.  I hate weight training with a trainer.

While getting ripped is supposedly the goal of training, the larger point of working with a trainer seems to be overcoming mental barriers.  So they say to do so many reps for so many sets, but depending on how happy you look they will add weight for subsequent sets or add "just one more" as soon as you think you are done.  If you can't lift the weight on your own towards the end the trainer will assist you so that you complete each and every rep of each and every set, thus realizing you can go beyond what your brain says you can.

That part of it is good for me - it is cool finish a goal that you thought was impossible.  The problem is I get hurt frequently.  I don't want to let down my trainer or complain so I end up with strained muscles.  But again, is that just me saying "I can't physically do this", when actually I can?  The strains heal after a few days.


What do you think about being pushed beyond what you think you can do?  Is it important?  Is it important for recovering from huge life failures, such as pregnancy loss, divorce, infertility, job loss, or an infinite number of events that can make you lose trust in yourself?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Much better

Whew, was I ever pissed last night.  Today is much better mood swing wise; the rant and the brownies worked!  Do you think it's possible to internally dissolve anger or does it have to be released?  Exercise and talking or writing about it help me, but is there a way to just think anger away?

Tonight, box office ticket availability willing, I'm seeing one of my favorite bands and SnuggleBunny is coming with me!  The ex didn't come with me when I saw them a few years ago, not that I need company all of the time but it makes me feel happy that SB is willing to sit through a band that he isn't very familiar with just because I want to go to the concert.

Other good things (to make up for yesterday's ultra grumpy post):
  • Work is going well today.
  • Lots of kitty snuggles last night.
  • Products of recent on-line shopping trips are on their way, including the Clarisonic Plus, which I am convinced will completely change my life!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Not losing it

My health goals for this week are to not lose patience with anyone to their face and to avoid alcohol because it is contributing to my depression.  Losing patience will make me very un-proud of my behavior so this is a positive self-esteem goal, which is an important part of overall health.  I've been going to the gym to burn off stress!

Obstacles (aka Oh fuck me)
1.  Menstrual period approacheth = hormones and the disappointment of not having a birth control failure.  What a mental mind fuck to be so divided in purpose.  On one hand (the rational one) the time for ttc is not quite here, on the other hand I'm tired of being stuck "here".  "Here" is where you watch others building their families while you wait and wait and wait and wonder if your turn already came and went.  Remember that the joy that others experience does not lessen one's own joy? ... why is this so non-intuitive?  Why do I have to repeat this over and over to remind myself that I'm happy too?  Weapon of choice: a pack of gluten-free brownies

2.  Mental health professionals are annoying.  Remember when I was really upset and my therapists seemingly random advice was to set boundaries?  That still is not making me feel any better and come to think of it, I'm really sucking at establishing boundaries.  Then yesterday I saw my psychiatrist to see if the meds were leading to mental check outs and the absence of org.asms.  She interpreted the problem as a change in the generic manufacturer of the pills.  I said that I thought there was no change but she wrote me a prescription anyway (with a note to give me the "right" one) and said to come back in if this doesn't fix the problem.  Guess what!  The new prescription is for the the exact same thing that I've been taking.  It is not cool that I have to pay for another visit now. Weapon of choice: Practice setting boundaries by seeing if the prescription issue can be resolved through e-mail.

3.  Lack of orga.ms.  Oh fuck me ... but it doesn't seem to do any good...

4.  Things are definitely strained now that the colleague I work closest with is pregnant with her second baby.  I listen sympathetically to her plight of vomiting everyday because it is polite but come on and return the effort lady!  I took a sick day on Friday because my calendar was clear and I was feeling very stressed from not sleeping well for the past couple of weeks; here was our exchange on Monday:

Her:  Are you feeling better?
Me: Yes, I was just very tired from not sleeping well for the past ... (I was still talking)
Her:  I left after being here an hour.  I threw up all day, I don't know if it was from the baby or the sinus infection.
Me:  That sucks.  Are you feeling better?  You sound better.
Her:  Yes.  You know klono.pin makes people very tired.  I've taken it as a sleep aid.
Me:  One of my friends does that too.
Her:  So if you are not having an anxiety attack and take it it could make you tired.
Me:  uh?
Her:  If you are already feeling calm and take your clonaz.epam it may make you feel tired.
Me:  But the problem is I haven't been sleeping.
Her:  Oh.  How was the play last night?

Do you ever feel like you are not being heard at all?

BTW I've been taking a couple of clona.zepam a day, as prescribed, for daily anxiety attacks which started several weeks ago, about the time of her pregnancy announcement.  Yes, I think that it makes me less energetic during the day but I don't nap on most weekdays and still go to work and then go to the gym or see  friends or do errands at night.  I'm not skipping work because I'm taking clona.zepam!

She's finding out the sex of the baby on Thursday.  I was so excited for Toren's anatomy ultrasound until learning that vital parts of the baby's anatomy could be completely missing and you learn that your baby is going to die which kind of distracts from the big reveal of the gender.  She thinks it is a girl.  And this makes me almost lose it because she already has a baby boy while mine died and now she will get a daughter too?!  This makes my head spin for some reason.

I will not lose patience in public... I will not lose patience in public... I will not lose patience in public

Um, sorry for the huge, hormone induced rant.  Overall, life is better than I made it sound here and I feel better getting all of that out.  I'm going to get comfortable in bed with my brownies and wish for some sound sleep.

What are your health goals for this week?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Rewriting the story

I listen to self-help, meditation, and positive affirmation podcasts all night.  This has been going on for over a year.  After my husband moved out I would turn the TV on immediately upon arriving home and it would often stay on all night on low volume.  One time I woke up to a crime show and realized that something more soothing going on in the background would be a good idea.

Music doesn't help me sleep.  During the frequent nightly awakenings hearing voices helps - I get up to pee, just in case that was what woke me up (but most of the time a cat or dog is the culprit), then listen to the speaking until I fall back asleep.  When it's dark and I'm tired it's too easy to remember the sad things and slip into nightmares or stay awake all night without the gentle voices to distract me into sleep.

Anyway, last night I was listening to a new favorite podcast "Why Shamanism now?" and one topic was "rewrite the story".  This morning I woke up thinking "rewrite your story!".  The idea is not new (I've written about it before) but it was explained in a way that made it more attainable.  Bear with me as I explain this because I heard this in the space between wake and sleep.  Life changing losses are so intense they can be all consuming...hmmm...like, sometimes that's all you can deal with and it is appropriate to be right there wading through your muddy, sticky grief, but it's not appropriate to stay there permanently.

During the early afternoon of October 31, 2007 the news that my son would die sucked the breath out of me and during those hours where what was expected to be a normal prenatal visit turned into an immediate appointment for a level II ultrasound and consultation with a perinatologist and the findings turned worse and worse until we were back in my OB's office discussing what to do next.  The story I was working on took such a dramatic change that it's like a new book had to start.  The story where I was in love and loved and joyfully waiting for my son stopped abruptly. The story of being admitted to the hospital, inducing labor for a pregnancy that I wanted, holding my dead son, then the years of grief could not be combined with the story of happily expecting a baby.

Then there's the story of my husband leaving for greener pastures where grief did not exist, that overlaps with the story of becoming adjusted to deadbaby motherhood.

Dead son.  Husband can't stand me.  These are all consuming stories and for a long while it was not possible to be in any other story.  But it's been almost 3 years since Toren died and going on 2 years since my husband left.  If I let the stories of loss drift to the background what is here?  Well, surprisingly I'm still standing.  There were so many times when I thought I could not live through the pain of so much loss.  It seemed impossible that the heart that ached so much could continue it's rhythmic beating.  How is it possible that this body that screamed in rage and sorrow did not just crumble to dust?  It must have been held together by all the wine ;)

But seriously, to get through that took hours and hours of therapy, lots of antidepressants, patient friends, and then re-finding love.  The turning point from total grief to some relief took years.  And apparently a lot of rambling.

Those stories of loss are in the past, and they are incredibly important parts of my past so I'm not wishing them away, but it's time to start honoring the current story.  The rough draft goes something like this:

  • I am safe.  For the first time that I can remember there is no one controlling me in negative ways.  There is no one physically near me with the desire, and the balls, to pursue their own interests with no thought given to how their actions would affect me.
  • I am in love.  Cautious love but it is beautiful just the same.
  • There is potential for a great career.
  • There is potential for a family.
I guess it's not so much rewriting the story as tapering off adding chapters to the stories of a failed pregnancy and a failed marriage and instead spending more energy on exploring this new story. 


I hope that makes at least a little bit of sense.  It's exciting.

Wishing you all lovely stories.

Monday, August 2, 2010

I woke up heartbroken today, which isn't all that unusual but I explored it to see if acknowledging the problem behind the ache would make it go away.  It didn't but perhaps more time is needed.  Babylost land is a lonely, lonely place.  I don't think I can say it enough.  Lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely...

Thankfully there is this virtual oasis but some days I could just use an actual hug and a sincere "how are you doing?" and have it be ok when I don't say "great!", "fine", "good".  I'm not doing good today but there's no time to let the wall holding it all back to come down.  There are e-mails to respond to and piles of other important things that really look like bullshit when compared to feeling so alone.  How many other people in this building are feeling similarly?  How would we ever find each other when we are all doing "good"?

I'm seeing my psychiatrist next week but what if all of the medication adjustments in the world can't really cure this persistent depression?  What if all the pills can do is make it look more believable when I say that I'm "fine"?  It's so silly how this bout started: last week on the phone my Mom didn't ask me how my knee was.  She has a lot of worries right now and rationally I know that my fractured knee was not important enough to be on her radar.  But it triggered some stupid abandonment issues and over the week the feelings of being forgotten grew.  Last night I saw photos from my sister's baby shower that I didn't know she was having.  I'm not close to my family, physically or in any other way so it should not be a surprise - it's still choking though.  It's like, your baby dies and makes everyone terribly uncomfortable then you sink into a deep hole (that may or may not be filled with cases of wine) and while you grieve and are not making enough efforts to keep in contact with people you become forgotten so by the time you crawl out of that hole everyone has moved on and is used to not hearing from you.

For the millionth time I wonder, why aren't I doing as well as people expect me to be?  Why do I still miss the baby that is just a very distant memory for most people around me?

I'm actually feeling more stable than it sounds above, the long path out of depression has me worn out right now.


Last week was a very low energy, long work day week and I didn't do well on my health goals.  But when our goals are not met we just appreciate ourselves for at least trying, dust off, and try again.  My health goals for this week are going to be free form.  I will do at least one healthy thing everyday and keep a log of them off to the right sidebar.

Today is a new day.  If you did great with your goals from last week please share your successes!  If you did not so great that's ok, you are still a good person.

Please feel free to share your goals in a comment or write a post about them and leave a link to your blog.