Hey there Lovelies,3369289879_29f7016a82_z

There is a thing that happens when you are riding the roller-coaster that is infertility. There are major mood swings: up and down, up and down. Every month. Multiple times a month. During the ups you start to feel almost normal and things are good but then, inevitably, something will happen to plunge you into the pits of hell again.

That’s where I am today, in hell.

Or at least I may as well be. I scream and claw my face as if I’m on fire. I feel so low that it’s impossible to imagine getting back up again. I’m so deep into the hole that it feels as if I’m at the bottom of a well, where sunlight barely reaches me, and pretty things are dulled and grey and out of my reach.

Depression.

I don’t always feel this low. Trying to conceive has been taxing on me and yes I’m often sad. But this is different. Sometimes the roller-coaster dips me way past sad. Then I really fall closer to depression on the emotional scale than just run of the mill sadness. How close you fall and how strong the pull is depends on a lot of things: your personality, your genetic predisposition to depression and the circumstances for what set you off.

What was it that plummeted you into hell this time? Click To Tweet

Here’s the thing to know about depression/grief over infertility– There is really nothing you, or anyone, can say to ease that hurt. Well, unless you can turn to me and say “Mrs. MacDonald, you’re pregnant!” but I suspect you can’t. I know it’s hard to watch me struggle. Trust me it’s scary as fuck from this side of the coin, too. I assure you, I’m doing everything I can to fight for me: To remember how nice the summer was, or how much fun training my dog can be, or how there are amazing things coming for me just over the horizon. I promise I’m not giving up. But right now I’m stuck. Right now it’s hard.

Right now I can’t find my feet. It’s like getting socked in the gut in a boxing match. You collapse to the floor, hardly able to breath. Eyes whirling around in your head you claw for purchase on the ropes and scream inside your mind that you must “get up and keep fighting”. But when it first happens, when that punch knocks you on your ass, you can’t. You can’t do anything except struggle to catch your breath.

So when I am in this place, this dark peice of hell, you cannot help me. As much as you desperately want to console me. As much as you try to find the right things to say. It will not help. Just like yelling at me after a punch to breathe wouldn’t let my diaphragm unclench and let me take in sweet oxygen. Nothing you are saying to me will actually reach me where I am today. Yet you try… Why do you still do it? I suspect you can tell from my dead eyes that your words of comfort aren’t hitting their mark… so why?

You do it to make you feel better.

You don’t do it for me. Click To Tweet

You do it to remove the discomfort that you are feeling. You do it so that you can stop the crazy look in my eye. You do it because, frankly, I’m scaring you. I’m making you afraid by showing you a side of humanity that we often don’t see. The raw anguish of a shattered ideal. The broken shards of life that I’m desperately trying to hold together. The look in my eyes that reminds you just how close we all are to the edge. What might make us jump? What might make us snap?

I remind myself of this as you say to me “It’ll be alright” and “You’ll be a mother someday” and “It will always work out in the end” or my favorite “You need to try ‘X’”… I know that you aren’t really saying these things for me. So I smile a loose smile and nod my head and maybe hug you back. It does help you after all, even if it’s not going to help me. There’s no harm in at least allowing you to get it out and make you feel better.

But, in truth, I find little comfort in your words. Click To Tweet

Let’s break them down and analyze them. You say– “It’ll be alright.” Really? In what way? In the way that I’ll be able to go to sleep tonight and not be woken by nightmares every hour? In the way that I’ll notice the flowers on the table and appreciate their beauty again? Or did you mean that no matter the outcome I’ll figure my shit out and stop looking so damned scary? I fucking hope so because I’m so afraid that I won’t that I’ve all but stopped looking in mirrors.

“You’ll be a mother someday.” I seriously need to borrow your crystal ball then because I would love to have even a shred of that certainty. While you’re at it, will you please tell me EXACTLY when? That way I can go back to feeling more even keeled and not so balanced on the razor’s edge of emotion. If I knew that I would be a mother someday I would be feeling buoyant, I would be doing fun things “in the meantime”. I can’t though because I’m not at all sure that I will be. I’m not at all sure that it’s in the cards for us to be parents. I really don’t know how this will pan out. Not everyone becomes a parent.

“It’ll all work out in the end. If it’s not alright it’s not the end.” Nice platitude. Stuff it. If it works out in the end you’ve either been incredibly lucky or you worked your ass off to survive this hell hole and reclaim your former life in some respects. When you say things like this you trivialize how hard it is to get through it RIGHT NOW. I really can’t see past tomorrow at this point never mind to some mythical place where I will have reached the “end”.

“You should try ‘X’.“ I know. You want it to work for me. It’s so unsettling that I’ve been trying so long and have had no success. It feels wrong, like there must be a way to ‘fix’ it. I know because I feel that way too. But I’ve tried it all. Saying these things feels helpful, after all it worked for your mother’s-uncle’s-cousin’s- daughter. The thing you are missing is that there are many reasons for infertility. Just because something worked for your friend does not mean it will make a difference for me. Just because a friend you heard of had another friend who tried for years and then just became pregnant doesn’t mean that will be the case for me. All this does is drag me down deeper into the hole. It makes me feel as if I’m failing at this. That if I just tried harder, or tried the right things, it would work. This kind of talk does nothing to help me right now.

After you have spoken your useless words to me I’ll typically thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you’ve said. Then I’ll walk away and cry some more. You wonder what else you could have done to help. You wonder how to be a better friend. You feel like shit, because depression is uncomfortable and makes you uneasy. But here’s the god’s honest truth…  you should just stop.

I’m giving you permission to stop trying so hard. Click To Tweet

Truly it hardly seems worth the effort.

When I am this low your words barely reach me and the ones that do don’t numb the pain and agony of this ride. So don’t beat yourself up. I’m sorry I’m making you uncomfortable. I want to go back to being the positive bubbly me, too. I’m trapped in here but I’m trying. In the meantime tell me “You’re sorry”. Tell me “You love me”. Tell me that “You’ll be available if I need you”.

And then just shut up.

I’m exhausted. I’m fragile. I’m broken.

I hardly have the energy to breathe let alone make small talk about my pain. Put on a good comedy in the background. Braid my hair. Let me stew and figure out a way back to you. I’m so sorry… I’m trying.

Unpregnant Chicken

*Update: As with any really raw post I take time to distance myself from the emotions I have written before posting. I wrote this post two weeks ago. I’m feeling much better now but it doesn’t make the emotions of this post any less real and valid. Infertility is a horrid bitch and can suck the life out of you. Please, if you are someone struggling with depression or thoughts of suicide, seek help. I have my support system in place for times like this which includes a wonderful therapist. I highly recommend therapy with a trained professional during infertility. If you are in crisis please seek help immediately, you are worth it. XOXXO*

This is a list for current Suicide Prevention Hotlines by country… Be well: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_suicide_crisis_lines

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27 thoughts on “Words Cannot Help

  • March 5, 2015 at 6:57 am
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    Ohhhh, definitely been here myself. It sucks. You’re right, when you are feeling this way, nothing helps. And one can come up with magical words to make you feel ok. But do know many people at least understand this pain you so well describe. And that by chronicling them here, you may be helping someone. I’m glad you are under the care of a therapist, and I hope you will continue to do this very important thing for yourself.

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    • March 5, 2015 at 7:07 am
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      Nicole,
      I most definitely will continue to see my therapist. She is a lifeline and my balance point when things get really rough. I hope that others can read this and know that they are not alone and that it is ok to ask for help.
      XOXXO, Unpregnant Chicken

      Reply
  • March 5, 2015 at 7:19 am
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    I’ve been here. Not for the same reasons but similar (horomones, struggles with pregnancy ect) It is abosolutely ok to not be ok. Sitting in the sadness and the grief and the anger and going through all those emotions Is a very important thing to do, otherwise you stuff it down deep and it sneaks out in a giant life ruining ball. Stay strong little one.

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    • March 5, 2015 at 8:31 am
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      Kaylee,
      Yes ma’am.
      XOXXO, Unpregnant Chicken

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  • March 5, 2015 at 9:18 am
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    I sooooooo get this post. I so relate to it. I’ve written on some similar topics on my blog too. The idea that people often use platitudes more for themselves than for the person that they’re saying them to. Yes! How true is that? And how unhelpful. Listening is a rare gift I find. When people who got pregnant easily tell me they understand, they don’t! There’s nothing they can say. The best is to listen and learn. That’s why I think it’s good to blog and talk about these things. Not only to support those of us within the infertility community, but so that others learn to.
    So glad that you have a good therapist. I don’t at this moment, but have had a couple in the moments when I’ve most needed it. If I get back there again, I’ll definitely be heading back to one. For now, I still have that monthly pain of infertility. It’s such a weird grieving process isn’t it? So up and down every month. No wonder it’s so excruciatingly painful. ((HUGS))) to you and thanks for your “raw” post.

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    • March 5, 2015 at 9:25 am
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      Rachel,
      It is very painful. I deal alright with the normal, though annoying, ups and downs pretty well but occasionally I slip lower than even I am comfortable with. That’s when the shrink comes in handy ;). Glad you are in a good place right now. Sending love.
      XOXXO, Unpregnant Chicken

      Reply
  • March 5, 2015 at 10:58 am
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    Once again you have managed to hit the nail on the head. Seriously, it is freaky how you can describe so well the emotions and feelings I am unable to verbalize as succinctly as you do (mostly, I bottle them up, and unleash them in a torrent of tears, screams of meaningless anger – typically directed at my DH who totally does not deserve it, and door slams). I feel less alone in this crappy journey reading your blog, and am so grateful to have someone write these struggles out, which helps me, in turn, be able to verbalize my frustrations and emotions to my DH, so he can better help me deal with this journey. Thank you, once again, for writing such spot-on posts!

    Reply
    • March 5, 2015 at 11:43 am
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      Nicki,
      I am glad I am able to give you a voice when you are unable to untangle all the feels on your own. You are not alone. Even in your very darkest hours I promise many of us have been there with you. It is scary as hell but important to acknowledge when we have sunk too low and need help. I hope your hubby can understand better through my words.
      XOXXO, Unpregnant Chicken

      Reply
  • March 5, 2015 at 11:26 am
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    Oh my goodness, thank you so much for writing this. You are far braver than I for being able to really tell it like it is, no holds barred. I have been right there, and I know I’ll be in that place again before this journey is over. And there is not a single thing anyone can do for me. It sucks and all I can do is keep breathing until is passes– and damn it breathing is the hardest thing to just keep doing.

    Reply
    • March 5, 2015 at 11:45 am
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      Moira,
      I think that’s the truly hard part about TTC you go through ups and downs and you always know it’ll come again. Though I suppose it also helps to know that it will ease again. You are right, the breathing gets so hard. In and out. Sound easy but is really not. I am there with you. Deep breath in… and out. Repeat.
      XOXXO, Unpregnant Chicken

      Reply
  • March 5, 2015 at 2:04 pm
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    Echoing what everyone else has said. I’ve been in this place so many times. Feeling like so disconnected from the world around me because of the pain and grief. All the things people say to make it better rarely ever do anything than just make them frustrated because (and I quote) they’re “trying to be supportive.” But you’re right, to truly be supportive requires stepping outside yourself and your comfort zone and walking beside someone. Allowing them to grief and hurt and know that it’s okay to feel that way.

    What you’re going through is insanely hard. And I’m so sorry that you are walking this road. All I have to give is a hug and letting you know that I’m listening. No advice.

    Reply
    • March 5, 2015 at 2:13 pm
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      Cristy,
      Thanks, girl. I really appreciate the support. I’ll take that hug, can’t hurt.
      XOXXO, Unpregnant Chicken

      Reply
  • March 5, 2015 at 3:05 pm
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    Ditto to what everyone else has said. I’ve definitely been in that place before. I think (ok, I know) it is part of the reason I closed myself off from others while struggling through infertility. It’s why I think those (like yourself) who are actively struggling/seeking treatment and are also so open about what they are going through are so brave. I didn’t have the energy or strength for both. So know that you are strong (even when you don’t feel it.)

    I also think being able to recognize when you are in this really dark place, is in itself, a good thing. I have depression in my family, so I’m always cognizant of my emotional state and have definitely sought help when needed. It’s a great post to help others realize they are not alone.

    – Cassie

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    • March 6, 2015 at 7:52 am
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      Cassie,
      That s what the shrink keeps telling me. If I recognize the bad spot I’m in and actively work to change it it means I’m psychologically healthy still even though I’m in a bad spot at the moment. So that’s good I suppose lol. I am glad that I have things in place to help me when I hit these lows. They are no joke.
      XOXXO< Unpregnant Chicken

      Reply
  • March 5, 2015 at 10:57 pm
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    This is so well written and true. I think what people need to understand is that talking to someone about infertility is like talking about other kinds of grief and loss: don’t minimize it, don’t try to fix it, don’t use cliches, don’t make it all about you. Listen, acknowledge, respect. I am sorry you went through such a difficult time.

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    • March 6, 2015 at 7:54 am
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      Torthuil,
      HOW do I pronounce your name?… I keep trying but I’m sure I’m butchering it. Yes grief is grief is grief. People don’t really know how to support ANY grief well so it’s not surprising that infertility grief is poorly supported too.
      XOXXO, Unpregnant Chicken

      Reply
      • March 6, 2015 at 5:41 pm
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        I’m afraid I don’t know how to pronounce torthúil either lol. It’s an Irish word but I don’t speak the language. Maybe one day an Irish speaker will let me know. Thanks again for the post and reply. You can call me Turtle haha.

        Reply
        • March 6, 2015 at 5:44 pm
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          Fair enough! lol XOXXO

          Reply
  • March 5, 2015 at 10:57 pm
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    Where have you been all my life? Or at least over the past two olys years?! I’m so happy I found your blog – infertility can be a very lonely place especially when babies seem to pop out of nowhere!

    X
    I’m in calgary too!!!

    Reply
    • March 6, 2015 at 7:55 am
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      babydreamingcanada,
      Oh hello! Nice to have you here! Glad you are feeling less lonely. Wonder if we’ve sat next to each other in the clinic waiting room?
      XOXXO, Unpregnant Chicken

      Reply
  • March 6, 2015 at 12:07 am
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    Oh, *big big hugs*!! I’ve been there! I know these thoughts and feelings all too well, but you have worded them much better than I ever did. It is good to hear you are feeling better now, may your “bad days” not be too many and may the “good days” outweigh them all!

    Reply
    • March 6, 2015 at 7:55 am
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      JustHeather,
      Thank you! I wish that too. Need to keep the balance.
      XOXXO, Unpregnant Chicken

      Reply
  • March 6, 2015 at 3:51 pm
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    Thank you for being so brave and putting your feelings out there for the world to read. I think one of the hardest things about infertility, at least for me, is the feeling of loneliness, like I am the only person in the world who doesn’t get knocked up within 20 minutes of trying. It’s in my face 24/7…at work people are constantly announcing they’re pregnant, it’s all over tv, and even walking through the store at Target I look longingly at the baby clothes, cribs and diapers. No one can really understand unless they’ve been there. I go through periods of extreme sadness an then I’m totally fine. Lately I’ve been really angry as well. After 2 1/2 years of dealing with this hell, I’m finally seeking help from a therapist this week, so hopefully it goes well. Anyways, thank you again for your pure honestly. It’s so refreshing for me to know that I’m not the only one.

    Reply
    • March 6, 2015 at 5:38 pm
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      Jennifer,
      All of the emotions, all of the time, are perfectly normal with infertility. It is the biggest shit show ever and sometimes I don’t know what I will feel from one day to the next, hell one HOUR to the next really. You are not the only one.
      XOXXO, Unpregnant Chicken

      Reply
  • March 13, 2015 at 8:10 am
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    Wow. Just wow. Your words spoke to my heart. It’s been many years since I walked the infertility path. This post reminded me of that desperate time in my life. Therapy and and a support system are the keys.

    Thank you for bravely telling it like it is. I know this will make a difference in many lives.

    Reply
    • March 13, 2015 at 10:24 am
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      Suzanna,
      Thank you for taking the time to relive it with me. I appreciate the support.
      XOXXO, Unpregnant Chicken

      Reply
    • March 13, 2015 at 10:24 am
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      Suzanna,
      Thank you for taking the time to relive it with me. I appreciate the support.
      XOXXO, Unpregnant Chicken

      Reply

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