I’ve been pondering why, when I know I’m depressed and overwhelmed, I do nothing to care of myself. A few weeks ago, I realized I was in serious trouble. Real despair. The kind that can cripple you, destroy your job, ruin friendships and marriages. With this realization came a determination to do something about it. I re-read Alice Domar’s book on fighting depression during infertility. I made a list of things to do: self-pampering, a pottery class, yoga, relaxation tapes, support group. I even found a therapist that conducts mind/body group sessions designed to teach women like me to cope with infertility.
Then I did nothing about it. Why? It’s that goddamned rat-bastard Hope. He’s just chillin’ out there on the horizon, just out of reach, making faces at me, egging me on, daring me to deny his existence.
Hope. Not a terribly helpful concept. After a couple of years of this hell, Hope can’t keep depression and anxiety at bay. Hope isn’t comforting when you’re getting bad news from the doc, or when you’re spotting and you just know it’s not “implantation bleeding” (how many times have I been fooled by that one?), or when you’re filling out the paperwork for a home equity loan to finance your baby-making ventures. Hope can’t do your job for you, pay your mortgage, maintain your friendships, or salvage your marriage.
But that asshole Hope has been plenty good at keeping me from taking care of myself. As soon as I consider putting a lot of time, effort, energy, and money into some self-help, I think to myself, “well, why don’t I just wait a couple more months and see? Why not just try one more cycle, then I’ll get help if that doesn’t work.”
Infertility is a unique ailment. Unlike someone diagnosed with a life-altering disease, in any given month I might be rescued from this hell. With just two magical words from the doctor, I might be transported into another world, transformed into a different person, with new opportunities and chances, with a real opportunity to hope.
So why get therapy? Why join a support group? Why start a journal? All that effort could just be wasted. Month after month, I think, “maybe next month will be different.” Maybe next month Hope will get a little closer. Maybe next month, I’ll grab him by the throat and never let go.