To My 2015 Self

Dear Tomorrow Me,

Well, look at you. You made it to the New Year despite yourself. 2014 was a lot tougher than you would have liked and I know you would like to view 2015 as an opportunity for positive change and growth. You write about being realistic, depressed, pessimistic and yet here you are still being hopeful. Maybe it’s the tastiness of this peppermint coffee or the wonderful sounds of the rain falling outside but I feel it necessary to encourage you not to give up that hope. I have been wracking my brain trying to remember any positives in 2014 and Surprise! there were a few.

You still have a job. Even though that place drives you crazy, it is a stable job and income. You didn’t quit in a mad rage, you were not canned because of budget cuts. You stuck it out and remain a non-hobo.

You reconnected with amazing friends. Sure it took longer than you would have liked (2 days before the New Year actually), but you learned they were experiencing their own struggles in 2014. Their absence wasn’t personal like you always think it is!

You have an answer to your infertility issue. You also have choices and that door is not closed for you.

You discovered a new author and in doing so have gotten back into reading. I’m adding this since it is a long series and should last you well into the New Year. It has all the elements you enjoy and reading is a much healthier escape than TV and YouTube.

You started this blog. You pushed through the self-doubt and anxiety and actually followed through with something. This has given you the opportunity to connected with others in a new and meaningful way, and so far the other bloggers of WordPress are amazing!!! It has also given you a positive outlet and more effective way to express and learn about yourself.

So there you have it. A simple reminder that you are capable of positive change, growth and though you may give up on yourself sometimes, your friends and loved ones haven’t. Try not to roll your eyes too much as you look back on this. Hold off on your snarky sarcasm and negative follow-up thoughts. Just take them at face value and appreciate them for what they are.

Congrats, you survived 2014!

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Age, We All Have It

Of all the things the human race has to worry about, age shouldn’t be one of them. Sure, we should think about our overall health, but that should be from day one and continue until we die. I don’t know about other countries but in the US the “prime” ages seem to be between 21 and 25. Within these ages exists a place where telling your real age comes with pride. You are no longer an awkward teen, you are given a bit more respect as an adult, and you’re nowhere near the proverbial “hill” we all go over.  I remember at age 25 hoping time would simply stop. I was perfectly fine with that number and no more were needed, thank you very much.

My mother has always been a great role model of how to handle the age thing. She never lies about her age and she openly discusses it if the topic comes up. Since she had me later in life she was typically older than the other mothers and she didn’t seem to mind one bit. My mother was also gifted with a youthful appearance. She has aged beautifully and I don’t blame her one bit for taking pride in that.

It is because of this upbringing that I can’t understand where my own insecurities come from. Perhaps it is because I’m now 10 years older than she was when she had me and I’m still without a child. For as much as age should not be a factor when it comes to attractiveness or ability, the sad fact of the matter is age does effect one’s ability to get pregnant. Perhaps it is because of this fact that ageism is still so prominent for women. But I won’t get into that now.

One thing I do have in common with my mother is that I haven’t physically aged too badly. I still get carded at the age of 40. Maybe they’re just being nice, but I’ve had some pretty interesting reactions when they see my date of birth. Typically I get, “Oh wow you look great” or “I never would have guess you were that old.” What the hell is a 40 year old supposed to look like exactly? I watch TV, I’ve seen movies, I know people my age and older. None of us are walking around with gray hair and canes. In fact, thanks to improved medical care we even live to our 50s!

I had a rather intrusive encounter with a waitress when we went out to eat one evening. I ordered a beer and she carded me. Once she saw my date of birth the look of shock was obvious. Then it got weird. She informed me she was the same age as I am, only a month older to be precise. She said she wouldn’t have believed it if she hadn’t seen it and said I looked so much younger. I was a bit uncomfortable, but thanked her. Then she said, “How do you look like that, but I look like this (she points to her whole self) if we are the same age?” How do you appropriately respond to that type of question? Do you lie and say they look great too? Do you fake plastic surgery? Clean livin? Good genes? Time traveler? It was so uncomfortable and I can’t even remember what I said. I’m sure it was tactful as she was handling my food.

There comes a point where saying someone looks good “for their age” isn’t really a compliment. How about they just look good?  Oh you run 5 miles a day, that’s amazing for someone your age, is NOT a compliment. There are thousands upon thousands of people that are of all ages doing amazing things, accomplishing goals, look fabulous, and living their friggin lives. Come on people, have we not advanced enough as a society to stop stigmatizing people based on age? Hahahahah, I know wishful thinking.

Infertility and Possibilities

I went to my follow-up appointment with the fertility specialist this week. It was not good news, it was not definitive bad news. It appears my ovaries aged about 3 years faster than my actual biological age. How the hell does that happen? Well, endometriosis could wear them out and cause damage. I’ve never been diagnosed, but apparently it’s possible to have it and not know it. There is no cure and the test is horribly invasive. The fact I’m part Asian may or may not be a factor. Studies have shown that Asian women tend to go through menopause much earlier than Caucasians and African-American women. Ok great. Basically what that means is fewer eggs are produced and the quality may be weaker which she says may explain why I had the miscarriage last year.

We reviewed all the choices, the outrageous costs, and the chances of success. All very dismal, unrealistic numbers. The only option that seemed remotely affordable and higher success rates was embryo adoption. These are already created embryos from a man and woman who chose in vitro fertilization (IVF). They already have the amount of children they want but there are live embryos still frozen. They then allow the clinic to put those embryos up for adoption. This is basically adoption, but you get to actually go through the pregnancy process. You and your partners name are on the birth certificate.

I tried to research embryo adoption online, but found very little information. Mostly, they were “private” clinics, that were more like adoption agencies in that the donors were apart of the process. Some even had the biological donors screen potential parents. UGH, I did not like what I was finding. When I asked the doctor about why there was so little information, she was very honest in saying it is not a money-making procedure. Hospitals and clinics would rather people go through IVF or other fertility treatments because they make a lot of money from those procedures. I would like to say I’m shocked and appalled that a treating facility would rather make money than help people, but I’m really not surprised.

She reinforced that in the region we live there are major hospitals that offer embryo adoption and the donors are completely out of the picture. The only information you are given are health and ethnicity of the donors. Donors sign away all rights and are not even told if their embryos were adopted or not. I find this reassuring since I’ve seen some standard adoptions go really bad.

For now she recommended two different vitamin supplements, DHEA and CoQ-10. She says that these have been shown to increase woman’s reproductive organs and quality of eggs. She believes I could still get pregnant so all is not lost in that area. The good thing is I have some answers and some choices. The embryo adoption is something my BF and I will need to really talk about considering our current circumstances and what the future may hold. Another really positive aspect of embryo adoption is that it can be done at any age as long as you have a uterus. Now I’m not saying I want to get pregnant after menopause, but I like knowing there is no rush.

Stress and Depression a sloppy mix

Disclaimer: In this blog I discuss my personal experience with suicidal thoughts. If for any reason this offends or triggers negative thoughts for you please don’t continue reading. Much thanks!!!

Another trip to emergency this week for my father. His blood pressure spiked at 200+ over 90 and the doctors have no idea why. He has a follow-up with is primary MD this Friday. Will we get answers, who knows. This is more to add to my list of concerns regarding my father and his dwindling health. I also have my “big reveal” appointment with the fertility specialist today. This appointment will reveal the results of the blood work. This is supposed to tell me what is happening to me internally and if there is any hope for pregnancy.

I can tell I’m not handling all these events well. When I finally do fall asleep I wake up really sore and exhausted. I’ve fallen behind at work and today I just said screw it I’m staying home and sleeping in. My relationship with my BF has been a struggle and we had a pretty heated fight Monday night. I actually started planning in my head what I would need to do if I was suddenly single.

Since I have no close friends I spoke with my mother about all this. I had to vent this out as it is driving me mad. She was empathetic and offered to help in any way she could. I didn’t know what to tell her. Right now the only thing that would help is if everything miraculously got better or I change lives with someone who has a better life. All very realistic…:-P

A symptom of my depression is that suicide is always at the forefront of my thoughts. I realize this is a huge taboo for many and I respect that. I want to emphasize that I in no way believe suicide is a solution. These are simply my thoughts and how I’ve lived with them. For me, I think I get a sad comfort in thinking I have choices, I have an escape route. It is certainly not a good choice. I’ve heard all the propaganda that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I know those I love and that love me would be negativly effected by my actions. I also have a very healthy fear of failing at it. Working in mental health, I’ve seen clients with failed suicide attempts that have mangled themselves physically and/or caused horrible internal damage. And yet with all that it is still in my thoughts.

I’ve been fortunate in that my thoughts don’t consume me to the point of action. I’ve never been hospitalized and I know who I can talk to for help. I’ve actually gotten used to these thoughts which I try not to judge as a good or bad thing,They simply are. When the chips are down, they are there for better or worse.

If you are feeling suicidal and they are not passive thoughts, please call 1-800-273-8255. None of us are as alone as we feel.

Bio 101: Sex

I’m guessing sex is important if you want to try to get pregnant. But what do you do when you feel like the fattest, least desirable person in the world? How do you get your sexy on when all you want to do is tune out and disappear? This has been an especially difficult and long round of depression. Too much has been happening that each one alone is difficult. All at once it’s just debilitating. I’m guessing this is the part where having close friends would help. I always see in the movies when a character hits rock bottom it’s their best friends that come in with the wine and junk food to help them through it. My BF does his best and I love him for it…but he’s too close to a lot of the issues that have been happening. So are my parents.

What does one do when their libido takes a vacation and they have morphed into Jaba the Hut??

On a side note: I’m glad I started this blog. Even though some subscribers are spam it is thrilling to think people actually are interested. I’m all for the voyeuristic aspects of reading others lives. It is helpful to know that in the universe of mental illness I’m in a way “normal”. I’ve never tried being the exhibitionist because rejection sucks and I have no ego strength. Now that I have people (even fake ones) subscribing, woohoo!

So a huge thank you to the real and fake subscribers, you inspire me. And I hope to find others that can share in this trek into the abyss that is me.

Now what?

I feel like I’m trying to function normally in a nightmare. I feel emotionally defeated and overwhelmed with sadness. Amidst everything, my boyfriend was fired from his job. It wasn’t a huge paying position, but it helped ease the burden of expenses. When I got the news my mind automatically went into panic mode. I listed everything that could be deemed disposable expenses, e.g. Netflix, snack foods, eating out, etc. Surly if we have no life, no enjoyment we will save money. But then as I continued brainstorming I realized, we already don’t do all that much. We’ve stopped taking vacations, we rarely go to the movies, and we don’t even take day trips. Once we take away these small pleasures, what do we have? The only reason I didn’t list the cable is because the penalty for cancelling the contract early is too expansive. So…we will have TV. What’s the purpose of working, eating, breathing, existing if there is no fulfillment? What are we striving for? Possible better days ahead, maybe some happiness, hopefully satisfaction? The problem with depression is I don’t see the possibilities, I just see more of the same.

I envy those that are strengthened by their faith, that have naturally optimistic personalities, that believe things will always get better. I hear them talking, or see their posts and wonder what that must be like. I get that everyone has bad days or struggles, but most don’t drown in them. Their heads stay above the water. I feel like I’m just sitting at the bottom waiting to die.

On a more positive note, my father is taking a more serious roll in his safety. They are having a nurse come to their home to check on him and he has ordered a wheelchair. This appears to be progress and I’m relieved he may have finally taken my pleads to him seriously. He still calls on my BF to assist him, but to go to medical appointments not because he’s fallen.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I had an appointment with the fertility specialist. She ordered blood work that could test the functionality of my ovaries. It had to be drawn at a very specific time during my menstrual cycle. I was able to do the blood work last week and will follow-up with her near the near the end of this month. She will let me know if treatment is necessary or if I should consider other options.

Now that my BF isn’t working perhaps it’s a good thing we don’t have a child. UGH, Ok that was a sucky attempt at trying to look at the positive. If I had a child I would make it work. I may suck over all, but when it comes to those I love, I do everything in my power to ensure they are cared for. Just ask my dogs. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t get dressed most weekends. But because I know they need socialization and exercise, I get my sorry ass dressed and take them to the dog park. And this is why I need to write more. I need reminders that I’m not the horrible, awful, pathetic human being I feel like most of the time. Now if life would just stop sucking…

And the other stuff

Along with the depression stuff, infertility stuff and aging stuff, I’m also encountering the aging parent stuff.

I am the only child of divorced parents. Nothing new or exciting, that seems to be the average family unit now a days except there is usually more than one child. Both of my parents found other people with whom they are more compatible so I guess it wasn’t all bad.

The problem is, my father suffers from a rare degenerative disease call Polymyositis. This disease essentially is the body attacking itself. The immune system treats the muscles as foreign objects and attacks accordingly. The only way to stop this is to take an immune suppressant. The problem with that is with the immune system held back, it struggles to fight things it’s supposed to like the common cold, or a scratch.

My fathers mobility is dwindling and he struggles to walk even with a walker. He’s fallen several times and it’s been sheer luck he hasn’t broken anything. I’ve begged him to get a motorized unit but he refuses. The problem with my father is that he is a strong-willed, intelligent, independent person. He has a sharp mind trapped inside a body that is becoming so frail he is as vulnerable as a newborn. It is horrible and I know he is miserable.

Fortunately, I live about 15-20 min from his home. Unfortunately, I’ve received too many calls from him asking for help because he has fallen but doesn’t feel it’s an emergency. He refuses to call 911 and wants my boyfriend to come and help him up. Even though he lives with his girlfriend she can’t be there  24/7, she cannot lift him, and she is also aging. I’ve told him he needs an emergency system in place like Life Alert, and he needs an in home care provider that can check on him at least once a week if not every other day. But he doesn’t feel he is “that bad” yet! It is maddening, it is heart breaking and drastic measures may need to be taken soon.

As a result of either the disease or the medication, he is also in the early stages of kidney failure. Though he has not started dialysis yet, his nephrologist has told him he may clear him for a kidney transplant. My father and I are not donor compatible, however, his doctor told him that if I am willing to donate a kidney on his behalf it could speed up the process of him attaining one. My father didn’t even think twice about asking me and initially I said absolutely. But, as I thought about it more and more I realized he hadn’t asked anyone else. I asked him about this and he said to me, “I don’t feel comfortable asking anyone else and well you don’t have kids.” WHAT?! Is that how I will now be of some use in this world? Can’t have kids but I can donate a kidney so my dad can get one.

I mentioned to him that I was seeing a fertility doctor and his reaction consisted of shock and despair. He responded, “that means you can’t donate a kidney.” Instead of recognizing the struggles of his daughter, he sees a possible kidney that may not be available to him. I love my father. I know he is afraid of what the future holds for him and perhaps his only shred of hope was this transplant. Honestly, I can’t see how he can be cleared for transplant due to his numerous health issues, but hope is hope nonetheless.

Now all that crap was the rational, adult side of me. The child in me is angry, hurt and feels used. Really dad? Am I disposable because I don’t have children?

My depression feeds on this. The inner dialogue that plagues me now:  “how can you not help your father”, “you should want to do anything to help your dad if you love him,” and “you can’t have kids anyway so this will be some difference you can make to someone.” Oh, it goes on and on.