The Letter I Wish I Could Write

It seems a bit daft, putting that as a blog title, as I am in effect writing the letter I can’t write.  Maybe I should have written the ‘Letter I wish I could Send’ or ‘letters’, maybe it should be letters.

I wish I could write a letter to my husband to articulate just what is going on inside my head.  How I have these horrible thoughts but they are just thoughts and I would never act on them.  Just so he could understand why my mood can change so dramatically and why I am so anxious all of the time.  I just want him to be able to understand my anxiety, depression and panic attacks.  I am tired of hiding it.

I also want him to see how much pressure I am under.  How being the sole breadwinner places a huge burden on me, especially when my mental health is already so delicate.  I need him to understand that if he got a job, any job, it would help me so much.  It would relieve some of the immense pressure I am under.  I think he thinks I have it easy.  I go to work full time and don’t have to do school runs or tea but I have it all when I get home.  The moment I walk through the door they become my responsibility because I have been at work.  They are mine until they go to bed, which is getting later and later as they get older.  But I have to do this because I have been to work all day and he has been at home with them.  Despite the eldest being at school all day and the youngest all afternoon.

I also want to be able to tell my friends how I am feeling.  How I have planned ways to die.  How the weight of so much responsibility is crippling me.  But I can’t.  We share friends, so to say this would be implying that my husband isn’t pulling his weight and that I am speaking badly of him.  I wouldn’t want them to look at him knowing what I had said and for it to affect their relationship with him.  Or for them to say something to him that I might have said in confidence.  So I say nothing.  Of course the depression also takes my voice away and doesn’t let me speak, so even if there wasn’t the sharing of friends to deal with, I am not sure I could speak in the first place.

I have gotten better at opening up.  I can admit when I am struggling but that’s about it.  People know when I am sad but not to the extent that the depression can hit me.  And I haven’t admitted the eating to anyone close.  I wish my husband could know this.  I wish my friends could know the extent to which I suffer.    But I can’t let them in.  I can’t let anyone in.

And this is why I can’t write these letters and I don’t think I ever will.

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My Choice?

I am starting to consider another pregnancy.  It is something that I need to do in order to get closure.  If we have a healthy baby at the end of a pregnancy, then fantastic but if we don’t then I know that this is the end of my journey and our family is complete.

I have posted about how I wouldn’t consider suicide.  It is not something that I would do.  I would rather have a terminal illness or a surprise illness and die quickly.  Or some kind of accident.  Something that takes my choice away but gives me the same result.

Thinking about pregnancy has brought up a lot of memories of the miscarriages but also a lot of catastrophising on what could go wrong.  I get from having a very early miscarriage to a complicated miscarriage where I need a hysterectomy and I end up in the ICU.  Sometimes I have a stillbirth and sometimes the baby is born healthy and they die shortly after birth.  Sometimes, one of my other children dies.  One thing is clear though, I do not end this pregnancy by adding another child to our family.  It doesn’t happen.  And I want to say that this is ok.  I mean in the catastrophic thoughts it’s ok.  I am used to these thoughts and I can manage them ok.

But this brings me back to dying.

Throughout any pregnancy I have had, my husband and I have always said that if there are any problems and only the baby or I can be saved, we save me.  It is non negotiable – the children can cope with losing a baby brother or a sister but their mother would be harder.  And I have always agreed.  It seemed like the right choice.  Except it doesn’t anymore.

In my darker days, this seems like my perfect get out of jail free card.  I change my mind at the last moment and save the baby and then I can die.  And it won’t be my fault.  Not really.  It might be my choice but not my fault?  Maybe.

And it’s ok to say this hypothetically and probably wouldn’t happen but I am going into a third pregnancy knowing that it is high risk.  Knowing I can’t go into labour.  Knowing they are protecting me from this by doing a c-section at 37 weeks.  They wouldn’t do this if it wasn’t a risk.

So although I am not pregnant and am unlikely to be for a while, this choice does seem very real.  And I am scared as to what would happen if I was presented with this choice.  No doubt we would present a united front, and save me but what if I was alone and I was given this choice?  What if I was having a bad day?  What then?

This scares me.

It’s been a long time

And I apologise.  My anxiety and depression have taken over and the catastophising and critical voices inside my head have been in full force.

Today I would like to share a poem I have written on my thoughts about another pregnancy.  We have decided to have another baby.  That we need to try one more time to know whether or not we will succeed.  That one last pregnancy will give me closure, one way or the other.  Because whatever happens, I know it will be my last pregnancy.

And here seems like a save space to share this, because I hope no one will judge me on these, my pregnancy after loss thoughts:

Most mothers plan
To bring their babies home
To hold them in their arms
To look them in their eyes
And to love them
They don’t plan for them to die

Their pregnancy is full of hope
And dreams of what will be
And although there is uncertainty
And will it be a girl or boy
It’s not fear and darkness at their door
But light and lots of joy

I wish I had that hope
And how I dream it hadn’t gone
That each pregnancy was a baby
Which would grow and I’d bring home
But loss has taken that away from me
Where once was hope, there’s none

Replaced by fear and panic
No dreams of what will be
But nightmares of the ending
Of how and when and where
And of the empty arms I’ll have
And no baby for which to care

So although I’d rather my baby live
I know there’s no guarantee
Pregnancy doesn’t always mean a baby
Will be coming home with me
Sometimes I have to goodbye
And let my child fly free

So although I don’t want to plan for it
It’s always in my thoughts
And I’m scared to dream of a baby
Of one which I will hold
Because empty arms are heavy
And empty arms grow cold

So don’t think of me as morbid
For thinking my baby will die
This is my truth, my reality
The only thing that I know
And as much as I want my baby to stay
I must also prepare for them to go

Not wanting to live but not suicidal

The title pretty much gives away how I am feeling.  Given everything that I have been through I just don’t have any fight left.  I can’t face the thought of getting up everyday and feeling this way.  But although I don’t want to live, I don’t want to die.  I don’t want to kill myself.

I just don’t know I am supposed to talk to people about this.  Can you imagine if I tell my husband I don’t want to live.  I am supposed to want to live for my children.  I know the pain it would cause if I wasn’t here but I am in pain by being here too.

How do I tell my friends that I don’t want to live anymore, when it seems like I have everything to live for?

There is no logical reason for this.  Not really.  It is just how I feel.  And I can’t explain it.

I wish I could put into the words
The way that I am feeling
And tell you of the bleakness
And the thoughts I have of leaving

Of how death calls my name
In a roll call I am missing
And how I try and turn away
And pretend that I’m not listening

And how I sit and hurt myself
And make it so I cry
So in that instant I feel something
And perhaps I don’t want to die

It wouldn’t be a pretty letter
There’d be no laughs or smiles
But if you knew just how I was feeling
Maybe I could look you in the eyes

And I could feel your love and warmth
Which would help soothe these fears inside
And I would have you next to me
The next time that I need to cry

But this is just too dark
It’s not something of which is spoken
And so I sit here on my own
Alone and feeling broken

And if the day does come
When death calls and I am listening
I am sorry that you didn’t know
I am sorry that I’m now missing

The reasons I can’t tell you
Are far too many to list
But know that I’ll always love you
And you will always be missed

Not Good Enough

I went back to slimming world last week and got weighed again this week.  I somehow managed to lose 3.5lbs but it didn’t make me happy.  It made me feel like I used to every time I got weighed and even when I made it to target.  Unsettled and unhappy.  It is a feeling that has stayed with me all day.

So I did what everyone seems to do when they don’t know the answer – I googled it.  Losing weight and not happy.  Surprisingly, I found an answer.  And the answer fits.  I just don’t like it.

Apparently, in survivors of abuse, losing weight can be a bad thing.  While we carry excess weight, no one really notices us. No one comments on how we look or how much we weigh.  It is a form of protection, it makes us invisible.  When we start to lose weight, people start to notice us more.  We lose that protection and it makes us uncomfortable.  So losing weight isn’t a good thing.  It exposes us and makes us vulnerable.

And this makes sense.  It makes so much sense.  The blog I read said I needed to be kinder to myself.  That it would take time.  That the reason that I am unhappy is because I don’t feel good enough.  That nothing I do is good enough.  So even though I lost three stone and lost three dress sizes, I didn’t deserve it.  Because I wasn’t good enough.  I’m not good enough.

I do feel like this, a lot of the time I feel like this.  Wondering when someone is going to realist that I don’t deserve this life.  I don’t deserve what I have.  When they are going to wake up and see me for what I am – someone who just isn’t good enough.

And I get this realisation when I have no therapy.  No support.  When I am trying and failing to be better, healthier.

And the fact that I have been turned down again for help just reinforces that belief.  I don’t deserve help because I am just not good enough.

Assessment Yesterday

It didn’t go well.  They couldn’t offer me what I wanted and didn’t have enough time to know if what I wanted was what I needed.  It just feels so hopeless.  Don’t get me wrong, I love that we have the NHS and the service it provides but it is sorely lacking in mental health support – especially with people who are essentially – functional.

I feel like I am worse off because I have a family, a full time job and I ‘cope’.  It looks like I am not affected by my problems and I can manage.  But sometimes, despite the mask that I wear, I can’t cope.  It’s just in an assessment, no one gets to see behind the mask.

And if I could afford to pay, I could have access to unlimited therapy.  No one would tell me I didn’t need to see them if I was their regular pay check. But that just isn’t an option right now.

One of the questions that she asked me was to describe how my issues affect my everyday life, especially how the past trauma affects me and I struggled to answer her.  In fact I think I answered it didn’t affect me I don’t think.

As soon as I left, I realised I was unhappy with that answer.  The fact that it doesn’t appear to affect me, affects me.  I am so far removed from it now that it feels like it happened to someone else and that hurts.  My wall and my mask are direct results of the trauma.  I live my life waiting for people to hurt me that I don’t let them in, I don’t trust them and this hurts me too.

I also don’t live a lot of the time, I exist.  I just wait for something bad to happen that I forget that I have to live.  And I wait for someone to find out that I am just a fraud, that I don’t deserve the life that I have.  I don’t deserve to be where I am.  That someone will realise what a horrible person I really am and I am not deserving of anything.

These are all the effects of the trauma and the abuse that I live with.

She tried to tell me that remembering didn’t mean healing.  I don’t have trouble remembering.  I need someone to hear me.  To listen to me and work through with me why I think this is my fault and why no one helped me.

The constant dismissal by professionals also cements my belief that I was not hurt enough.  That I am not damaged enough to need help.  That what happened to me wasn’t hurtful or traumatic.  That I don’t deserve help.

And I am left in this empty space, a kind of purgatory in which I don’t know where to go from here.

I feel like I am quickly running out of options and soon there will be nowhere left to turn.

Beyond Pregnancy Loss – Step 8 – Sharing

Share your story.  It seems simple but which one do I share?  I will share miscarriage number 3.

Warning – this will contain a detailed description of miscarriage – please take care reading…

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I didn’t even think I was pregnant initially.  Not really.  With all my other pregnancies, I have had an instinct early on and I have known really early on as well.  This time, I only took the pregnancy test after talking with my miscarriage counsellor and because I was going to the doctors for some other tests and he’d ask if I was pregnant.  I bought the test on the way back to work and took it before I got into work.  I was amazed to see the two lines and to know I was pregnant.  However there was no excitement as I had already been bleeding and put it down to my period.  Knowing I was pregnant put a different slant on things.

At the GPs, I told him I was pregnant and he asked about pain and bleeding, both of which I had already had.  He asked about a scan and I told him categorically that I didn’t want to go.  That I knew it would be pointless as it was too early and I would have to go back and have a follow up scan but he said I needed to go to rule out ectopic, especially with the pain.  So I went.  And they dated me earlier than I knew I was and there was nothing to be seen.  There was a pregnancy sac, but nothing else.  I spoke to the midwife who was trying to reassure me that everything would be ok and it was too early to tell.  And when she left me I broke down.  Even when she came back, she was still trying to be reassuring but it didn’t help.  I told her I knew, I just knew and that after six pregnancies I should have an understanding.  I left with a scan booked in for two weeks later, and my midwife appointment the same day.  I never made it to either of those.

Ten days later, on a Friday night, I started to bleed heavily.  And I knew, I just knew that it was over.  Instead of waiting like the time before, we went to A&E.  It was surprisingly quiet for a Friday night.  I remember that.  When we went through, I was examined and I wasn’t deemed at that stage to be miscarrying.  They gave me some saline and then sent me home.  We got home at 4am.

At home I continued to bleed.  At 8am we asked my mam to watch the children as I knew we would be heading back to hospital at some point.  It turns out some point was at midday.  I was feeling really poorly by this point.  As I had already been through A&E that day, we were put straight in a side room and this where things get blurry.  When the doctor eventually came to see us, I was given medication and moved to a side room on a ward.  I remember feeling really faint.  And the painkillers that they gave me made me vomit.

After my bloods were taken, I found out that I had lost nearly four pints of blood and I needed a transfusion.  I was examined again and I needed to go to theatre.  I had a pint  of blood before surgery and a pint after.  I can’t remember if surgery was the same day I was admitted or the day after.  I think it might have been the day after.

The next day, I developed an infection and needed intravenous antibiotics and another night in hospital.  I was discharged the day after.

And eight or so days after that, I had my next counselling appointment and I had to tell her that I was pregnant and then I wasn’t.  All in less than three weeks.  But I didn’t cry.  I couldn’t cry.

Even now, I am supposed to talk about the emotion of all of this and how it effected me but I can’t.  I have a fancy name for this – disassociation.  It’s like I am not talking about me but someone else.  I can see this all happening to her, the person in this story but it’s not me.  Only it is.  I know it is but I can’t feel it.  Not anymore.

It’s the same with miscarriages one and two.  It might as well have been someone else.

I’m not sure sharing has helped me right now.  It just highlights the disconnect I feel between me and the events that have happened to me.

It just doesn’t feel real.