Friday, August 04, 2006

How Can I Handle Stress?

Thank you all for your feedback and comments. It’s amazing how much I have in common with so many of you. Winnefred, I’m getting totally engrossed with your story, and I am so happy for your success. Your reactions to starting the shots seem so similar to mine—I hope that I find they are no big deal, too. I am totally a dramatic person—hello, theatre degree? So it’s not unusual for me to make a big deal about everything. But this really IS a big deal. My future babies are at stake. I’m afraid of what will happen if I crack under the stress of all this and can't go through with the treatment. Some days, like today, I feel like the stress and grief is going to crush me.

In recent years I have not been reacting very well to stress at all. Last year, when my job was getting very hellish, I was feeling the physical effects of the stress every day. Bad headaches, nausea, insomnia. H kept thinking I was pregnant, and that was extra frustrating and stressful, because I knew I wasn’t and I knew I had stress that was so bad it was effecting my physically. H didn’t want me to switch jobs initially because I was making so much money, which only made things worse. The stress didn’t go away until I finally was able to remove myself from the situation. But my last job is a long story for another time…maybe I’ll share it during my 2ww.

I used to thrive on stress. In college, I managed to take 19-21 credits a semester, and I worked two part-time jobs while doing several plays and being a part of the chorus. I should have been stressed beyond belief, but it was nothing. I pulled off two degrees with only having to take one extra semester, and that was a semester of student teaching that I opted to do. I think I’ve figured out that being busy and having a lot of work isn’t what stresses me. It’s personal stuff that stresses me. What people say and think about me stresses me out. My in-laws’ poor treatment of me and H-- perceived or real-- stresses me out. Personal conflict at work stresses me out. Last year when I took on a management role and had to deal with people who weren’t showing up for work and who were starting conflicts with other employees was when I really started losing it. Management of grownup people who act more childish that the middle-schoolers I used to teach is not for me.

So, not being able to have kids, the biggest social stigma of all time for me, is probably the biggest stress point of my life. When I was a kid, my mom used to yell at me saying I had a low threshold for pain, and that if I kept it up, I wouldn’t be able to survive having kids. What an awful thing to say. It’s haunted me. Now more than ever. I bet she doesn’t even remember saying it (I think my mom had a lot of her own issues when I was growing up, and she took them out on me.) She would tell me that I was probably only going to have one kid, because I was too selfish. Where this came from, I have no idea. I don’t know what I did to make her think I was selfish. These are some pretty ugly memories for me.

So my question to all of you: what are some things you have done to relieve stress during all of this? I am thinking about doing a weekly yoga class, at least while I’m still physically able, because yoga really calmed my nerves when I tried it a few years ago. I’ve also been meaning to get one of those positive thinking/ motivational books. Any good ones you’ve read? I think the blogging is helping some, but sometimes I get too manic about reading things online. I think I need to downscale my time with Dr. Google. I’m also thinking about seeing a therapist, which would be a hard step for me. I’m not good at sharing things face to face with people. I’m afraid I will start crying and not be able to stop. So much of my energy these days is focused on not crying. I let it out when I’m alone and with H, but it’s a constant battle when I’m out. I know a lot of people are doing acupuncture, but I’m not sure it’s for me. My RE has not recommended it or anything.

I know I need to do something to relieve the pressure I feel building in my jaw! H says I’ve been grinding my teeth nonstop at night. He’s having trouble too. He didn’t sleep twice this week, and last night he was talking to himself. I vaguely remember the things he was saying were about not having kids. This is so awful.


Hope548 said...

Acupuncture is relaxing, but if you're not into that, there are plenty of other things. I'm reading a book right now called "Conquering Infertility" by Dr. Alice Domar. It's a mind/body approach to dealing with infertility. It teaches you different coping mechanisms. I'm really enjoying it and I've started trying some of the things in the book and it really does help. I picked it up from the library, but it's something I think I'd like my own copy of so I can reference it from time to time.

Emmie said...

Thanks, Hope! I am going to find this book over the weekend.

luolin said...

I don't really like it, but I have a mouthguard that my dentist made me get a while back (a lot more expensive than over-counter-ones, but maybe better for your teeth?). I found that I had to use it every night during my last ivf cycle.