June 9, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Posted in Crazy Talk (aka: Therapy) | 12 Comments

Yesterday, my therapist said this.

I keep getting the idea from you that in order for you to feel okay with where you are in your life, there would be no negative emotions. And I don’t think that’s how it really works.

Holy crap, she’s right.

One night this past winter, when I was trapped in The Dark Place, I told J that I thought I was emotionally stunted.

Because I didn’t know what to DO with all the Bad Stuff.

I had NO idea how to deal with emotion.

I mean, shit. I didn’t allow myself to grieve at my cousin’s wake and funeral because I felt like my pain paled in comparison to my aunt and uncle and cousins. I mean, I didn’t lose my sister or daughter, so who was I to feel grief?

And then I buried her suicide in a corner of my mind. If I didn’t think about it, it didn’t exist.

And when THAT wasn’t enough, I spent the next 17 years trying to MAKE UP for the fact that I felt like I owned a piece of her death.

Not the most healthy way to handle things, I expect.

I’m fairly certain this all stems from the fact that I escaped my imperfect home life, which was fraught with tension and anger and battles, by writing my stories.

Which were pages and pages of what I WANTED from my life – idyllic love, marriage, kids. Happiness, where my heroine (aka: me) never wanted for anything.

No heartbreak, no pain.

So over time, I suppose I just expected that REAL happiness was where I didn’t feel ANY of the bad stuff.

And if I didn’t get to a place where the bad stuff was gone?

I clearly was failing as an adult.

It’s so fucked up.

Because I’m finding now that sadness CAN live alongside happiness. On Saturday, after my run and hanging out with my boys, I went to a party, held a 6 month old baby, chased after my friends’ young kids, and felt GREAT.

And then this week there was babyloss in the ALI world, an online friend who delivered twins at 21w. And I ran in to Pregnant Daycare Mom, who is sporting an adorable baby belly. And just today, my cousin announced that she’s pregnant with her first child and will have to miss the family cruise this coming December.

Yeah, we would have had due dates close together if IVF #5 had worked.

Course, if our Last Chance FET had worked, I’d be DUE next month.


Cue sadness.

But then, I got up and ran 4 miles this morning. And I can SEE my body changing from those runs; I can feel the softness from the winter being replaced with muscle.

I feel stronger and happier and excited for my marathon and looking forward to the summer with my family, not trying to figure out how we’ll work treatments and vacations.

I’m re-focused on my job right now, finding my own niche with the support of my boss.

It’s a Good Place.

But, you know. If I am being honest, I’m not okay with being done trying yet. I’m sad when I hear pregnancy announcements. I get a pang when I see a tiny newborn.

But oddly, I AM okay with it, too. It makes me HAPPY that we’ve removed the elephant in the room. The uncertainty of whether or not we’ll have a kid again is now replaced with the fact that it’s now likely we WON’T have a kid.

Which sucks. It hurts.

But it’s closure, too.

I’m healing. Slowly by surely.



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  1. Mel said once that we are blessed with a range of emotions for a reason. We should feel happy and sad and depressed and joyous – and allow ourselves to do so. And she is so right. I uses to feel guilty when I would find myself laughing at something cam did right after nora died. Like I was betraying my sadness by letting some joy enter in. but that isn’t right. In life, joy and sorrow live side by side… And that’s the way it’s supposed to be, I think.

    Sounds like you had a wondeful weekend!

  2. Your therapist is right. You know, I always give myself such a hard time for feeling sad rather than allowing myself to feel that way and “get it out” at that moment. I hate that I do that. It’s not natural for people to completely rid themselves of sadness. It’s impossible.

    Thanks for sharing this. I needed to read this right now.

  3. Really great post! I can “see” the healing starting to happen and it’s amazing.. Always keeping you in prayer!

  4. I really agree with that statement–and I, too, needed to read that and be reminded that embracing and dealing with the feelings of sadness is necessary. Abiding with you through the healing.

  5. It sounds like this therapist is really helping you! I’m so glad.

    And I’m sure if you stop and think about it, EVERYONE has sad things in their lives. It doesn’t mean they don’t have overall happy, good lives. As the others have said, it really does sound like you’re healing, and that’s great. Replacing the uncertainty with knowing has got to be a relief, even if it’s not the outcome you hoped.

  6. What an amazing lesson. Yes, we can have conflicting emotions AT THE SAME TIME! Thank you for sharing your story. It makes me feel less burdened by my own sadness right now.

  7. Such an awesome post. We are complex, self-contradictory creatures … why is it so hard to accept this about ourselves? I’m glad to hear about your runs, and your healing. And I think I really like your therapist.

  8. I hate when people say this, but unfortunately it’s true. You really can’t feel the joy, unless you feel the sadness.

    You are so much stronger than you give yourself credit for. I can see in this post that the awakening in you is happening and you will soon be singing “I am woman, hear me roar” (okay, so I am realllyyy old and remember that song, but hey, let it fit 🙂

  9. When I was in high school, I failed a test or assignment in a class with a professor I liked. She called me, downtrodden, into her office. She told me, “Part of my job as your teacher is to prepare you for life. I know you are upset but know that, in life, you will learn more from your failures than from your successes.” And, she was right. The same holds true of emotion. Without the pain, sadness, and heartache, how would we recognize and appreciate the joy, happiness, and heart warming experiences all around us?

    I am so happy for your awakening!

  10. That’s great perspective: that to be healing doesn’t mean that all of the negative emotions are gone. And, I am glad that there are some good things happening intermixed with dealing with all these sad emotions. Glad the running is going well. Glad that your job will be shifting (part-time maybe??). And, glad for little O.

  11. Your therapist is right. I think conflicting emotions are very hard to acknowledge if you grow up in a household where emotions run hot and cold and you never quite understand why but feel responsible or to blame nonetheless.

    You’re doing a good job. Keep at it. : )

  12. sitting with you, hugging you in my heart until you heal.


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