Anxiety · Change · Counselling · Experience · infertility · Lifestyle · PCOS · Self Acceptance

Anxiety Strikes!

I’d say I’ve always been an anxious person & I used to feel real bouts of anxiety, but mainly over social situations. As time has gone on I’d say my anxieties have evolved into more small but constant worries, especially since our battle with infertility.

Over the past two weeks I’d say this constant niggle is getting worse & I know exactly why, it’s because I’ve got something big coming up, but people who see me in my day-to-day life won’t know that. They’ll probably see me fussing over something small or, if they look closely, using compulsive repetition to regain some degree of control in my life. I’m also finding that smaller problems feel like mountains because my stress threshold is very low right now.

The funny thing is, I’m 100% aware of what I’m doing & how I’m feeling, but that doesn’t mean I can stop it. However, next week I have an appointment with my counsellor & I’m hoping to get some more tips on how to manage my symptoms of anxiety.

Life is tough right now, I’ve got a lot of weight on my shoulders that I could do without, but I’m learning that small changes now will help alleviate the pressure in the future & the smaller problems I encounter will become more manageable.

I’ve always felt a natural instinct to fight my feelings of anxiety, but lately I’ve learnt that you have to let them pass. So in my eyes I need to work on solutions to the problems I’m worrying about in order to prevent the symptoms I encounter rather than just focusing on those & adding to the weight on my shoulders… because essentially I end up worrying about how much I’m worrying!

xx Gem xx

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Anxiety · Counselling · Experience · fertility · infertility · Lifestyle · Love · miscarriage · PCOS · ttc

Am I ready?

So, 6 months ago we embarked upon the next stage of our journey… the IUI. I remember being so excited yet nervous, but I jumped in with both feet first & I like to think I smashed the process with massive positivity fists!

When we miscarried our baby I didn’t even want to think about trying again. I wanted that baby, my first baby… nothing else would ever compare, but they say time is a great healer & in most part it is.

I’ll never get over what happened, so when I spoke to my counsellor she said “stop trying to get over this, you just need to move forward”. Getting over something feels, to me, that I should be forgetting it whereas moving forward feels different… so here we are, mid-September & patiently waiting for my next cycle to start so we can do the whole thing all over again. But the big question is…

…am I ready?

The answer to that is a hazy one. I don’t think I’ll ever be 100% ready, I still mourn the loss of our baby, but I know I must try… I owe it to our little one not to give up, I owe it to my husband & most of all I owe it to myself.

xx Gem xx

Anxiety · Change · Experience · infertility · Lifestyle · miscarriage · PCOS

Wellness Wednesday

Life has been a complete rollercoaster for us this year & over the past couple of months I’ve come to realise that I’ve changed… a lot.

In a good way or a bad way?

Well, let’s look at the negatives. Since I last wrote a blog post, we miscarried our miracle baby at 10 weeks & since then I can only describe myself as living life with a broken heart. This has taken its toll on my marriage, my social life & my job… oh, & not to mention my health!

But gliding past the negatives, I do have the ability to find the positives…

We actually made a baby. That is our big positive. Our dream came true & I will forever be grateful for that. Also, with the time I’ve had off work it’s given me a moment to realise how my job has evolved into something I no longer love.

So, out of this I have found the ability to put myself first. I mean I always thought I did, but I didn’t… in reality, I didn’t, but I can only see that now. Things need to change…

Welcome to Wellness Wednesday, my day off during the week where I get to put myself first. Of course it doesn’t always work out that way, I end up doing housework & babysitting, but I now feel I have the confidence to say NO if I want to. Don’t get me wrong, I love a clean house & I get a lot of enjoyment from spending time with children, but every now & again I need to just be me & that is 100% ok.

Anxiety · Experience · fertility · infertility · Lifestyle · PCOS · ttc

The Two Week Wait

For those who aren’t familiar with this phrase, it’s pretty clear you’re not trying for a baby. Since we started trying, I’ve opened up a whole new dictionary of words and phrases I never knew existed. At first it felt like everyone was communicating in another language, devised especially for those in the baby making business, but soon I caught on and found myself up to my eyes in acronyms and general trying-to-conceive gibberish.

So, in a nutshell, the ‘two week wait’ is the approximate waiting time between ovulation and finding out if you’re pregnant. For some women it is simply two weeks. Two weeks of normal every day life and either a ‘yay’ or a ‘nay’ at the end of it. For other women time comes almost to a halt,o not enough to actually stop time, but just enough to make every day seem like a year. Then there’s the handful of us who experience the latter and are graced with the crippling reality of infertility.

Hi… yep, me over here. I’m in the club! The infertility club. Should we make some badges or something? I bet they would sell! Not only am I in the club, but I am also four days into my two week wait. So, I thought I would share with you what I’m doing over the week or so… which brings me to my first point:

Keep Busy

There is nothing worse than letting your mind go nuts over wondering what you’re little egg is doing… every single minute of every single day! Just as I am doing right now, right at this moment, I am keeping myself busy. My diary is packed with coffee dates, activities and work to keep my mind occupied. When I find myself without something to do, I lose myself in a box set or a book. I need to keep my mind going. That doesn’t mean that I’m not thinking about it, but I am allowing myself not to obsess over it.

Take Care Of Your Body

This month I am focusing on the foods I eat. I have read many articles and have been told by lots of women to eat warm foods during these couple of weeks. Apparently, by keeping the body warm it makes the uterus more inviting for your little embryo. A lot of women choose to take a multitude of supplements and I recently found myself almost in a state of panic at Holland and Barrett, trying to figure out what to take and what didn’t make my bank account weep. Instead I chose to look closely at the food types I am consuming. I have fallen victim to the old wives tale about pineapple and am scoffing a concoction of nuts and seeds every day to ensure I am feeding my body in the correct way, and that’s good enough for me for now. Some of you may object to what I’m doing, some of you may have good proven scientific evidence that what I’m doing is utter tosh, but to me and my mind, I am doing what I feel comfortable with and that’s all that matters. Also, they say it’s good to take any exercise down a notch. Switch your HIIT workouts for yoga, with some that specialise in fertility, and go for long brisk walks rather than running.

Don’t Symptom Spot

Haahaahaahaa! Ahahaha! Ha! Yeah right, who on earth can honestly say they don’t symptom spot? NOT ME! That’s for sure. Every sore nipple, every twinge in my pelvis and every bit of cervical mucus is mentally documented and analysed. I can’t help it, I feel like I’m programmed to do it… but that’s it, nothing more. Once it’s been noted, forget it. A lot of the typical pregnancy symptoms are also PMS symptoms, so the only definitive way of knowing that you’re pregnant is to wait and see those two juicy lines on a test. It’s good to know what your body is doing, but for reference only. I can’t allow myself to obsess for days over that tiny bit of nausea I felt three days ago, it’s just not healthy for my mind.

Get Support

If you haven’t spoken to anyone about your journey so far, I would urge you to… no matter how far along you are into it. It reeeeeeeeeally helps to have someone to talk to, to shout at or to cry with. Emotions can be high, after all our bodies are naturally gearing up for a pregnancy each month just by producing that egg… whether you choose to fertilise it or not. Also, something you may find absolutely absurd could be absolutely normal. So it’s good to talk, it’s good to share and it’s good to know you’re not alone.

Believe In Yourself

This is something that has only recently come to light for me. Each month I end up telling myself that this isn’t going to work, that I am broken and that it hasn’t happened until now so why should this month be any different. Wow… what a bitch! Would I talk to a friend that way? NO! So why do I think it’s acceptable to talk to myself like this. I think its because I’m trying to protect myself from the heartache of another negative test. I need my body to believe that it CAN happen, so I’ve made a deal with my mind that this month I will believe that I am fully capable of making and growing a baby. My uterus IS inviting. My hormones ARE able to handle it. Positivity is key!

So yeah, that’s what I’m doing with my time and so be it if it comes round every month…

Anxiety · Change · Clomid · Counselling · Experience · fertility · infertility · Lifestyle · PCOS

Blog Blog Blog

Someone brought my blog to my attention the other day… I really wanted to make a go of it, but just after I renewed my subscription a friend told me they didn’t think a blog would suit me. I stupidly took it to heart and stopped. Flash forward 6 months and finding myself faced with lots of ups and downs in life I’ve decided to dust off my keyboard and give it another bash. Who knows what will come of it… but even if no one reads it, I always find that writing things down proves to be a useful outlet for me.

Bringing you up to speed on what’s going on in my life right now… I am currently in the middle of my first round of fertility treatment. It sounds scary, but it’s only tablets. Clomifene (Clomid) to be specific. I want to do a post all about it, but for the moment I thought best not to start with such intensity.

I’ve always tried to keep my desire to have children on the back burner, it makes those negative tests slightly easier to deal with, but now we’re receiving help from the Fertility Clinic I feel I am able to let my hopes run wild… well, ish. It is extremely difficult to struggle with infertility. I sometimes feel I am such a ‘newb’ when it comes down to it as there are so many women out there going through way more than I am, but at the end of the day we all have our individual journeys. I can be such a pain in the bum when it comes to comparing myself to others, I always make myself feel inferior and that in itself doesn’t do anything for my self esteem. I started to notice a while back that I was becoming quite mentally ugly when it came to pregnancy… hear me out: can anyone relate to scrolling through facebook, seeing a pregnancy announcement and rolling your eyes? Or how about unfollowing people you like on social media because they’ve become pregnant and you can’t handle it? And here’s maybe the biggest one of all… not being able to be around your friends because seeing them happy with their babies makes it feel like someone has stabbed you in the heart with a rusty spike?

That is not the type of person I would ever aspire to be… but I already was. It crept upon me without notice and one day I took a long look in the mirror and decided enough was enough. I signed myself up for some counselling sessions and over several months I worked through my issues. Now, if you’re considering doing this and haven’t yet found the courage to, please let me give you that nudge to go for it… don’t expect immediate results, it takes time to form a bond with someone, but just giving 100% focus on myself for an hour every few weeks really did me the world of good. I have learnt to associate positivity with pregnancy. I choose to see each pregnancy announcement as another iron-clad piece of proof that I can remain to hope that this will happen for me. After several months of counselling I was ‘set free’ and if I choose to, which I have on a few occasions already, I just arrange a ‘top up’ session. Easy peasy! In fact, I have a session in the morning!

That’s probably enough rambling on for now, but if you’re keen to follow how my Clomid cycle is going, please head on over to my Instagram page.

Anxiety · Change · Diet · Experience · Lifestyle · Motivation · PCOS

PCOS Symptom Struggles

This past week has been a difficult one. A lot of the symptoms I used to suffer with as a result of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome have returned, but others I have been struggling with for a while seem to have improved.

I’m going through a bit of a rough patch in my life right now, something I’ll talk about in another post when I’m ready, but I think stress is accountable for a lot of these recent changes. Although I’m suffering from a great deal of anxiety, it’s not consuming me to the core. I find my mind constantly wading through the field of emotions that I have been dumped with, but it’s not to the point of self destruction. 
Now, I said some symptoms seem to have improved of late & the first one I am really pleased with. It’s not a major improvement, but I’ve noticed the spots on my face, especially around my chin (which I’ve read is signs of a hormonal imbalance), have calmed down… a lot. Usually around the time of (what I hope is) ovulation & then my period it flares up & can be very painful, not to mention awful to look at. This month has been brilliant, not as painful & easy to cover up with my normal foundation. The second symptom I struggle with is loose stools… ooh what a lovely subject! I’m not going to go into much detail here, no one needs to hear that, but let’s just say it’s improved tremendously! 
So, on to new symptoms. I have been experiencing very strong pains “down there”… I’m talking sitting on a knife type of pain. It’s horrendous & has woken me up in the night several times. You’d think that all of this was for something, but I’ve had a really light period which went away for a couple of days but then returned unexpectedly & pretty heavy… but just for an hour or so, then nothing. Just before you ask, yes I am trying for a baby & I did test, but it came back negative… & that’s ok as right now I’m not sure I could cope with a pregnancy if I’m going to be honest. Other things I’m experiencing is heartburn, fatigue & night sweats. I’m talking proper-pyjama-drenching-sweats! Nice! 
For me, I feel stress is the major player here. I’ve made no dramatic changes to my diet or fitness regime so that’s why I’ve come to this conclusion. Let’s hope next month is a better one & with a lot less stress! 
Stay happy, healthy & focused… 
xx Gem xx 

Anxiety · Change · Experience · Lifestyle · PCOS

Absence and Anxiety

Hey everyone,

I didn’t mean to have such a break from this blog, it just became low priority… and I suppose the reason was due to anxiety. I started to get worked up about writing posts and what people thought of them that I stopped, but I’m back and I want to really push myself to make this work. I love my Instagram account and use it daily to document diet and exercise but I don’t tend to talk too much about my Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) symptoms. Sometimes this is simply because I’m not struggling and other times this is because I can’t bring myself to talk about it. I’m terrible at bottling things up and putting on a smile when I’m suffering on the inside. The truth is some days I feel completely shackled by my anxiety and I can’t bring myself to tell anyone how I feel. I assume how people will respond, I create their feelings in my mind and become determined that they will react this way if I tell them… when in fact they would probably react the complete opposite way! Today I feel comfortable enough to share my feelings, so I thought I would take the opportunity to do so.

Have you ever had one of those days where you wake up and don’t want to get out of bed? Or how about you can’t get out of bed? I used to feel like that a lot. The best thing I could have done for myself was just to close my eyes and sleep it off, however life doesn’t always allow you to do that. Mostly if I tried to get up it would end up with tears and sometimes I would feel a kind of terror that made me sick to my stomach. However a couple of hours later you wouldn’t believe that I was the same person. It’s like a switch that flips and I suddenly wake up, feeling ashamed of myself and looking at this mess of a person in the mirror. Sometimes I honestly can’t remember the words I say or the way I’ve behaved, it’s terrifying.

I find it a real funny thing, anxiety. It can strike at the strangest moments and other times when I assume I’d struggle I end up pulling through with immense strength. I think as I’ve got older I’ve learnt to shrug things off, I’ve always been terrible with negativity, but now some things just don’t seem like such an issue. I have come to appreciate that we’re all going through our own journey and have different views and opinions… what does it matter if my opinion doesn’t sit well with others? I shouldn’t have to hide my views or worry about what they think of me. Of course it’s all fair and well me saying this now, but if I were to write this tomorrow I may not be able to say the same. It makes me feel unpredictable, which I hate, but luckily my husband accepts this and is incredibly supportive… it can’t be easy for him.

If I look back to this time last year I would find myself having, what I call, ‘dark days’ at least once a week. Not always as extreme as I’ve explained above, but definitely a firm staple in my mental health. Since being diagnosed with PCOS I had to change my diet and exercise to manage my symptoms and I no longer struggle with as many of these dark days, sometimes I can go a month without one. I’m a lot happier in myself and I feel this is down to the lifestyle that I now lead. I’m not saying ‘change your diet and your anxiety will disappear’ but for me it seems to have helped, tremendously. I also have learnt to pre-empt when I may go through a dark patch and have been building my confidence up to ask Hubs for help. Sometimes this means not going to an event we have tickets for or cancelling meal plans, but to me it’s a small price to pay if it keeps my anxiety at bay. Whether or not I’m the only one who feels this way, I’m not sure, but we are all individuals and this is just a little insight into how I struggle and cope.

Going back to my blog, I still want to provide helpful information about PCOS and I have a couple of posts I’m in the middle of writing, but I think I’ll incorporate a few rambles now and then as I tend to slip into a very formal mode and I want to try and be as informal as possible… which is a big deal for me. If you look at my previous posts and my Instagram account, you will see lots of formal style posts and that is simply me, but I do have another side, a more relaxed side and this is the one that I hope any ladies with PCOS, or not, will be able to relate to.

Stay happy, healthy and focused…

xx Gem xx