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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Change · Clomid · Counselling · Experience · fertility · infertility · Lifestyle · PCOS · Self Acceptance · ttc

Babies Here, Babies There, Babies Everywhere!

It’s one of those things… like when a friend says they’re getting a new car which you’ve never heard of before, so they show you and suddenly you start seeing them everywhere. Parked on the street. Passing you on the road. Pulling up next to you in the supermarket. To me, and a vast majority of women trying to conceive, that’s exactly what it’s like with babies.

At first it was ok, sometimes frustrating to see other people having what I wanted, but I told myself that my time would come soon. That lasted a little while until the desperation started to kick in and along came the bitterness towards others with a family, pregnant women and new Mums pushing their little bundles of joy around the park in a brand new shiny pram. I just felt so alone. Every pregnancy announcement on social media was met with a huff and a rolling of the eyes. I started to avoid friends with children or those who were expecting one. I felt it was a dark time for me.

I feel I must point out though that never once did I wish that these people around me didn’t have what they have… it was purely envy over what they had, and a reminder of what I didn’t.

The cherry on top of the cake was when my best friend got pregnant. It suddenly felt so close to home, this wasn’t just someone I knew, this was my BEST FRIEND. This was having to go through her pregnancy with her. This was having to come to terms with the fact that she was getting what I wanted and so far my attitude towards people with this was bitter… and I couldn’t afford to have bitterness between myself and one of my oldest and dearest friends.

I cranked up the frequency of my counselling sessions and searched desperately for a way to drag myself out of this dark place. I had to use avoidance to start with. It pained me, but it was necessary. I then realised I had good days and bad days. There were days where I would want to soak up every ounce of pregnancy happiness, no matter that it wasn’t me experiencing it physically, then I had other days where I felt if anyone mentioned the word ‘pregnant’ to me I might just punch them in the face. It wasn’t a pretty time for me and I felt it was a very ugly version of myself.

THEN…

… about a month before my best friend was due, she went on maternity leave. We started to see a little more of each other on my days off and whilst out walking one day it hit me like a tonne of bricks – my best friend is having a baby that I get to cuddle, that I get to play with, that I get to laugh and joke and fall in love with. I even feel a bit teary now writing this, but that moment for me was an absolute game changer and has been my saving grace in how I now cope with infertility. Yes I have a deep desire for my own children, but in the meantime I get to explore and learn more about them and also have some extra time to mentally prepare myself for what the next chapter will bring… because there WILL be a next chapter, it may not come about in the way we would like, but we will have our family one day.

I feel extremely lucky to have been able to pull myself out of that dark place and nuzzle myself deep into a positive state of mind. It sounds silly, but some days I feel so full of positive energy that I could physically explode. It’s kind of a bizarre state to be in, but I’m telling myself after being so negative for so long that I deserve a positivity overdose… it can’t hurt right?! I wish I had the recipe of my revelation to share with you all, to help those struggling with infertility cope with watching others experiencing your dreams, but I’m afraid I don’t. Whether it was the counselling or just that I simply couldn’t contain any more negativity, I have no idea… but I am so thankful to have found the strength to keep pushing forward, to keep my head in the game and to welcome any new challenges with a smile and determination.

This is MY life I am living, I do not want to spend it in a cloud of bad vibes and to look back one day to find I have regrets.

Change · Experience · Lifestyle · PCOS · Self Acceptance

Don’t Let PCOS Define You

Hands up, who finds it easier to understand what they're going through when you've been diagnosed with something? That sweet relief of being able to put a name to your particular struggles and instantly start searching the internet to find solace in the similar experience of others. We've all been there, but what if that diagnosis turns into definition?

In June 2015 when the doctor first told me I had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome I felt like my world was collapsing around me. I had no idea what it meant for me and my future. I was haunted by the word 'syndrome' and it left me feeling very lost and confused. Luckily I found a great community on Instagram and immediately became addicted to scouring PCOS hashtags and feeding on other women's experiences. Suddenly I wasn't alone! I found myself amongst a sea of women across the world and I felt at ease.

As my wealth of knowledge expanded, so did my obsession. I became convinced that I was yet to experience a multitude of symptoms that I was discovering and so I got stuck into learning about what foods to avoid, what foods would help my body, which exercises were best, when to do them, how to do them, etc, etc. Then came the guilt. If I missed a workout or ate the 'wrong' type of food I would blame every painful negative pregnancy test on my bad judgement. This guilt weighed heavily on my shoulders and it started to distort my view of my marriage and my self worth as a woman. It honestly felt to me, and don't get me wrong I still do feel this way sometimes, that I will never be able to have children.

That's a big statement to make.

Back in October I started having some counselling sessions. I am very proud of myself for being able to see that I needed an outlet such as this in my life and I really can't speak highly enough of the experience. It's opened my eyes up to myself and my surroundings. Currently on my Instagram feed I have lost count of how many women with PCOS or other fertility related issues have fallen pregnant. Yes sometimes it's hard to see pregnancy announcements, but these are all women who at some point would have felt exactly how I feel and to see that they have beaten the odds gives me great hope that someday I will too!

The New Year also brings hoards of newly diagnosed women to seek solace in social media and I welcome them with open arms. I remember feeling how they felt and I can see a similarity in their posts to mine back when I was first diagnosed. We are each on our own journey and need to go through this experience to gain a better understanding of the cards we've been dealt. That's perfectly ok, but don't let this become you. There is no right or wrong, we are all individuals and likely to experience something very different to the woman next in line. PCOS can be a struggle, but PCOS is not me… I am me.

xx Gem xx

Change · Experience · Lifestyle · Love · PCOS · Self Acceptance

New Year, New You

It’s that time of year that gives one licence to start afresh. Even though the clocks have only ticked forward a mere second, the notion of this time passing brings much inspiration to many people to change their mentality towards themselves. Three weeks on I am still thoroughly enjoying riding the wave of everyone’s newfound enthusiasm for healthy eating and exercise regimes. However, for the first time I haven’t felt the need to set resolutions for myself because I feel I am already where I want to be. No, I am not at my goal weight and no we are still not pregnant, but I am content with the way I look at myself and that really was what I was striving for all along… I just didn’t know it at the time!

Self acceptance is not easy to come by. You have to go on an incredible journey to find it and just when you think you have, it disappears right from your finger tips. Most of the time I look at myself and I see a happy woman, someone who is so appreciative for what she has in life and dreams of what the future holds for her. Then, for what has dominated most of my life but is currently hiding away in the box I keep buried at the back of my mind, is the bitch that society over the past three decades has moulded me into. I’ve spent the last year taming this part of me and learning how to be kind to myself. The thing is, I think there will always be something inside that has the desire to rip myself apart, so there is no New Year resolution but to simply continue along my journey.

Whatever you decide to do this year, don’t forget to look upon yourself with kind eyes. We are only human and we are incredible beings. I am a firm believer in lifting each other up instead of tearing each other down, but sometimes I forget to apply this belief when I look upon myself.

xx Gem xx