Friday, March 20, 2015

The (de)lusion that is control.

I've gained some (more) perspective and decided to adopt a new way of thinking (big surprise right!)

Over these 13 (count em!) years I've come to understand (and tried to process) a multitude of emotions. There have been moments of hope and excitement that were consistently followed by disappointment, frustration and anger.  To be fair we should probably mention the numbness that comes in between.

The negative emotions have (of course) been the strongest, most persistent and overall, the biggest challenge to (try) to overcome.  I can understand why people get grumpy as they get older. They've been burned somewhere (or multiple times) along the line. Life "shit" wears you down. When you are handed heartbreak it's tough work to resist the bitterness. We all get one rotten card in our hand; I suppose infertility is mine.

They say negative emotions can manifest externally. We develop behaviors and coping mechanisms in response... these things that pacify us... we cling to our habits and routines and most importantly we invest valuable resources to build those (internal) walls. The good, the bad and the ugly... the things that we rely on to get us through every day.  It can apply to any situation really, not just infertility.  

I've realized that in order to make up for a loss of control over one area of my life..I unconsciously focused all my energies on controlling whatever else I could.  No failure. No excuses.  I tend to take EVERYTHING pretty seriously. That has NOT kept me from failing along the way .... I'm just saying it's been me exhausting myself ... kinda like a gerbil on a wheel.   


It's starting to settle in that not everything is important. It doesn't really ALL matter. Not all battles are winnable. I am imperfect; I mess things up ALL the time... and that's ok.  Failure and disappointment are all a part of life. The sooner we learn what to do with them, the better off we are. This is why I believe it's so important for kids to play sports.   This is a life skill that can't be taught through anything but first hand experience.  Playing sports teaches us not only to push our limits and set goals but how to handle things when they don't go our way.
The result of my rigid self-expectations has been anxiety...which is ironic since anxiety is the LAST thing an infertile woman needs.  Anxiety is your bodies indication of fight or flight mode. When we want our body to reproduce it should be calm and feel safe. It is not likely that our cells will reproduce if they are completely distracted by survival. I don't have to do the research to know anxiety and obsessive behaviors are common in women dealing with any infertility diagnoses. I am not alone in this and I guess it all just comes along with the territory

I cope with the anxiety by way of O.C.D. Which is where all that perfecting business comes into play. I tend to be fixated with my environment... the placement of things, the food I eat and how much excercise I get. If I don't feel in control of these area's of my life... and I can't move something, clean something, organize something, eat something I approve of or get a work out in like planned... well, that's when the anxiety rears its ugly head.

In reality, I know we have absolutely no control of anything around us.  We CAN try and we may even win some of the battles.... but the mission is futile, the war WILL wage on.  Eventually, we all succumb to the exhaustion ... which is right where I've found myself.  I've motivated myself right out of motivation. When I could (and should) be happy with progress I am focusing on perfection and that has got to change.

If anxiety is the result of a deep sense of fear and fear is driven by perceived loss, we can easily tie the idea of that loss to an expectation.   It seems in order to squash the anxiety I need to figure out how to squash my expectations. 

The bad news for me is that there is no clear action I can take to change the infertility situation. I can only fumble through on instinct and work to manage my thoughts and perspective. Win, lose or draw; it's all up to me.  Part of me is content and proud of what I have been able to accomplish so far... excited to see all that will come ahead... kids or no kids.  There is another part of me that simply fears reaching the day when this really isn't an option anymore and having regrets. I've been operating from the vision of that future day... not the one I am currently living. And this too can apply to so many things.. not just infertiilty. 

It is critical (and I struggle with this one a lot) to keep HOPE carefully tempered by the acceptance of what is.  Make peace with the present, as well as the things that cannot be changed within it. How can we know any ounce of true happiness until we learn how to accept life's defeats with a grateful heart. 

It's one thing to hear someone say it and know that it's truth, it's another to feel it in your bones. When you know in your soul that even though you wish for better days ahead, this day is just as beautiful simply because it is NOW.  This very second is all we have. We may not have the power to change anything around us, we do posess the power to control our own perspective.... to feel the anger and frustration and turn it into gratitude. Failure IS how we learn. 

The way I see it, I have only one choice.. find the lesson and apply it to my life in broad strokes.

All these years I have been trying to figure out what it is to truly "let go."  Maybe I've been looking at it all wrong.  Maybe it's not that we let go, but that we learn to hang on to the right things. Maybe it just so happens that the right things are lighter than the burdens and biterness, making them that much easier to carry and to keep moving forward. And because we can only hold on to so many things at once, the negative loses it's signifigance as we focus on the good stuff along the way.  This doesn't mean pretending we have never been broken.  Broken seems to be a fact of life. The difference seems to be that some hang on to the darkness and others cling to the light. We are the only ones who can control which we choose.

I have to trust that I am on the right path and at just the right pace. I will remind myself every day that I am enough and moving the salt shaker wont change the outcome of anything. I will always be a work in progress.  It's an every day mission and some days are better than others. Once we peel back some of the layers we are able to address what lies beneath with new a perspective. It is irrational to fear a future regret... I do not live in the future, only anxiety lives there. When I get to the future, I trust that I will be a different person, with a different perspective and I will know that I did the best I could with what I had.  In any situation in life.. that is all we can do.   


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Stay well out there!
In love & light,