When do things cross the point of no return?

When do you reach the point at which a decision has been made, even if you haven't made a decision?

I'm struggling tonight. about our remaining embryo. about the my future in my career. about my marriage. The unknowns are feeling overwhelming and and I feel like I don't have control of any of it.

Last night Mr Fox started talking about adoption. So. Many. Emotions. flow straight into my throat and I don't know how to begin untangling them. and today all of those emotions sit like a rock in my stomach. As I went thru my day, it became clearer and clearer to me that the biggest issue that this conversation brings up for me is the health and strength of my marriage. Mr Fox continues to drink, to drink to excess, and to resist disclosing his drinking in an honest and respectful way.

I've been going to my alanon meetings and trying to let go of my focus on his issues, but the reality is that this issue is like a cancer growing in our home. It's not causing trauma in the moment, but is like termites slowly chewing away at our foundation. and at some point the foundation will rot away and it will be too late to stop the house from collapsing. At what point is it too late to tent the house, and instead call the contractor to re-build?

We have this great therapist, and make 'agreements' about our behavior in between sessions. I leave every session feeling hopeful about what I can expect from Mr Fox. and then little by little my hope erodes as the agreements fail to materialize. I vocalized this disappointment at our last session, hopeful yet again that by calling it out that it might change, but I should have known better.

And all the while Mr Fox thinks that things are better because I am not harping on it all in between our therapy sessions. He is sitting there talking about adoption, and all I can think is that he would have to stop drinking before I considered adding a child to our family.

Boom, there is a decision about our embryo. A decision that I didn't make, but was made somewhere along the way.

Boom, there is a decision about my career choices. A decision that I didn't make, but is made because of this motherfucking addiction.

and here I sit, waiting for the Boom, the decision that there is nothing left of this marriage to salvage.

The election hasn't helped with my ability to control catastrophic thinking.  I'm sick watching what is happening to my Country, and scared about the future that I am raising my son to live in.  As much as I try to maintain perspective on the political realities we are facing, and listen with an open heart to those who have different views than I do, the truth about what is to come is becoming clearer with every appointment (and tweet).

If I don't catch you before - I do wish you all a joyful holiday with you families. You are all in my thoughts often. xoxo


Winter Approaching

What a year it's been.  I'll be glad to bid farewell to 2016 in the same way I counted the days until the end of 2009. But I'm surviving.

My sister delivered her twins yesterday. They are simply perfect. We got to see them minutes after delivery thru the nursery window and my heart was so relieved to see them finally here and healthy.

I held my nieces and told them that we've been waiting for so long to meet them and already love them so very much.

Then I held my beautiful son as he held his infant cousin, cupped her tiny hand inside his and said that he loved her. Melt.My.Heart. It was one of those moments that was so insanely full of complicated emotions, Love, Grief, Joy, Sadness, Relief, Deep Sorrow, and so so so much love for my sister and her family. These babies could not have been more wanted.

It's Thanksgiving and I have much to be thankful for.  But I also get to reflect on surviving this most awful and challenging year. Since July when I posted last Mr Fox and I started seeing a new therapist. Intense conversations that inevitably leave me in tears after every meeting. What is clear is that our love is strong and deep and enduring. What is clear is that Mr Fox is wholly unwilling to admit to his drinking problems. And what is underneath all of this is years of infertility and infertility treatments followed by years of postpartum mood disorders that we are both still grieving and recovering from. And as of today, I know that we are both trying and I feel hope for our future as a family.


falling apart.

It's all falling apart. Tonight he told me that if I couldn't accept and love him, including his drinking, that I could move out. I told him that if he was serious about that then he should give our tenant notice tomorrow.

Shit shit shit, this is NOT how it is supposed to be. I am so scared and lonely.  I don't know what to think or what to do.

I am sick to my stomach thinking that this was our last holiday as a family.


Feeling SO MUCH Better

I spent this morning reading back through my posts of the past couple months. The timeline was much longer in my head, and I was thankful to have some of my thinking documented along with the dates that different things happened.

I am feeling SO MUCH better - like back to my old self. Still protecting my mind and heart from high stress situations, but feeling like I can handle what the future holds.

We went camping over memorial day weekend. It was wonderful - primitive car camping in the Los Padres National Forest. There were a lot of bugs and even with lots of deet I came home with plenty of mosquito bites, yuk. We camped just above a small creek and spent most of our days in the shade of the creek, or exploring down the river. There was a swimming hole deep enough to float around in and enough moving water that the sediment cleared quickly. We had to leave on Sunday night though because Mr Fox came down with the flu. It was a reminder for me that I need to be outside more.

 I have an appointment with my Dr for tomorrow afternoon. We'll review my medication and I'm going to ask to eliminate the last two medications (abilify and gabapentin) that were added when everything fell apart. If possible I'd like to get back to just taking the Lexapro, and also eliminate the Wellbutrin. I am also going to ask for a referral to a nutritionist for some help getting my weight back down to at least what it was before this mess (175), and ideally back to my pre-pregnancy weight of 155. I want to be healthy, but I also want to feel good about my body again. I am also going to ask about the status of my referral to a sleep specialist to talk about Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome.

The other big weight that I got off my shoulders last week was interviewing and choosing a couples therapist. We met with two different people and Mr. Fox chose the one who has a strong background in recovery. I was surprised, honestly.  She called him out for his drinking and basically said that it was going to ruin us sooner or later and she at least wanted to warn him/us. She came to us highly recommended and we'll see her once a week. Our first appointment is tomorrow.


Shopping for Plus-Sized clothing Sucks

I will be attending a few high profile events next week that require me to wear professional attire. Normally this would be a challenge, because I am lucky enough to have a typical wardrobe of jeans and a nice blouse, or if necessary a pair of slacks and a nice blouse.

The medication that I've been taken has led to a weight gain of nearly 30 lbs in 2 months and nothing fits. I ordered some yoga pants on amazon, and since I'm out of work, that has been my daily outfit. It sucks in its own right to feel so out of control of my body in addition to my mind.

So last night I went to the mall. I told the lady at the fancy store I never shop in because it is crazy expensive that I needed help selecting an outfit. OMG I must have tried on dozens. It was painful. At least the sizes were right, for the most part, but the styles were so far from anything I would ever choose it was hard to see ME behind the clothing.

The other big challenge was finding something that hid my tummy which could, for anyone everyone who knew that we were doing IVF is going to be watching as an indicator of my 'pregnancy'. Because we all know that IVF = pregnancy = a baby. The last thing I need is someone at these events to make a comment that brings me to tears, and the tears are so close to the surface that it wouldn't take much.

The nice lady helped me walk away with an outfit that I immediately wanted to return. But I brought it home, and curled with Mr Fx on the couch and cried about how hard it was to go shopping for clothing in this body that I feel has betrayed me.

In other news, I bought a FitBit ChargeHR and am working really hard to get as much walking as I can in everyday. I know that some of the weight won't come off till I eliminate certain medications, but until then, I am going to spend my extra time trying to control what I can.


Regrets, Requests, Appreciations

I want to make amends for:
  • holding so much anger feeling so much betrayal about your decision to drink again.
  • the fact that you had to take on so much of little Fox's care responsibilities during the November IVF cycle and not picking back up the morning responsibilities because I felt like it was ‘getting back’ at you for all of the responsibilities I had during the first two years. 
  • not being interested in intimacy, due to medication side effects, but also because of the feelings of betrayal that I carry.
  • being so defensive about and not wanting to attend the Intensive Outpatient Hospital program. 
  • Taking on volunteer commitments without consulting with you, given that they take time away from my role as a wife and mother.
  • hiring household help without consulting with you about the type of help and who I hired.
  • my lack of morning engagement. 

I request that you:
  • Be fully emotionally present for me by not drinking (or hiding your drinking) when we are together. 
  • help find and participate in experiences as a a couple that will strengthen our relationship. 
  • Give me space on a monthly basis to take care of myself by leaving for an overnight.
  • Take time for yourself when you need to - biking, or visiting college friends, or overnighting somewhere without little Fox and I.

I appreciate that you:

  • are so involved as a loving father. That you are fully engaged in raising little Fox.
  • Have taken care of little Fox and I, and all our household responsibilities, since I got sick in March.
  • are engaging in counseling with me, that you care about our marriage enough to talk through our issues.
  • manage our household finances, pay monthly bills, do our taxes, handle most bank transactions, etc. 
  • appreciate a clean and tidy house, and take on a large responsibility for the daily cleaning and tidying our home.
  • recognize quality and care about quality in our life (touring Odyssey, original artwork, etc)
  • are so smart - that you care to read/listen to the Economist, that you know about random things like a hat trick, know about political super delegates, 
  • took me to the mountains at a moments notice last earlier this month when I needed to get away.
  • Are the tech guru for our household.

Asking for Too Much

What do I need Right Now?

I need to be heard. 
I need to feel like I have an ally, someone on my side. 
I need to not be stuck in a tiny room full of fucked up energy all morning.
I need to be in a healing program - I am not okay
I need a healing program that meets my needs
I need help finding a program that meets my needs
I need a support team that is unified in support of my healing and recovery
I need one-on-one support.  More 1-to-1 support.
I need to take my medication, and keep my anxiety under control.
I need to have space and time to heal.  

I want to be outside.
I want supportive movement and exercise. (yoga, nature walks, )
I want one-on-one therapy
I want groups that are held outside. 
I want groups that feel relevant and supportive.
I want body therapy - massage.
I want time to write.
I want to heal my body and my mind
I want to sleep.
I want space (physically and emotionally)  to heal
I want time to heal from the years of infertility, and the recent loss of growing our family. 

From Mr Fox
I want to feel connected.
I want to feel loved even when I am ‘activated’.
I want to be touched and comforted.
I want feel heard and supported.
I want to feel like he is going to help me find the right solutions.
I want us to be honest with each other.
I want to be allowed to be upset about his lying about drinking.

From my Mom
I want to know that you and Mr Fox are coordinated
I want to feel unconditional love.

From my Therapist
I want to be and feel heard.
I want to have clarity about what we will be talking about at each session.
I want to know what to bring prepared to each session.

I want a clear ‘next steps’ conclusion from each session.

If only...


Fatalistic Thinking - on Mother's Day no less.

I cried the whole way to celebrate Mother's Day yesterday. It was a long drive, about an hour. It wasn't that I am not grateful for the little voice in the backseat that wouldn't stop talking, but I am sad beyond belief that our attempts at growing our family are likely over. We have one more perfect embryo, but I'd have to stop using all of my medication that is contraindicated in pregnancy and I just don't see that happening. I am having these fatalistic thoughts that I am never going to get better, that I'll end up on medication forever, and never be able to go back to work, and end up on disability. Its not a very positive perspective, but it's how I'm feeling more often than not these days.


space to be devistated

SO I'm in this 'intensive outpatient hospital' program because I had what can best be described as a nervous breakdown after our chemical pregnancy. I am glad that it is not 12- step based and know that those are hard to find, but I just don't feel like it is the right place for me to be. I feel like I'm being led to believe that my nervous breakdown was caused by all of my life activities. I've been told that I have own my own recovery and face my anxiety head and learn to deal with it without staying busy.

Yet no where or no one is talking about the very real fact that I'd been on hormones for over a year and had just lost a pregnancy that I'd worked so incredibly hard to achieve. I'd being led to believe that the reason I am sick is because I was involved in to many activities, because I was spread too thin, because I use work and community service to stay busy to avoid my anxiety.   While I can buy into that thinking on some level, I really don't think that it is at the core of my falling apart.

I think that I DO qualify for a diagnosis of  Generalized Anxiety Disorder and a Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder. I also think that the loss of this past pregnancy was devastating. Really truly devastating. I have to wonder how a mother who had a busy life who lost her child would be treated? Would she be in a program that focuses on the ways in which she is masking her general anxiety with keeping busy - or would she be given the space and empathy to grieve the loss of her child, her dreams for that child, the life that she had planned with that child?

When do I get that space?

Instead of being given time and space to grieve, I am being asked to deal with a totally different life issue, being told that I am sick, and being told that I am not willing to face my problems if I question anything.

When do I get space to be heard as a mother who will be celebrating Mothers Day with a beautiful miracle, knowing that my hopes and dreams for a sibling miracle have no where to be shared or grieved?


Giving as Addiction

My assignment yesterday was to answer a series of questions intended to get at the underlying issues of why we participate in addictive behaviors to distract us from our anxiety. I had a really hard time identifying that I had an addictive behavior or even what my 'addictive' behavior is. As I've stated before I don't see the cognitive distortions I identified as being bad things, but instead as things that serve me and help me control my anxiety.

I think I am beginning to see that I am using all of these cognitive distortions  to keep myself busy to distract myself from my anxiety, rather than addressing the underlying issue that is the anxiety. It's like saying "ohhh your leg is broken, let's put some tape around it, and keep hiking".

I have to be present for myself, to take care of myself first, before I can do anything for anyone else. I've said it before, but I think that maybe I am beginning to actually understand. Somehow I ended up developing 'positive' addictions as distractions, rather than 'negative' addictions like substance abuse or an eating disorder. The point however is that I found a way to distract myself from my anxiety, and I took that distraction to a point that was unsustainable and led to a nervous breakdown.

It's the equivalent of having one glass of wine with dinner every night vs having a whole bottle every night. I found myself 'giving' and engaged in much more one glass of wine every night. It overwhelmed me to the point that my anxiety took over and brought me back down to my knees.

I'm not yet sure how it plays out from here, since I will most definitely remain involved in my community, but I'm going to have to figure out how to do it in a way that is sustainable. One of my most favorite quotes has always been and Rumi / Coleman Barks quote "Let the Beauty we love be what we do, There are a Hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground." I always took that to mean that I could give to my community in ways that   made me feel good. I guess that I need to think about myself as being 'beauty that I love' in the same way that I love the community work I do.

 And if we decide to to another final FET, I am going to need to limit everything else in my life so that I have the emotional capacity to deal with those emotions.

In any case, here is a list of the questions and my answers from our assignment yesterday.

What do I struggle with?
Keeping busy to distract from and avoid my anxiety.

Saying No with a full and loving heart

What Triggers me?

Having free time - not being busy

Seeing a problem and knowing that I have the skills/expertise to fix the problem.
Being asked to help solve a community problem, knowing i have something to offer.

Vulnerability Factors
  • Being asked to help
  • Seeing a problem that I can help with

  • Forgetting my priorities
  • Not communicating with / feeling disconnected from Mr Fox
  • Feeling like I have something to contribute

  • Commitments that take more time than expected
  • Feeling resentful about my work / my colleagues
  • Having authority figures tell me what to do. Not having autonomy.
  • Lack of Sleep / Being Tired

Feelings During Activity


Pay off from my Activity

Contribute to my community
Recognized by community
People have improved lives
My community benefits

Relationship Strained
Shut down
Lack of Time for other things

Coping Skills
Keeping busy to distract from and avoid my anxiety.

Remembering that I have to come first. In order to be present for anyone else I have to take care of myself first. Keep a list of the things that I can do to restore and care for myself.

Just say NO!
Keep a list of my priorities
Delegate to others / Trust that they will figure it out.

....More to come, this program is intense and is giving me A LOT to think about.


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