I’d frankly always rather discuss my ovaries and whacked-out reproductive system than my long-standing issues with depression and anxiety. Infertility is only one of a constellation of tough subjects, and for me, my mental health is long one of those things I just don’t talk about.
My mind is where I live. I’m firmly introverted, so I have a tendency to be fairly introspective or get caught up in navel-gazing as the case may be. I’ve always had an outsized imagination, so I could always disappear into books and my own daydreams. My mind struggling to stay above water as the twin serpents of depression and anxiety drag it down – that threatens the very core of what makes me…me.
For several months now (since December, to be precise), the depression has gotten more and more onerous. Coupled with the frenzied anxiety over cycles, and I’ve been a hot mess internally for some time now. On the outside, I was handling it all pretty well, but I knew deep down, I needed professional help to tackle this, just like I need professional help to get my ovaries going.
The problem with serious depression, however, is that it makes me unmotivated to do anything. Picking up the phone to schedule necessary appointments felt weirdly complex. I also kept deluding myself that since I was going to get pregnant very soon, I didn’t want to get started on antidepressants. After all, I’d weaned myself off those, and managed to stay off for eight years while managing my mental health well. I also didn’t want to admit that I was getting worse again, that I was not managing my depression well.
Then everything from this last failed cycle to the two large cysts on my ovary to some strong stresses unrelated to infertility piled up. Additionally, I felt like the RE’s office staff was putting pressure on me to go with IUI in the next cycle, and then kept telling me I didn’t need to talk to the RE about this even though that wasn’t the plan we’d discussed in the initial consultation.
So I hit my breaking point. And suddenly, I recognized I had a responsibility to myself and to Arthur to get some professional help to deal with all of this so that I could continue to function well in my life. Arthur has begged me to go to counseling and see my primary care practitioner for quite some time now, but depression distorts all of that. I kept insisting I was fine, I was fine, dammit. Until I wasn’t fine, and even I had to own up that there was no way in hell what I was feeling was within the range of “okay”.
That, let me tell you, is a shitty feeling.
On the other hand, the realization was also freeing. It’s amazing how quickly things happen when the proverbial light bulb (finally) goes on. I went to my primary care physician’s office, explained the situation to the receptionist, and was fortunate that the doctor happened to have a slot open more or less immediately. We talked, and he concurred that I needed therapy and an antidepressant. So I started on Prozac and got numbers for a few psychiatrists that can help with refining dosages and meds, particularly if I manage to get pregnant. I went to HR and admitted that I needed to use my counseling benefit. They got me in with a therapist.
Arthur, who has a cooler head and fewer hormones running amok right now, got the brilliant idea to call the RE’s office and ask to speak to Dr. D directly about the IUI issue to see if this was actually what Dr. D wanted for our treatment plan or if there was a miscommunication somewhere.
I dismissed Arthur’s plan as completely insane. There was no way he was going to get through the staff phalanx to talk to a well-known and busy RE. Apparently, though, after being firm and polite that he did need to speak with Dr. D please, Dr. D quickly called Arthur back, talked with Arthur, made sure we were all on the same page about the treatment plan, and was clearly concerned for us. This makes me feel much less freaked out. While I don’t plan to make a habit of calling my RE, it’s nice to know that if I get presented with another situation like this one Dr. D does want to talk to me.
While I feel a bit uncomfortable still admitting that I needed all this, I’m glad the wheels are now in motion. I have to live in the meantime. I can’t keep pretending that this next cycle will be the one and that this will fix everything. I mean, I hope that the next cycle will work, but getting pregnant will not make this much depression go away. I have a vague guilt that I might have to take antidepressants into any pregnancy I manage. At the same time, I also recognize that I have to treat my depression to even consider being ready for a pregnancy at all.