|2- Fast Forward.|
As I sat down to write this second blog, it was my intention to start at the beginning of my journey. It's a path I no longer walk alone as I have a lifelong companion who will always be with me, yep, good old Premature Menopause! I almost feel I should give it another name, Rodney? Archibald? I don't know why I am drawn to the masculine, maybe it's because everything about this condition has felt so anti-feminine to me! Anyway, it's a silly notion so for the time being, it will remain P.O.F (Premature Ovarian Failure). What's surprising is that, to start at the beginning, I am actually going to skip straight to the here and now.
I could never have predicted how setting up this site and putting my thoughts down in words would have impacted me so profoundly. It turns out, in an attempt to help others, I have in fact helped myself. I touched upon the subject of grief in my first blog 'Scratching The Surface', likening it to an unwanted guest who 'will just set up camp somewhere nearby, letting you know from time to time that it's still there until you open the door and let it in'. I honestly thought I had done exactly that, let it in, but these past few weeks have shown me that it barely made it past the front door. I have been spending time reading old journals, revisiting memories and the enormity of my diagnosis has hit be all over again. It didn't come at me with one big slap round the face though, instead it just chipped away at me, my heart rate became heightened regardless of what I was doing, I felt increasingly anxious and on edge, started losing weight and before long realised that my body was trying to tell me something. It was telling me to stop, to acknowledge why I was feeling this way. How could this be possible though? I was diagnosed over four years ago now, I honestly felt like I had dealt with it as best I could and I'm certainly not in denial. I can clearly recall how the first year after the bombshell was dropped was a time of extreme sadness for me. If I had been faking it though, pretending I was doing o.k to others around me when in fact the opposite was true, then had I actually been fooling myself too? It's really hard to see the fine line between pretending to be alright and genuinely coping, after all, isn't it enough to get up each day and continue on with life regardless of how you do it? It has made me question myself, if I'd been masquerading as someone able to cope had I actually failed myself in some way? A good friend pointed out to me that it is normal to put on a brave face, to act our way through certain challenges that life throws at us. If we didn't do that, there are times in our lives when it would be impossible to get out of bed in the morning. In other words, it's fight or flight, sink or swim! I had done my best at the time to accept and live with a diagnosis that had pulled the rug from under my feet and turned my world upside down. The news that I was infertile came completely out the blue and that's the thing with extreme shock, it impacts you in such a way that you instinctively protect yourself. I built invisible walls around me, so high and so deep that it is only now I have discovered that I need some help in learning how to break them down.
My grief is visible now (to a select few) unlike back in 2010 when i pushed it way down and held it in. Thanks to a recommendation from a friend, I have found a doctor at my local surgery who is kind and sensitive. He signed me off work for a week whilst i was in the throws of anxiety and referred me onwards to get some help. I'm learning to be kind to myself, to forgive myself for not having lived an authentic life for the past four years. All the baby showers, children's birthday parties and social gatherings I have been to where I have not been emotionally present have all impacted me and those suppressed emotions have buried themselves in my psyche. This doesn't make me a terrible person, I haven't intentionally been cheating my friends and family out of having the real me, wholly present. I was simply continuing with life the only way I knew how but, as of a few weeks ago the sadness and grief have stepped in to the hallway and instead of pushing them out, I have pulled up some chairs and invited them to stay. Once the floodgates opened, for the best part of a month it seemed the tears wouldn't stop. I know that this is the right time for me to face my demons, to challenge the ways in which P.O.F has affected how I feel and how I conduct myself in everyday life. It is scary and daunting but i'm hopeful that as time passes and I finally receive some counselling, my houseguests will make themselves scarce. Maybe I'll see them occasionally but they won't be camped right outside my door anymore!
Before I continued with these blogs, I just wanted you to know where I'm at right now. There is no quick fix for dealing with the diagnosis of Premature Menopause and I feel it is valuable for others to know that healing and true acceptance will come to fruition in their own time. It all boils down to when we feel ready to expose ourselves to the depths of our feelings and for me, that time wasn't a conscious choice but one that naturally evolved. Being open about my journey is the best way I can think might hopefully serve others. In return, as I mentioned at the beginning of this entry, you the reader are actually helping me too!..........Nia x
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