Sunday, September 29, 2013

Grief-Triggered Post Traumatic Stress, Anxiety, & Thyroid Issues

Yeah, that's a mouthful of a title for this post. But seriously, that's the only way I could think to describe what I've been going through for the last few months.

Ever since our failed adoption, I've struggled to get back into a good mindset. I've had some good days, and some really, really bad days. Days when I feel like I'm almost back to normal... and days when I will burst into tears if someone asks "How are you?"... There have been days of healing, especially with Zay and how we are growing in our relationship, and then days when I can't get out of bed because it's just all too much.

Honestly, I'm embarrassed by my grief. I keep telling myself I should be over it by now. I've told myself many, many times that I just need to SNAP THE EFF OUT OF IT! Because Kal needs me and I can't be a good mom to him if I'm crumpled on the floor, struggling to function. I'm embarrassed, I feel silly. Life goes on and the world doesn't stop just because mine came crashing down. Other people have had much, much worse happen to them and I'm just being silly being so sad about something so small (or so I tell myself). I'm afraid to talk about it too often, so it comes spilling out in my daily life in unexpected moments. And it's confusing, because it is so up and down. Every time I feel pumped and ready to get on with my life, something triggers a memory that sets me on a downward spiral.

It's hard to explain, but it's just that... in general I'm a really positive, happy-go-lucky person. I trust people. I go out of my way for people. I always think that things will work out for the best if you work hard and have a positive attitude. But positive thinking and counting my blessings aren't getting me anywhere right now. The grief's still there. I'm still sitting in the middle of it. When I just want it to GO AWAY.

The last month or so, I could really tell that something was wrong. My anxiety level just trying to do normal everyday things was increasing no matter what I tried to do to calm myself down. I thought maybe I was suffering from post traumatic stress - couldn't sleep, having nightmares, reliving the same events in my mind over and over, anxiety, sweating, jolting awake in the middle of the night, emotionally numb sometimes and bursting into tears other times, loss of interest in things that used to make me happy, trouble concentrating or remembering things, etc.

When I started taking note of how different I felt than I'd ever felt before, I knew something was physically (hormonally) wrong - something that I couldn't just "get over" by myself. I have vented to friends who I trust and respect. I have written pages and pages and pages in my journal. I've started meditating and trying to eat better and get into a good exercise routine again. And that has helped, temporarily. But I've been finding it extremely hard to stay motivated. I ended up sitting down with our adoption caseworker and I used her for a therapist for a little while. That helped a ton to bring me some peace about what happened. So even though I feel like I'm done grieving for the most part, the physical symptoms were still there.

Talking to my brother and my mom, I realized I could have a thyroid problem. It runs in my family. I listed off numerous symptoms that I thought might be hyperthyroidism (less common than hypothyroidism, but either one could be screwing me up - any thyroid problem would make sense when I look at my symptoms). Maybe grief triggered my thyroid to malfunction and has left me with this severe anxiety? Maybe I've had a thyroid problem my whole life, actually...? It would explain a lot. I thought back to infertility treatments and how quickly my first doctor put me on ovulation-inducing medication without really getting down to the root of the health problem that was causing me to be infertile. He diagnosed me with PCOS, but I can't recall how he came to that conclusion. I remember having my blood tested once, but I don't remember my doctor ever sitting down with me and explaining what any of it meant or what they tested for or what they could have tested for. Maybe I'm imagining ever getting a blood test - I just remember at some point a doctor told me my testosterone was high. When I started seeing a different infertility specialist, he just went with the previous doctor's diagnosis and didn't test me either.

It was like a bell went off in my head when I thought maybe I really did have a problem with my thyroid. Like a "duh" and "ohhhhhh, that explains it" type of feeling. What if my infertility (and anxiety) all boiled down to my thyroid this whole time? Something rather easily treated?! I honestly didn't know any better when I was first seeking fertility treatment. I trusted my doctors to test for the right things and to know what they were talking about. After doing a lot of my own research and deciding to take charge of my own health (for the first time in my life), I made a consultation appointment with a Wellness Center, then went and got the appropriate tests done at a lab (even checked the boxes myself for what I wanted done), and now I'm waiting for the results. I'm sort of ticked off at my doctors for being incompetent. And I feel dumb for not understanding my body better and knowing any better back then. Maybe I wouldn't have felt so crummy and up and down for so long.

I want to get better. I want to feel healthy again. I want to understand why my body behaves the way it does (infertility, irregular periods, bouts of anxiety). Whatever the grief triggered in me, it has forced me to get help because it has begun interfering with my life and it wasn't something I could just brush off. And I think that's a good thing, because whatever's wrong with me now has probably been the underlying factor of my anxiety in general over the years. I may even find out the cause of my infertility! If my test results come back normal/good, I would be extremely surprised.

On that note, IF I am diagnosed with a thyroid disorder... IF I get it under control... IF that was the only thing contributing to my infertility... WHEN I get myself feeling healthy again... we will try to get pregnant again.

BUT, our adoption journey isn't over quite yet. We want to try to adopt one more time. I absolutely LOVE adoption, I don't want Kal to be the only adopted child in our family, Zay 100% wants to adopt again - he has a testimony of it now. If adoption works out for us again, we'll wait a little bit before attempting trying-to-conceive again. If it doesn't work out, we'll get right on it. ;) Either way, I see babies in our future. And better health for me!

Again, some of these hypothetical plans depend on these lab results. Sooooo... I'm kind of crossing my fingers that they come back with a problem. That would give me answers. If not, I'm just as confused as before.

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