The sadness behind her smile

To be blunt and to the point, I’m having a shitty night.

I’ve been thinking about all the changes I’ve made over the last year. The endless effort and courage that has gone into making these changes.

The tears and the heartache it took to recognise and accept where I’ve been lacking in my life. Confronting myself with the things I’ve done wrong and the people I’ve hurt and taking ownership of my mistakes.

Walking into therapy each week and smashing through more walls and looking deep inside at the darkest parts of me. The countless hours spent reevaluating my life and where I stand. Facing my biggest fears and having the courage to take another step forward.

I’ve done all this and so much more. And I’m so proud of what I have achieved. I’m so proud of the person that I see in the mirror now. I’m the person I always knew I could be. The person I always dreamed of being.

But as I sit here tonight, all I can think is “What was the point of doing all of this?”

I’m still alone. I’m moving to Brisbane by myself. I picked up my keys to my new apartment today and the smile it gave me faded so quickly as I walked out and realised I had no one to share this joy with. I had no one to text. No one to call. No partner that was eagerly awaiting to hear from me.

And I can sit here and think rationally and know that all the work I’ve done is so worth it. And I can state that I am proud. And I know I’ll probably wake up tomorrow and be good again and be excited about the move and excited about the progress I’ve made. And I do know what the point of it all was.

But there’s that little voice nagging at me that just keeps repeating “What was the point of all of this when you still end up alone?” And it just won’t shut up tonight.

It’s making me so sad and frustrated and hurt. It’s making me question everything. It’s making me wish so badly to have my old life back. My life wasn’t meant to be like this. I don’t want my life to be like this.

I’m sad that today should have been exciting. But I’ve been wearing a fake smile all day. Pretending everything is ok. Putting on a brave face to hide the tears in my heart. Wearing that mask to hide the sadness that’s in my eyes.

Hiding from the sadness that’s behind my smile….

Becoming me: My deepest apologies

To my family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances and random strangers who have met me on a bad day;

 

From the bottom of my heart, I’m sorry.

 

I’ve been more sensitive and irritable and less patient than normal and for that I’m truly sorry.

 

I’ve been blunt, aggro and frustrated at times and for that I’m truly sorry.

 

I’ve overreacted and been overwhelmed by the smallest things and for that I’m truly sorry.

 

I’ve said things in the heat of the moment that I know have caused pain and for that I’m truly sorry.

 

I’ve only replied with one worded responses when you’ve checked in on me because I was in a bad place, and for that I’m truly sorry.

 

I’ve pushed people away when they are trying to help me and for that I’m truly sorry. 

I’ve been needy and unforgiving and for that I’m truly sorry.

 

I’m not going to try and make excuses for any of it. I know I haven’t been the most pleasant person to be around some of the time, ok let’s face it, most of the time; during this journey.

 

I know it’s been difficult. I understand why some people in my life are walking away. I get it. I’ve spent the last 6 months in a seriously bad funk. I’ve had times where I’m happy and relaxed but it’s been pretty rare. It’s been the biggest roller coaster of my life. 

 

It’s probably pretty tiring and exhausting when you ask me how I’m going and 90% if the time I say I’m struggling with this, that and the other. I get it.

 

I’m hoping I can help you understand by explaining the behind the scenes work I’ve been doing. I’ve touched on it but never got down to the nitty gritty.

 

Again, these are not excuses. These are my reasons.

 

I’m calling it my journey because I honestly don’t know what else to call it. I feel like after hitting rock bottom last year, that I began walking down a path to self-discovery. To find my true self. To figure out who I really am. I didn’t realise it would be the bumpiest path I’ve ever walked, filled with massive pot holes, sharp edges, mountains to climb and also cliffs that I would have to take a leap of faith and jump off.

 

But I wouldn’t change it for the world. I wouldn’t turn back if I could.

 

To start with it was really confronting to not know who I was and to not even know what I wanted in life. I’ve spent 35 years being a people pleaser. Always having the opinion that people can only ever truly love me if I attend to their needs first and go out of my way to ensure their happiness, even at the detriment of my own. So when I actually got asked what I like, I couldn’t even answer. Pretty embarrassing right? It’s so easy for people to stand back and say “oh you’re single now so can do whatever you want so just enjoy it.” But when you’re not used to considering your own needs at all, it’s actually really difficult. Every time I would do a tiny thing for myself, I was wrecked with guilt and feelings of selfishness. It feels so awkward and it was incredibly hard to get used to. 

 

Even just by changing this bad habit, it created a massive ‘shift’ in me. Again that’s the only word I can think of to explain what happens. It’s kind of like pieces of this massive wall I’ve had up, crumbles down, and I’m able to change really bad habits that I’ve created. It’s a fantastic feeling when I finally push through the other side of it, but leading up to it and while it’s actually happening is such a horrible feeling. I go up and down really quickly. Feeling amazing and strong one minute and confused and awkward the next. The only way to describe it is that I get a ‘scratchy’ feeling in my stomach and I feel really nervous.

 

I’ve also spent a few months literally feeling like I didn’t have one person in the world that had my back and that I could rely on. Looking back now I realise that I have so many people that do care, and were showing that to me but I was so full of self-hatred that I couldn’t understand why anyone would bother staying in my life. I couldn’t accept any help so I pushed everyone away. So in doing this I created an even worse situation for myself because in the worst moments of my life, I felt utterly alone. It was such a horrible feeling. 

 

I’ve finally started to accept that I am worthy of having these people in my life and have started opening up and accepting help. Again it’s a process that I find difficult but I’m slowly working through it. 

 

 

The real changes started to appear once I started Schema Therapy. I went to try and find a way to cope with losing my partner and also deal with the grief of the miscarriages. But what actually occurred was us opening up an enormous can of shit that I didn’t realise was bubbling along under the surface.

 

With my Psychologist we started going back to the root of my “complications” and healing them from the beginning. It’s exhausting, confronting, scary and downright fucking hard work!

 

The few days before an appointment I feel on edge because I know what’s coming. And the days after I feel utterly shattered and exposed. Overly sensitive and short fused. It’s such a huge rollercoaster and I can never predict how I’m going to feel and what’s going to come up in therapy that I have to deal with and face. Each week something new pops up and I sit there thinking that I just want a week off, but I also know how rewarding it is after I face each one. 

 

What popped up for me this week, was that I’m finally starting to see all the changes I’ve made and I’m actually finding it difficult to figure out where I fit in. Deep down I feel like I’m a completely new person. And I have been trying to get used to it and have been hiding from the world. Now that I’m starting to actually socialise more again, it’s really highlighted to me how different I am and it’s really quite uncomfortable. Don’t get me wrong, I love the changes, but it just feels weird because I’m not used to it yet. It’s difficult because I actually don’t know where I fit into my own life anymore. I feel like an outsider.

 

It was actually a really scattered session and I was struggling to form sentences to explain to my Therapist what was coming up for me. She was excited and said she’s seen this in me before just before I had a big breakthrough. I was failing to feel anything other than confused and lost. It’s hard to not get down knowing that this scratchy feeling might last awhile as the ‘shift’ happens, because it really does feel so shitty. But the thing that keeps me focused and holding on, is that I feel stronger this time around and I also know how great it feels afterwards. 

 

The unfortunate thing for those in my life right now, is that all those things that I apologised for at the start of this, will probably happen again. I’m obviously hoping that now that I’m more aware of what is happening, that I will be able to handle it better this time. 

 

I’m hoping that this new me can get through it without being so irritable and sensitive and without pushing anyone away. 

 

I’m also hoping that everyone I care about can understand a little more why I’ve been the way I’ve been over the last 6 months and continue to be patient with me a little longer. I obviously find it really difficult to talk about things, even with people I’m incredibly close to. That’s why I started to write. It helps so much and I’m able to release so much of my thoughts and feelings that normally weigh me down. 

 

I don’t know if anyone even sees anything different in me. But I feel like an entirely different person. I feel like I even see the world differently. It’s a really scary, but amazing experience. I feel like I’ve been given a second chance at life and I just wanna grab it with both hands and run with it. Thank you so much to everyone in my life that has stood by me during this journey. I know that no one can understand what I’m going through, but the fact that I still have your support means the world to me. 

And I hope that I don’t lose anyone else along the way. 

 

 

Taking my power back

*Warning – sensitive trigger subject*

This will be the hardest blog I release. Opening up about the moment I had my power stolen from me.

But I feel like it’s going to be my most important one too. This week I took my power back and it’s the most amazing, and, well the most powerful feeling in the world.

It’s hard to even type the words as I’ve carried this burden for so long. The shame and the guilt. The feeling of powerlessness. I know I just need to spit it out… at 10 years old I was sexually abused.

I’m not going to go into details obviously. No one needs to read that.

25 years ago someone took my power from me. He took my innocence. He took my confidence. He took my ability to feel comfortable saying no. He took my trust. He took my feeling of safety. He took the feeling that humans are inherently good and kind.

He took everything good from me and replaced it with everything shit. Guilt. Shame. Self blame. Confusion. Mistrust. Fear. Defiance. Anger. Pain. Over bearing emotions that I could never find a way to cope with.

I truely feel that the person I was originally born to become, died that day. From that moment I was never going to be the same. He fundamentally changed my personality, my heart and my soul.

This is so difficult because I don’t want to talk about the fact that he’s had a lasting impact on me for 25 years. I don’t want to open up about the fact that even now when people I love touch me, it sometimes makes my skin crawl. I don’t want to admit that I still have nightmares. I don’t want to tell anyone that up until a few months ago I couldn’t accept compliments because my first thought was always “what do you want from me?” I don’t want to fess up that even hearing his name makes me feel sick. I don’t want to share the details of how I sometimes get a bad gut feeling around certain men that makes my heart race, my hands shake, I start to sweat and feel the walls closing in like I can’t escape.

I don’t want to share any of this. But this is the reality of my life. And the reality for so many others that have been through the same trauma. This is the lasting impact that this has on our lives.

But as of a few days ago when writing this, all of it changed. And I feel like a million pounds of weight have been lifted off my shoulders.

I was talking to my therapist about how I feel so powerless right now because my ex has total control over my life. How it sends me absolutely crazy every time she takes even more power from me. How I get so emotional about it and feel like I can’t find my way out. How I’ve always been triggered when people take my power away from me.

She asked if there was a time when I was a child where I feel I lost my power. Obviously the abuse came straight into my mind. I did try to stumble my way through a few other minor things because I was scared to step up and face my demons.

I stopped myself and there was silence for what felt like an eternity. I knew I had to face it. I knew this was my moment to deal with it. I knew I couldn’t carry it any longer.

I took a deep breath and said the words. The flood gates opened.

She suggested a few options we could try and I felt that the imagery work we’d used before sat best with me. A quick description of what happened was that I visualise up to the point where I started to know something was wrong. I then visualise “Adult Jess” stepping in and taking “little Jess” out of the situation and comforting her until she’s feeling ok and safe. Then “adult Jess” and my therapist walk back in and get everything off my chest that I’ve wanted and needed to say to him my whole life.

The entire experience was so difficult, yet so healing. Especially the point in which my therapist says to him that it’s his fault not mine and that it’s his guilt to carry for hurting me and for choosing to hurt others.

The feeling that’s burdened me the most is the guilt that I feel because I didn’t stop him and because I shut down to try and cope and didn’t tell anyone, he hurt others. And I have blamed myself for that my whole life.

Hearing those words that it’s not my burden to carry anymore, broke down so many walls I’ve had up. It shattered the weight I’ve always carried. It transferred all of the shit he gave me, and returned it back to him.

In that moment I felt that I took back all the good he stole from me. I took back my innocence. I took back my confidence. I took back feeling comfortable to say no. I took back my ability to trust. I took back my feeling of being safe. But most importantly, I took back my power.

I walked out of that office feeling like a new person. I barely recognise myself. I feel entirely different. It’s like I actually see the world differently. I can’t find the words to explain it properly. But it feels good. It feels amazing actually.

And by no means do I feel that I just walk away and forget it happened. Like I’m magically better and won’t ever think about it again. I will always carry the scars from this trauma. I will always remember. I’ll probably always get the random flash backs and the nightmares. But I’m hoping that these things will lessen over time now that I’ve faced it and feel myself healing.

For the first time in my life, I don’t feel like a victim anymore. I feel like a survivor. And that is incredibly important to me. I faced one of the most horrendous things a child can face, and today I stood my ground and took my power back!

I’ve been going back and forth in deciding whether to write a blog on this. I don’t mind sharing these details with the hundreds of people that read this that I don’t know and never will. But it’s especially hard to share such a traumatic event with people I know. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. Or to look at me with pity. Or to feel uncomfortable around me because they don’t know what to say. No one can say or do anything to take away the pain so please don’t feel that you need to “fix” anything. I’m sharing this because I know the worst thing about being abused is that you feel like you’re the only one.

So I want to stand up and say, you’re not alone! If we’ve never met, or if we’re best mates, or if we work together or if we fell out years ago and have never spoken since, I don’t care… you’re not alone in this. If you need to reach out then I’m here. You’re not alone.

The other emotion you carry is the guilt and self blame.

So I want to stand up and say, it wasn’t your fault!

The only person to blame in this situation, is the perpetrator. No one else. It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t my parents fault. It wasn’t society’s fault. It wasn’t his parents fault. He alone made that choice to hurt me. Him. No one else.

I also wanted to share this as I made a promise to myself when I started this blog, that I was always going to be open, raw and honest. And this is the most significant trauma in my life and has impacted me so much. So standing up and facing it, will have an enormous impact on my journey.

And hiding what happened is a way of him still holding power over me. So I’m standing up now and saying no more.

“You, you piece of shit, no longer hold any of my power.” It’s mine!!!

Finding my pride

So someone recently asked me what Star Sign I am and I said Leo. She responded oh so you’re loyal, proud, caring and stubborn. 

 

I’m not a believer in Star Signs but I thought, you couldn’t really describe me any other way. 

 

I’m incredibly loyal to those I care for. Often to my own detriment as I remain loyal to those that aren’t loyal to me. 

 

I’ve always seen myself as caring. I’m empathetic and compassionate and I like taking care of those in need. 

 

And I’m definitely stubborn. Especially when it’s something I’m passionate about or involves someone I care about. 

 

I started thinking about pride. I realised I am a very proud person, but only when I achieve something out of the ordinary. I never sit there and think about how proud I am of the person I have become.

 

I had another friend today tell me I should be proud of how far I’ve come on this journey and my immediate thought was “well I’m not proud, I should be further, I should be better.” That inner critic was at it again.

 

I want to change this. I want to be proud of who I am at a base level, not just when I go out and achieve something. So I’ve made a list of everything I’m proud of. It’s actually quite difficult as I’m so used to finding “faults” in myself rather than seeing the good in me. 

 

Firstly, I am proud of how far I’ve come on this journey. Looking back 6 months, I was a broken shell. I couldn’t see a way out. I had no hope. No motivation. I’m at a place now where I’m stronger mentally and emotionally and I’m very proud of this. 

 

I’m proud that I don’t allow my anxiety and emotions to completely take control like they used to. 

 

 

I’m proud of my training. I’m motivated and fitter and healthier than I’ve ever been.

 

I’m proud of being a great Mum. My daughter means the world to me and I feel so much pride when I look at her. 

 

I’m proud of this blog. Releasing this to the world was the scariest moment of my life. The fear was crippling. I couldn’t look for hours after I posted as I was scared there would be negative comments and people laughing at me. But I faced my fear and I haven’t looked back. And I feel pride for every like, comment and share on these posts. 

 

 

I’m proud of how open, raw and honest I’ve been. It’s incredibly difficult sharing some of the thoughts and feelings and struggles I’ve faced. But it helps me feel more in control of these emotions. To face them head on and not be ashamed of them. 

 

I’m proud that I’m inspiring others on their journeys. 

 

 

I’m proud of becoming vegan. I chose this two months ago after reading an article on live animal exports. I love how much it has changed my body and I love knowing that I no long hurt animals just to feed myself. 

 

I’m proud of my body. For the first time in my life I can look in the mirror and not pick at things I don’t like. I’ve worked hard and can see the results and I love it.

 

I’m proud that I’m finally putting myself first. I’m doing this in many ways but what I’m most proud of is finally having the strength to stand up to people that are not treating me how I deserve. 

 

I’m proud that I’m starting to see my worth. 

 

I’m proud that I was brave enough to step up and seek help from a Therapist.

 

I’m proud of the work I’ve put in with my Therapist to heal my past and built coping techniques for my future. 

 

 

I’m proud of my ability to show compassion and care for those that have hurt me. 

 

I’m proud of showing the world the dark parts of me that at the time I wasn’t proud of.

 

I’m proud that I’m starting to move forward and make plans for my life that I want, instead of always doing what others want in order to keep the peace. 

 

I’m proud of stepping up and making changes in my life when I could have easily thrown my hands up and given up many times over. To face this difficult times head on instead of running away. 

 

And lastly I feel proud that I have written this list. 

 

If anyone reading this is struggling to feel pride in themselves, I urge you to write your own list. I feel lighter after writing this. I feel like I can actually look at myself and smile. It’s really shifted my thoughts and the pressure that I feel I always carry, has been lifted. 

 

I know this feeling will be temporary if I don’t continue with these thoughts so I’m going to print it out and stick it on my fridge. Whenever I’m feeling low or starting to put myself down I’m going to use it as a reminder of this moment where I truly feel proud of the person I am. 

 

 

Perfectly Imperfect

A good friend of mine recently sent me the link to Pink’s song, Fucking Perfect. Saying she was running and it came on and it made her think of me and the words I have been writing in my blogs. It made me cry. Both good and hurtful tears. Good tears because it’s an empowering song and makes me think about the fact that some people accept us for our flawsand think we’re perfect the way we are. Hurtful tears because the film clip is so raw and eye opening and makes me think of the people that bully and hurt others and make us feel so unworthy. 

 

These following words from the song also got me thinking about how hurtful I am to myself and how frequently I tell myself I’m not worthy. 

You’re so mean, when you talk, about yourself you were wrong
Change the voices in your head, make them like you instead
So complicated, look how big, you’ll make it
Filled with so much hatred, such a tired game

Oh, pretty, pretty please, don’t you ever, ever feel
Like you’re less than fuckin’ perfect
Pretty, pretty please, if you ever, ever feel like you’re nothing
You’re fuckin’ perfect to me

 

Does anyone else have that little voice in their head that never pipes down? I hope so otherwise I’ll have people lining up to put me in a strait jacket and commit me, because I’m about to talk about mine. It’s called your inner critic. And mines a ruthless bitch!!! Even just to start writing this I’ve been battling with her to form the words. I’ll think of a sentence and she’s there telling me how shit it is and saying why would you even think about writing that, what’s wrong with you?

 

I know without hesitation that if I ever put anyone down the way I do myself, I’d be called a bully. I’d be told to fuck off and never speak to that person again. I know the way I speak to myself is wrong and hurtful. So why do I do it? How did I form such a horrible habit that keeps my confidence at bay and triggers every single one of my insecurities? And most importantly…. How do I shut that bitch up and make her talk to me nicely? 

 

I’ve been speaking to myself like this for as long as I can remember. My first memories as a child start from 10 years old and I can even remember back then that I was talking negatively to myself. So how do I break a habit I’ve held for 25 years? Where do I even start? The thought of how much of a challenge this will be actually terrifies me and makes me feel so overwhelmed. 

 

Annnndddddd of course my inner critic is having a field day right now. Telling me if I was stronger it would be so easy to achieve. Telling me if I was like other people I could change my thoughts in a second. Telling me if I wasn’t so shit at everything, then this would be a breeze. I told you. She’s a ruthless bitch!!

 

I’ve read so many books on ways to change negative thought patterns and it all seems so cliché and to be honest, unhelpful. The one that always makes me laugh is when they simply say, just think a positive thought instead of a negative. Easy as!!! If only all habits were as simple to break. It would be like saying to a smoker, just don’t smoke. Easy as!!! 

I’ve tried so many techniques that have been suggested in these books. Distracting myself with a rubber band that I’d flick when I would have negative thought. Positive affirmations. Trying to ignore the thoughts. Telling myself thoughts aren’t actually real.  I’ve tried so many different ways and some seem to help for a bit, but nothing has given me that huge shift that has allowed the pattern to break and I knew I was hitting a point where something big needed to change. I couldn’t keep going this way. 

 

So I was in a pretty bad place this week when I went to therapy and my inner voice was excruciatingly loud with some pretty hideous thoughts. My therapist asked what thoughts were going through my mind. I was scared to tell her. I didn’t want to actually admit to the horrific way I speak to myself. Even just her asking me to voice these thoughts, made me realise just how bad they are and I was ashamed at myself for allowing this inner critic to take control and put me down so badly. I knew in that moment though, that if I wasn’t honest, then she couldn’t help me. If I wasn’t honest I couldn’t help myself. I started pouring it all out. 

 

The thoughts went like this. I’m so fucking pathetic because I’m single and no one is fighting to be with me. I’m so fucking pathetic because I liked someone and was fighting to be with her even after being rejected. I’m so fucking pathetic because I feel lonely and feel desperate for company. I’m so fucking pathetic because I want to feel that someone loves me. I’m so fucking pathetic because I’m sitting here crying. I’m so pathetic because I have no control over anything in my life. I’m so fucking pathetic for having thoughts like this. 

 

She gave me a moment to let all these emotions out and then asked if I was comfortable with doing visualisation. She asked me to picture myself as a child and to imagine I’m sitting beside “Little Jess.” She then said to me “Do you think it would be ok to say those things to her?” It broke me. I couldn’t for a second imagine being so cruel to myself as a child and it made me realise that saying these things to myself as an adult is no better. 

She then took me further and asked what it was I thought I needed to hear when I was a child. I couldn’t actually get the words out, I was so emotionally broken and disappointed in myself so she started talking for me. Saying that I am worthy. That I am loved. That I am beautiful. That I deserve to be treated like I am special. As she was saying these things I was visualising that I was saying it to myself as a child and the emotional release was enormous. It’s like I could feel these wounds that I’d carried for all these years were finally being taken care of and nurtured. I was finally feeling love. I was finally feeling like I deserve love. It was a beautiful moment and it has had a profound effect on the way I see myself. 

 

 

Since doing this with my therapist, I seem to have a constant image in my head of that moment and it is helping me to slowthese thoughts. If I feel any creeping in, I try to picture saying that to myself as a child and I can’t do it. So far, this technique is working for me. I have managed to slow many negative thoughts that have started and show some compassion towards myself instead. I can feel a huge difference already and it feels amazing. I feel like a lot of pressure that I was putting on myself is lifting away each time I show compassion towards myself rather than saying hurtful things.

 

I’m starting to look at it from a different perspective as well. I keep asking myself how I speak to people I care about when they are struggling. If I had a friend tell me they felt lonely, would I ever say to them that they are pathetic for being single? Absolutely not. I wouldn’t even think it. So again why would I say that to myself? 

It sounds so easy as I’m writing it. Why don’t I just speak to myself as I do to my loved ones when they are struggling? But it’s not easy. I’m finding it difficult as it feels uncomfortable to be honest. I’ve grown used to telling myself how shit I am. So now sitting here thinking kind things about myself, it feels really nice, but it’s also hard to get used to. I’m out of my comfort zone when telling myself nice things. Which is kind of sad when I think about it but I’m going to focus on that nice, warm feeling I get when I hear these kind words and keep imagining myself as that little girl that I would never ever be unkind to. 

 

I feel like this is going to be a long road to completely change these thought patterns and maybe I’ll never change them completely. But all I know is that what I’ve done so far feels like it’s working finally and I want to keep focusing on it and keep working towards breaking this awful habit I formed. 

 

If anyone reading this has these unkind thoughts to themselves, please find a way to stop them. It’s not easy and maybe doing what I’ve done won’t help you, maybe you need to try something else. But please try. No one deserves to talk down to themselves. No one deserves to be beaten up each day by that nasty voice in their head. 

Please accept that we’re all perfectly imperfect and that’s what makes us all special and unique. Our differences are not flaws, they are just different. Please start saying kind things to yourself. I promise it’ll feel so beautiful xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

Cliche advice, empaths and real WTF moments.

It’s been during these really difficult times I’ve been through over the last 6 – 12 months that I’ve realised as humans we really are so shit at understanding and empathising with each other.

We all seem to fall back on cliché sayings when someone we care about is opening up and saying they are struggling. The best ones I can think of is one when I said my partner of 6 years had just left me and someone turned around and said “Oh don’t worry, you’re young and beautiful, and you’ll find someone new in no time!” And the other was when I said I’d had a miscarriage. The response was “Oh that’s ok, you can just try again and hopefully have better luck next time!” Another one that I obviously haven’t heard recently, but have heard so many times said to kids, is when they say that someone pinched them or hit them at school, and people turn around and say “Oh that means he/she likes you and wants you to pay them more attention!” 

Ummmm what the actual fuck!!!! 

When my heart is absolutely broken over loosing someone I loved and thought I would share the rest of my life with, walks away, the last thing on my mind is finding someone new. And no nothing is ok when you have a miscarriage. It’s not a matter of better luck next time. I just lost a baby. It’s the most devastating and gut wrenching feeling in the world. And telling a child that someone must like them because they hurt them, or is picking on them, is causing the most fucked up thought processes in society as to what love should actually feel like. It’s teaching us that in order for someone to love us, they must hurt us. I understand why people say these ridiculous things, as they feel uncomfortable and don’t want to make it worse, so then panic and make it worse by saying the first crazy thing that pops into their heads. But it causes so much more unnecessary pain. 

I’m definitely not having a go at these people and I have no ill feelings towards them as many people had very similar responses, and I know that in the past I’ve said some pretty stupid and in hindsight, hurtful things to people I care about when they have opened up to me. It’s not because we don’t care, it’s because we care too much and want to make the person feel better. 

 

But what I’ve realised is that when someone is opening up and sharing such personal information, it’s not because they want the other person to fix the problem. Or to come up with some insightful advice that will change the world. All they really want is to know the person is listening to them and is there for them. I think that’s all any of us really want, is to feel that during our struggles, that someone has our back. That someone feels for us and cares about what we’re going through. 

 

I’ve realised that the best response anyone can give you when you’ve just poured your heart out…..wait for it…..it’s really complicated…… “I’m sorry you’re going through that, it must be difficult.” BOOM!!! That’s it. No attempt to fix the problem. No cliché advice handed down through the ages that makes it all so much worse. No insightful Buddha style quotes to attempt to make the problem seems less than what it is. And no unnecessary story of a similar situation that a friends, uncles best mate went through in 1946. 

 

It’s called showing empathy and compassion and I promise you, next time someone opens up to you, try that simple sentence and watch for the relief on their faces. Also next time your partner or work colleague is going off at you for making them feel shitty, make sure your first response is “I’m sorry that you’re feeling that way.” (Whether you feel that they are right or wrong, is irrelevant. It’s about making them feel like you have listened to them. Chances are it will soothe a lot of their frustration/anger and they will then be able to have a more rational conversation about what is upsetting them). It shows them that you care. It shows them that you understand it’s a difficult thing they are going through. It makes them feel that their problem is validated and heard. It makes them feel that their emotions and pain are important to you. 

 

Imagine the last time you opened up to someone or were upset at someone. Now imagine if they had of responded with those words. Feels good right? You’ll probably agree that whatever emotions you were feeling would have dissipated or at least lessened pretty quickly. 

 

Now imagine how it would have felt if you came home from school and told your parents that someone hurt you and they gave the cliché response that it means the person likes you. Imagine how confusing that would be. Imagine how that would set you up for a lifetime of pain by learning that you have to hurt someone in order to show them you care. 

I discovered this problem when I was in the Navy. I met a few guys that were absolute sweethearts and I actually said to them if I wasn’t gay, I’d marry them in a heartbeat. They were caring and respectful of the women they would take out on dates. And in return, these girls would treat them like shit. And then I’d watch these girls chase after guys that had taken them out on a date, taken them home and had sex and then never spoke to them again. These women would chase these guys that treated them like shit. I saw it happen in reverse as well where the guys would chase girls that treat them like shit and would ignore the ones that were kind to them. It absolutely blew my mind and was so confusing to watch.

 

It made me think that this behaviour stems from that cliché. Maybe I’m completely wrong, but I honestly cannot think of any other explanation as to why people would chase others that treat them like shit, rather than the ones that were kind and caring to them. 

 

Writing this has made me realise I’ve actually done the same thing. I’ve chased women who treat me like shit. I haven’t done it consciously. I don’t sit here and think oh she is treating me like dirt I might chase her some more. I think subconsciously when you have low self-esteem you think, maybe if I was nicer they would stop treating me this way. Maybe if I was different they would treat me better. So you put yourself down even more and they continue treating you like shit and taking advantage of your kindness and the nasty cycle continues. And when it continually happens you get to a point where you actually feel like you deserve to be treated that way so you just put up with it and allow it to happen. 

 

Wow. This blog has ended up on a totally different path than I expected and bought up some pretty painful feelings. But I’m happy it has. This is why I chose to start writing down my feelings as it helps shift a lot of shit that I find difficult to process and brings up emotions and pain that I didn’t even realise were laying there. 

It has highlighted such a massive problem in my life that I allow to keep happening. Realising that I have actually accepted the fact that I feel I deserve to be treated like shit is really painful. How did I get to that point? How did I allow myself to think I’m less than anyone else? How did I end up with such a low opinion of myself? How did I end up thinking it’s ok for people to hurt me over and over?

 

So many questions that I need to work through. So much work I obviously need to do to start standing up for myself and to stop allowing people to treat me so poorly. I actually feel really sad at the moment, but I also feel a fire burning in my belly that is raging with determination to never allow this shit to happen again! I need to figure out why I’ve allowed this to happen in my past, and focus on ways to not fall back into the same patterns in the future.

 

Back to my original point…. If someone is expressing themselves to you simply say “I’m sorry you’re feeling that way.” 

 

Try it. I dare you!

The end of my IVF journey.

 

*Warning – highly likely trigger points* very sensitive and graphic content.

 

I was in my 5th IVF cycle and I was convinced it hadn’t worked, right up to the day of my blood test after my 2 week wait for results after the Embryo transfer. I had actually already grieved the failed cycle and accepted it hadn’t worked and was ready to jump straight in and start another one.

 

When I got the phone call I was blown away. I knew straight away as my nurse couldn’t contain her excitement and told me I wasn’t just pregnant but that my HCG levels were incredibly high which was obviously a very positive sign. She actually said if this was her pregnancy she’d be very excited! My HCG level was 383. You only need 75 to confirm pregnancy…. my first thought “oh fuck it’s twins.

 

After 2 previous miscarriages I did my absolute best to contain my excitement as I wanted to wait until the scan in 2 weeks’ time to confirm the baby was in the right spot and that it had a heartbeat.

But as much as you try, there’s a part inside of you that feels instant love and connection to that little sesame seed sized pod of cells. You can’t help but work out your due date – (it would have been today, 9th March 2019). You can’t help but wonder if it’s a boy or girl. You can’t help but wonder what they will grow up to be like. You can’t help but think about how excited Lexi will be over having a little brother or sister. You instantly know you would do anything, including sacrificing your own life to protect your baby.

 

 

Fast forward 10 days. I’m feeling nauseous 24/7 but loving every second. My boobs have doubled in size, which I was not loving every second of that lol but I’m still trying to not get my hopes up. My parents, sister and nieces have come down for a visit and life couldn’t be more perfect. Or so I thought….

 

Sitting there watching TV and felt a tiny cramp. Which is totally normal so I wasn’t worried. A few minutes later I went to the bathroom and time literally stood still. I was bleeding, badly. I was screaming inside no no no not again. This isn’t happening. But also on the surface I was totally calm and telling myself everything is fine because you can’t allow yourself to accept what is happening, because then it would mean it’s real and you’re dreams are being ripped away from you again.

 

I guess I knew it was over then as I had the forethought of holding onto a section of what I was losing so we could get it tested for genetic abnormalities. But again, you still cling to that hope that it’s not over.

 

I called my nurse. The usual instructions followed. Lay down. Insert extra progesterone pessaries (the grossest things in the world and what every girl going through IVF dreads). Relax. Try not to stress. I’d like to meet any woman in the world that could remain calm when she is pregnant and starts bleeding. But I do understand that there’s actually nothing they can do or say to help.

 

Then the pain started. A deep, stabbing pain on my right side that took my breath away. It was getting worse as each minute passed to the point of being unbearable when Mum and my sister drove me to the ER.

 

The ER nurse made the experience so much worse. She was joking, trying to make light of the situation and it wasn’t until she helped me to the bathroom and saw how much I was bleeding that she actually started to act professionally and stopped the joking. She immediately referred me to the acute care section and called for a specialist. 

 

After 3 Endone’s and 3 injections of Fentanyl I was off my face but to the point now where I was screaming in pain. I can’t even actually think of how to describe it. I’ve never felt that kind of pain before and even thinking back to it now it makes me wince remembering how much it fucking hurt. It was at this point they were prepping me for emergency surgery thinking it was an Ectopic pregnancy and it was rupturing my Fallopian tube which can be life threatening. They prep you for the worst which is that they will have to remove the tube, which you automatically realise that it was hard enough getting pregnant already and now this will make it 100 times worse. 

 

I got wheeled away to have an internal Ultrasound where the guy that did that was literally the biggest wanker I have ever met. Making jokes with his female colleague about my Retroverted Uterus.  Saying to me “so this is an IVF pregnancy and we’re doing a scan to see if it’s still there or not?” I say yes. His response, “Yep cool. Easy as.” Um no it’s not cool you inconsiderate asshole! Then after the scan he looks at the bed and goes oh wow you are bleeding a lot aren’t you?!?!?! Thanks for pointing that out dickhead!!!! As if I didn’t fucking notice. The lack of empathy and compassion shown by him makes me wonder why he ever got into that line of work. 

 

Back to acute care where the most amazing Doctor I could ask for, came in to deliver the bad news. I could tell from the moment we made eye contact what she was there to tell me and I shut down. The only way I can describe it is to actually say I had an out of body experience. Which I don’t know if I even believe in, but that’s what it felt like. I was completely devoid of any emotion. The physical pain stopped. I was looking in from the outside of my body and doing everything in my power to escape that moment so I didn’t hear the bad news.

 

I didn’t hear a word she said. All I heard was white noise. I was literally numb and empty. I knew my body and mind was shutting down to try and cope with what was happening, to try and detach from it all as a defence mechanism I guess. My Mum, sister and niece starting crying. One of them gasped. I remember looking at them and still feeling nothing. I just sat there staring and was actually thinking how weird it was to be sitting there. I don’t even know what that thought meant, I still don’t know. 

 

The news was that the scan showed it wasn’t ectopic so no surgery. But that the sac had ruptured and therefore no longer a viable pregnancy. The baby was gone.

 

I had only been 2 days away from having my 7 week scan where we’d actually get to see our little baby and hear its heartbeat and being able to finally relax a little bit. But now it was all gone. All over. Dreams torn apart. All hope taken away. Again nothing can describe the feelings that consume you and the pain that takes over.

 

Next up comes the clinical side. I get told that there is remaining ‘product’ inside me which I need to pass so I don’t get an infection. PRODUCT!!! That’s the word they use to describe my baby. I can never use that word the same way I used to.

 

The solution to helping this pass is inserting some kind of pessary vaginally and also one rectally to help reduce the inflammation and the pain. Luckily everyone left the room for this. Things couldn’t get more uncomfortable and horrendous. 

 

Once they all realise it’s over, it all changes. There’s no more rushing. No more urgency. Everyone that comes into the room is calm and quiet. Most of them don’t make eye contact, but the biggest killer is the ones that do. The pity you see in their eyes is almost enough to make you scream. It’s then that you want to be alone. You want the world to swallow you up and to hide from the pain and the grief. But there is no hiding. There is only heartbreak and shattered dreams.

 

I got taken up to a ward then and got what I wished for which was to be alone. And truly alone I was. A few hours before I was laying there with my hands on my stomach knowing there was a life growing inside of me. And now I lay there with nothing but emptiness. Pure emptiness that not a thing in the world could fix, other than turning back time. 

 

The next morning reality hits even harder. When the “product” starts passing and it’s not just blood anymore. The crippling pain of seeing that is indescribable. A feeling I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

 

Life becomes a blur. Nurses in. Nurses out. Blood tests. Poking and prodding. Being constantly asked if the “product” is still passing. Being told that the pregnancy levels are coming down “nicely” and that’s “great news.” Sitting there wanting to actually punch them in the face as they tell you this and put on a positive smile. I can appreciate now that they are trying to help, but honestly seeing smiling faces and having people trying to turn the most horrific event of your life into something positive, is just a kick in the guts. 

 

You finally get sent home and walk in to the feeling of what now? Last time I was home, life was revolving around the future of an impending mini human. Now what? Do I try again? Do I take time off? 

 

My amazing fertility specialist, Dr Kee Ong, fit me in the very next day for a follow up appointment to review what happened and to come up with a plan of attack. He really is the most caring man I have ever met and makes these difficult times just that little bit easier. Again he tells me that he knows I want a definitive answer as to why it happened, but unfortunately there is no answers. Miscarriages are so common and can happen for so many different reasons so you never get a reason why. Which is incredibly difficult to hear, because you of course blame yourself. 

 

Plan of attack is to have surgery the following week to ensure all the ‘product’ is cleared and we decided to do a Laparoscopy to see if my Endometriosis was back. I also decide to have some time off from IVF to give my body and my mind a break. After almost 2 years I was finding I just couldn’t keep going. My entire life had revolved around it for so long and I needed time out. 

 

This is where I hit one of my lowest points. I was post op and in an immense amount of pain. I was bloated and couldn’t really move much so I had all the time in the world to lay there and start hating the world and hating myself and go through all the ‘what ifs.’ After a few weeks I got back into running and set a goal to do the Gold Coast airport half marathon the following year. This was a major turning point in my journey and one I will go through in another blog. 

 

Four months later and I decide to start another cycle. I was in a great head space. I was well rested. I was fitter and stronger than I had been in quite a few years. I had made the decision that this would be my last cycle. That no matter what the outcome, this was the end of my journey. Dr Ong decided to go all in. I would be taking even more medications. This was it. My last ditch effort to have a baby and to give Lexi and brother or sister.

 

During this mess my partner had left me and I wasn’t coping at all. I was trying to get used to being alone. I was trying to find a place to live. I was trying to just make it through each day. I made the decision only a few days in, to cancel the cycle myself. I couldn’t go through with it. I couldn’t bear the thought of it failing again. But I was also terrified that this time it would work and I’d be doing it on my own. It was the hardest decision I ever had to make as deep down I knew I’d never start another cycle again. I knew I’d never carry another life inside of me again. 

 

Today is going to be tough for me. That’s why I’ve written this over the last few weeks. It’s my last ‘due date.’ I should have been 9 months pregnant and eagerly awaiting a trip to hospital to meet my baby. But instead I’m grieving a loss that I will never get over. I’ve spoken to many women that have suffered the same and they all say that you never get over it, you just slowly learn to deal with it. 

 

It’s still something I’m coming to terms with, 7 months later. Especially as I was fortunate enough to have 15 embryos in the freezer that are waiting to be used. I always wanted to donate them if I had any left after having my own child so it seemed the obvious choice to make. On my journey I got to know so many amazing women that have been trying for years and are still on their journey to have a family. I feel so privileged to have the opportunity to give this gift to someone that cannot have their own children and I’m currently starting the process in order to finalise my donation.

The thought of being able to help a family who can’t conceive helps me cope a little easier with the fact I failed at my attempts and I wish so badly that my embryos can create that for them. The big question people keep asking me is how I will feel when I get told that someone has given birth to a child that carries my genes. To be honest, I really don’t know. Only time will tell.

For now I do my best to keep moving forward and to stop the constant thoughts of the “what if’s” I find it difficult though when I will always carry the scars on my stomach from the surgery. It’s a permanent reminder.

This due date is hitting me harder than the others as I know it’s my last. But I’m hoping as the day passes and I honour my Angel babies by getting a commemorative tattoo today, that the grief will start to lessen and I can learn to focus on the joy I felt when I was pregnant and look at my tattoo and smile. Rather than look at my scars and cry.

To all those incredible women that are still on their journey, I take my hat off to you. You’re so brave and strong and inspiring. I hope that your dreams come true xoxo

❤️❤️❤️