The Darkness

I can only write about this now that I’m not so deeply entrenched in it.  Maybe I should have written it when I was entrenched, but admitting my emotional defeat was too much, I think.  But I feel like I need to write about it now, because I know that there are others out there like me and I want them to know that they are not alone.

Infertility is tough and emotionally draining and confusing, but nothing could have prepared me for the feelings that came with the loss of my baby.  And nothing could have prepared me for how much energy it took to keep functioning and to keep dealing with infertility.

The first time I googled “suicide and infertility” was after I was blindsided by a pregnancy announcement.  I had this complete emotional (over?)reaction — I lost my shit.  I just wanted to walk into traffic.  I felt as if the world wasn’t a fair place and I just wanted all the pain and disappointment of our failed IUIs to stop.  I just wanted to be the one with a fucking pregnancy announcement.  I got through but I wondered, do people kill themselves over this?  I found one blog that talked about it and it seemed as though the writer just stopped writing and people were concerned.  Funny thing about suicide, no one talks about that either and one cannot tell one’s story once one is  dead.  I bounced back and started this blog in hope of explaining to those around me, just how painful all this was for me.

After I lost Abby, I was grief-stricken, angry and I just didn’t give a shit.  I didn’t want to die though.. I just didn’t care if I lived.  I simply didn’t care about anything.  The first time I really considered suicide was after all the bullshit that the old clinic put us through, followed by all the shit I went through with work.  I just wanted it all to stop.  I wanted something to go right and I wanted to stop hurting.  I had more bouts of this darkness in the fall when I was being bullied by my boss at work.  But strongly again after our failed IVF cycle.  Each time, I pulled myself out somehow.  Maybe those weren’t real suicidal feelings, but merely the musings of someone who wanted to give up, but it was the darkest place I’ve ever been in.  The really stupid thing is… I continued to function and do my job… as a social worker.  It was like I had these two people inside me again.  The one who puts on a face and helps people and makes it through the day… and they other who felt such despair that she was planning ways to leave the world behind.  Sometimes, I felt like such a fraud at work… who was I to be helping people to cope when I wasn’t coping at all??

One day, I photocopied some pages out of a book for a client who was struggling to manage emotions and had had two overdoses in a short period of time — about suicide.  This is what I mean.. the irony!!  And I read a line that struck a chord for me… it was something to the effect that most suicidal people don’t really want to die, they just want to stop hurting.  Ain’t that the truth?  I don’t want to be dead… I just want to stop hurting.  Depression is a funny thing — it clouds all reality.  In my logical mind, I know that there is hope and options and elements of my life that are very good.  In those moments of darkness, it seemed like there could never be an end to the hurt and emptiness.

I can’t tell you how I got out of the darkness.  I just kept living.  After the failed IVF, I decided that I still had two embies on ice and they deserved a chance to be born.  They would provide me with the hope and the strength to keep going.  So I promised myself that I wouldn’t think about killing myself until I had used up those embies.  And that was that.

I didn’t seek help, because honestly, the counselling I had before wasn’t all that helpful.  In fact, feeling that darkness made me wonder how futile counselling really is.  I give suggestions to clients all the time on how they can behave to feel better — but all it does is distract for a while.  I got together with my friends, I went out for dinner, movies.. whatever — but it was all just a distraction from my real feelings.  I was truly going through the motions and making people believe that I was okay. Because how do you talk to your friends about being suicidal.

“Hey.. pass the soy sauce and by the way, I played out a scenario in my head today whereby my car ends up in the Grand River and I die”.

I truly believe that people who want to kill themselves won’t tell you… if we told you, you’d try to stop us.  And how on earth do you find those words to tell someone?  How could I admit that I wasn’t coping?  That I was considering suicide?!  I judged myself: how could I be so weak??  The social worker me throws all empathy out the window when she deals with herself.

I’m okay right now.. really I am.  And I’m not just saying that.  I have a wee bit of hope and it’s enough to keep me going.

I just wanted to share this, because like I said, I know that there are other people out there that know this scary darkness.  There are some that will read this and judge me too… like I judged myself.  With all the problems that people have, you think about offing yourself because of infertility?!  I know.  I had those thoughts too.  All I can say is, I’m glad that you can’t relate.  I’m glad that you haven’t had such drastic feelings of despair in your life — and I hope you never do.


21 responses to “The Darkness

  • Heather

    You are brave and strong writing this M. You will continue to not only help and inspire others, but I think this allows some sort of healing to yourself too.
    Please know you can talk to me about anything, even “offing” yourself, should those thoughts ever re-enter your mind. xo

  • kendall

    I think you’re absolutely right about truly suicidal people not telling anyone. Someone close to me lost a family member to suicide just over a year ago–he had struggled with depression his entire adult life and seemed to be doing fairly well when, with seemingly no warning, he took his life.

    Don’t think I haven’t been watching you and keeping a close eye on your struggle, because I have. I was very relieved to see you recently be more connected and just, present. I know what it is to struggle under that dark, stifling, smothering blanket that is depression. We put on a face for the outside world because to not do so would draw too much attention, too many questions we can’t answer and that no one wants to hear the answers to. It is your fight and no one else’s. Some lose–I’m glad you’re winning. You, and your life’s journey, are worth it.

  • clwalchevill

    M, thank you for being brave enough to write this post. Every word if it resonated with me. Like you, I’ve hit some if my darkest moments while struggling with infertility. And like you, I desperately wanted the pain to go away.

    One if the sayings people regularly threw in my face was “at least infertility doesn’t kill you.” I know the intention was to snap me out of my grief, but I remember thinking more than once “says who?” After all, I felt like I had stopped living. And how is that any different from death?

    The reason this post is so important is it illustrates that the conversation needs to change. Not only is infertility a disease, but it’s a horrible, life-sucking one that can kill. It kills happiness, hope and the will to go on. Hence it’s important to allow everyone dealing with this to find support.

    On that note, I’m glad you’re okay. But if you ever aren’t, let us know. You are so loved and I know a world without you would be a sad one indeed. Much love, lady.

  • reachandflexibility

    Not much I can say as I related so much to this post but *hugs*

  • Shara

    I’m not sure if you read the Bloggess, but she has a saying that always struck a cord with me: ‘Depression Lies’.

    It doesn’t matter how much the logical part of your head says that you have things to live for, or that it could be worse, or that people would be upset if you died- when you’re depressed, this part of your brain becomes disconnected from the rest of you. It doesn’t mean you’re ungrateful or overreacting, it means that the illness is putting a barrier between you and the ability to feel fully. Happiness and thankfulness are on the other side of the wall, and all you’re left with is the numbness and the pain. It’s a scary place to be when you feel you only have one way to stop the hurt.

    I always find it strange when people equate depression with being really sad. It’s a lot more than feeling really down- it’s the inability to feel happiness, and sometimes to feel anything at all. And it does lead to feeling like you’re leading multiple lives at once.

    I’m glad to hear you’ve once again found a light in the darkness.

    Much love to you my friend.

  • Jenny

    Thank you for writing this. It’s such a hard thing to talk about, but it helps to know that I haven’t been alone in what I was feeling with infertility. I admit that I had moments where I hurt so much that I didn’t want to go on, and I also Googled infertility and suicide because I needed to know that I wasn’t the only one who thought about it.

  • marwil

    To know that the pain and hurt can dig so deep is really scary but it also angers me. Dammit. So sorry to hear that it took you to that dark dark place. And thanks for writing such a brave and important post.

    I’m so glad you feel ok now, but please reach out if you need to. I have been thinking of you, and wishing so hard that the wee hope you have is a great turnaround.

  • Alicia

    Thank you for sharing this M. Your strength of character is an inspiration. Infertility and then loss of a child is more than anyone should ever have to bear.

  • Life

    Thank you for sharing this with us. It is very brave of you.
    I was in a dark place last year, a very dark place. I still don’t know how I managed to come out of it. I so wish for you to be able to have that baby you deserve so much….

  • Mel

    Thank you for writing this. I’m glad you found the words to talk about it. Because it is something that needs to be talked about.

  • psychsarah

    As Kendall aptly put it (as she often does) I too am very glad you’re winning. She’s absolutely right-you are worth it.

  • sb

    Kendal and Shara have both said it so well, but just wanted to concur and hope you keep writing, sharing, and finding hope yourself.

  • Anna

    I’m so sorry. And I so can relate. I’m thinking of you and glad you’re ok.

  • Sadie

    Thank you for writing this brave and honest and important post. I can relate to all of what you’ve written, and I am so sorry that you’ve been in that dark place too. I’m thinking of you and hoping that the little spark of hope continues to grow as it carries you through the days.

  • A Crack In Everything

    Hello — first-time visitor here. I know this darkness, too, and thank you for writing about it so beautifully.

    I lost a pregnancy last month, and am now feeling the need to apologize to people for disappearing from their lives (again) during this latest hard time. There’s a lot of shame. It doesn’t help to know that some people who haven’t been there equate depression with self-pity and so on. And sure, those things exist. But you’ve nailed it: above all else, it’s just utterly, totally draining. “Going through the motions” is sometimes all that we can do. As Parker Palmer says in his book Let Your Life Speak, “I understand why some depressed people kill themselves: they need the rest.”

    I’m glad that you’re feeling stronger and more hopeful lately. But I do hear your pain and respect the fact that there is no easy fix, or (just as with infertility) you would have fixed it already! I’m so sorry for your struggles and the loss of your baby girl.

    The fact that you were able to help others at work during your darkest times (however fraudulent it may have felt, I have no doubt that it did help), and the fact that you’re thinking of others by sharing this post now … that’s remarkable! That’s the only kind of judging that’s going on here.

  • dspence

    Thank you for writing this. These stories need to be out there. You never know who it’s going to help, even if it’s just yourself for giving voice to it.

  • gradualchanges

    I also know the darkness and the false self (for the sake of others) of which you speak. I can share that I am finally transitioning out of that place (most of the time) and have begun to see that there can be happiness left for me even with out my boys.

  • gradualchanges

    (oops I wasn’t finished…) … Trying to stay in the present and not let my thoughts spend too much time in the past (experiencing pain) or in the future (experiencing fear/anxiety) has really helped me. I hope that over time you can find a place of happiness too, where you can honor Abby’s memory and miss her but still find joy in your life.

  • Alissa

    This is so brave. Thank you dear. I didn’t think about killing myself after my babies died, but I did sometimes hope not to wake up the next day. It sounds scary, but it wasn’t. I didn’t want to deal with the pain of a new day. The memories. I would lay in bed and just not want to wake up until I could guarantee that I would be healed. It was too much sometimes. That is why I went back to work after only a week and a half. I needed something else to think about other than my loss.

    I thank you for showing others that even the strongest of people can fall when faced with IF and babyloss. I still have very hard days, but get through it and move forward.

  • PA

    <-social worker.
    It is so hard for me to even post that one word. Thanks for all of yours.

  • Kelly

    Thank you for writing this. I lost my daughter just over a year ago, and had a miscarriage. We’ve been trying to have a baby for so long. I know how you feel. Some days are so dark. When we learned I lost our daughter, I was very sick with preeclampsia. I remember everyone in the hospital telling me how sick I was, how close I was to a seizure or stroke. I remember not telling anyone that I didn’t care if those things happened; that I longed for them to happen; that it seemed impossible I could be so heartbroken on the inside and have no mark on the outside.

    I hate that others feel this lost, but I find such comfort in a community of people who are also there.

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