Thursday, 1 December 2016

If not fear, then what?

A marginally more hopeful but equally philosophical post tonight, before bed.

I've been at a low ebb, emotionally. Not so low that I can't do what I need to, not so low that I don't enjoy crossfit, but low nonetheless. I was wondering when the infertility induced low might end, when a clear answer about how to go forward apropos to IVF or not might appear. I was wondering when I might be able to regard each circumstance with which I am faced neutrally, rather than mentally trying the future child/childfree cloak on.

It's hard when you are feeling bogged down to know what the actual problem is.

Essentially it is just a matter of being afraid that bad stuff would happen, and that I would not be able to cope with it. In the past, FYI, bad stuff has happened and I have dealt with it and moved forward.

As it has before, the barbell bought me clarity. We were doing clean and jerks tonight at Crossfit.

If you care to watch the video (or not), you will see it is a technical movement that requires a swift, strong initial pull.

As the bar got heavier, I would start pulling the bar off the ground then hesitate.

I did not get my C&J past prior best is 43.5kg from about 5 months back, and I really wanted to crack 45kg today.

These complex movements do not work without a. loads of practice and foresight and b. an attitude of "I got this". It is quite natural to be scared when approaching a heavy bar, as there is a risk of injury with improper movement. However, hesitation does not help.

I could do with this attitude towards my box jumps. And also more generally in life.

I wondered what I would be able to do without being so consumed by fear?

My buzzword for 2016 was patience - I've certainly needed that! Perhaps my word for next year will be fearless.

PS - Yesterday, I approached my 2RM back squats yesterday with a little fear and a lot of confidence, the right ratio, and did the biggest squat I'd ever done - 65kg x 2.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Speaking plainly (of infertility and doubt).

I have just gotten back from a wonderful 9 days in Thailand, a couple of days in Bangkok and then a week in Kamalaya.

Kamalaya was eye-wateringly expensive but I did it as a "treat yoself" thing, and to embrace the childless situation in which I have found myself.

It was worth every penny. It was absolutely magnificent. There, I felt the best I had in about 18 months.

I have a tan, but the post-holiday blues have struck, because one cannot run away from one's problems.

I was trying to think of a nice, nuanced way to write this, with clever analogies, however I have had a day where I will just put it the hell out there.

I wrote a post alluding to all of this, and it was put back into draft mode. Somebody, in a very kind and well intentioned manner, said that they hoped I had a child, as I will love them. I have no doubt that I would love a child, however one is not forthcoming. It is not that simple.

So here it is, simply:

After 2 years of trying for a baby, including a miscarriage and monthly rollercoasters and a few tantalisingly late periods. I have had my hair thin and a thick smattering of acne. I have debilitating PMS which actually meets some criteria for premenstrual dysphoric disorder. I feel so bad a few days before my period that I just want to sleep for 5 days to let it all pass. I am not so alarmed by these feelings anymore, as I know they pass, but they are still bloody unpleasant.

I am tired of it. I realised this during my time in that magnificent place. It is little wonder that I don't feel ready to do IVF.

IVF gives many a lot of hope, but it seems like a war of attrition - stimulate the ovaries (without overstimulating them), get a good crop, then inject a sperm into them, then freeze them and then test them for abnormalities, then thaw them out and stick them up the wazoo and see if they stick. At each point there is a risk of failure. Success is by no means guaranteed. It just takes all the wonder and joy out of things, for me, anyway. It's another roller coaster that I am scared about getting on.

The only narrative that is out there is that the infertile woman goes automatically to IVF. There is no talk of stopping and having a think about things, because the time is a'tickin! There is the narrative about the woman who was desperate for a child and went through dozens of cycles of IVF and then JOY!

I have always had misgivings about doing IVF, and they have not disappeared now the prospect is increasingly real. Rather than push these misgivings to the side, I actually have had a think about them (and dropped a few dollars in the therapist's office).

Mostly, I have had to have a good hard think about why I wanted to have a child. To talk about this in a safe environment. It is hard to talk through things with others, as the response generally is "oh go through with it, you will love having children, or you don't want to regret not having a child". These are undoubtedly well-intentioned but not very helpful for me.

Had the pregnancy proceeded, I would have embraced it without too much thought and been buoyed by lots of lovely happy hormones. However, the requirement to mix up a little human in a test tube, for me, has forced me to consider things. It is not a comfortable process, and, without going into any detail about the thought processes, it is one I am still struggling with. It is hard. I have also started to think about a life without a child, and what that might look like.

Anyway, I just wanted to get that offa my chest.

I have learned from all this a way to respond to people who are having a tough time.

The only way is to say "that's shit. I am really sorry" +/- "want a wine/chocolate/cuddle/diamond ring"

Monday, 31 October 2016

Greyhounds. Ocsober over.

Happy Halloween! I bought chocolates for the kiddies, but alas no kiddies came to our door. Hence lots of little crunchie bars have been eaten. I am taking part in Halloween begrudgingly. It's an American thing, and I think the US needs to have less influence on the world rather than more. But far be it from me to deny the kiddies (or myself) chocolate.

I have been craving a lot more chocolate and sweet things while Ocsober has been on. Perhaps the pleasure centres in my brain need a tickle and if it isn't from wine, it needs to be from chocolate? Perhaps this is something I can work on..... only 13 days till I fly off to my health retreat in Koh Samui.

All of you who read my blog will know of my love for dogs. We have been dog-sitting a greyhound for a friend. Readers, I have fallen in love. Elvis the greyhound has stolen my heart. He started off a bit aloof, but now he takes his spot on the couch in between myself and my fella, usurping Bella. They play in the backyard and are adorable. #teambelvis . He is a handsome boy too, and always gets up to say hello when we wake up. Bella has started doing that with him - usually she only gives us a side-eye from the couch. #teambelvis follow each other around the house. It's too cute. I think we need to consider adopting a greyhound. They are, by all accounts, very good pets.

By way of update, we are going for our counselling appointment for IVF in December. It was delayed because the police check for my fella was delayed - he has a common name and shares a name and date of birth with many criminals....poor foresight from his parents, really.

Without going into too much detail, with the waits and delays for IVF, I seem to have lost my nerve regarding having a baby. My brain is stuck between the anticipation of the rigours of IVF and the anticipation of the rigours of parenting, hence I am led to wonder why I am bothering with any of it at all. It's an uncomfortable place, mentally. I have always imagined myself as a mum, and now I am, largely out of fear, questioning it.

I read somewhere (in a Fairfax publication, therefore true) that infertility was about as stressful as death of a loved one. I am not sure about that, but it certainly lends some validation to the mental discomfort I am feeling now. I am off to speak to my therapist about this. It's prudent.

And that is enough about that.

The things I can control, I am doing a reasonable job of doing. I have not developed a drinking problem, nor an eating problem. I am doing my exercise and doing my job well. I have discovered makeup primer and apply it diligently, as well as bronzer, because, even if I am not feeling bright I can look it. I am doing ok.
I love the dogs being around, they are legit the best.

The other thing I have done is sign up for a 10km fun run, the first I will have done in a couple of years. I want to get a PB (personal best time). My PB was set 5.5 years ago. I am 5.5 years older but I have accumulated a lot of mental toughness in that time. Time to unleash the beast. It's good for me to have a goal like this.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Ocsober - the first 14 days.

Clearing away the alcohol has been an eye opener.

There is the commonly experienced realisation of how central alcohol is to our social life, and to winding down. To the weekend festivities.

For me, a vino at night has been taken to remove the edge from anxiety. Now, of course, I have to face it. Happily, I am. I can meet the dark scary places in my mind and quickly return from them.

A new insight, though, has been into my personality.

I had always considered myself an extrovert. I had been married to a strongly introverted person, and I suppose I needed to reach out frequently in order to get any socialising done!

Now, I am living with a strong extrovert. Without a social lubricant like alcohol, it brings out the fact that I am not as comfortable in groups of people, particularly those I don't know well,  as I thought I was.

I can be my charming, witty, engaging self for an hour. Two tops. It was probably like that when I had wine but it is very obvious now. I can hang with one or two members of my close tribe for longer, but any more than one or two and I retreat into my inner world early. It gets too much for me.

I think I am an ambivert. Explains a bit, actually. Think my partner knew this all along.

Also, I have learned that I can actually go out and eat dinner and not have alcohol and it is not that bad! Though we have probably been eating out less and that is a good thing.

In other news:
  • The last 10 days, 4 of my friends have announced their pregnancies. The past winter was chilly and I blame this. It's tough, but I rise up.
  • Am off to Bris this week for a conference. Hello not shit weather! Melbourne has not got the spring memo yet.
Where are you on the spectrum of introvert/extrovert?

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

The good, the bad and the ugly.

Here is where I am at this very moment.

The good
  1. Hitting 2 x 45 kg push jerk at crossfit today. That's an overhead press for those of you playing at home.
  2. The free time I have now that I have jettisoned a couple of sessions, so that I can now catch up on my researchy things.
  3. That I have another job in the offing. It's temporary, but still.
  4. Another recent work addition. I have not lost my edge. The sharp mongrel is still there.
  5. I have a holiday to look forward to.
  6. I am still dreaming of a recent meal at Tahina in my 'hood (Israeli food) and some cake that a co-worker made. I know the word "moist" gives some people the heebie jeebies but this was a very apt descriptor for the chocolate banana cake I hoovered.
  7. I am obsessing over Nars cosmetics. That stuff is the shizz.
  8. My own sense of humour. Fuck I make myself laugh sometimes. 
  9. My dog, and all the other dogs in the neighbourhood. You guys rock.
The bad
  1. The second friend in a week announcing her pregnancy. It's kind of like a punch to the solar plexus.
  2. I feel a bit bad for leaving the job. They were nice people. However it was the right thing to do.
  3. I am missing wine. That sounds bad. I could have done with a vino this week. 
  4. I want to eat all the chocolate and all the chips too.
  5. I still have not submitted that paper. Some journals want things in minute detail but have such low word limits it precludes proper grammar or indeed the inclusion of the findings. Fuck.
  6. People who don't ring and cancel their appointments, nor do they return the call when the secretary calls to confirm.
The ugly
  1. Big zits. One just lateral to my left eyebrow. It's mainly covered up by hair when I wear my hair down. It's not at the squeezable stage but looks big and red and nasty and I fear it might explode and take my brain along with it.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Big steps

I have about 4 jobs. I've had a job for the last 5 months that I haven't liked. I have tried to like it but my enthusiasm finally ran out

I resigned it today.

There is another in the pipeline to replace it but they could only commit to it lasting 3 months.

I don't care. I got to the point where I dreaded pitching up to that workplace. I am lucky that I have the ability to do that, a lot of people have to stay stuck in jobs they hate.

While I felt a bit scared about resigning, my general feeling is good. I feel a bit of a weight off my shoulders.

Sometimes things have to change. My career will probably make a few twists and turns. I've just twisted and turned. Time to declutter.

I am doing ocsober. It's going ok. Alcohol was masking a bit of anxiety that I am now having to deal with, but I can do so with a clear head.

I have bought myself a pair of proper crossfit shoes.

They apparently help one do rope climbs. I want to be able to do a rope climb. I am ditching my box jump aspirations for a while. See, shaking things up.

I will do SSG's "things I like about myself" challenge, next post. Will have to have a think about it. Lots of bigness for today.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Heal thyself.

Part of being a good, productive adult, I feel, is having a good, honest appreciation of one's own strengths and weaknesses. In addition, it is important, as we get older, that we do not take our health for granted.

One thing I do very well is exercise. My eating habits fluctuate, but I think my partner and I eat out too much. Anyone who reads this blog knows that I am partial to a glass or three of vino. Over the years, drinking wine has gone from something only at special occasions to something that is more of a routine thing. I rarely get drunk, nor do I drink wine every night. I do drink most nights of the week, and often to take the edge off a stressful day. I have often thought that I need to cut back, and I will give it a go, but it just goes back up to previous habits.

Hence, I have decided to give the vino a break for 4 weeks in October, in an initiative called Ocsober. You can sponsor me here. It will be tough but the more encouragement I get, the easier it will be. The money goes to a good cause - the Life Education Centre. Anyone remember Harold the Giraffe giving out life lessons in primary school?

I could have the excuse that there is a lot on my plate at the moment, and to do this is a bit too much, but hell, in for a penny, in for a pound. Also I need my brain and body to be in tip top shape.

In November, I have some leave coming up. I had thought about going to Costa Rica (no good - Zika and too far away), and also to the Cook Islands on a Crossfit retreat (no good - will clash with a conference I have on). I thought it might be a good time to do a health and fitness detoxy type retreat.

I've narrowed it down to 2 places:

1. Golden Door in the Hunter Valley - pros: less expensive, less far away cons: less exciting
2. Kamalaya in Koh Samui - Pros: more holiday-like, pampering, more exciting cons: more expensive

I am probably leaning more towards Kamalaya.

I went to Gwinganna a few years back. It was great but a bit hippy.

Anyone else been to a lifestyle retreat?

Any recs?

(I looked into Chiva Som but it is really spenny. Like, twice the amount of Kamalaya.)