Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Moving On

What a horrible time. It really has been a nightmare! I had discussed my pregnancy in the past and it really was a total rollercoster from the start.

I was told that i may be having a miscarriage at around 5 weeks. Due to my agoraphobia i wasn't able to get to the hospital to have it confirmed. Finally at 8 weeks I went for a scan to be told i wasn't miscarrying, but had a cyst on my ovary which was causing the problems. Phew! Total Relief. I started to grow excited and enjoy my pregnancy. Although most people wait until 12 weeks have passed before telling people they are expecting, i thought that since baby was ok at my scan, i could start spreading the news. So i told everyone in the family and basically anyone i met when i was out and about. Worst of all i told all my nephews.

I was calm again. The agoraphobic symptoms were getting less and I was feeling more at ease day to day. Obviously I still had my worries. I had never felt that great making the drive to the hospital, and when at the hospital I wasn't exactly enjoying my visits. So i thought about the labour and didn't actually worry about the pain (naive?) but i was more worried about having the baby and then being told i had to stay in hospital for a few days. I wasn't sure how i would cope with that at all, but told myself that I would be fine and would want to stay wherever my baby was.

Then the bleeding returned. Not only a little. I wont be too graphic but basically if i had been 9 months pregnant i would have thought it was my waters breaking. On 2 occasions i was soaked. Must be the cyst i thought. Perhaps this is what happens when a cyst bursts?? I didn't know. But all the while i didn't worry about the baby, because deep down I knew the baby would be ok.

I am not here to discuss the miscarriage, but my agoraphobia, so i wont go into detail but basically i was asked to go to the hospital again for another scan. This is when I was told the bad news. In the hospital we were kept for what felt like hours. I don't like lifts so had to walk up and down 4 flights of stairs several times. Eventually we were put into a quite room to discuss our options with hospital staff. Wow i DID NOT want to be there. Obviously the stress of the news was having an effect. I went from feeling ok, to pacing the room and wanting desperately to leave. We were kept waiting as we needed to speak to a doctor, but the doctor was busy on the labour ward. I couldn't think about the news that had just been given to me, but instead kept thinking about the drive home. Now that my nerves were completely shattered I really didn't think I could manage the drive home. It seemed too far, too difficult, too busy. But at the same time i couldn't imagine allowing someone else to drive me, i needed to be the driver. Maybe once i started to drive I would be distracted and id make it ok. In the end i knew i didn't have any other option. (Well none that I would be comfortable with).

I drove home. And although I'm sure i didn't break the speed limit, i was definitely driving at the maximum speed allowed. I'm sure my mum and friend who were with me were scared, but no one would say anything knowing what i had just gone through. We all made it home in once piece. Now what?

All my plans have stopped. I can stop my lists now. Baby names, what I need for the nursery, what i need for my hospital bag. I can't believe it. I feel empty.

I was told that i would need to go back into hospital but i couldn't face it. By then I had completely lost my nerve. The experience in the hospital was not a happy one and it seemed even more difficult for me to get there now.

On the days that followed i continued to go out. I have basically kept up everything that i could do, but i have noticed I haven't really attempted to venture any further. I think its just too much at the moment. My body and mind are both completely exhausted!! I hope that as the days and weeks pass I'll regain my motivation. It is horrible that at times like these, we should be able to grieve and perhaps spend a few days in bed, but that agoraphobia wont allow this. If i took to my bed for a few days I know i would risk the agoraphobia coming back. OK, it may not be extreme agoraphobia, but its not a chance that I am willing to take. And so although i am tired I plod on. Obviously I have broke the news to all of the family, but how do you explain this to children. I have told them though and they all seem to understand.

So i need to go back to hospital but to be honest I have been putting it off. I need to be rescanned to see if it is all over. I don't want to go into that scan room again. It holds such horrible memories. I will say though that should i get pregnant in future i know i will be nervous, but i will go to any appointments with faith that all is well. I think just now its a little too fresh. My head is very messy and I'm sure my hormones are all over the place so i guess its understandable that i am a little drained. I want to be proud that I still fight my battles everyday, its just hard sometimes when you are so tired. I know all will be ok in the end.

I also wanted your opinion on something. A friend of mine suffers from agoraphobia, and we actually met after he contacted me about my blog. This guy is fantastic and continues to fight his agoraphobia no matter how down he gets. He is always thinking of new tasks or ways to challenge himself but lately he has been facing a tough time. We all know that at times our anxiety levels can leave us with the fear of being alone. I remember my fear being so acute that I would actually need someone to be with me even when going to the bathroom. Anyway (Ill call him John) John has recently begun to fear being left alone. He lives with his parents and during the day when they go to work he is left home alone and HATES IT. He used to be able to relax at night once his parents came home but now he spends his nights anxious, imagining what the day ahead will bring. Will he completely lose control? John's safe person is his mum and when things get really bad he relies on her being at home in order for him to feel at ease. So... this week John's parents are off work and he was looking forward to a more relaxed week, he hoped he would feel calm enough to focus more on his tasks and going out, instead of being home stressed out.

John has recently started to see a new 'helper' referred to him by his doctor. When his helper was visiting last week his parents told of Johns recent attachment to them and asked for advice. The helper has told John's parents that they must go out regardless of how John feels. No matter how much he pleads for them to stay, they have to leave him on his own. So... I think this is a bit harsh. I can completely understand what the helper is trying to do. They don't want John to develop an unhealthy attachment to his parents, for him to rely on them so much that whenever the HAVE to leave the house he becomes ill. But this has caused John to stress EVEN MORE than he had been about being alone. Obviously he is thinking so negatively and is completely freaking out because now his parents have announced that they WILL be leaving him alone, no matter how much he protests and that they are taking the advice of the 'professional'. I feel so badly for him and I wish i could talk to his parents. I know the helper means well but as an agoraphobic and having suffered from this problem myself in the past, i know that i would have been a trembling panic stricken mess had i been left. I was lucky that I had a stay at home mum who rarely went anywhere. So, what would your advice be to Johns parents or do you agree with the helper?


diver said...

Hi Lynn. A rollercoaster indeed :( it wouldn't have surprised me if you'd posted about sliding into total hideout agoraphobia as a pissed off response to what you've been through, sort-of "if the world won't won't play fair with me then I won't play with the world at all". But hey you're not blogging like that. Instead you're toughing out this shock and trying to 'move on'. Wonderful Lynn, it's gutsy and inspiring of you I think.

About John. FWIW I got nervy reading about the helper's 'forced exposure' approach, seemed a bit of a rough-house therapy to me. I dunno, maybe the 'helper' is a solid common-sense person who's sized John up and has good reasons for that recommendation. Then again, dependency issues with parents often have roots in childhood, possibly the sort of thing that a psychoanalyst (not psychologist!) could help John explore and get on top of ?

If that's not relevant or an option then I'd suggest John just starts stockpiling activities - as many as he can find, so that when his parents are out he can totally engage himself - never a spare moment to ruminate, just keeping himself so busy that he barely notices his parents are absent ... hobbies, studies, exercise programs, housework, computer games, DVDs, obsessive blogging (lol), whatever it takes to absorb those anxious energies.

Louis said...

Dear lynn I am very sorry for your and Gerry's loss. please do not allow your anxiety to keep you from following doctors orders. if you need the scan suck it up and go. After all you got home and you drove yourself and that is a good harbinger of future events isn't it?
I dont really know what to say about the loss except as for telling people, i dont think you should give it a second thought. you were happy you are an open person. They are pleased i am sure that you chose to sahre with them. it means they are important to you.
As for your friend "John" I agree with the therapist he must make himself move and progress as you have done and must continue to do. When you stay in your comfort zone you are not progressing.
You know I understand the problem and have had the problems so i feel comfortable sounding harsh about moving out of your comfort zone. It is just something we have to do, get her done!
Diver makes some good suggestions fill time dont think about alone and get up and go walk like Miss Lynn!
And dear girl hang on to your faith tell john the same thing. Go to God Lynn I am sure you already have done so but i will still mention it.
May God continue to bless you and all your efforts for your weblog and your life. Let us hear about the house search honey.

Maxine said...

I agree with 'diver' - you are one gutsy woman. I'm glad I stumbled upon your blog.

David said...

Very sorry about the miscarriage, but you appear to be taking it incredibly well. You have far more inner strength than maybe you realise.

MichelleBelle said...

So Sorry for all that you have had to go through. I'm sure it is tough to share as well but it helps people like me who love your blog. I cannot imagine how you feel with having a miscarriage but I think you are going to get through it all better than you think.
About your friend John...I can see both sides and understand what he is going through...it's tough because sometimes with certain people the tougher approach (his parents just leaving) works and with certain people it doesn't. It all depends. I can understand how it feels to not have your safe person around. I agree with divers comment about activities keeping him busy during the hours he is alone. Something he really enjoys and would look foward to might keep his anxieties at a lower level if he is absorbed in something else. It might not happen right away but it will probably help somewhat....don't think it can hurt.