Saturday, April 8, 2017

When Everything Falls Apart: Or So THIS Is What It Looks Like To Lose It

So. I can honestly say that April is NOT better than March. Not by a long shot. This past week has been one of the most challenging of my life, and I have been struggling to figure out how to put it into a post (or a hundred) because there are just SO MANY LAYERS.

I have been talking a lot with my students about reading, and how yeah, we could blow through a book pretty quickly just doing the physical part of the reading, but that books have LAYERS and reading like a critical thinker involves discussion, and connecting to other books and events, and digging deeper into the whys and what ifs and what-would-you-do-differentlies of characters and events. That I want them to be deep readers, not shallow ones. But, you can't be a deep reader if you don't get the plot, the basic timeline of events.

So today I think I will put the plot out from this week, and delve  deeper into the incredible onion that is what my life has become...later.

Probably easiest to do bullets, a bit of a summary of the clusterfuck that was this week.

- Monday started at 3 am. As in, I woke up at 3, lay there in the dark hoping to fall back asleep until 4, and then finally turned the light on and read my book. Bryce was sleeping downstairs because he coughs all night and was trying still not to get me sick, so it didn't bother anybody. At 4:40 I felt so nauseous and icky that I thought maybe I needed to eat something. So I went downstairs and ate a banana and had a glass of water, in the dark, over the sink. I tried to go back to sleep at 5, but by 5:45 I realized I was just laying there in the dark and I may as well get up, so I did.
- I was SO TIRED all day, and a little loopy. The day was okay, just a bit of a runaway train where I didn't feel I had a second to catch my breath. But I came home, and made a delicious chicken enchilada casserole, and went to bed early hoping that tomorrow would be different.

- I slept a little better and made it through another fast-paced school day.
- We went to get our taxes done, and I did not leave school in a timely fashion so that I could have a nice quite moment at home first, so I rushed through feeding the cats and eating a snack and grabbing the folder of paperwork for our CPA.
- After our taxes, which were relatively uncomplicated due to a complete lack of psychotic medical bills from IVF and no adoption placement (we keep track of our adoption expenses every year for when the credit comes later with the big fees, hopefully -- we can't take advantage until we have the whole sum due to our individual circumstances). We went to get Indian food as a treat.
- Mmmm, delicious Indian food. I did not get it spicy. But alas...I started having the heartburn issues that I'd hoped the Prilosec would avoid (and up to this point, it had) from the Prednisone.
- The heartburn got worse and worse until I couldn't go to sleep until after midnight, because it felt like my ribcage was being crushed. A heating pad and some massage helped, but I was so uncomfortable. And so I didn't sleep well.

Oh, Wednesday.
- I showed up a week early for Literacy Committee, which means I got to school early after a bad night's sleep (but then had time to get ready for the day in a more relaxed way).
- Everything started to go wrong in the library, where we were doing booktalks for the last round of the independent reading assignment for the year for the English class I push into.
- I was feeling sweaty to begin with, and I had gotten an extra cup of coffee at lunchtime because I was so tired (mistake), so I was jittery from the meds and the caffeine.
- The librarian who is in for my friend who just had her second daughter introduced the author visit we have coming up by showing a picture of her smiling and looking pleasant and then said, "You might think she looks like a MOM! Well that's because she IS!" (Uh, what the fuck does that have to do with anything? How do you LOOK like a mom?) and then at the end of the period a book was booktalked involving people in a protectorate who have to sacrifice a baby girl to a witch in the woods every so often for their community's sake, and I might have leaned in to a student who has asked me about "my baby" frequently and whispered, "Maybe I need to go be a witch in the woods, maybe then I can have that baby" and instead of looking at me horrified like I was starting to lose my mind, he said "I can start that rumor for you, Mrs. T" and then I backtracked and said "On second thought that might not help my case." (This is the first unraveling)
- I went to lunch and heated my food and cried while I relayed what on any other day would have been a stupid comment I could ignore.
- And then someone well-meaningly asked if we had considered international adoption. And she was the seventh person in five days to ask me "What about international?" or "What about an older child?" and every time I get asked that question I feel like I have to justify my choices and explain because it seems that to others we somehow made the WRONG choice, and it shaves a slice off my soul. Because WE MADE OUR VERY WELL-THOUGHT OUT, RESEARCHED CHOICES FOR A REASON. And DOMESTIC ADOPTION IS OUR CHOICE. And IF THAT DOESN'T WORK OUT WE ARE DONE AS A FAMILY OF TWO. That is the part people are having a hard time with, that there could be an end to this whole journey without a baby. Except I can bet that it's way the fuck harder for us.
- So anyway. I was not set up well for a repeat performance of the library shenanigans, and I lacked the cojones to go tell that nice library leave replacement that her comments felt stabby to me, so I just went and thought I would dissociate a bit, and think on my own book talk I'd give.
- It did not work. I was already getting sweatier and sweatier (thank you, Prednisone), and she decided this time to say the mom comment but when she said she was in for my friend it became a whole thing where a student said "I thought she already had a baby" and I said "This is her second baby" and the librarian said "I have FOUR babies" (who are all adults by the way) and I may have said louder than I intended "I HAVE NONE." (unravel unravel)
- I made it through my book talk although was pretty speedtalky and I could feel that I was literally sweating through both my shirts. So after that, when I could see myself passed out on the floor, I left the reading room and drifted into the main library and asked the wonderful ladies who staff the desk for help. "You are NOT okay" one of them said. "Nope." I said. "I think I just need to sit in front of a fan." And so they set me up in the corner with a bottle of water and a fan and I tried to dry out my sweater and not look so sheeny, and they made me stay until the end of the period when I felt I needed to help my students find books.
- I went to the bathroom during homeroom and discovered I COULD SEE MY PULSE in my eyeballs. Which isn't normal. I felt dizzy, and lightheaded, and sweaty, and my lips were numb.
- I went to teach my 9th period class and said, "I'm just going to set things up here and then go down to the nurse I think," and one of my students said, "Um, maybe you should go RIGHT NOW, you don't look so good." and my lovely teacher's aide agreed and so I went to the nurse.
- My blood pressure medicine has been working great, but it was not working on Wednesday. It was 157/95, and when the school nurse does the stroke tests on you over and over again, it's a little disconcerting. My pulse was high and she thought I was hyperventilating. She was concerned about the high levels of Prednisone for so long. She had me call my doctors and call Bryce to come pick me up and I tried to relax and lay down and she asked if maybe I was feeling anxious and I unloaded a lot of grief on her. To some extent, when people say "I had no idea you had so much going on" it can make you feel better, but I am at the point where I feel like "That is because I HAVE BEEN SHOVING IT ALL DOWN AND PRETENDING TO BE A FUNCTIONING HUMAN. Ha ha, you fell for it."
- Bryce picked me up and we went home. Poor Bryce, he has missed so much work thanks to his own health (he's getting better, just really slowly) and my eye. And now this. Oh, and I was supposed to have my post-observation conference at 3. Clearly that was canceled. My assistant principal took a look at me and said, "Do you need a sub for tomorrow? Why don't I get you a sub for tomorrow?" and I said, "Nnn...YES. Yes I will do that." And then I rattled off all the students who I needed to get in touch with and who were in some form of crisis and he stopped me and said, "Sometimes I tell teachers to care a little more about our students. I'm going to tell you to care a little less. Just a little." Obviously I can't NOT care about my students, but he was like, "um, you first right now."
- My primary care doctor called and said they wanted me to go to Urgent Care for an EKG, just for peace of mind. (How an EKG could be peaceful is still unclear to me.) So we went. Luckily Bryce had his laptop for getting a presentation done, because the EKG went swimmingly but my blood pressure was now in the 160s (it had dropped to 130s/90 by the time I left the nurse's office), I was still sweaty, I was dizzy, all the heartburn and made them uncomfortable enough to say they wanted me to go to emergency. Because it was probably the Prednisone, but wouldn't it suck to drop dead of a heart attack in the night because it wasn't? OH HOLY JEEZUM. I said I was hungry and hadn't eaten, could we stop for a quick bite first, and she said, "No. You need to not eat or drink. Go straight there. We'll call ahead and let them know you're coming." Because THAT'S not concerning at all.
- I got pulled into triage pretty quickly and guess what? My blood pressure was 178/108. Bryce was in tears at this point, I was all freaked out, and then there were a whole bunch of bloodtests run to make sure even though my EKG was great that there weren't enzymes that would indicate a cardiac thing.
- My veins suck (actually, I'm supposed to say "my veins are shallow" according to the nurse), and thanks to all the opioid epidemic I don't want people thinking that my veins suck because I shoot up (um, no). So I told the nurse my shitty veins were due to five and a half years of IVF. And then while she was drawing blood and attempting an IV that eventually went in my forearm she asked me... "have you thought about international?" And I found myself explaining again, justifying again. And then she said, "Well, I hope you both know that there's a plan, you just don't know it yet, and there's no reason why nice people like you shouldn't become parents." (unravel)
- And then, even though she was sticking me with needles at the time, I took a deep breath and I said, "Actually, we could be really nice people and this could not work out. We are actually SO VERY FORTUNATE in so many arenas of our lives, that I wonder sometimes if we have TOO MUCH and it almost wouldn't be fair to have a child, too -- that we have the beautiful life just not this piece of it. You don't always get to have everything. Everyone doesn't get everything." Thank you, Loribeth, for recommending The Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy because it really stuck with me and those her words. "Everyone doesn't get everything." The nurse didn't really know what to say after that other than to say "Well, you have a great attitude" and then I realized Bryce was crying on the other side of the partition. Because when your everything is in pain and in the ED, life is scary.
- Quick summary on ED stay -- nothing was cardiac, it was all gastric side effects of the Prednisone, and so they gave me this cocktail of Maalox and lidocaine and benadryl (unfortunately at the same time as pushing some pepcid through the IV, which resulted in some hard nauseau not unrelated to the fact that my bed was in the hall next to the MEDICAL WASTE room and so buckets of shit and vomit were paraded past us every so often and the smell was so bad the nurses took to spraying every five minutes) and pushed fluids and then I got sent home with instructions to follow up with my eye doctor. And then they said that they did not think I could lower my prednisone dose because scleritis is so serious. That I would need to talk to them about what I could take to mitigate the side effects, including increased anxiety.
- I slept like a rock for 7 hours.

- I recovered at home. I read and watched some episodes of "13 Reasons Why" which I highly recommend (the book and the TV series). I graded tests. I talked to my eye doctor, who said that she could have me taper maybe every 5 days instead of every 7, but if I saw ANY redness whatsoever, I was to bump it back up. I'm on all these steroids so that the scleritis inflammation doesn't come back, because if it does we have a problem. And I will be seeing a rheumatologist. So they REALLY want to kick it for good now. So, I am stuck with the steroids although for a slightly shorter time period, although it is a little nerve wracking to think that I could be shaving time off at the expense of my eye. But I cannot, cannot function like this with the side effects. Did I mention my ophthalmologist was on vacation when she called me?
- The school nurse called to check up too, and was a little horrified that I have to stay on the Prednisone with what it's doing to my body, but of course for the sake of my eye continue.
- I got a lot of texts from my teacher friends who were worried about me.
- I spent two hours on the phone with a very special friend, who knows first hand what it is like to have your life not quite go the way you had so carefully planned as she lost her husband, who she'd been with since her teen years, to cancer last year. She told me about a book called "The Body Keeps the Score," about the effects of stress on the body. That she fears this autoimmune flare is my body saying it can't take any more stress. What stress? What is stressful about living in limbo for nearly a decade? For hoping and having that hope crushed, over and over and over again? She suggested maybe I should take a few days, take some sick time, honor that my body is shutting down in response to all we've experienced and how hard I've worked to "be okay."
- We went to pick up my gastro cocktail at the pharmacy and got some pizza (non-tomato based for me because I was scared of heartburn) and picked my car up at school. The conversation was very much about how out of balance everything is. How if pursuing this goal is going to cost me my health, maybe we should revisit timing and D-day. No stress there.
- I did not sleep well.

- And here we are, at the point of ultimate unraveling. I should have listened to my friend. I should have called in. BUT, I didn't. And there are some things to take away from that.
- I helped Bryce get up early as he had a business breakfast event thing to go to and (gasp) had to leave before 7. So I got to school around 7:15ish.
- I had anticipated being barraged with "how ARE you" and concerned questions, as schools are not good places for secrets, and I wasn't really keeping any of this unraveling a secret anyway. The physical part at least. I wasn't disappointed. It was all with love, but it took me 30 minutes to get to my classroom to set up and I ran out of time before needing to go down to Guidance to work with a student who is highly enjoyable but also highly challenging. I was exhausted.
- I ran into my principal in the hall, who reached his arm out and said, "hey, I was filled in on what happened Wednesday, are you okay?" and I just froze. "I...I don't know how to answer that anymore. I don't think so. No." He pulled me into his office and let Guidance know I wasn't going to be able to work with the student, and then I completely fell apart.
- He was amazing, and this is a topic for a different post as it was involved and highly personal, but the upshot was that he said how strong I was, how much I've been through and yet I still come in every day (well not lately apparently) and give everything my all, that I am a truly gifted teacher and seeing me with kids is something special. (Um, holy shit that was very flattering and validating for this piece of my identity.) But that when it looks like I am struggling, something is very, very wrong. And then everything came tumbling out. How great I am at pretending to be a human-like-substance. That I fill everything up so I don't have to think about all my losses and grief and the incredible pit that is this piece just not coming together, not yet. That I utterly destroyed my body in the IVF part of things and I wish wish wish we had started adoption sooner because my stamina is just not as strong as it once was and I don't know if I can keep doing this to myself. That I am an actress and probably missed my calling because every day I come in here and put on my mask that says "I am SUCCESSFUL! I have GOT THIS! I can DO! IT! ALL!" when really I am a pile of goo inside and now my mask has shattered and I don't know how to put it back together or if I really should even try since it is pretty much a lie. I AM NOT OKAY.
- Now you might be like, "oh shit, she's going to lose her job," but that's not the case. I LOVE my job, and he said they LOVE me in it. He wants me to figure out what I need to do to be okay. He did not tell me  "DON'T GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAM!" He just hugged me and held my hand and said "I'm so sorry this is so unfair, I'm so sorry you've been through so very much." He got it. And that was a beautiful gift.
- He told me to go home. Like an idiot, I said, "Imma negotiate with you." I wanted to teach my 2nd and 3rd period classes, my small Reading and English classes. Because I am in two new units AND I AM MISSING EVERYTHING. And I wanted to reassure them I was okay. He agreed, but only because I was adamant it would make me feel better and I could do it (and I took a deep breath and reconsolidated my goo and put my mask back on which must look pretty damn creepy from the outside when you've been let into the fact that I pretend daily). So I did.
- We were in the library, and I had students picking out their last independent books. I had worked with the librarian (who was out) and one of the other staff to come up with 6 books for each student, and I set up that they should browse and get to know their books for 10 minutes and then take out the one they want (or talk to me about a new one if we were way off base, which we weren't). They wanted to know who the new librarian was, and I said "well, you know Mrs. __ is out because she had a baby, so we have a new librarian for the rest of the year!" and one of my sweet, sweet students, who is so excited at the thought of me "getting my baby" said, "And soon YOU will get your baby and we'll get that call and you can all hang out together with your babies and everything will be great!" and then one of my other students said, "Why is Mrs. P crying?" and I couldn't look behind me because my lovely teacher's assistant was leaking her feelings out of her face. (unravel unravel unravel)
- I survived that though, although before the kids came in I had taken to singing and jumping around to the LEGO movie song "Everything Is Awesome," which has sort of been my sarcastic mantra for a while but now I was full on cheer-dancing it and singing it at the top of my lungs...which gave some people pause.
- Anyway, I survived the library and my kids all got awesome books and there were minimal tears shed.
- English was a little more frenetic as I tried to do more with my new unit on The Crossover, following the most depressing yet beautiful book ever Out of the Dust. I think my oozy cracks were showing a bit by the end of 3rd and while we accomplished a fair amount my level of energy was, how shall I say, overcompensation-level.
- And then I completely fell apart.
- I found that you can't make jokes about having your Britney moment and "keep me away from the clippers, HA HA HA HA HA" because people will take you seriously. I love my hair too much to do that to it but I suppose there is some truth to feeling like everything has just spiraled out of control.
- I will have you know that Prednisone is the devil and it amplifies everything bad. And my level of sadness and anxiety and sense of loss of control (that I never really had) came to an incredible fireball of crazy yesterday. I had a teacher come and take those tests off my hands because I was almost done grading them but wanted them done before I left... And then they had someone make sure I really left. I heard the words "You have been so strong and I think it's all catching up to you" more times than I can recall. I was told it is amazing I haven't dissolved into this goo sooner. I may have said really loud and shouty, "You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have BUTTERFLY MEME well you know what I CAN'T! BE! STRONG! ANY! MORE! I am OOZING all OVER the PLACE!" There were no students present. Just being clear on that. I was told if I used the word "ooze" one more time there was going to be vomit and so I said "at least I didn't say MOIST" and then off I went to go home.
- Except they wouldn't let me drive home. I was driven and our school psychologist followed and I got home and they wouldn't leave until someone agreed to come stay and I didn't want Bryce to miss more work so I called my special friend from the phone call before and was like, "Guess what...should have listened to you and stayed home an extra day..."
- I discovered that I scared a lot of people. In a "we are worried about you" kind of way. I found that just as scary as the stroke tests is when people are SERIOUSLY asking you "do you have thoughts of harming yourself?" The answer is NO. I may have spirally thoughts and I may have had the most erratic day of my life, but I LOVE MY LIFE and my brain is not lying to me and telling me not to. If anything all this is making me realize that I need to reevaluate things so that I can actually live my life better and balance hope and reality in a way where HOPE DOESN'T TRY TO KILL ME. So I was getting frustrated with those sort of questions, but as the school psychologist said, "If it was just you, I wouldn't be worried, but it's the Prednisone. That turns your brain into an enemy sometimes. That is what is worrying me."
- So I spent the day talking with my friend and eating the delicious salad she brought and lighting candles and listening to classical music and coloring from my amazing Jenny Lawson book, You Are Here, which when I bought I bought because I love her and liked the drawings and then realized it spoke to me more deeply than I wanted it to and then yesterday I think it was instrumental in calming me the fuck down. See beautiful handiwork:

- Bryce came home and we ate the delicious Mexican restaurant food that my friend had brought for us, heated up in the oven, and he said YOU SCARED ME and I think what he meant is I AM STILL SCARED and I assured him, don't worry, I scared myself too. Everything has just built up until all these threads in the past few weeks came together and unraveled and I haven't even talked about half the shit that led to what I am fairly certain was an anxiety attack amplified by the Prednisone on Wednesday. I need to get this under control. But the good thing is, I am throwing away my mask. Clearly it is doing more harm than good. I am going to figure out what I need to do to deal with all this. I am still strong. I can be broken and strong all at once. I just need to stop lying to myself. I need to stop feeling this tremendous pressure to be okay all the time. To do all the things and smile when really I just want to curl up in a ball and cry for an hour or two, for all that I've lost and all that may not get to be. For the pieces of my identity that are stilted and withered. For the mothering I have inside me that has no child to give it to.

And there you have it. What a week, eh? I can say that I am not okay, but I am okay, or rather I will be okay, eventually. Just something's got to give.


  1. Oh Jess. ((((Hugs))) You need to take care of yourself. You absolutely cannot be any good to anyone else unless you are good to yourself first. I know, that is the hardest thing to do. But SO many people depend on you. Bryce. Your students. Your family. Please, please, please seek the care you need to get to a better place. I agree with your friend that your body is shutting down from the stress. Even if you think you are doing plenty of relaxing things, the underlying issues are there. You need to be in the best place possible (mentally and physically) if MysteryBaby finds you, because that situation will come with its own set of stressors. Please listen to those around you and spend some time caring for yourself. You are way to special a person. I am thinking of you and sending a ton of love and prayers out to you and Bryce as you try and heal and find a way to move forward that isn't quite so hard in you.

    1. Thank you. I am so not in a good place. I think I need to stop telling everyone I'm fine and that I can do all the things and just...stop doing the things. Take some time. I wanted to go in a couple days this week. I don't think that is a good idea. I feel like so much of this is Prednisone (it was oddly comforting to have a friend who is a doctor say that it truly can make you crazy and they have patients walk out of the hospital on this drug from episodes of side effect related stuff). But the Prednisone is just amplifying a lot of pain and grief and denial and exhaustion that is very, very real. I am going to do everything I can to do what I need to to fix this. It is just so hard because I got here for so many reasons, and they all suck. But I have so much to look forward to.

      Thank you for all your kind words. They mean so, so very much.

  2. I started crying at Wednesday. Jess, I'm so sorry. For how much the Predinsone is fucking with your body (seriously, it blows), for the landmine you walked into at the library (I hope someone pulled that sub aside and smacked her on the nose with a newspaper while saying "no.") and for all that has lead up to this. All of this is beyond unfair and I wish I could tell you that there really was a reason for it all and it was because something amazing was coming. All I've got is telling you that I'm so sorry and I'm thinking of you and Bryce today.

    I'm glad you have an amazing principal. And I am glad so many people stepped up to help you. I know you don't feel amazing at the moment, but you are and the love and support you got demonstrates that.

    May you feel better soon. May April be a better month. In the meantime, sending you oceans of love.

    1. I love "I'm sorry." I appreciate just "I'm sorry," because no one can promise me anything past this moment, not really, and I've been going nuts with tis idea that that there was a reason and if I just STICK WITH IT and DON'T GIVE UP then all good things will happen. Well, it's not working out that way and you can't live like this forever. And I so appreciate the people who know that, who understand that, who can just hold my hand or cry while they read my words and tell me how sorry they am that things are the way they are in this arena is the most helpful thing. Honestly.

      I'm feeling better today, I finally got some sleep and I am going to listen to people and my body and my mind and take some time here to rest and figure out how not to let all this literally kill me. (From the side effects, not any actions on my part, I feel like I have to make that absolutely clear since somehow I fell into a pit deeper than I've ever been in before, which is astonishing to me.). Thank you for your words, for your support, for your oceans of love.

  3. Oh Jess. I just wanted to give you a hug and listen to classical music with you and sit with you while you rest our mind, your body, and your brain. It has been an incredibly difficult season for you and the Prednisone is not doing you a bit good (well, maybe only the eyes). Thanks for taking the time to write this all out, but it scared me throughout the whole post. Yes the key is not to be okay all the time. Nobody is okay all the time. You have to know that. That knowledge changes how you deal with things. Take your time when you need to and not to push yourself into a super human. Love to you, my friend.

    1. Thank you, so much. I definitely need the rest. I think my body just went and told the rest of me ENOUGH. SOMETHING HAS TO GIVE. The Prednisone is definitely an amplifier, but the other stuff is there, too. I wish there was an alternative for my eye, but my eye is scaring me too, so unfortunately I have to make it work.

      I'm sorry I scared you, I hope you know that even at my most spirally I can shut those whispers up and know that I have so much amazingness now and to look forward to, and maybe it just really is true that "Everyone Can't Have Everything." I have so much. But I am slowly deteriorating trying to grasp at all the things. I agree. I keep trying to be everything all the time, and it's just not sustainable. Guess I had to find out the hard way. :) Thank you for the love and the kind words. I give my love to you, too.

  4. Oh Jess... I don't often tear up reading blog posts these days, but I have tears on my face right now. My own meltdown was not QUITE that epic ;) (no prednisone involved!) but I did have one (major anxiety attack, that I thought was a heart attack at first, following my final failed IUI) and I know where you're coming from. Is there some way you can take a leave of absence from work, at least until you can get off the prednisone? You have enough things on your plate to deal with without that exacerbating things. Do you have a therapist (preferably one well versed in infertility, grief & loss issues) you can talk to? Talk therapy, reading, message boards (pre-blogging days), yoga, the occasional Ativan and a beach vacation (at the end of which we agreed that we were done with infertility treatments) helped pull me through. Please take care of yourself. <3

    Your principal is a gem, and so is your friend. <3

    1. Thank was not a good scene. I am okay(ish) today. I will be okay. Oh no, these meltdowns are the pits. I'm so sorry you know what it feels like. It is actually somewhat calming to know that there are a fair number of people who have had a breakdown like this and are fine. Whew.

      I am taking this next week off, which leads into break, so I'll have two solid weeks of no school. By the time I get back I'll be on a much lower dose, and maybe I can see how I feel and adjust as needed. I have a zillion sick days, since I never got to take a maternity leave. ;-)

      I do have a therapist, but she moved back to another state, and I haven't been able to get in touch with her this week so I will have to set up an appointment with someone else who is local who I can see maybe weekly for a little while until this settles. I have two options. I plan to call Monday. I also have a doctor's appointment to follow up on my blood pressure medicine, and I noted that I want to talk about other possible medications too. I don't think I can do this on my own anymore, at least not for a little while here. That's a big step, admitting that I can't anymore. Right?

      And yes. I am so fortunate to have so many gems willing to sit in this shit with me. Absolutely. Thank you so much for your support, your story, and your love.

  5. Bloody hell. What a week! I am so sorry you had to go through all of that and have that necessary but awful drug amplify it all. That witch in the woods comment have the best, most twisted sense of humour: I bet that's one reason why you have handled this insane situation as well as you have. Seriously though,your principal is right. Take care of your health, mental and physical. Do you know what your sick leave options are? If not, find out, or have someone do it for you, and take at least a week off (my non professional opinion; health professionals may have a different opinion.) You need the time, you need the rest. The school is unlikely to fall apart without you. Even if it need that week. Did I mention you need to take time off? Whatever, take time off. Is there a theme here? Oh yeah, take time off. I'm also furious that during a medical crisis you are enduring stupid comments from the people who are supposed to be helping and having to EXPLAIN your adoption choices.... WTF!!!! Makes my blood pressure rise, but never mind. Just a thought for the future: maybe some people deserve a cold dirty look more than an explanation of your family building choices. Although it can be stressful to hold it in, too. Whatever, to hell with (some) people. Please, please take care of yourself. You don't need to analyze every layer right now. Give yourself time to heal.

    1. Seriously, right? It seems unfair that every week gets harder than the last, and this one was a doozy. Ha ha ha ha to the sense of humor, actually someone in the room while I was really losing it yesterday said, "It's so strange that even in this obviously difficult state she's so enjoyable." I aim to please. :)
      I can take this next week off, I have so many sick days and I am pretty sure I could get a doctor's note since this week was such a hot mess and honestly I cannot function appropriately at the moment between the sleep deprivation, the amplified everything from the steroids, and the layers of grief and anxiety. Then it's break, so I get two weeks for the price of four days. Not too shabby. I am actually listening to you all, since everyone is like TAKE TIME OFF. And usually I am like, "NO." but now...yes. All yes.

      Oh yes. I have an issue where I can't just not answer, I feel COMPELLED to explain and educate, and justify, and I can't just say the brilliant response, "Thank you, but we have thoroughly researched our options and are confident in our decisions." which was a stellar response my friend's friend had (for a different situation). Stealing it from now on.

      Thank you so much for the love and the advice and the fury on my behalf and appreciating my twistiness. :)

    2. Awesome, I'm glad you are taking that time. Speaking of witches in the woods, I recommend Clarissa Pinkola Estes' Women Who Run With the Wolves if you haven't already read it. I have found it helpful many times over the years (first read at age 17) for inspiring and renewing my witchy energies.

    3. Ah, how funny! I read it in college, and just donated it to the city library. It is good I am taking this time. It feels so awful to feel this way.

  6. Oh, sweetie, from one infertile teacher to another, I have been there-ish and have also shelved my own needs to keep up with the job because, you know, you're not pushing paper around or selling insurance; you work with children who have needs, and that obligation brings with it a lot of guilt when you really ought to step away to administer a little self-care. That said, sometimes it's worth it to think of the flight attendant's safety lecture and put your own damn breathing mask on first because you won't be helping anyone else if you're dead. It's nice that schools are (often) nurturing professional communities where you have colleagues and superiors who will give you the encouragement and support to do this. It has been a godsend for me, and I'm glad you had it this week as well. Go home! Rest. The prednisone is reminding me of how I have been feeling on long-term sleep deprivation: it stretches everything out of shape and you end up in the house of mirrors. I want desperately for the universe to play by the "rules," as you say (I want to read Levy's book too after seeing the article on it), but I feel confident that you will ultimately be okay however this shakes out if you carve out appropriate space for self-compassion. None of this is fair, so despite the incredible strength you have demonstrated in keeping it together for so long and with such good humor, you are also soft and fleshy and human. Be kind to yourself, xo

    1. "Soft and fleshy and human" -- I love that so much. Thank you. It's true. And yes, yes, yes, read that Levy book. It is incredible. It has given me a lot to think about. I also felt like she was saying the things that go through my head, so there's that, too. It is definitely a triggery book as there is a five month loss though, so there's that to consider.

      You are so right. Put my (oxygen) mask on first, dammit. I have been breathing through a coffee straw. I am very fortunate to be in the most compassionate and nurturing of school communities, something I am so grateful for because Friday could have gone VERY VERY DIFFERENTLY if I was not. I was thinking about the Prednisone and sleep deprivation, and sleep deprivation is no joke. I was seeing double yesterday before I finally took some benadryl and passed out for four hours. It was gone when I woke up. The brain is such an interesting thing.

      THank you for the love and the support and the kind words. I am staying home this week. Two weeks for the price of four days, not too shabby (thank you, April break, for finally getting here). XOXOXO

    2. I thought it would interest you to know that the pediatrician used the same analogy yesterday ("put your own oxygen mask on first") regarding my own poor self-care after opening our convo by telling me I look tired (darn, thought I had masked that pretty well with mascara and a clean shirt) and asking me if I was thinking about hurting myself within the first two minutes of the office visit because he's "required to ask by law" Jeez. By the end of the visit, he gave me a book rec for (The Gifts of Imperfection), "...from one recovering perfectionist to another." Soooooo, you are not alone. I'm so pleased to see that you have spent the break nourishing your body, mind spirit. Maybe I need to bust out my own adult coloring books and restorative yoga DVDs!

    3. Oh, no. Those pesky questions, that pesky mask. You totally should bust out your own adult coloring books and yoga! For me, candles that smell like the ocean, too. Those are lovely. I am doing okay, as well as I can. These reminders for self-care are so hard, especially when they smack you in the face. That "Gifts of Imperfection" book sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing, it is nice to know I'm not alone, but I hope you are feeling better, too!

  7. I was put on Prednisone whilst prepping for and having ivf for some tenuous reason to do with killer cells that I didn't have. It was a living nightmare: I only got half-hour snatches of sleep during the night and felt ill all day. It surely can't help success rates in any way.. Of course I can see why you need to take it for your eye, but I know how evil it is.
    So sorry to hear you have had an awful time, I hope things pick up x

    1. It truly is an awful drug. I mean, it does great with inflammation and my eye is looking good and I aim to keep it that way, but the side effects! And to be on it so long is just torture. Add all the other grief and things I thought I'd dealt with but clearly haven't really, and oy. Thank you for your thoughts and commiseration...I hope they pick up too. There's not much further down to go, so it must be up!

  8. I have tried to comment a few times but apparently I'm having some issues. Hopefully this works but it probably won't sound as good as my first three attempts. I just wanted to send you love and hugs and hoping you find your peace in all of this chaos. I am always here if you need to chat. <3

    1. Argh, I am having commenting issues, you are the third person to let me know that there is an issue. I will have to get in touch with Blogger maybe? Argh. But thank you, I appreciate the love, I appreciate the support and the hugs and the peace. I thought I'd found my deepest pit. Nope, there was further down to go. Now I just need to figure out how to climb back out. I always do, but maybe each time the pit clings to me a bit more. Thanks for the love.

  9. Good grief, Jess, I've just come to this. I'm so sorry you've been through all this, but very glad to hear you're taking a week off, and will have the Easter break too. A dear friend is going through something similar, and she has recently been ordered to "do nothing." It sounds like you need to do that too. Nothing. Just breathe. And know how precious you are to the world, and how you need to look after yourself.
    Sending love and gentle hugs across the world.

    1. Oh thank you. Yes. Do nothing sounds amazing. I did no more garden work yesterday because I could not go out the front of my house. And I did some things, but I think it was too much. And now I have some sort of respiratory thing in my sinuses and my lungs, so even just breathing is proving difficult. Have you seen Forrest Gump? I am at the point where Lieutenant Dan is on the mast of the ship giving his fingers to the sky. WHAT NOW? That is not a great place to be. But upward swinging has to come soon. It HAS to. Thank you so much for the love, the gentle hugs, the reminders. SO MUCH.

  10. Oh Jess I'm so sorry. I feel like the drugs are going to be a good thing in the end (obviously to help you with your eye situation, but also to keep you a little more honest with your feelings), but man do they sound like they suck. It's certainly never fun to have a breakdown, but sometimes it is the best thing for you and your body because (as long as you listen to it), it reminds you to slow down and take care of yourself. I'm glad that you are taking the time off to take care of yourself. Hopefully it is healing for not only your eye, but your mental health as well. Huge hugs my friend.

    1. Yes. Definitely the more honest with my feelings for sure. The prednisone is terrible thing for the rest of me other than my eye, and it is definitely amplifying EVERYTHING, but that everything was already there. I agree with melting down so I can build back up. I am definitely listening. I feel I was no longer given a choice not to. Thank you so much for the hugs and the love... so very appreciated!

  11. This is hard to read, let alone live through. I echo everyone's sentiments that you have to take care of yourself (and I know that you are from your future posts). I hope the two weeks off and the reduced drug does gets you back to baseline. Then once your there, keep taking care of yourself so you're thriving, not just surviving.

    1. Thank you so much. I am working on it. I am slowly letting go of other things. I am so looking forward to not being on the prednisone anymore. It is not my friend. I mean, it's my eye's friend, but that's about it. I have put a lot of things into place and we are working through a lot of stuff to figure out what the next few months will bring. I would love to thrive again, for real, not just pretend. The pretending was EXHAUSTING. Thank you for the love, and for reading what is really an epic of pain. XOXO

  12. What a week. Thanks for being so open about this. I've struggled with depression and horrible anxiety and I can say that I wish more people were open about when things completely unravel for them. I have a post in the works with my own unraveling (read: my breakdown) and reading this gives me encouragement to continue writing about the hard things. It puts your MM post in perspective more and I'm so proud of you for making those first steps in cleaning the house (and with it, refreshing your mind). Hugs.

    1. It really was horrific. And continues to be, but less so each day, thankfully (except Tuesday. Tuesday took a turn, but then it turned back up, so that's good). I am so sorry that you struggle as well. For me, I thought about all the reasons not to write and post this, and they were all outweighed by the importance of being real, honest, and putting it out there that THIS IS EFFING HARD and YOU CAN'T DO EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME. So many people have told me that they hit a breaking point similarly, and if by my putting all my goo out there it helps someone feel less isolated, less crazy, less alone? WIN. I think everyone needs to do what's right for them, but I feel like for me it helps to put my pulpy mess out there. And also how to reconsolidate without being a creepy Human-Like-Substance-Suit-Wearer. Because that shit backfires apparently.

      Thank you so much for your kind words and I look forward to your post. Here's to getting the goo out and refreshing minds. :) Hugs right back atcha, lady.

  13. I'm sorry to read about your terrible week and the side effects you are experiencing with the medication. It sounds scary and very upsetting. Glad that you feel supported by Bryce, close friends and work. I hope these two weeks off give you time to rest, reset and heal physically, emotionally and spiritually. Heartfelt hugs your way.

    1. Oh, thank you. DEFINITELY scary and upsetting. I have never felt so out of control in my life. I am beyond grateful for the support I have received from so many. As my new therapist said, "Well you certainly have quite the support system!" and it's true. I am very fortunate. Thank you for the heartfelt hugs...may these next two weeks (hopefully...) be healing indeed. <3

  14. Jess, you've been through so much; you are still bearing so much. I'm glad you are tuning in and taking care of yourself. I am sending you loving, healing energy. xoxo

    1. Thank you so much. I'm sad it took a total meltdown to tune in for real, but I did and I guess that's what's important. Thank you for the loving, healing energy -- I will take all of that I can get! XOXO