Tag Archives: depression

Miscarriage – Why Don’t We Talk About It?

The statistics are sad: 1 out of every 4 women will have a miscarriage. Maybe it was you. Maybe it was someone, or several people, that you know.

No one talks about it.

We all suffer alone.

Of course, I didn’t tell anyone I was pregnant except my boyfriend, my mum and a couple of close friends. I planned to wait out the 12 weeks and then share the news. Miscarriages often happen in the first trimester so no one knows you are pregnant therefore no one knows you miscarried. You suffer the physical and mental anguish alone. I did.

Now a couple of months on from the miscarriage, I have got around to telling friends. There is just never a good time to say the words: “I had a miscarriage”. When do you bring it up? At a dinner party? A birthday? A weekend trip away?

One of my girlfriends I told at my birthday because we never have alone time. I figured it was my part so if it was a downer then it was only on me. We were standing on the verandah watching her son play outside. I had a few too many drinks. She asked me where I got my necklace – the one with the angel wing and birthstone from the month my baby was due. I told her.

She was pregnant at the time and couldn’t bring herself to share that news as I told her about my miscarriage. A week later she text me from hospital as she was losing her baby. She asked for details. I relived my miscarriage for her. When we met for coffee a few days later, she was grey and miserable. We cried together and laughed and hugged each other and cried some more. If I hadn’t told her, she wouldn’t have reached out to me; she would have suffered in silence.

I finally told 2 colleagues at work. They were shocked and saddened. I told them that when it happened, I could barely function. I didn’t have the strength to talk about it 2 months ago without having a breakdown. In hindsight, a few strategic people at work knowing might have saved me a lot of angst. I was emotional and distressed and anxious. I was dealing with pregnancy hormones, lactating and feeling physically weak after the miscarriage. I kept my mouth shut and suffered alone at work. I closed my office door and sobbed in between ballet classes. I was dizzy from blood loss, in pain from contractions and on edge the whole time. I struggled to balance work stress without losing my mind. I couldn’t find a way to balance work and my mum’s visit at the same time. Had I told someone, there might have been some support or understanding. I wish now that I had done that.

I wish more women talked about it. When I finally decided to talk about it instead of treating it like a shameful secret, I heard the same refrain over and over: “me too” or “my sister had one” or “my friend just miscarried”. Then I found there was no judgement  – only tears and strength found in solidarity.

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Catching Up With Life

It has been 2 months since the miscarriage…actually more, but I try not to count the days since my baby left.

I finally went back to the ED recovery program and saw my case manager today. She had started to call to see why I had disappeared. I filled her in on the miscarriage and she suddenly understood why I had taken a hiatus from my life. She acknowledged the severity of my loss and the depth of my grief. She actually had some powerful thoughts to share with me. It made me glad that I had gone back because I really do like her.

I was ready to shut my case file and to tell her that I am wasting her time. I wanted to tell her that right now I cannot focus on ED recovery because I cannot function. She came to that conclusion without me having to say so. She was in happy disbelief that I am not actively bingeing or purging or restricting. She told me that without a doubt, the loss of the child I wanted has refocused my mind onto what is really important for me. Blaming myself aside, she said that being able to give up ED behaviours the instant I knew I was pregnant, told her that I was ready to leave this part of me behind for a greater cause. As far as she is concerned any step forward is progress.

As I sat there and wept, she told me that she felt God had sent this baby to save me from my ED. She said that the spirit of this baby was here to make me well. She said that baby would say to me, “mum, I need you to be healed for me”. The more I thought about it, the more profound it seemed.

At the end of our session she gently reminded me to make new appointments with the team at the clinic and to continue to see the doctor, dietician and psychologist regularly even if I felt like my ED was in limbo. More importantly, she offered to help support me through this and to leave the ED out of it if all I want to talk about is my baby. She told me to allow myself the right to grieve: to be alright with being sad or tired or depressed, to be fine with not wanting to go to the gym and go shoe shopping instead, to make peace with the fact that this is a process I have to go through instead of fighting against it.

I went there today to thank her for her time and to walk away and instead she gave me an incredible gift.

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Anything but gym

Lately I have developed a loathing for going to gym which I have never really had before. I am so disinterested in it. In fact since the miscarriage, I have lost interest in a lot of things I used to care about.

This week I avoided going to the gym by using every excuse I could think of:

  • I’m tired
  • I’m depressed
  • I think I’m getting sick
  • I should put in more time at work
  • I feel sad

On several occasions I got into my car to go to work. Once I even ended up at my gym. I parked my car and walked into the mall instead of the gym. I bought two pairs of shoes. I bought lunch and a coffee. I walked past the gym, got back in my car and went back to work where I ate my feelings.

I just don’t care anymore. My size and weight are distressing to me, but not enough to do anything about it. I lay in bed the other night not wanting to do anything. I don’t want to go to work or see friends or make plans. I just want nothingness; the absence of everything except perhaps a book and a bottle of wine.

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Apathy, Indifference, Whatever…

I have not really had much to say about ED in the last 2 months. Here is why:

I had a miscarriage.

I haven’t been able to talk about it.

When it happened, I lost my appetite and didn’t eat for a week. I cried and sobbed and drank myself to sleep every night for a month. I binged a few times. I ate “normally” and I just existed for the last little while. I had experienced weight gain after the miscarriage, but not during the pregnancy – I wasn’t far enough along. I hated myself for what happened and of course, I blamed myself for what happened.

My boyfriend was supportive and loving and caring. He put up with the snot and sobbing and staring into outer space like a zombie. He comforted me every night while I fell apart. He held me when I woke up screaming from nightmares about dead babies. He flew my mother here to help me cope (yes, her being here had nothing to with my birthday so I feel even shittier about being ungrateful). He ran me bubble baths and tried to shield me from adverts for diapers or someone giving birth in a movie.

For two months I have been depressed. It is a kind of depressed that I have never known before.

In the beginning it was hard enough to function while dealing with the physical repercussions of the miscarriage. I lost so much blood and was in so much pain. I was physically weak and exhausted. It was all-consuming. I couldn’t think about anything else except the baby we might have had. Miscarriage is common. I read all about it. I read everything I could. It still didn’t prepare me for what I went through or how devastated I am.

Now, a couple of months later, the physical symptoms are gone and I am left with a hollow in my heart. I would have been 16 weeks along today.

ED has barely featured since and I am not sure why. I still think about it. I stare at my much heavier reflection at ballet and am repulsed. I have to squeeze into my size 6 pants and it upsets me, but I don’t do anything. I eat in terms I can only describe as “normal”, keeping in mind that I don’t know what normal is. I am not actively starving, bingeing or purging. I am drinking a lot. I seem to have become apathetic and indifferent to food. I am unconcerned with anything except trying to get through my day with my sanity intact. Work has been overly stressful and dramatic. My boyfriend and I have had some more relationship turmoil (as usual revolving around the mother of his youngest child). We continue to not move forward. At the end of the day, I cannot cope with any of it. I cannot deal with anything.

I have been trying to get back into a gym routine over the last few weeks. I have little incentive or motivation to exercise other than I know endorphins are good for depression. I just don’t really seem to care and I cannot make myself care. I have thought about going to see a counsellor. On that note, I dropped out of my ED treatment that I was in. There didn’t seem much point in going.

So I have nothing to update on the ED front. I ate cucumbers and hummus at work today. Last week when my anxiety over our relationship was much higher, I ate nothing. Tonight I ate 2 bowls of pasta and didn’t purge. On the weekend when we went on a happy family vacation, I ate 3 meals a day. There seems to be no rhyme or reason.

When my coworker announced her pregnancy this week and her due date 10 days after mine would have been, I hid in my office. I feel a numbness. Other than being depressed, I haven’t felt much else except the inability to cope. My anxiety has been escalating lately over work and relationship stuff and that usually sends my ED into a frenzy, but I have barely reacted if the truth be told. All I want to do is sleep. I don’t mean kill myself because I have no suicidal tendencies at all. I just want to sleep for a very long time.

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Work Out

I finally went back to gym today.

After nearly 4 weeks of being depressed and unmotivated, I dragged myself there and it felt good. I sweated and exercised long past the burn. I remembered endorphins and exhaustion and how satisfying it is to pound my anxiety away. Sadly, last night I caught my reflection whilst wearing a bikini. The extra girth and heaviness and cellulite was upsetting. I think I haven’t fully acknowledged how much size I have gained in the past 2 months. I am not brave enough yet to weigh myself.

I did however, come home, eat dinner, purge it, eat second dinner with my boyfriend and purge that too. Everything else today was coffee and celery. I feel like I am back on track.

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10 Days

10 Days

My 24 hours of madness spiraled into ten days instead. Who could have seen that coming?

Me.

For ten days I didn’t go to the gym, binged endlessly, purged unceasingly and drank too much. Why? There are many reasons: stress, anxiety, a third-life crisis, ballet, relationships, weight gain, pain… At the end of the day it doesn’t matter. I did it because it is what I do. I tell myself I am ‘in a funk’, ‘depressed’ or my favourite, ‘relapsing’ because it covers all manner of sins. My existence has become a joke.

“I want to know how you eat six plates of pasta and stay so thin,” my roommate says half jokingly, half seriously. She is a nurse. She knows my ‘history’ of ED. I have been wondering how long it will take her to figure out that my ‘bubble baths’ are a euphemism for puking sessions.
“I am not sharing my dirty secrets with you,” I laugh and hope she gets the hint.

Later that night we share a bottle of wine while a bad Jennifer Aniston movie plays on Netflix in the background. She brings up eating disorders again and now she is referencing herself.
“You need to admit to the eating disorder you have, but don’t acknowledge,” I insist.
She has talked about how she doesn’t starve or purge but how she does restrict on purpose or binge from time to time, eats in secret and over-exercises. I educate her on Orthorexia, EDNOS, Binge Eating Disorder, Night Eating Syndrome and Compulsive Exercise. Her eyes get wider.
“I don’t think you can ever really recover from an eating disorder,” she muses. “What do you think?”
“I think God can heal you, but that doesn’t mean he will. How many people do you know who have prayed for healing from cancer and never got it? Some people just get sicker and sicker and die no matter what they do.” I respond. “But I do believe you can be totally free even though I never used to believe it. I just don’t know that it will be me.”

This week she is on the cabbage-soup-and-run-excessively diet. I am on the eat-everything-I-can-see-and-barf diet.
“We should be studied,” I declare as we eat our Dairy Queen Blizzards and sip wine together.
She laughs. I laugh. Tomorrow is another day.

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Atonement

I decide in all my ED wisdom to come home and eat 8 slices of toast with peanut butter and honey. No matter how long and hard I try, I cannot purge it. I curse myself for being too stupid to remember that this deadly combination doesn’t come up easily. So, I resort to laxatives. I know that they won’t stop the calories but I need to empty my system as fast as I can. I am dreading waking up tomorrow and seeing my sins staring back at me in the mirror. There is no penance for this.
The last few weeks have been painfully non-descriptive. I restrict during the day. I binge and purge at night. My weight stays the same. I lose the will to exercise. I slip into a state of being constantly overwhelmed by life. Every day is more or less the same. I see no end in sight.
Tonight I uncovered a diary from seven years ago in which I had written that I felt like death was near. There is no mention of how bad my ED is but I can tell from the state I was in that it was out of control. I read the goodbye letters that I wrote for my parents, my two brothers and my (ex) husband. They were suicide notes. There is no denying that. I weep for my twenty-three year old self and then I weep for my thirty year old self. Nothing has changed. I am still in turmoil, inside and out.
Does Your Life Need A Laxative? Dr. Fred's Practical Prescriptions for Happiness by Dr. Fred Broder ... New Outlook Press
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