Category Archives: sad and happy

Family Photos

With Andy’s immediate family we draw names for Christmas.  Each couple gets another couple to buy gifts for.  The older I get the harder it is to buy Christmas gifts and to put a “wish list” out there for people to buy us stuff.  I am to the point if I need something, we get it.  If I want something, eventually, we get it.  So telling people what I want or need has become more difficult (and the times that I gave the brand of shampoo, toothpaste, conditioner etc it was laughed at as a joke).  Last year we had Andy’s parents as the couple we were buying for.  I think they feel similar because they couldn’t think of anything they wanted or needed for their Christmas wish list.

Part of the problem was that they were in the process of packing boxes and moving and with most things they packed his mom would say something along the lines of why did she had so much “stuff.”  I didn’t want to add to the stuff she needed to pack so we thought extremely hard on what to get them.  We decided to get her a gift card so that she could have family photos done by a professional.  Not just my camera and tri-pod.  They seemed happy with their gift card.  Fast forward to 10 months later and they lined up using the gift.

I don’t like pictures anyways.  We will start there.  But we went into town (I had a dentist appointment too) and got dressed up.  I straightened my hair (which is always an ordeal) and put on mascara and lipstick and we did this picture thing.  The photographer did great and worked fast.  The nieces and nephew seemed to smile for all the pictures.  It worked out nicely as a good gift.

kids

See the kids looked great.

I smiled and hoped it would reach my eyes.  The entire time I was watching our nieces run around with our nephew I couldn’t help but think that Addy should be here with her cousins.  Each time one of Andy’s siblings asked if they should be holding the kids, I couldn’t help but think I want to hold Addy in our pictures.  I couldn’t help but think that she would have fit right in with them.  I couldn’t help but think of how unfair it was that she wasn’t with us.  I couldn’t think too hard because then I would shed the tears that were hiding behind my hopefully real looking, fake, smile.  The photographer would say “family with girls” or “family with the boy” and then “you two.”  To her credit she didn’t say “childless couple” because had she, I would have lost it right there in the park with my mascara running down my face.  She didn’t know where we have been.  It isn’t her fault at all.  But standing there with my in-laws in front of the picture.  To the right of the picture was their oldest child, his wife, and 2 daughters in a tight little clump.  To the left but still middle of the picture was their youngest child, her husband, and their son in a tight little clump.  To the far left was their middle child, and me.  And a heart so full of holes and sorrow.  But that was our clump.  I love Andy with everything I have but there is still that emptiness.  Addy should have been there.  I miss the dreams and answers to prayers that she represented.  I miss the what could have beens.  But mostly I just miss her.

Infertility sucks.  In my story, nothing emphasizes that more than “family” stuff.  Be it holidays, vacations, going out to eat together, or family photos…family stuff is hard – yes still (and sometimes worse than before).  We have been travelling this road far too long.  We are no stranger to sadness and disappointment and loss.  One would think we could “get over it already and be happy.”  But family is hard.  Family reminds me of that family I don’t have.

Holidays are fast approaching and I feel like there will be some moments I sneak out of rooms, or step out onto the porch for fresh air.  There will be times I lock myself in the bathroom for a few minutes just to breathe and give myself permission to be sad and happy.  To give myself the grace and space I need to grieve the could have beens.  To quietly brush a tear off my check.  Yes, I live infertility each and every day, but holidays are a different battle.  All of that to say – forgive me if you turn to ask for a refill on your wine, or to pass the salt and pepper and you are telling my back as I am walking away.

sad/happy vs bipolar

 *names and relationships will mostly be eliminated to protect individuals privacy*

one night i was talking to one of my best friends over a glass of wine and things got serious.  she was hesitant to say something and i was hesitant to listen.  i kind of felt where the conversation was going because of the lead in, but i still didn’t know where she would go with it and i didn’t know how much i wanted to admit and how far i wanted to take the conversation but we were too far to turn back… 

we had been talking about her family and she looked at me and said she was scared.  i nodded because with that one statement i knew…i knew what was coming next so i took a gulp of wine and finished her sentence.  …scared that we didn’t “escape” the mental illness in our family.  she nodded.  in each of our families we have members who are clinically diagnosed (and some who are textbook) bipolar.

we talked about how sometimes when we are sad we fear that “it” has finally caught up with us.  how sometimes we wake up and we are sad and just have bad days and we both evaluate is it just a normal bad day or is this part of the depressed aspect of bipolar.  do we have reason to be sad?  did something set us off?  are we validated in being sad?  if people notice we are sad is it acceptable to just say we are having a bad day?  is it ok to have a bad week – or does that throw us into a category of needing medicines and intervention?

we went on to talk about when we wake up and are really happy.  how sometimes we get up and it is just a great day and being yelled at by someone or bad drivers or anything that would normally annoy us doesn’t make us upset.  it doesn’t damper our good mood and our happy day.  do we really have a reason to be happy?  oh no is this the manic part of “it.” 

as the seriousness of the conversation started to fade we both started laughing.  almost at the same time we both took a deep breath and said something along the lines of i am so glad that you understand.  the reassurance that we weren’t “crazy” for having those thoughts was amazing. 

we decided that it is ok to have a good day or good week and that it is ok to have a bad day or week and still be free.  at the first sign of a really bad day or good day with what seems like no reason at all doesn’t mean that “it” has caught up with us.  we had to remind ourselves and each other that our emotions are right sad or happy we are ok.  it was a reassurance that only a best friend can offer. 

 

in light of this past week and the loss of robin williams who left the world way too soon – i wanted to say that mental illness is real.  being bipolar or clinically depressed – depression where the end seems like the only option is real.  feeling like you are all alone in the world even when surrounded by family and friends.  feeling like if you were to start screaming in the middle of a crowded room no one would actually notice and hear.  feeling like the end is the only way to cry out for help – for a hug, a friend, a conversation, to be noticed.  feeling like people would soon forget you and it would be no big deal, feeling like you don’t want to fight any more. feeling like you have given it all that you have and failed miserably.  feeling tired – just really tired. be blunt and grab on to someone – make them listen, make them hear and remember: you ARE worth it.