Monday, 21 October 2013

Triggers

The word 'trigger' is something that I first heard of in the context of psychotherapy when I was reading a very helpful little book called 'Nurturing Yourself Through IVF' by Lynn Daley. I learned that a trigger is something, perhaps a comment, an incident/event or something you see on the TV that provokes an immediate reaction inside you that causes you to plunge into a downward spiral of negative thought which ultimately leads to a feeling of anxiety or depression.
During the IVF, I used to be acutely sensitised to these triggers on a constant basis. There were the obvious birth and pregnancy announcement triggers or seeing-ten-pregnant-ladies-in-the-space-of-five-minutes triggers. But I think it got to the point where almost every social interaction became a trigger. I was incredibly nervous about meeting people - friends and strangers, in case of certain comments or seemingly innocent remarks sparking off a panic attack. I felt alienated from the world, misunderstood and increasingly superstitious that someone 'up there' had it in for me, that I was being punished and I didn't know why. I chose to spend a lot of time on my own because that way, I felt safe and unthreatened and I was able to indulge in positive 'ME' therapy.
Triggers are still a regular part of my life. Sometimes they are very mild and I can deal with them with just a few inward positive words. Sometimes they are quite severe and I have to avail of all my 'tools' in order to get through them - self-therapy, tears (either on my own or on my husband's shoulder) and (time-permitting) my relaxation CD or some diary-writing. Often their level of intensity falls somewhere in between these two extremes. The difficulty is of course, that I am now a busy mother, so there isn't the same opportunity to indulge in looking after myself as before. But I have learned to become very disciplined about prioritising my mental health over housework and phone calls/emails etc. I believe a sane and happy mother/wife is more important than a spotless home and an up-to-date social diary.
Up to now I have given a general overview of  my personal experience of infertility and what it means to me living with this condition as a wife, mother and as a woman. I could talk about this topic "'til the cows come home" without repeating myself once and still have a lot more to say, for it is a vast and hugely complicated subject. From this point in my blog, I want to write with direct reference to the present day, using the occurrence of triggers to further discuss the emotional and psychological issues that I am quite sure, effect not only myself but a very large portion of the global population of infertile women.
Thank you again for listening and please do not hesitate to introduce my blog to anyone you think might be interested to read it and contribute in any way.

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