I haven’t been to a psychologist since February of this year, which probably isn’t the best thing considering we have lost 5 babies and our dog since 2014.
I have been to a few psychologists in my lifetime though. When I was younger, I went after my parents divorced. I also went during my rebellious teenage years. I usually didn’t have a say in the matter; in other words, my parents thought it was the best thing for me and so I had to go. I don’t think I really got too much out of it then. When I reached the age of independence, around 21 or so, I decided to go back to counseling on my own accord. I did find this time round of treatment helpful. Perhaps it’s because I actually desired to go. The same goes for the brief sessions I attended earlier this year.
Since I am off work and have quite a bit of free time now, I decided it was time for me to get back into counseling. I found a new psychologist who specializes in Women’s Health, specifically infertility, pregnancy loss, etc. This might not seem like a big deal, but trust me, it is. And finding someone who specializes in this area is not easy at all, so when I was referred to her I was rather pleased (even though my insurance will not cover it).
Yesterday was my first session with Dr. G. When I arrived at my appointment in the ritzier part of town, I entered the waiting room and filled out some paperwork. Some of the questions went like this:
- Any children?
- Any pregnancies?
- Ever had counseling before?
- Why are you here?
- What do you hope to gain from therapy?
- Anything else you think I should know about you?
The session began as one usually would-reviewing history, listening to me ramble as I try to explain my life, taking notes, asking general questions, etc. I have found that since the majority of counseling sessions are only 1 hr it is difficult to get a lot accomplished in that 1st visit. It’s more like a getting to know one another time, and deciding if you want to return for a second visit or not. I did decide that I will return for a second visit with Dr. G. Here’s why.
In the short time I was with her, she informed me of some very important things and I could tell she knew her stuff. Here are some main points covered:
- Studies have shown that those diagnosed with infertility face similar levels of stress as those diagnosed with cancer. Both are chronic illnesses with unknown outcomes (of course one is deadly and one is not).
- Many people think if they had the money they would continue infertility treatments. Not true. Some countries outside of the US pay for 3 rounds of IVF treatment for couples. However, some couples never complete the 3 rounds simply because of the stress that goes with it. Think about that one for a minute.
- Depression is anger turned inwards. She did not feel comfortable saying whether or not I am depressed after just meeting me, but she said based on my story it could be very possible.
- People with Type-A personality (ME) have the worst time dealing with infertility. These people have lived their whole lives thinking effort=outcome. Not the case with infertility. No matter how hard you work at it, you don’t have control over the outcome.
- Infertility itself is one of the hardest things to battle, throw in recurrent pregnancy loss on top of it and you are dealing with a whole new ball game.
- Dr. G went through all of the different types of “copers” and asked me to pick out which one sounded most like what I do to cope with my feelings. Choices were 1.) The denier 2.) The distractor 3.) The problem solver 4.) The socializer 5.) The emotional coper. I actually had a trait from every category except the denier. Definitely not me. But, I had the most characteristics of an emotional coper. Moving forward, she wants to give me strategies on how to be a positive emotional coper.
- I am my own worst enemy. I was explaining to her how I haven’t been very involved in any of my friends current pregnancies, and I said to her, “What’s wrong with me? Why do I act this way? It’s terrible.” She stopped me right in my tracks and said, “Did you just hear yourself? Did you hear how you are talking to yourself? Would you talk like that to someone else?” She made me think. Of course I wouldn’t ask someone else what is wrong with them for feeling a certain way. She told me I am allowed to feel and act the way I am right now. I do not need to beat myself up for how I feel. We will continue to dive further into this at our next session.
I hope to continue posting our main points each week, as it is a method for me to track what I am learning as I go through treatment.