Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Reply to a Reply to a Reply (Because. Heh.)

Trigger warning: Miscarriage and pregnancy loss, spoken about in very general terms. Possible postpartum depression. I'll go back and add similar warnings to the beginnings of earlier posts about my miscarriage. I hadn't read very many of other people's accounts yet when I posted them, and wasn't thinking yet of possible needs for warnings. If
you're feeling fragile today, this might not be the time to read this post.

Caveats: Well, clearly, this is a mid-conversation blog post, and as such, may not make a ton of sense without the conversation for context! (Not to mention a good brushup on personality theory and cognitive steps...) The reply I'm replying to is in the comments to this post here, and though it's easy enough to backtrack from there, the beginning impetus for the conversation is here. Also, as a reply... well, there's not really one nice big point to it all, something you can use to tie up the post in a pretty bow and say, aww, what a beautiful and eloquent article that was. I respond to one sentence and sentiment after another, and though I tried to keep the general flow of Calise's comments in mind -- it's not like I was pouncing on bits that meant something else out of context, "gotcha!" -- it's, um. A bit scattered. Possibly.
I'm pretty sure I've heard blog posts are supposed to
include pictures, right? Right? Hmm.

Oh, and the only reason I'm not making this another comment on the original post is that I think it's about twice as long as Calise's reply (before I added even MOAR), which she already had to break up into two comments because it was too long. If I'm going to write another whole post, I might as well admit it, and publish it as one. :)

(I tried to break it up a little visually and use some bolding to make it scan a little better... hopefully it helps? A bit?)

Okay, got all that? Ready? Okay.

Oh man, I'm so sorry about your pseudocyesis. That's awful, and what a terrible doctor! I think that at least in some respects that would be even worse than other kinds of pregnancy loss -- not having anything tangible to grieve, no closure like you said, feeling stupid... which you weren't! Women who've miscarried often blame themselves when it isn't their fault, but a doctor should know better. Even just doing a really quick Google search, I can see that false pregnancy causes actual physical symptoms. Objective and everything. And I see links that talk about the mind-body connection causing a release of pregnancy hormones, so in that respect it might be closer to miscarriage than you think too, who knows? Ugh, I'm so sorry.

Also, I've seen a couple links now that say studies haven't been able to find any connection between how far along a woman was and the intensity of her grief. (Which, as someone with a relatively early loss, feels validating but also kind of weird and counter-intuitive, but, um, okay.) I would imagine that sort of thing could apply to pseudocyesis, too. In my experience, the "it shouldn't be that bad, because..." logic is normally WRONG WRONG WRONG, no matter the situation! Ah, yes. Here's one of the links, one that I loved: "Miscarriage and loss." Much of the third paragraph seems particularly apropos, and certainly the end of it, "... but of a woman's sense of self and her hopes and dreams of the future. She has lost her ‘reproductive story,' and it needs to be grieved."

I'm not saying I've been through what you have, of course, but I had a tiny hint of some of it, because I had a missed miscarriage -- I found out from an ultrasound that my baby's heart wasn't beating, and I waited a few weeks after that before I actually miscarried. So at first, after the ultrasound, I had morning sickness, knowing that I wasn't going to give birth to a live baby. Awful, awful, awful.

I'm sorry too, as a sort of separate thing? That you haven't gotten pregnant since then. :( Sending you so many hugs!

Thank you. A couple little items... I'd say I haven't really received a lot of direct invalidation? The closest, probably, would be my doctor not giving me any brochures or anything about PPD after the miscarriage, unlike when I was pregnant. But most of the invalidation has been indirect, my sense for the culture around me, people saying things that weren't addressed to me... heck, even just the fact that if you look up postpartum depression online, until you add "miscarriage" to your search, pretty much everything you see is going to be about dealing with it while having a tiny new baby. Which... makes a certain amount of sense, for various reasons, but is still hard. I'm overly sensitive and defensive right now, because even some of my OWN thoughts are invalidating, so when I hear them from other people... heh. Yeah. From what you said, you probably know what that's like!

::Smirks at self:: As an example of being overly sensitive, even in the article I loved and linked to above, I see the statements, "She says historically, a woman may have miscarried and never even known she was pregnant. That is much less likely today," and I'm like, "Yeah, sure, I'm sure I never would've noticed bleeding a river, and then an ocean, and almost fainting, etc. etc., if it weren't for the wonders of modern medical technology!" Obviously those statements weren't directed at me or even about me. But they were under the heading "Early loss," which I thought applied to me, and... yeah. Oops, my bad.

Principles? Why would anyone think in Principles when you can think in specifics! :D It's possible I... have a thing for exceptions... >_> :D

And STILL, even after laughing at myself, I see what it (and other articles) go on to say about modern parents getting more attached early on through ultrasound pictures, and I'm like, "Well, the only ones I saw, I saw after I knew there was no heartbeat, so I'm pretty sure a woman can get attached without them. Pshaw to you." And that's leaving aside that historically women were probably more likely to see and touch the miscarried baby, rather than sleeping through removal during a D&C, so you can just take all your opinions about ultrasound pictures making things worse and... Um. Sensitive? Me? I have no idea what you're talking about.

Oh, and sometimes comments people make about depression in general, yes. Sometimes directly at me, other times not. Sometimes things I'm remembering from before all this happened, other times not. Like, I understand the need to distinguish clinical depression from the really casual way people often talk about depression, as though it's just when you're a little sad or something. But people trying to draw those lines sometimes go too far, and it can be very frustrating and feel like they're trying to erase your experience. Like instead of letting professionals diagnose, they've suddenly become the arbiters, and "Nope, nope, that isn't real depression. Next!"

Sigh, I have lots of full blog posts in me about that. And the times in my life when I may not have been clinically depressed, but still maybe had a general mood disorder or something imbalanced. Like, I'm pretty sure when you're almost-suicidal on a regular basis, say once a week, even if it keeps going away after a day or two it still isn't a GOOD AND NORMAL AND HEALTHY THING. And the people who make it sound like the only two options are clinical depression or "feeling a little blue"... ARRRGH. Anyway. Um. Close tangent. Er, mostly. But that's played into my defensiveness some. Along with other things. With those frustrations in the past, I may have latched onto the postpartum depression label a bit when I realized it might possibly apply. "Look! Here's something real and all I have to do is say this term and suddenly you will understand instead of dismissing me!" Heh. The magic and power of words.

As far as full-term PPD goes, I saw someone say in a comment, "The typical PPD support group, which usually contains at least a mom or 2 who is experiencing regret/ambivalence about motherhood, is not the optimal place for bereaved moms to find support. We know these feelings are normal with PPD but imagine the impact of such words on a grieving mother."

Since this was my second pregnancy and I have a toddler to care for, I can see and feel both sides, in a weird way. So as far as my experience being more painful without the comfort and closure of the expected baby... in some ways, yes, definitely. In other ways, maybe not, but I won't go into that in detail, it kinda feels like that would be rubbing salt in YOUR wounds, to no purpose. (And like you said, you're not trying to belittle full-term PPD, so yeah. No point in talking about that more, stop rambling, Marcy... :) )

My first reaction to your comments about your post hurting me was that you're wrong, it didn't hurt me, it just brought up painful feelings that I needed to deal with anyway. And that your reply was reacting to other people's reactions too, not just mine, and that if you misunderstood my post a little, that's only fair, as I called it a Response, but it also reacted to People Not You, and I didn't necessarily fully clarify where I was speaking to you, and where to others. My sister read it before I published and suggested making it two posts, but that felt like too much work.

On second and third and fourth thought... yeah, maybe it hurt me some? It's very, very complicated. (And then I feel hurt that you thought I was hurt by your hurt... lol.) I will say that I understand it being a calculated move that you worked up to! Yes, it came across as emotional, but remember guys (People Not You), emotion and logic aren't contradictory things! [Insert RANT here.] :D And I totally understand it being hard to ask for help! I think I'd prefer lots of little, downplayed, short requests for help; as opposed to working up to one big request, but... ::shrug:: You gotta do what you gotta do. And... awww. I'm sorry it had gotten so bad! And this? "Lack of donations just seemed like a tragic symbol to me of how little people were willing to act." That makes a lot of sense!

Oh! And also the question, "I can't give money, but what can I do?" That's a really good question! I'm a little embarrassed I didn't ask it, myself. (Now I will! Hey Calise, what can I do?) I guess because your post, while asking for help, was so centered in its logic about us needing to act for our own sakes, our own self-growth, that I immediately tried to figure out what I needed that might help you, rather than what you needed that I could give. I think. If that makes sense. And obviously (heh) I'm a words person, and was feeling defensive of that, but... yeah.

Let's see. As far as, "You obviously want to do great things, but feel like there are distinct blockages in your way, and on top of that it seems like you have doubts about what you could do that would really make any difference anyway." Whew. Where to start? Um.

Yes and no? First, I certainly don't expect to be this depressed my whole life! :) I see some of these blockages as very, very temporary. Yes, I see myself as always weak on Action, but that isn't the same thing as a real blockage or full-on failing! And even now I'm doing things, it's just that most of those things have to do with finding help, feeding my toddler and myself... It's amazing how much emotional energy it feels like I need just to be present for her!

But again, temporary. I do believe I can change the world, especially with seemingly small actions. Kindness, etc. Blog posts, words, hopefully books... I'll admit that on a visceral level, it can be very hard to believe I can change myself. I both do and don't believe it, and both of those beliefs seem deep in my core. Because INFPs can be so very, very idealistic. We see so much meaning and beauty and potential in all the things! And we so want to change, and grow, and DO ALL THE THINGS! But then, failure after failure, it begins to feel like no, this new exciting thing you just found? You should know better by now. Those never work out. But... can't ever really let go of that hope, either.

And, hey. One of the things I love about being 31 years old is that I can look back at my early 20's and see how far I've come, how much I HAVE changed. YAY! And I look at your ideas and I see a lot of potential for my life. I see it logically and emotionally. I'm not completely sure yet of what it means (specifically and tangibly -- yup, detailed scope, and Action step is S, yep) to deal with my weaknesses by going back to my first step and strengthening Fi, but I'm eager to work on it and to learn. Yay!

Totally agree about chemicals and psychology. If I didn't, I wouldn't be scheduling an appointment with a therapist. :) Even though... well, thinking about writing this, I realized I'm super defensive in this area, too. I've already done a lot of work on myself in my lifetime on psychological issues, and I'm defensive of that. I feel the blackness suddenly coming out of nowhere, and I'm defensive of that. The things I normally love doing seem to have no power even to touch the black mood, and I'm defensive of that. My Fi hears various recommendations and is like, "WHAT? You're saying I could DO something about this? It's NOT MY FAULT! Let me explain to you how NOT MY FAULT this all is!" :) Poor Fi. ::pats Fi on the head:: So... yeah. Chemicals and issues and I'm really hoping that my hormones will straighten out soon and there'll be less of that factor. As I've heard one person explain it, there are your emotional tools, and then there's your threshold of need. So your tools can be great, but sometimes your need goes up, and the tools just aren't good enough as they stand, and need improvement. While you can also work on lowering the need, going to a doctor if that's the issue, for example.

Um. So. "And I think, 'I can fix that! I know how!'" That is SO AWESOME! And yeah, change is hard, but hey. Fi. I live for the feelings-meanings. I'm so there. I will step out into the darkness, and it will be an EPIC ADVENTURE. :D

Um. >_> Clearly I have no problem with your reply being long. :D

"But those are the reasons I thought it was worth it to shock people into action. I'm sorry if you didn't need it and it hurt you that I thought you did. But know that some people, possibly many, did."

Makes sense. Actually, I think some of the biggest hurt is in that defensiveness -- there are large parts of me that think I did need it, and other large parts that don't, that say no, I'm the idealist who's always too hard on herself and I need to give myself a break. I'm that earnest people-pleaser who often IS the exception to what the teacher's saying, the one who's trying too hard and needs to relax, but the teacher can't tell everyone there are exceptions, or EVERYONE will decide they're the exception. Sigh.

Like how normally epidurals slow down labor, but for me it helped my body relax from its weird five-minute-long back-to-back ineffective contractions and DO SOMETHING. It was my weak contractions that were effective. Story of my life. :D

It's hard, because in some ways it's a group issue. As you say, "Of the hundreds of people who have left wonderful comments, I have an awfully hard time believing not one of them could spare $1 for a website they claim to love." You're not saying that every single person needs to donate, just that you'd think at least some should. Group evidence that individuals aren't acting. But then to talk to those some, you have to talk about "Mr. Someone Else," and in the end it's no wonder that "it's the sweetest people who fear the most that I'm displeased with them," because everything about the post seems to be saying, no, she's talking to YOU!

And, well, you kind of were, because as you said, there wasn't just the entitled crowd, but "I truly wasn't sure that any of you sweet people were really going to do anything about it."

And... yeah. Everyone does need to take some kind of action. Yes. But exactly what that needs to be, especially on a self-growth level, is so very individual. (Can you tell I'm not a J? ;-P) And I do happen to believe there are seasons where I'll be a little more on the giving side and seasons where I'll be a little more on the receiving side, even though we all need both, and often need to be reminded we need to give a lot more. I'm just the sort of person who will feel guilty for not giving to ALL THE THINGS, even if a close family member has just died or something! And need to remind myself, no. It's okay.

Heh. I was saying to a sister that "On the other hand, it's true that I could have done something before this all happened..." And she reminded me that the last two years have been insane. The last three years have been, actually. But I said, "Well, last year was relatively mellow..." and then started laughing and laughing, because last year I had a new baby and a new boss, and often had to bring the baby to work with me. Which is an awesome benefit to be able to do, but also HARD. :D And yep! That was still definitely the mellow year!

And... since the day last week when I wrote most of this I've had lots more thoughts about fault and exceptions and seasons and my baggage combined with my cognitive steps... I was going to try to weave this in smoothly, but after lots of rereading and editing what I already had, I give up. :)

Auggh. Lots of thoughts I didn't write down right away, and then I kept putting it off because it got overwhelming and I was afraid of forgetting something important. Gaah. Can you say counter-productive? And then last night I went to bed super early, but then woke up a little before midnight and couldn't go back to sleep, and I so want to write out ALL THE THINGS (and we could make a drinking game out of the number of times I've used that phrase), but I may not be thinking too clearly right now. Bleh.

Okay. It's later. I've had some sleep. ::resolve face::



First off, there is a bit of weird dissonance here. I'm often an exception to what the teacher's saying, but I'm weak on Action? Really? Um, it's different in a group with structured accountability, like choir or Cross Country. I mean, you kind of skip the planning action step when you've already signed up for a thing and set aside the time and you're there, being told what to do. In fact, the big example where I remember someone explicitly telling me I was trying too hard, it was my voice teacher, about what I'd learned in choir. So... does that apply here? Maybe not directly. What's more applicable...

When I go from my last step, Te, and cycle back to Fi... maybe it doesn't work this way for all INFPs. (Or even all unhealthy INFPs?) But I was mocked a lot growing up, and... ::shrug:: My tendency is to do something... unwise. Then Te looks at the results, and is like, "Hey! That wasn't smart! Let's never do that again!" And Fi is like, "STOP YELLING AT ME! I know I'm a stupid and horrible person, okay? I'm just gonna go sit in the corner and sulk. YES I KNOW IT'S STUPID, SHUT UP."

Or as I put it The Epic Thread,

"Hey, I was wrong about having trouble looping back through the steps! I do it all the time! It just, um, has certain issues sometimes.
Fi: I'm depressed. Because this and this and this. I don't like it.
Ne: Well that makes sense. And also because this.
Fi: Yeah.
Si: Well what am I supposed to do about it? I'm weak, and we all know doing this won't work, or this, or this... Hey! I have an idea! How about we do some Ne-dominant activities? Ne is good at distracting you!
Fi and Ne: Yeah, ok.
*Ne stuff*
Te: Well that didn't work. Hey, just like all the every other time it didn't work! What a shocker!
Fi: Well thanks, Te, now I'm depressed.
Te: ...
Fi: I don't follow my own principles. Clearly I'm a horrible person. This is depressing.
Ne: That... doesn't make sense. You're better at this than that.
Fi: ...
Ne: No, yeah, whatever, makes sense. Stage whisper: Okay, it makes some sense that you THINK it makes sense...
Fi: I'm so stupid.
Ne: That's... not what I was saying...
Si: I know this one! Ne stuff!
Fi: ...
Hey, I'm the one who figured out what you were all saying.
Ne, Si, Te: ...
It's true.

Ne: I helped.

Si: So did I! I wrote it out!
So... more Ne stuff now?

Si: Ooh! Or I could eat more things!
Te: *headdesk*

Si: I'm good at eating things! ^_^"

Oh hey, yeah, I see where I could go back and strengthen my first step. :) I've done a lot of work on this already, will continue to work on it, and I think I can get a lot better. Especially with the power of the lens of cognitive steps on it now.

So that's part of what I mean about learning I need to be easier on myself. Yes, I could use more Action, but it tends to help if I come at it sideways, and not directly with, "I must do more!" You know?

Which, again, yeah, overly sensitive right now, and that's SO not your fault! So I'm not saying you shouldn't have said what you did. Just kind of... thinking out loud. A LOT. :)

Melanie and I have a theory that makes a lot of sense to me, about adding High Sensitivity into the mix, as in Elaine Aron's Highly Sensitive Person. Even though she researched a lot of different Highly Sensitive People for her work, I sometimes think her book has a bit of an emphasis on how it plays out for her own personality type, and others with her type. But in our (Melanie's and mine) theory, being an HSP means you can get overwhelmed in your very first cognitive step. Which makes it hard to go on to the next step, at least in the area where one is overwhelmed, so one might distract oneself with something completely different, but in the secondary step. Or something like that. You know, like "INTERNET! FOREVER..."

Practically speaking, I've found that means I need to be careful to do my care-and-maintenance-of-Fi activities. It can be easy to feel like I'm doing too much of that kind of thing and not enough really "productive" stuff, but then if I try to cut back, my productivity will probably plummet. So.

But another thing I've learned is that sometimes, I'm just gonna be overwhelmed for a while, and maybe make some stupid decisions, and that's okay, too. I'll get over it and get back on track.

It logically follows from there that sometimes I'm going to have more overwhelmed days than at other times, and that this, too, shall pass. I can try to be smart and take care of myself and deal with the overwhelm, but if I fail at that I'm going to look back at myself with compassion and understanding. Yay!

Of course, one of the annoying parts of having lots of Bad Days right now is that it means there's a lot of catchup to do on the good days. Bleh. But anyway. THAT is where I'm coming from. Generally speaking, today and this week are a much better day and week than the day and week when I wrote my first Response, or even when I started thinking through this Reply. So right at the moment I'm a little more, "Hey! Yeah! What can I do to help? I'd love to help!" :)

Phew. All right. This could use more editing, but I've already spent a long time on this and should probably just hit Publish. (And I remember there was this other little phrase I wanted to say, and what was it and where did it go and WAAAAAH. Um. ::whistles::)

Also, my posts aren't normally quite so full of "um" and "and" and emoticons and... all that. The casual tone seemed appropriate for this. But really. They normally aren't so full. Of the things. Really. *pauses* *crickets* Regular readers, back me up here? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

But yeah, casual tone because ZOMG, this all turned out so personal. All the stuff about my baggage and thought process possibly even more so than the taboo topic of miscarriage. ::hits Publish before she can second-guess more::

P.S. If you're one of my Sensor friends reading this, and you made it this far? Wow, high five! Pretty sure I didn't pull any of my N punches, writing this. Pretty sure I am SUCH an NP, and I'm talking to an NP, and... yeah. Wow. Much concept. So idea. Very web. Sorry. >_>

So. Um. Tl;dr: um. Ramble ramble ramble. :D Also, thank you and you're welcome and thank you for listening to all my rambling feelings and thoughts all over the place and I love you too! ^_^


Sondy said...

HUGS, Little Sis!

And, actually, it's enlightening about thought processes.

Marcy said...

HUGS! And oh, good! Thanks!

Except now Melanie's described the Action Si step as playing out scenarios in your head (from her profile from Calise), and I'm reevaluating everything! :)

Marcy said...

Oh, and wait! Actually, some of the activities I'd been thinking of as Ne activities, observing other people, engaging with their ideas, etc.... sometimes (or maybe most of the time) I'm really engaging with them in a very Fi way. Feeling the emotions, seeing meaning in the details. So when I'm overwhelmed in my Fi, I go to things (The Internet! TV! Novels!) where I can distract Fi from the topic at hand, giving it other, easier things to work with. Okay.