Thursday, September 04, 2014

An Open Response to A Little Bit of Personality's Call to Action

ETA: Trigger warning: Miscarriage, possible postpartum depression

I read aLBoP's "A Call to Action" yesterday evening. My toddler woke me up about a quarter 'til two, and now I write this, a little after three
in the morning. I can't stop thinking about it. Yay insomnia. (I'm not blaming aLBoP for my insomnia. More on this later.)

I could have just written this as a comment on the original post. It would be long, but is that really such a big deal? Seemed appropriate to put it here though, so here it is.

Sorry, as a first-time link sharing your site on my blog goes, this one... Um. Oops. Hey, everyone, aLBoP is awesome! You should check out the site! But don't start with the post I'm linking to and responding to here, because that's kind of a sucky place to start! Start here, right where Calise says to start.

Also, I'm sorry if I ramble a bit or go off on some other rants. I have so, so, so many words about so many things right now, and very little emotional energy for editing. (More on this later, too.) At least for my full, normal editing process. I don't know how to even start to get the words out except by just writing, and posting this when I'm done. (Well, sort of. It's 4:30 a.m. and I should go to bed without taking the time to post this first. But soon.) I'm afraid if I give it a day or two to let it sit before more edits, I'll question and I'll agonize and I won't have the energy and I'll never post it. And then it won't help much to have written -- sometimes it helps to just write things down in a journal, but some things need to be shared before they have much effect. Seems like.

So. All right. Back to the topic at hand. Response.

First off, I'm so sorry. That sounds so horribly discouraging, and I want to give you hugs, and then I want to DO SOMETHING to prove I really, really actually do care.

Money. I know you say,
"Oh, and you guys don't have to donate in order to show that you care!  If you're not in a financial place where you can do that, I don't want you to hurt yourself in order to show you care about us and aLBoP!  Action doesn't have to be money."
But you also 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."
The fact is, I could spare $1. I'm in a financial place where I could do that. But I'm very conservative financially, especially on things outside of my normal spending habits, and even MORE so now that I'm married. If it were just me, I probably would spend some money after your Call to Action. But it isn't just me, my spending affects my family. If I donate, I have to decide just how much we can afford, and then have a conversation about it. That might not sound like much, but again, more on that later. I. Just. Can't. Right now. So I very, very much hope that "Mr. Someone Else" can. I pray he can.

Other kinds of support

"If you prefer to show your support for aLBoP by sending in a video of you doing a happy dance rather than sending in a donation, then at least that shows me that you're willing to take initiative and actually take action!"
I'm... not really a video maker person, otherwise I would. I have stayed up late I don't even know how many nights, talking about your ideas with people, either virtually or in person.

"Words are cheap, and sweet comments hurt doubly when I feel like you didn’t really mean them, like you were just being nice but didn’t really care enough to do anything."
I know what you mean, but... words are kinda my life blood, right now. See above, and again, more on this later. But basically, words are, uh, much more my thing than videos.

I've been involved in The Longest (Semi-)Coherent Facebook Thread EVAR, sparked by your Cognition Process in Stick Figures post. I decided I wanted to make this discussion more accessible to others, and heck, even to myself -- I want to reference in blog posts some of what we've discussed on Facebook, and that would be a lot easier if I could link to a nice blog post quoting the relevant discussion. So I've been planning, for a little while now, to start a blog series quoting large parts of The Thread. I have the first post drafted and almost ready to go.

Why haven't I posted it yet?

Reasons. Well, I'm always slow. But right at the moment, it's not just that.

I think I probably have postpartum depression from my miscarriage.

Chose this picture because You Can't Tell a Mom Has Postpartum Depression by Looking.
Did you know postpartum depression after miscarriage is a thing? It is very much a thing. I have links! Lots and lots of links! That'll be a post for some other day. But for now, apparently postpartum depression is way MORE likely after miscarriage than after childbirth. But we don't talk about that. I hadn't even known it was a thing. Why?

Do we just assume it's all grief, not depression? That would be enough, but no. A mother who's miscarried goes through extreme hormonal changes, too. Actually, my hormones seem to be WAAAY more messed up right now than they were after my daughter was born. (For anyone new to this blog, I had a successful pregnancy and birth before my miscarriage. Codenamed Gracie for the blog, she's almost two years old now.) I could give you specifics, but maybe that's best left to another post. For now I'll skirt it, as TMI.

Of course, there are scientists out there who think postpartum depression isn't caused by hormones, just lack of support, etc.


Um. I can't find the link now. Most experts agree that hormones at least play a role. Wikipedia's section on causes is a pretty good summary, I think. But somewhere I saw something to the effect of, "These hormonal changes don't affect every woman this way, so hormones can't be the cause!"


Right. Not all women get menstrual cramps during their periods, so it must not have anything to do with hormones!

Not all women get certain menopause symptoms, they must not have anything to do with hormones!

Not all women get morning sickness, it must not be caused by pregnancy hormones! In fact, if you have morning sickness, you know what you need? A better support net, healthier food, and exercise! CLEARLY!

(I'm not saying those things can't help with PPD. I just... aaaaaahhhh.)

Um. Close rant? Sorry about that. I have lots and lots and lots of words in me about depression in general, postpartum depression after miscarriage in particular, and my story in even more particular. >_>

Maybe I shouldn't have tried to combine talking a little bit about PPD with my Open Response, but I needed to reference it for my Open Response, and I haven't talked about it yet here, and if I wait to post the Open Response until after I've done some Proper Blog Posts on the subject, it might never happen. And I can't just end this post with "I think I probably have postpartum depression from my miscarriage." Because I haven't said anything about it here yet, and I need to.

And I'll try to post more later, but for now, guys, I HAVE SO MANY WORDS!

And on the bad days, it feels like being silent is killing me. There is so much silence around miscarriage and postpartum depression each on their own, let alone together. Yes, there's a lot of stuff on the internet when you look, but it isn't exactly the subject of Facebook posts, ya know? And heck, even in the medical community -- they gave me pamphlets and brochures about PPD when I was pregnant with my first child, but not when I miscarried. I probably can't change the medical community, and I'm not sure how to go about breaking the silence in my little corner of the world, but I think I need to. I mean, the second part. Need that. The silence breaking. Yes.

So. Back to the Response. I think the probably/maybe PPD is why I can't stop thinking about your post right now, why I have insomnia. Insomnia is a postpartum depression and anxiety symptom, although not one I've had a TON of. Why I had some nausea too, thinking about writing this. Also a possible PPD and anxiety symptom. It's why I can't summon much emotional energy to edit right now (just enough to summon the energy to publish, which would be scary enough at the moment even with LOTS of editing), a part of why my words aren't cheap, and why I can't have that conversation about donating right now.

Heh. My conversations right now are about trying to find and decide on the appropriate help, and figuring out how much we can afford for THAT.

Okay. Remember in your first live chat Q&A video, where you said you'd have to look into it more, but thought maybe mental illness exaggerates that feeling of being stuck in your personality? That really, really resonated. I'm an INFP (most likely), and it seems like right now it's all DATA! FEELINGS-MEANING, FEELINGS-MEANINGLESSNESS, FEELINGS-MEANING! And like there's this huge brick wall between me and any significant or important Action, and to get over there I need to just hurl myself at the brick wall until I fall, bloody, onto the ground. Which still won't do any good. But then at least I'll look like I feel. >_>

Well, except maybe I can write words about all the feelings-meanings. That's hard, but doable. So here it is.

I mean, maybe that's kind of "duh?" Trouble doing things is pretty normal for depression, regardless of personality type. It's kind of one of the biggest symptoms. But, um, yeah.

Anyway. What I wanted to say, is hard though it may be for me to take action right now, I have an answer for "If you're not willing to take action to use what I give you, then what on earth am I doing?" I mean, an answer separate from the action of writing all of the above.

Long-term action. Your words have taken root in how I think about myself. They've given me some compassion for myself. I can see when I have a wall between Data and Observation and Action, and I can wait it out, work on my feelings.

Your ideas have fundamentally changed the way I think, to the point that it'll be hard to pick apart all the changes they'll cause in my future actions. They're a part of me now.

Thank you.

There's so much more I want to learn, so many questions! I'll try to remember to donate when I can. Please, can we be friends?

P.S. I'm certainly not trying to guilt you with this, like, I was already going through a lot and then this. For one thing, that would be kind of ridiculous! And as you put it, I'm not really afraid now that you're displeased with me, thank you for that update. But I wanted to reply, and that reply just happened to be kind of complicated and all tied up with painful things. But it was good. I think.


Annalisa Ure said...

:/ xoxo

Calise Sellers said...

Let me first say, I'm sorry for all the pain and hurt you've experienced! It isn't diverting attention from how my post hurt you ( ;) ) to say I'm especially sorry for all the invalidation you've received about your miscarriage, PPD, etc. That is intolerable and I am so sorry. Though not the same experience, when we were first married, I was diagnosed with psudocyesis (false pregnancy) after what I thought was 17 weeks of pregnancy. Though I didn't have the trauma and hormones of actually losing a fetus, I still had the sudden anguish of knowing that the little person, who I'd made the center of my life for those months, wasn't coming. And my body was alone. I hated it. And I felt so stupid (not helped by the doctor, who treated me like I was), and there was no closure. I didn't know what to tell people and I didn't want to talk about it anyway. No one knew what to say and encouragement that I'd be able to get pregnant "for real" just made me feel worse. (Besides which, it's been 6 years and I still haven't.)

I know that's different from your own experience, but the point is that I understand when you talk about how it feels for your real, justified depression and pain to be just brushed off because your pregnancy didn't end in a baby. Not trying to belittle full-term PPD, but if anything I would expect your experience to be more painful since you didn't have the comfort and closure of the expected baby to help you through it. I am so sorry for everything you've been through!

That being said, even though my post hurt you, doesn't mean it was the wrong move for me to write it and post it. I've gotten several responses from sweet people like you, assuming that the post was a knee-jerk response to the hurt I was feeling, rather than a calculated move that I had to work up to, that was very hard for me to stand up and do. I'm an ENTP and it's much easier for me to make a joke and laugh off what I'm doing as just a clever little project, then it is to acknowledge the scope of what I'm trying to accomplish. This is really hard to type at the moment! :) {Continued in next comment, because it was too long!}

Calise Sellers said...

But I need to own up to the fact that it had really gotten that bad. That the voices of the sweet people who loved aLBoP were getting drowned by the words, attitudes and actions of the loud, entitled crowd who had a personal investment in pretending aLBoP was no different than any mbti website that wants to pigeon hole people for their own enmity-filled validation. And I truly wasn't sure that any of you sweet people were really going to do anything about it. I wasn't exaggerating the doubt I had that the purpose of aLBoP was *ever * going to work. Lack of donations just seemed like a tragic symbol to me of how little people were willing to act.

But the response has been so tremendous! And while I so appreciate the monetary sacrifices people have made, I equally appreciate those who have come forward and said, "I can't give money, but what can I do?"

It's not about aLBoP as a website. Yes, if I'm going to continue (which I am), it'd be nice to be able to afford our own mortgage without help, eventually, but that's not the point. We're trying to gather people who are willing to take action, change, and stand up, so that together we can actually do something to fix this culture. We're trying to enable the people who already want to do wonderful things in this world, but feel stopped by their own weaknesses and insecurities, or feel like the opposition to try is just too much, or those who want to do something, but just don't know what.

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. I believe that there are so many good people who want to really do real heroic things to change the world around us for the better, but most people believe that in the end, efforts to change the world end up rather futile. And honestly, when uncoordinated and without perspective, most of them are. But with the right tools to change oneself first, they don't have to be futile.

I see so much depression in good people—people who so deserve to feel happy—and though I know the chemicals coursing through their bodies are real and so powerful, that doesn't mean there is nothing to be done psychologically. I see amazing people like ENFP Robin Williams, who spent their whole lives helping people, just to feel like their whole life's work was futile, what with all the #*-% in this world. And I think, "I can fix that! I know how!" People just have to be willing to listen, act and apply, which is never an easy feat. Changing is hard. Looking at the baggage deep within you is hard!

But if people are just willing to try, just willing to put forth the effort, even when it's scary to step out into the darkness, then we can actually do something to fix the world! Something that will actually work! I've seen the principles work in my own life and others' and I know I can help other people with them too.

Sorry, that was long (you guys are used to that from me ;)). 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.

Thank you for all the support you've given me! You and your whole family! The Hatch clan has been such a boon to us and I really can't thank any of you enough!

Know I love you too, Marcy and I really appreciate you standing up for the person you are :)

<3 Calise

Marcy said...

Annalisa, thanks. xoxo

For the record, if it wasn't already clear, the reply to Calise's comments is here: