Faith? Therapy Part II

Apparently I need to believe in some greater plan that things will work out the way that they are supposed to.

I had my second session with my therapist, and I left feeling worse than before our session. I was really unsettled, and I’m not sure if that is normal- to have a finished puzzle taken apart and shaken up because the process of putting things back together is the therapy.

About a week ago, I started to notice that the shock of our miscarriage started to wear off. The bouts of crying at random times has significantly reduced. I’m starting to pick up the pieces of my life, I am starting to be more aware of my feelings in a more rational way. I feel like I am starting to grieve properly.

Then, at some point this week, I realize that I only have one month left until my reevaluation with our GP, and that as it stands right now, I’m supposed to return to my hellhole of a workplace the first week of December. Of course, my GP says that she won’t have me return until I’m ready, but as far as my workplace is concerned, I’m supposed to return in a month. This terrifies me, as I feel like I’m just starting to heal, and have taken a few steps back because of my work-related anxiety. I haven’t been sleeping again, and am finding myself dwelling on things out of my control- like the timing of our next FET.

DW has also been unhealthily busy at work- with her principals course once, sometimes twice a week, her union meetings out of town, and the extracurriculars she runs for the kids after school (I do really miss the extracurriculars that I did with my students- they were what fulfilled me at the end of a really long day). Bless my wife, she comes home then has so much prep to do for her lessons the next day, because she is the “yes” person at her school- the problem solver who takes on more work to alleviate timetable conflicts in the school. I believe I was that person at my work, except, I never actually said “yes”, but ended up being that person, miscarrying at the peak of stress- and that is part of why I am terrified to go back to work.

Anyway, at my therapy session yesterday, I was stuck in my own head. I could only catch bits and pieces of what the therapist was saying. I also felt like she didn’t “get” me yesterday, so much of what she said wasn’t connecting with me. She was also having some repairs done on her home, and her dog barked the entire hour at the repair men, so that distracted me as well.

But I did take home some good points that she raised:

– I need to start using my voice and standing up for myself. If I advocate for myself, people will adjust to it, and will respect me more. I need to respect myself more.

– I need to let my GP know that I have a mental fixation on this official “end date” for my medical leave. Perhaps she will reassure me that it is open-ended, as needed. DW is certain that our GP agreed that I should be off the entire semester, but that she wanted to be kept in the loop via reevals. Sometimes I won’t let myself believe that people will stick to their word, I guess.

– I need to work on my anxiety. She recommended meditation, and a vision/dream board. I’ve been going to yoga every other day this week, and will try to make it more often if possible, because it ends in a meditation component. I can’t seem to bring myself to a meditative state on my own for some reason. I’ve also noticed that I’m feeling uneasy about making a vision board (of where I see my life in the future), because it includes things that would absolutely break my heart if they didn’t happen. Basically- kids.

This is where she said I need to have faith. Not necessarily in a Jesus Christ kind of way, but just a knowing that things will work out such that I’m happy. So having faith that there is some master plan, and all the worrying in the world won’t change it. That all of my attempts at controlling situations won’t change the overall outcome.

I don’t know the rules around having faith. Do I just have faith that my babies will happen? Do I just have faith that work will miraculously treat me with the respect and fairness that I deserve? Do I just have faith that DW will be happy with her decision to be or not to be a vice-principal? Do I just have faith that we will be able to love where we live and have enough money to live comfortably? Can I assume that my life will be a fully happy one just on faith?

I don’t know how to have faith. My life experience has me believing that you make your own fate. You work hard, and it pays off most times. If you don’t put forward an effort, things are unlikely to happen for you. I am in control of my own actions, and subsequently the results of those actions.

But, there’s also the other part of each interaction- the response from the world. That part I can’t control, and that’s what is giving me the anxiety. Even if I prepare my body perfectly for this next FET, anything can happen. I have no control over that outcome. Even if I talk (again) with my administration and department heads about my work concerns, will they dismiss them again like they did that first week? Or will they reconsider their poor planning as it resulted in me (possibly miscarrying and) going off on a medical leave? I have no idea.
Faith would have me just trusting that everything will work out. The therapist described it as a “things will rearrange and the puzzle pieces will naturally fall into place”. I have a very hard time with believing this.

DW thinks that having faith is more knowing that whatever happens, we will adjust our lives to be happy. We have each other, and if we don’t have babies, we will have the time and money to go on amazing trips and continue to eat organic food.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I can be happy with that. There will always be a large chunk missing. Sadly, at this point, for me, life will be incomplete without our babies. There is a part of my heart that is reserved for loving them, and if they don’t come, it doesn’t just get used for something else. It will just be a big empty void. A reminder of how my body failed, and of how cruel this world really is.

So maybe knowing that these kids are my deal breaker with the world, I should have faith that they will come into fruition?

Struggling, and My History Part I

Since the D&C on Thursday, my pregnancy hormones have plummeted. My body feels it, and so does my mind.

Physical Changes:
– boobs have shrunk down, and are less tender
– hair and skin is feeling oilier
– appetite is back in full force comfort eating
– falling asleep at bedtime is challenging
– cluster headaches stabbing through my right eye

Emotional Changes:
– less happy
– less content
– find myself stuck in destructive moments of dwelling jealousy, deep depression
– severe anxiety stemming from work-related triggers that in unable to shake

I’ve been baking and cooking up a storm, feeling guilty for not going into work these days while DW, who is also grieving, does. She is taking her final principal qualification course, which has her pulling 15 hour days at least once a week. She is doing this for us. Meanwhile, I’m making her gourmet lunches and snacks. Recently, I made chicken souvlaki from scratch, taking the care to give the chicken a nice long marinade. It was delicious. This weekend, she put in a request for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, which of course I made gluten-free.

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This morning I baked up these Brazilian Cheese Balls:

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I haven’t been sleeping well over the past two nights. I can’t seem to fall asleep, with anxious worries about work, and some recent drama involving my undiagnosed bipolar personality disordered father.

Work has been carbon copying me on the comings and goings of my students, which are all pretty troubled youth. They also notified me that they are dumping almost a dozen students with a timetable conflict into my second semester credit recovery class, which is not an appropriate use of the period, and makes my life a living hell for second semester. They are always dancing the line of violating my contract, but unfortunately, approaching them about this will accomplish nothing except undeservingly getting me deeper into their bad books. My medically necessary leave of absence has already done a shit load of damage in this respect, which makes me anxious too because we (DW and I) have decided that I NEED to get out of this school, and accomplishing that requires a positive recommendation from the principal who has shamelessly made me his scapegoat. Each and every email that I get from work triggers a full-body-sick-to-my-stomach feeling of dread, and I get these emails on a daily basis during the work week. I am on a fucking medical leave people! Leave me the fuck alone. Technically, I am not expected to be checking or responding to their emails, but it all comes into my iPhone automatically. So yesterday, I took a positive step in detoxifying my life and REMOVED my work email from my iPhone. I will still have to check it on my computer once every two weeks or so, but it will be when I choose and not disrupting my life at their convenience.

Now my father is a very complicated problem. He disowned me back in July (for the second time) when I told him that we were trying to have a baby, and then just yesterday sent me a nasty mean-spirited email that haunted me all last night. I have not “come out” about him before, and I feel that I should do that soon.

[TRIGGER warning- do not read on if descriptions of physical violence is triggering for you.]

My father has done a lot of bad things, mostly to me, but also to my mother and sister. He was in his last year of dental school when he got my mother pregnant, and has always blamed my existence for “ruining his life” (his words, which I have heard so many times). Being a nice Christian couple, my parents got married when my mom was three months pregnant, and they were both 25. She moved in with his family (it’s a Chinese thing), and the “perfect family” image that his family portrayed so perfectly started to crumble. Almost every single one of my father’s siblings has an undiagnosed mental illness that is so very destructive to the people around them. Only one of them has been diagnosed, and she is treated so badly by everyone else. After all, they are all medical doctors (I’m not kidding, almost every single one), and have too much pride to come to terms with their issues.

So we lived with my grandparents, and I would say that they raised me until the age of 8, when my mother finally left my father. Contrary to what many people think of children suffering from the fracturing of the family unit, I was very relieved that she was finally leaving him. I had witnessed him physically assault her regularly, and once even thought that he had killed her when he pushed her through a glass shower door, knocking her unconscious. At 8 years old, I was aware that he was a very bad person and that we would be better off on our own.

When I was 2 years old, my father had an affair with my mother’s 19 year old sister. He flaunted it in her face, and even got her pregnant. He forced her to have the pregnancy aborted, and when my mother’s parents found out my aunt was pregnant, she got shipped off to Asia. My mother was too ashamed to tell them it was her husband who had gotten her sister pregnant. That aunt has always been weird with me.

The rest of his affairs were carried out in an equally flaunting manner. He would have sex in his office with his assistants, show me photos of his latest girlfriends, and leave evidence of his escapades all over his condo. I hated visiting him. His visits would consist of taking us swimming, then making us clean his condo (disgusting- think of all of the paraphernalia lying around).

He was never loving, kind, or dependable like I saw all of my friends’ fathers to be. When other kids wished for toys when they blew out their birthday candles, I always wished that my dad would just die. Or I would fantasize about having a different dad. Dreaming of smiles on my mom’s face, laughter, and living a life without fear.

I was so fearful. All the time. Because when we lived with my grandparents, I had their protection. My father still answered to his father, and my grandfather loved me. But when we moved out, he would come over and terrorize us. He would pull into our cul-de-sac in his Porsche and then enter the house in a bad mood. He’d then pick a fight over nothing with me or my mom, and then beat me or my mom. It was a sick beating too. Not just a punch or a slap, but a Muay Thai kick to my 8 year old quad, knocking me to the ground and then dragging me by my hair across the tiled foyer and then slamming my head against a wall. The worst part for me wasn’t the pain, but the fact that my mother would take my sister and leave me there alone with him. It was me or her. She’d rather save herself. Sometimes, I would hear his car rolling into the neighbourhood, call my mom for help, and she wouldn’t come save me because she herself was too scared to confront the monster that she married. Once, I tried to call the police, but he ripped the phone out of the wall, and I got the worst beating of my life, for “betraying him”. He always apologized after beating me up, saying that it was for my own good, and that god had anointed him, and that he was doing what god wanted him to do, because I was not honouring him.

The emotional abuse was worse than the physical abuse. It’s damage had staying power. He basically convinced me that I was worthless, a mistake, and that there were evil spirits in me. I was just a kid. I tried to cope by writing poetry secretly in a diary that I kept. My sister found my diary and showed it to him. For that, I was locked in my bedroom for 48 hours and had 4 “Christian pastors” exorcising me, until I finally gave them what they wanted… Me to admit that I was full of evil spirits, and to talk in tongues as a sign that the Holy Spirit had come in flush out the demons. I was 11, and then subsequently tried to kill myself soon afterward.

While I felt some fleeting moments of sympathy for my mother, I also felt incredibly angry at her. When her romantic relationship with my father was really bad, she would disappear- drive up to Whistler for a week, or fly to Asia for a month, leaving us with my grandparents, who were so loving and kind (thank goodness for them). But as a small child, all you really want is your mom, and I felt abandoned. When she finally stepped up and bought her own house, I thought it would be a new beginning for us, but she gave him a key to come and go as he liked. He had his own condo by then, but would stay at our house whenever he wanted, making it never safe for me. I walked on eggshells my entire life until the age of 17.

I survived high school primarily because I played every possible sport, joined jazz band, the acting troupe, and an Eco club that took me on weekend trips. I made it so that I never had to be at home. Money was tight because my mom was essentially raising us on her measly income, penny pinching because money only came from him when we “deserved it”, and in his mind, we never did. I ended up getting a job at the library, and saved everything so that I could leave the house after I graduated high school.

I busted my balls and graduated as valedictorian of my class, with a 97% average. I was offered full tuition scholarships to each university that I applied to, and in the end chose the one that also covered my room and board in residence. I was finally free.
It was difficult, as I used up my savings that first year, and worked two part-time teaching assistant jobs for the university for the duration of my degree. I actually really enjoyed the teaching portion of the job, but it was so time consuming that my grades dropped significantly during years 2 to 4, because I was trying to make ends meet. I didn’t qualify for student assistance because even though I got very little money from my family, my father’s income was too high.
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Wow, this post did not turn out at all how I had initially intended. But I guess I needed to put this out into the world so that it can be lifted a little off of my shoulders.

I have invested a lot of time into trying to undo the damage that my father has caused. I devoted myself to intensive therapy with psychiatrists and psychologists for almost 6 years, and continue to reflect on my emotional well-being and interactions with others. It wasn’t until I was 24 years old that I really felt like I was having meaningful healthy relationships with other people. Prior to that, I was promiscuous, inconsiderate, self-centred, and self-hating. I am very happy and comfortable with who I am, and have felt very stable in my sense of self for almost 10 years now.

So when my dad says he’s “disowning” me, it really bears no weight because I’m not the same scared little girl that he used as his punching bag. But when he continues to send really mean and nasty emails to me, I need to stop forgiving him, and resist the urge to give him even a whispering voice in my life.