Infertility & Mental Health

Sunday, November 22, 2020

During our whole infertility journey (since I've been sharing it at least) I have done my best to be as open and honest as possible in an attempt to be a source of information/comfort for anyone else who may be going through a similar journey. When we first started TTC and even now when we see ourselves hit with a new bump in the road or a new step in our journey I always go looking for other peoples experiences. Whether it be to find out a time scale, learn what things mean or even just look for some comfort to know we're not alone - the TTC community is always there. So that's what I've tried to do too, I've shared our timeline (albeit slightly messed up due to COVID) and I've shared our journey. What I'm yet to explain though is how infertility has effected my mental health and I know for certain I won't be the only one.

When we first decided we wanted to TTC back in 2017 admittedly I was already on a form of anti-depressant. Since roughly 2010 I have suffered with my mental health for various reasons such as childhood experiences/grief/etc and in 2017 my grandad sadly passed away. As I mentioned in my first TTC post, as soon as we decided to try, I did the sensible thing and decided to speak with my GP - she explained that usually coming off anti-depressants for such a positive reason works wonders and she didn't see any reason why this would be a problem however if I felt myself spiraling to give her a call back. So that was it, I didn't take them any more and we started our journey of hope. 

Flash forward 2 years to 2019 and I was spiraling, the TTC wasn't working and I wasn't in the best place. I found planning our wedding incredibly stressful and I worked for the NHS seeing maternity bookings etc almost every day so I was feeling more and more depressed as time went on. So I contacted the GP who gave me a telephone number to self refer for CBT and after a short telephone assessment with them I was booked in for weekly sessions. 

From these sessions it quickly became apparent that I had developed OCD as a result of trying to deal with the infertility. I used to find myself cleaning our house for 2 hours a day every single day - from wiping above door frames to cleaning the skirting boards. Every. Single. Day. I was struggling to switch off and settle until every little thing was done and quite honestly, I was exhausted. I assume some people don't even clean their skirting boards monthly let alone daily and as you can imagine it was fast becoming a problem. After a fair few sessions of CBT with the loveliest lady I have managed to control the OCD better but I can't lie to you and pretend I'm 'cured' because I'm not. Some days I fall back down that rabbit hole and you'll find me deep cleaning the whole house at 11:30 at night - but it's not everyday anymore and that's a win in itself. 

Back in September I quit my job for the NHS as unfortunately the infertility was taking over and I couldn't cope any longer. I remember coming out of work one day and a little boy ran over to me and his hands brushed across my scarf - I smiled and carried on walking but in the car I cried. The OCD had gotten so bad I'd become a bit of a germaphobe and I remember going straight home and putting every single thing I was wearing in a boil wash and practically scolding my skin in the shower. Since then I have picked back up my nail brushes and gone back to being a self employed nail technician which is (mostly) stress free. We aren't much closer to where we need to be in our journey than we were then but the added stress of work has been taken out of the mix and I'm honestly so grateful we are in a position where that was an option.

With us not being much further forward nearly 3 and a half years later I do have really down days - the type where you don't get out of bed and it's hard to shower let alone eat or drink. I find pregnancy announcements hard and sometimes I just need to take a step back from social media so I don't find myself spiraling again. At the end of the day I think unfortunately it does come with the journey and it's incredibly important to make sure you have a good support system around you and you don't let it consume you. I'm incredibly lucky to have people around me who are always there for me - my mum had taken train journeys and walked half an hour to be with me so I'm not just curled up in a ball on the sofa all day not moving. Most importantly always ask for help if you need it - most clinics offer a free counselling service or if not you can contact your GP or even find CBT online. If you ever need someone to talk to just know there are other people feeling exactly the same and I'm always here if you need a chat.

TTC - Trying To Conceive

(All information in the blog post above is as correct as I know it to be in our area and situation)
Disclaimer: This blog post is in no way sponsored and all opinions and photographs are my own.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.