I wrote this a month or so ago and finally thought I'd share it because it's the start of a conversation on mental recovery after a significant loss.
Today I was meant to have a gastroscopy. A camera down my throat into my stomach to see if there is trauma to the lining of my oesphagus and the valve at the top of my stomach from the months of vomitting when I was pregnant. I have had one before, I knew the drill. Remember to breathe through my nose, stay calm, it's only a couple of minutes.
Except that before they could even try the sedation I lost it. I started hyperventilating, mild crying turned into sobs and a room of three nurses and a Doctor stood still, sympathetically trying to reassure me that everything would be ok, that the sedation would kick in and it would be over in a matter of minutes. But I couldn't pull myself together. I just couldn't stop crying. I felt ridiculous. My conscious mind told me that I was fine, I just needed to breathe, it was only two minutes, that my Doctor was amazing and I was ok. But my subconscious had other ideas. My psychologist tells me that my subconscious was trying to protect me from further trauma, that my body memory kicked in & said "Hold up. This is not a safe place to be. White sterile hospital rooms are not my friend."
And it was awful. Embarrassing. Awkward. A little soul destroying. Because my body would not do what I needed it to. And I was alone, waiting for my Mum to pick me up, waiting longer than I could cope with. I needed to get out of that place, not sit around having a cup of tea with random people who had just successfully completed their own procedure. Their bodies hadn't rebelled against them. They survived the two minutes of discomfort & now they get to talk to the Dr about the results. Me? I had to wait for the Dr to come & make sympathetic noises and tell me that we'll just try some medication & see if that makes me feel better. "It's not your fault", anyone would get anxious about this kind of procedure.
You see, I'm a coper. I've always been the strong one. I survive. Others lean on me. But I couldn't cope with this. It's over a year now since I conceived my second child & my whole world got thrown upside down. It's over a year and the wounds from my pregnancy and loss continue to dominate my life. Turns out I'm not as strong as everyone thinks I am. Turns out this coper can't cope anymore. So how do I cope with that?
To help me understand what Annamarie is going through I have done a lot of reading. This is a really useful article that explains what's actually happening in the body. It's a lengthy one, but it does have some really interesting points like this:
"The big issue for traumatized people is that they don’t own themselves anymore. Any loud sound, anybody insulting them, hurting them, saying bad things, can hijack them away from themselves." - Dr Van Der Kolk
We are a family of 3. This blog is the story of how we almost became 4, why we didn’t, and what we are doing to recover from that experience.