My Not So Perfect Breakdown

So, the last few months have clearly been all about working to accept my situation, make the most of what we have and live a healthy life. On the whole, I think I’ve been doing a pretty good job of it.

But, then there was yesterday afternoon.

I had a breakdown.

Seriously, barely able to speak between giant horrible sobs with alligator tears streaming down my face faster than the water rushing over the Niagara Falls.  It was an epic breakdown. There was absolutely nothing perfect about this breakdown.

So, what sent me off the deep end?

My Employment Insurance (EI) claim. I’ve been expecting for a few months now that my application would get denied/rejected and I would have to endure an appeal. So, after a few weeks of procrastination, I finally worked up the nerve to sign in to the website and check-out the status of my application. Low and behold, I found out that they still have not received my Record of Employment (ROE) from my former employer and therefore cannot make a decision. My rational brain should have recognized that really, this is a good thing. I haven’t been denied, they are just needing more information that should have been submitted months ago.

But, no, my rational brain was not in control. My mind went straight to why the fuck can’t anything go right. Seriously, my old company couldn’t even submit something that is a legal requirement, and now I’m left having to chase everyone. I was prepared for a rejection, I was not prepared for bullshit cattle herding.

And once I let the why the fuck can’t anything go right voice enter and take-over, it was all downhill from there. The list of everything that has gone wrong in the last 2 years took over. My poor husband, I’m sure he thought I had lost my mind, and in his typical way he tried to calm me down, tried to rationalize with me as though I was a rational person (this of course was doomed to fail, simply because I wasn’t thinking in a rational way), he tried to refocus me on the positives that have happened in the last few months. (He tried so hard, and even though he had no hope of succeeding with me in the moment, it was and is so amazing that he stops what he is doing and tries to help me).  I would have none of it, and instead between tears I started spewing off my list of horrible things that have happened in the last few years:

  • 5 miscarriages and the doctors don’t even count the most recent biochemical one. In their eyes, it’s only 4.  But who the fuck cares, either way, it’s more dead babies then I ever wanted! And my number is five, even if the doctors don’t count it.
  • If we don’t count the biochemical pregnancy, then we’ve now have 4 failed cycles – 4! We have never had 4 straight failed cycles trying to get pregnant. NEVER! For me, this is an eternity, and for me, I’m now afraid we are facing more infertility stuff on top of RPL. What if we now cannot even get pregnant? I’m not even ready to start the road into IUI’s and IVF. What if that’s what’s in store for us next?!
  • My body has been put through complete and utter hell over the last 2 years. I don’t look or feel like the same person I once was.
  • I left my job so we can try one more pregnancy without any stress, and look where that has gotten us. What was the point of all of this? So we can be significantly more broke? So that I can sit at home and do nothing? So that I can spend my days fighting with private medical insurance companies who deem me too high risk to cover anything pregnancy or mental health related? So that I can mow the lawn during the week and walk the dog during the day? So that I can fight with the Government of Canada to try to get EI based on medical need? And, now I get to go spend hours waiting at one of the local offices to try and submit the hard-copy ROE since apparently my old company cannot submit it electronically correctly (why they have and pay for an HR department is beyond me).  Fun times, 4 hours waiting in a room with uncomfortable chairs squished uncomfortably close to strangers, I’m so excited (I hope you can sense the seething sarcasm in this last sentence).
  • My old company cannot even submit a simple legally required document to make my life a little bit easier! Is that company just out to try and kill me with stress?! WTF!! That was one of the reason I left! Any time that company comes up, it just stresses me right out and always ends up with me upset for something that should never even be an issue.
  • My identity has always been one of success. Not normal people success, but huge and significant sometimes epic successes for someone my age! Personal successes, and professional successes. You name it, that’s how my life has been defined. And now, that’s gone. My old company never valued my successes and most definitely never recognized them (i.e. bringing in more contracts and therefore more money than senior staff on my team, completing significant projects on time, on budget and within scope, completing an advanced university certificate, etc.). And on the persona side, I’m leading a life surrounded by failure. Even if I don’t blame myself for our miscarriages, the fact is, we have dead babies, not living babies. Procreation should result in life, not death. I am a stay at home wife, not a stay at home mother. I am writing, but no-one in my real life is aware that I’m even working on writing. I have lost my old identity and I’m struggling to find a new public identity.
  • This adoption stuff is bullshit – this was never supposed to be the way we were going to have children. Now we are supposed to be evaluating decisions like getting a potential crack-baby quickly versus waiting years to get a healthy child (assuming the birth mother hasn’t lied in her application). Or adopting an international child with a physical disability so that we can reduce the wait time? Who the fuck makes these decisions?! And how the heck are we supposed?
  • My husband broke his ankle, so now our summer plans are completely changed, oh and lets not negate the fact that he is in pain and is suffering. He’s gimped, and I’m responsible for everything that requires 2 working legs.

I’M TIRED OF ALL THE BULLSHIT.

I’M TIRED OF THE EMOTIONAL SHIT KICKING WE’VE BEEN ENDURING.

Yet, what set me off, was something that is really not a big deal, but I managed to turn it into a massive deal. I used to look at something like dealing with government paperwork as normal BS, that didn’t even phase me. My typical attitude towards life has been to overcome against all odds. I persevere and I succeed.

Instead, I went into a complete downward spiral. Something like this shouldn’t even phase me and yet today it caused me to fall apart.

……………………

I started writing this post once I started to calm down, probably about an hour after my breakdown.

No, I’m not happy, but I’m okay.

I’m able to recognize what bothered me, and I’m able to recognize that my response wasn’t rational, I know that I cannot control everything (even though I desperately want to). But, at the end of the day I’m tired.

I want a life of success back. What I’ve always known is that hard work = success. I want to recreate the fact that hard work resulted in success. This is how I’ve lived my entire life up until now, and now that hard work will in no way impact the outcome I’m frustrated and I’m tired. I’m so incredibly tired.

I feel like for 2 years now I’ve been ramming my head against a wall without any successful results. Somehow, all I can picture right now is this old quote and its starting to feel pretty accurate:

Yet, I know this quote isn’t actually accurate for us – we have made massive lifestyle change to promote a different result.  And here we are with nothing to show for it. What other changes can we make? What can we do to overcome our unexplained diagnosis? I still want to find a way, yet I know we won’t be able to.

And, one more revelation coming out of today is that as much as this was an ugly not so perfect breakdown, it was what it was.  And the very fact that I allowed myself to go there, and recover from it in a relatively short time frame, might just mean that it is actually part of living messy and therefore a healthy part of my perfect breakdown.  Part of accepting that not everything is perfect, and accepting strong emotions and dealing with them in a healthy way.

So, I will conclude by saying that honestly, I know there are hard days and there are good days. For us, the good days far outweigh the bad ones. So, I know we will persevere and we will continue to hope. One more try, then we re-evaluate.  One step at a time.  One day at a time.

Somehow, as I write this, the old (1997) song by Chumbawamba has crept into my mind. It seems perfectly fitting for my RPL journey and the perfect way to end this post:

If you like this post, please feel free to share it and please return to myperfectbreakdown.com to follow my journey.

52 Comments on “My Not So Perfect Breakdown

  1. oh hun we all have days like this where one small and seemingly insignificant thing can bring us down into a pit of despair quickly. But you pulled yourself out and did it well (or at least I think so). Sending you hugs an hoping that as you press onward and persevere, things will slowly begin to shift in your favor. xo

    waitingforbabybird.com

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    • Thanks so much for your words of encouragement and support! Yes, we do all have these days, and they totally suck, but I agree, what matters is pulling myself out of it and pressing onwards. Today has been much better, and I am feeling much more like me. 🙂

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  2. I think we’ve all been there. Those days of “why me” and “what’s wrong with me” and “how come everyone else makes babies so easily”. The good thing is that those days pass, and then you get to smile again. And at some point, there just has to be a rainbow at the end of this journey, right?

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    • I figure however the journey ends, it will be a rainbow. Even though the bad days do happen, I just know that most days are about smiling and one way or another we will be okay.

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  3. Perhaps it’s about finding a different definition of success? And one day when you are a mom, you will be so awesome because you will be able to tolerate the messiness of life and you won’t expect perfection from yourself or your kids… What a gift. Having said that, I know all about feeling so horribly stuck and despairing… So sorry… Well done for getting it all outx

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    • Thanks for sharing such a great way for me to think about this. Learning to change my definition of success clearly needs to be entered onto my list of priorities. I’m not sure how to do it, but I think I shall start trying. 🙂

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  4. Yup. All of this. When you’ve lived a life based on accomplishments (professional and personal) it’s so jarring when you can’t accomplish. And through no fault of your own, but through a series of utterly shit luck. I feel this.

    In a totally twisted way, the fact that you’ve been through all this crap and are still a functioning human is a testament to your resilience. Yes, that sounds like some lame ass hallmark shit, but it’s true. At the end of the day, you have to let it all out. If you don’t, you can’t get past it. (I know you know this, but I’m just reinforcing it.)

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    • Thank you for your encouragement, support and positive reinforcement. I love the perspective of resilience – what a great way to look at the consequences of all of this!

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  5. Oh sweetheart, you are so strong. I really like what the commenter above wrote about how jarring it is when you can’t accomplish things. I too am a professional woman who has been out of work for over a year in an attempt to build our family. I studied and trained for many years for my career, and to put it on hold to fail at yet something else? Horrible. So awful. I hear you. This is so hard. Please know that someone in the USA is thinking of you today. This is all just such bullshit.

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    • Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am still always shocked to hear how many of us women have given up everything we know and worked so hard for (i.e. professional careers) to try and build out families. It is just nice to know that you understand, you get it. Thank you again.

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  6. Sometimes, the breakdowns just have to happen. There is nothing fair about everything you have on your plate. It’s too much–all around. Hang in there. Days like that are so exhausting–I hope you get some rest/peace today.

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  7. I agree. Don’t force it all to stay in. It’s healthier to let it out, even if it does seem irrational at the time. Take some time for yourself. You deserve it.

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  8. You are not alone hon. I remember having a major meltdown after getting off the phone with the insurance company one day soon after loss #4. I had just received bill for $800 out of pocket for the D&C I had just had and knowing it was the third bill I’d received like this in the past 2 years that really got to me. The ordeal was bad enough without that added blow. I remember screaming at my husband like a crazy person about wanting to move back to Canada. Poor guy, I sure can get crazy sometimes. But really can you blame us for reacting like this? I think when we’ve been through what we’ve been through, it all just gets to be too much sometimes. And seriously, I don’t blame you for being upset at all! Your former employer should have taken care of this. You really shouldn’t have to deal with it at all. I think that would really get to me too. Hope today is a better day. Big hug hon ❤

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    • Thanks so much for sharing! It is so amazing what our husband deal with through all of this – mine is definitely pretty amazing, and it sounds like yours is too! They really are rather remarkable as they are dealing with their own side of this and our crazy outbursts!

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      • They really are pretty amazing aren’t they? So glad you’re feeling better!

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  9. I am so sorry… I don’t want to enumerate the reasons, please just know I am and that I offer you a big, warm, heartfelt hug right now.

    Maybe I can share a ridiculous EI story to distract and amuse you? My last employer (an international firm who pays their HR dept gobs of money, too) messed up my last ROE so badly the government called me to ask if it could possibly be correct (they had checked the box that I was not suited to the position instead of the one saying I’d resigned…. *while I was on maternity leave*… yes, they fired the woman who’s just had a baby and EI had a wee objection to that). I really wasn’t suited to the position – they are hateful to women at the office in which I worked and I was not good at biting my tongue and did not want to become a partner there – but I resigned and they had to go back and fix it but only after I (ramped up on hormones, emotional, devastated that I had endured all the hateful crap there and now had to chase them to right their shameful and shaming wrong) wrote them a note that essentially “I’m sure the HR manager didn’t mean to do this” when the truth and what I really meant was “I know and so do you that she did this deliberately”.

    You may decide to go back to work someday but I don’t think it will be to that former employer… at least I hope not for your sake. In the meantime, it’s okay to fall apart now and then. I’m having a crap week and am just waiting for my own breakdown one of these days… I hope I can remember that chumbawumba song when the time comes, too. 😉

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    • Thank so much for your kind words and for sharing your horrible EI story. I cannot believe they would check the wrong box when you went on maternity leave!! That said, I learned today that my company didn’t check the box for medical reasons, instead they checked the resigned box. So, I’m pretty sure I’m in for a challenge, as I doubt I’ll get approved with that box checked. Oh, the joys of stupid employers.
      And you are right, I know I will go back to work eventually, but I will not be going back to them! They have assured me I have my job to go back to whenever I’m ready (clearly I did an excellent job of hiding my unhappiness), but there is just no way I can go back to a toxic workplace.

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      • Will they change the ROE to say “for medical reasons”? Please ask someone in power who knows your medical situation if you haven’t already. They loved you and if they know why it is important they might change it to what it ought to have been? If not you may need to appeal an initial rejection. I hope the employer will do the right thing. Hugs!

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      • I just found out yesterday, and my old boss who is also on the board of directors is away on vacation until next week sometime. So, I’ll wait until he gets back, as I know I will get no-where quickly with the HR department on my own. Hopefully by going to him, he will make HR do the right thing, because it honestly doesn’t effect them in the least. I did submit tonnes of medical documentation regarding what we’ve been through with my application, so I’m hopeful that will help if I have to appeal. So frustrating!!

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      • Yup, they refuse to change the ROE!! So unhappy about that right now, but totally not surprised. My direct boss was awesome. HR, as per normal was not.
        So, I guess I wait until I get a rejection in about a 4-6 weeks, and then I start the appeal process. Or, I by some miracle get approved, but I’m not holding my breath. ARG!!

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      • Oh no! I’m surprised that if your boss was helpful HR was not. What difference does it make to them, I don’t understand? Did they say it was because it would be inconsistent with their disability insurer’s finding? How stupid and horrible, I’m really sorry. Please keep me posted and email if I can help. Want one of my homemade paleo blueberry muffins in the meantime? They’ve been cheering me up a little. 🙂

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      • Ya, HR doesn’t believe that I have a medical issue and since the disability insurer wouldn’t cover it, they see no medical issue and will not check the box. And to make matters even better, the HR lady informed me that if Service Canada calls her that she will inform them that I turned down a leave of absence. How wonderful of her. But, I have emails from my old boss asking me to do work while on short term medical leave, so I can illustrate why I had to quit. Or at least, I hope I can show that.
        I will definitely keep you posted. I am anticipating a refusal so I will likely be in touch in 4-6 weeks.
        Oh, and if you send over the paleo blueberry muffins I would love to try them!! Even just the recipe would be awesome! 🙂

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  10. Define success. Now define it again. And again. Because it won’t look like it used to. This is what I’ve learned. And whenever I chase “success”, life laughs at me. When I do whatever is in front of me to do, success chases me. Odd, isn’t it? I have a family member who couldn’t conceive. Went through months and months of emotional ups and downs. Adopted. And he’s the light of their lives. And ours. I am wishing for you the same. Her definition of success changed also. And it was a blessing.

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    • Thank you for such a thoughtful comment – I read this earlier today on my phone and have been thinking about it ever since.
      You are completely right, clearly I have an issue with defining success. Clearly I need to re-think what that means to me, and find a way to change my standards and my personal expectations.

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  11. The bad days are definitely deserved and justified. Everyone has their bad days. Everyone breaks down. You are a success because you are still moving forward -even though you feel you are banging your head against a wall, you are a success. You haven’t given up yet.

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    • Thank you so much for showing me that there is still “success” in all of this, even though I may not see it all the time. It seems very weird to think about all of this as success, but as you say, we are successful because we are still here and we are still trying.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. You and me are soul sisters, I swear. I’m going through the same thing. We are a little farther down the adoption path and chose the crack baby route. I don’t want to wait any longer than I have to. But you’re right – who has to make those decisions?? It’s not fair and I’m sorry you have to go through it as well

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    • It sure sounds like we are soul sisters! I always look forward to your posts because I know I will connect with what you are saying and I appreciate so much that you are a bit further down the path of adoption because you provide me with such a great insight. I admire you for having made this unbelievably hard decision, and working towards the next steps.

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  13. Sweetie, go ahead and ugly cry. We all have these days. Once the tissues are all used up and you’re out of tears, things will look different. Maybe not today, or tomorrow even. But they will.

    I will be thinking of you.
    Through tears.
    And smiles.

    Your friend,
    Dani

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    • Thank you so much for your support. And you are right, once the tissues were used up (and I determined I need to buy better tissues becuase that box sucked), things did look differently. And the positive things my husband was trying to redirect me to were definitely a bit more visible to me.
      Thank you again.

      Liked by 1 person

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  15. Oh have I ever had days like this… we all have. You are not alone! So let it out, ugly cry and throw a 2 year old tantrum, but make sure to pick yourself back up! It’s not a bad life, just a bad day. Praying & thinking about you!

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  17. Your honesty is inspiring me (and us as a community) to be authentic and REAL!

    I’m so sorry you had a crappy day. It sucks when %*€ hits the fan, but I’m glad you got it out of your system. You have every right to the feelings you have.

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