20140523 - Just How Crazy Am IA little while ago was a medical appointment day – I always try to schedule as many appointments for one day to most effectively use my time. (It seems that all my doctors are located on the other side of the city, and I hate driving in traffic, so I try to be efficient).

On this particular day it was a visit with my psychologist and my family doctor. I really wanted to know my mental health medical diagnosis because I had just had a very interesting conversation with my insurance provider where they demanded that I conduct a self-diagnoses to compare with my doctors notes (i.e. we want to trap you in a discrepancy so we can force you back to work and not pay you benefits). I adamantly refused as I am not a trained expert and I don’t truly understand the definition of most of the medical terms – the insurance company did not like this approach and it was most definitely not a welcomed answer. Anyways, the conversation with the insurance lady only got worse from there as she also demanded to know the exact date that the most recent baby miscarried and I proceeded to explain miscarriages to her and that there isn’t always an exact date and this one took 29 days to occur. When she proceeded to tell me that I should have had surgery, I may have actually said, have you ever had a miscarriage to know what you are talking about? I’ve had 4, I can promise you surgery was not a medical option for me in this circumstance. Needless to say, I don’t think I made friends with this lady or with the insurance company.

Anyways, after that wonderful conversation I was directed to get more paper work filled out by my doctor. So, there I was at a couple appointments doing just that. And, if the insurance company need to know my diagnosis, I figured I should know too. So, I asked, just how crazy am I?!

So, I asked the psychologist first. Simply, she stated that I definitely don’t meet the criteria of depressed. But, I do meet the criteria of adjustment disorder with minor burnout. But, in the scheme of mental health, really, I’m doing alright and am not that screwed up. I’ll be unlikely to get long term disability because I’m just not screwed up enough (which if you think about it, is a really good thing). But, she was very quick to add in that this doesn’t mean she wants me going back to work when the short term disability runs out. She definitely wants me to take more time to focus on my recovery and health and not to be part of a very stressful work environment.

The doctor’s diagnosis was simple – adjustment disorder. But, I’m not really that bad, and I’ll be okay.

Anyways, interestingly, I’m not the most screwed up person in the world and I’m not all that crazy. I’m doing alright according to the professionals. I need to focus on my recovery, but really, I’m doing okay.

And, I take that is a good thing. If I can survive 4 miscarriages and be told I am simply having a bit of hard time adjusting to the circumstances, I think that’s fair. I also think minor burnout form my career and employer is also fair – it may even be a bit of an understatement.

But, what I do know, is that while not working right now, I am happier then I have been in the last year. By removing work from the equation, I’ve been able to:

  • Drastically reduce my stress level;
  • Undergo medical testing and procedures without the stress of scheduling them around work commitments;
  • Work on mindfulness (which I still don’t really buy into, but according to my psychologist that’s not the point); and,
  • Focus on living healthy while we try one more time.

This next baby will be conceived in a stress free state, and hopefully, that’s the key to success!

This sentence makes me want to scream at the world. However, I’ve learned that irrational screaming won’t do any good, unless you want a one way ticket to a padded room. So, whenever some says this to me, I quickly take a moment to tell them why it is so unbelievably incorrect, in a much more appropriate way.

I am not stronger for having lost my mom and sister or having survived four miscarriages. Strength has nothing to do with it. It’s simply called life and you play the hand you are dealt.

I am in fact a very different person now then I was before my mom and sister died and even before our four miscarriages. After my mom and sister died I became horribly terrified of losing someone else I love, to the extent that I’ve limited the number of people who I am close to. I worry whenever my husband, or someone else I love, is driving rural roads. After our first miscarriage, I became scared of another one. After our 3rd miscarriage, I became petrified of letting myself developing an emotional bond with the next one, and so I didn’t (which of course, I later felt guilty for). I have fear. I have an internal struggle to not let these fears turn into an unhealthy paranoia. Fear is not strength.

This is just one personal example, but I can assure you that good and bad situations will leave a lasting impact on the person who experiences it. But, it doesn’t mean the person will become stronger.

Yes, some of the changes will be good, and may result in some elements of strength. A person may choose to live there life to the fullest and make the most of every moment. Some may turn to dedicating themselves to a worthy cause.

Unfortunately, some of the changes will be negative. Some people may turn to a life of substance abuse, which will slowly eat away at them destroying their strength one slow and painful day at a time. Some may become obsessive worriers (like me). Others may sink into a deep depression.

So, I’ve spent some time thinking about why people use this old saying? I think part of the reason is that many of us going through struggles, whatever they are, do so with a brave face that we put on for the world to see. The brave face is all that we share. Most of us, portray strength to the external world, when internally we are fighting these hidden demons. So, the external world has no idea how deep the pain runs, and how hard these situations actually are on us. Which means we appear strong, even if we don’t feel strong. So, I understand why people use the saying, they simply don’t understand all the personal, hidden stuff that goes on. And honestly, how could they, when I for one am so busy making sure they don’t?

Based on my life experiences, I firmly believe that this line should actually read – What Doesn’t Kill You Changes You. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not.

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