I have been keeping a secret

Wow, it's been an awfully long time. I feel like I say that every time I write now... The past few months have been positive: I am able to read and write again and I am pushing forward with my recovery as much as I can. Learning to accept and work within my limitations has been the most challenging aspect thus far. On top of that, I am feeling an utterly irrational social anxiety towards blogging and twitter, having been away for so long it's quite a challenge to get back into the realm of the internet world. I have sat for many hours trying to remember why I started this blog in the first place and trying to find that passion and drive to continue. It has not been easy. The internet is saturated with people, and while I think it's amazing that everyone has a space to share their views and be who they are, I can't help but shake the feeling that in a realm of such a vast expanse of information, how is my input going to help anything? But, what I came to realise is that it is each of us, with our own voices coming together that makes the most noise. I was never here for the views, or for the recognition, or anything really... I needed to 'talk' and give my best attempt at supporting the campaign against stigma. 

In terms of my mental health, I am doing much better. I fought as hard as I could against depression and suicidal thoughts between January and March, using every single skill I had learned in hospital and with venlafaxine, propranolol, buspirone and cyclizine to aid the long journey I had infront of me. Every single day I would wake up and want to rip myself apart for taking intermission while all of my friends were entering their final semester. But I also knew that I was in no position to study. I couldn't read. I couldn't write. I was sleeping a ridiculous amount and unable to do the simplest tasks without being utterly exhausted. I made the right decision but I was still furious at my body and my brain. As much as I understood the science, which used to help, it didn't this time. 

Mindfulness. Acceptance. Rest. 

It took what felt like forever. I needed new targets. I decided to bite the bullet and try to get my full driving licence. I started learning when I was 17 and stopped when I was around 21, after several rounds of getting ready for my test. I am now with the AA Driving School and things are going incredibly well. My anxiety around driving is nothing like it used to be and I have all the existing knowledge in the recesses of my brain so all we're really doing is working on my confidence. It's a very liberating experience. We're not rushing me into my test, but I am aiming to have my full driving licence by September. I have my theory test booked for Wednesday and I'm more than a little worried I'm going to fail it, which would be oh so embarrassing. We shall see. 

In other news: this has been something I have kept hidden for 2 and a half years now and it has taken a LOT of thinking to finally come out and say it... I will do a more detailed series on this as time goes on but for now I would like to share that I am going through infertility investigations in preparation for a referral to a fertility specialist, potentially an IVF clinic. I am 28 years old, 29 in August, so time is still on my side but after such a long time with no success it was time to see what the problem was and figure out a solution; be that medication such as clomiphene or attempting IUI or IVF. The current research says that you are at your most 'capable' of conception prior to hitting 35 years old, for a woman that is, so we're not racing against my biological clock by any means but neither of us want to be 'old' parents, and seeing our friends become pregnant and raise their families is quite the kick in the stomach after years of negative pregnancy tests.

For the past 6 weeks I have been having blood tests to monitor my hormone levels and had to bite the bullet and have internal exams done too: for a referral to a fertility specialist on the NHS you need to have your hormones measured at cycle day 3 (Follicle Stimulating Hormone, Luteinising Hormone, Testosterone and Oestradiol) and 21 (Progesterone), then 28, 35, 42 and so on until the next cycle starts. You also need to be tested for Hepatitis B and C, HIV and Rubella and also have an up-to-date smear test and have swabs taken for chlamydia and gonorrhea. You also have to be a healthy BMI, never been pregnant or have any children from another relationship. Your partner will have to have a semen analysis done too. Once all that is completed your GP can send off the referral!

Throughout my entire life  my blood results have very rarely revealed a problem and I was almost certain they would come back normal, so imagine my shock when I was told that we actually found something that could give us a clue as to what was going on! My progesterone levels were very low which indicates that the problem may be with ovulation. We're not sure yet but at least we have something to work with, which is more than we have ever had before!

So, there's that. We're now waiting for the referral to go through and see what happens next. I feel very lucky to be working with the same GP who cared for me during some of the darkest times in my life. It's pretty awkward to sit in front of a male doctor and discuss your sex life, periods and all that jazz so removing at least some of that barrier is a real blessing. I wasn't at all surprised that we are having these problems, my body has proven time and time again it needs help with all sorts of things, but it's still very challenging to deal with and I just hope that all this work will be worth it in the end. 
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Samantha Nicholls. Powered by Blogger.

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