Infertility #3: Depression

Disclaimer: We all have our own journeys, and everyone is impacted in their own way. My story won’t ever belong to someone else, but I hope it can help further the acceptance and willingness to speak about one’s life, mental health, and find a supportive community who listen and care.

I had terrible experiences with fathers growing up, as you can read in a number of other posts on my blog. My main goal for my whole life was to be a great dad, unlike the experiences I lived through as a child. Suddenly, that entire life dream felt unattainable.

Yes, I knew right away that my feelings were illogical. I know that there are many other methods of having kids in one’s life, and many ways to become a father. I know that having sperm does not make a good dad. I know these things….but I couldn’t stop my body and mind from feeling otherwise.

“Why me?” I thought to myself. “What did I do to deserve this?” I thought I was a good person with good goals in life. I started to slide in my mind, thinking that I will never be a father, my goals cannot achieved, and that I was completely lost. Thinking that my dreams are dead.

All of those feelings literally occurred on day one. But later that night, after I cried myself to sleep, Andrea left the room to go have her own cry. Her own mourning. Thinking that HER dreams were dead as well. Thinking that she will never have a child, or at least never have a pregnancy of her own. She knew there were other options out there as well but had no idea how I would feel about them.

She chose to have her own mourning session in private after I was asleep, because she is incredibly caring and didn’t want to minimize my grief and my feelings.

Eventually I woke up and noticed she wasn’t there. I went out to the living room and we began talking. I asked for her to share her feelings with me, and the second I heard she was sad about not being able to be pregnant, I consoled her by telling her that we can get a sperm donor.

She didn’t realize that I would be okay with something like that and was relieved to hear me be the one to say it and offer the option, literally on day one.

If there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s help solve the problems of others. I’m action oriented, and the moment I understood what her problem was, I had a solution that I hadn’t even considered for myself. And yet as soon as I said it out loud, I knew that I was perfectly fine with it. Seeing my wife crying made me think clearly again and broke through my cloudy thoughts.

Sadly those weren’t the only cloudy thoughts I would have.

Off and on for weeks, I felt perfectly fine some days, like when Andrea and I went and had a fancy high tea at a local cafe and spent the entire time discussing fertility clinics and figuring out what kind of questions we needed to ask our doctor the next time I saw her. I felt like on days like that, my mind was healthy and capable of dealing with this emotional time.

But slowly, and increasingly more and more over time, I was slipping in my mind. One day I said somewhat nonchalantly, “I don’t wanna go. I don’t wanna leave the house ever again.” Now when I said this, I said it somewhat as a flippant joke but quickly started analyzing it and asking myself why I said that. I suddenly realized it was kinda true. I really didn’t want to leave the house, and I really didn’t want to see or talk to anyone, which is literally the opposite of who I am. This scared me as I realized that I am not okay.

One night, I was caught off-guard when Andrea’s mom asked me if the doctor had contacted me yet. It was a couple weeks after my second semen analysis. I wasn’t upset at her for the question, I just wasn’t prepared for it. My mind went blank and I suddenly realized just how little I was thinking about it at that point. It just never occurred to me naturally to think about the doctor, because it’s a way of avoiding my pain. I know that.

At the time, I was thinking that I knew I had an appointment coming up in May with a Urologist, and as long as something is booked in the future, I know I am moving forward. That’s enough for me to be okay for now. I knew that in the next week or so, my family doctor would likely call me to schedule an appointment to go over my second test results. When I think about it, I stress about it, so….I’d rather not do that.

I reframe things so easily in my mind that I didn’t even feel it coming. I mean, I knew it was there. But I couldn’t acknowledge it for fear that I would actually feel it.

Sadly the depression definitely did not go away, and indeed got much worse, and still hasn’t gone away yet. I ended up having some complete breakdowns that are completely unlike me. I had never really experienced something like that until now, but it scared me into seriously realizing that I was not okay.

It’s difficult to portray this properly. As I write this, it’s one month after my first breakdown from the weight of depression and obviously I didn’t write anything in the middle of the event, so though my writing may suggest a feeling of the depression being over….it’s not. I’m a naturally positive and hopeful person which makes it hard to write about my depression accurately. In my next post, I will write about my breakdowns and try to describe it all accurately.

For a point of clarity though – Depression is still very much something I am currently working through and trying to be completely honest about.

As always, thanks for listening. Please feel free to ask questions or reach out.

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