Becoming open about my fertility struggles took a while. It took me about 3 years to really open up about how I was feeling. Mental illness is something that came along with infertility. That’s hard to talk about too. It’s also another taboo subject that people avoid.
I recently was having a conversation with a couple of people and I mentioned some of my obsessive compulsive tendencies. One person said I sounded like a pain in the ass. I informed him that I’m not a pain in the ass. I struggle with depression and anxiety. The things I do are because of how I’m wired. After his comment, I immediately shut down. I withdrew. People won’t acknowledge mental illness like they do other illnesses. To many, mental illness is a joke. I was made fun of for it.
This situation would be the equivalent to someone’s family member in the hospital and that person feels the need to go visit everyday. If I told that person that their family member sounds like a pain in the ass for getting sick, that’d be rude, right?
Neither of these things is okay.
When people talk about their struggles, that should be celebrated, not condemned. Applaud those people for being brave. We all have junk we deal with. The sooner you admit it, the freer you will be.
With any life experience or struggle, you may be able to relate to someone’s situation but you never know exactly how they feel even if your stories are identical.
I wish that I was always met with love and compassion. But that isn’t the case. Most of the time, I can handle it. But you never know what deep, dark place someone is in and your rude comment may hurt them more than you know. My own mind does enough to convince me I’m not good enough. I don’t need others to play along. Some people like to play these comments off as a joke or sarcasm and they may very well be. But many times, they aren’t. When you screw up, apologize. Try to make yourself a better person.
Being mean and cynical isn’t attractive. Lashing out at people isn’t cute. It may make you feel better to say nasty things in the moment but at the end of the day, you are only hurting yourself more. You can do better. You are better than that.
Sharing your story is scary. But it can be the most rewarding thing you ever do. That’s been the case for me. You never know who you will help by sharing what you’ve gone through. You never know who will reach you when you share your story.
This morning I was at the dentist. I spoke to the dental hygienist at my last appointment about our fertility struggles. I mentioned it again today regarding where we were at and she was so glad I brought it up. She wanted to ask but didn’t want to upset me. I’m happy to speak about it! Her and I spoke and she informed the dentist of our plan to do IVF and come to find out, the dentist had gone through IVF as well! She shared her story with me and gave me her cell phone number in the event I wanted to chat with her or had questions.
Being vulnerable allows doors to be opened that wouldn’t have been. I encourage you to do that. Be honest with people. Be open with people. Share your story with people. Being vulnerable is scary, I know. When you do it, someone probably will hurt you along the way. But the good that will come out of it will far outweigh the bad.
I guarantee it.