I’m a teacher, so every September, I get to start over. It is no nice to have that change every year. Remember the first day of school? New haircuts, shoes, and pencils… the optimism of a fresh start. It is one of my favorite parts of my job. Well, as summer ended and a new school year began, I realized I was late for my period. Oh, who am I kidding? I didn’t just realize it. I had been counting the days and when I didn’t get it on day 28 of my cycle, I was convinced I was pregnant. Never mind that the home pregnancy tests I was taking everyday were negative. They must be wrong, I thought. I’m never late! I’m either pregnant, or something is very wrong with me.
The second week of school, I was one week late and losing my mind. I called the doctor and the office said he wasn’t in, but that I could see his partner. I was such a hysterical mess that I left work (being a teacher, that is much easier said than done – I had to find someone to cover my classes and come up with a lesson plan, but it worked out) and went to see this other doctor before she left for the day – she only works in the mornings. I had never met her, but I thought I might like her more than my own doctor since she was female. Boy, was I wrong.
Yes, I was overreacting. Yes, I was crying for no reason. But that woman was a piece of work. She looked at me like I was a bug she needed to squash. She told me to… deep breath… relax… and that she would never prescribe fertility medication until I had been trying for over a year. Did I ask for meds? No. I wanted a blood test to tell me if I was pregnant and if I wasn’t, I wanted to know why my period was late. At the time, I didn’t really understand how little doctors know about women’s health. The most common infertility diagnosis? Unexplained infertility. Oh, thanks. That’s helpful.
After drying my tears, I headed down to the lab to get a blood test. The next day I got my period. All of that drama for nothing. That afternoon, I called my insurance company and asked about my mental health benefits. I researched therapists online that were covered under my insurance and found one that seemed to be a good fit.
image from here
Why did I need to see a therapist? Well I’m not new to therapy. I have some daddy issues (abandonment, verbal abuse, neglect) and I used to see a therapist when I was in high school. Also, my grandma was a therapist, so I was never afraid of it like I know some people are. Before we got married, my husband and I went to a few pre-marital counseling sessions, not because we had problems, but because we wanted to be one step ahead of the game. This time around, though, I knew that my emotions were out of control and I needed help to work through them.
I knew from the first appointment that I had made the right choice. My therapist is great and she sort of reminds me of my grandma, which is a plus (I was very close with her, but she died 7 years ago – much too early). She has helped me learn how to calm myself down and not dive right into the deep sadness I sometimes experience when something isn’t going according to my plan. Therapy is a journey, it doesn’t fix you over night, so I still have a lot of work to do and sometimes I still get carried away and convince myself that the world is ending tomorrow. I’m getting better, though, and that’s the important thing.
I was late for my next cycle, but I was more prepared that time around and I didn’t lose my mind. I didn’t even take a pregnancy test because that obsessive testing is what got me into trouble the previous month. I was almost two weeks late that cycle, but that was nothing compared to what would happen next.