The power of the mind….?

In the last few months I’ve had a little problem: I often find myself short of breath. It’s as if the air got blocked at the height of my breastbone and couldn’t get down. When this happen, instead of staying calm, I panic and start trying to breathe deeply without success. So I basically look like I have asthma. While it got better over the summer, it got much worse since getting back. Surprising….

Of course, the wonder hypochondriac in me, started imagining all types of illnesses, ranging from simple digestive issues, all the way to some serious problems with my lungs. Last week it got so bad that I decided to go see a random doctor for an urgent expert opinion. After a very quick check up, the doctor simply asked: is there anything that makes you worry right now? Erm… yeah well, I’m chronically worried, I’m infertile… so he sent me off with a prescription for some pills that would help with digestion and some magnesium to help with I don’t know what.

Not completely happy with this quick visit with an unknown person, on Tuesday I went to see my acupuncturist, who is also a medical doctor. She took a lot more time checking my breathing and my stomach but then concluded I am healthy as a horse. She thinks that what blocks my breathing is sadness and that I haven’t cried enough to let it all out (I think my husband disagrees..). Alright you can laugh, I normally would have laughed too… I much prefer scientific explanations like your blood pressure is low, so you should eat more of something. Crying more just seems like a weird medical advice…

I know I ought to be happy that nothing is wrong with me and I am very very happy that I don’t have any sort of illness to worry about. But I hate that my mind can play tricks on me like this. And I don’t understand what sort of indirect message it is trying to deliver. Mind, what am I supposed to do?? Is there any way to communicate with your own subconscious and negotiate how to get the rid of psychosomatic problems?

I thought I had done all I could: I’ve done sports to feel better and healthier, I’ve been eating well, I have been losing weight to re-gain some self esteem, I’ve been sociable because it’s bad to isolate myself, I’ve been on holidays and relaxed because that’s good for me and for my marriage, I’ve been working so I feel like my life has a purpose besides infertility, I’ve smiled because it’s good to stay positive, etc. What more am I supposed to do to feel ok?!!?

Despite me being skeptical on arguments like sadness not letting me breathe, if I think through it, I may have missed a couple of fundamental steps in my post-failed IVF months. Maybe I should have spent a week of completely antisocial life just crying, watching chick flicks, getting an overdose of BBC Pride and Prejudice and eating buckets of ice cream, chocolate and junk food. I should have maybe gotten very drunk at least once. Instead I’ve done all I could to pull myself together as quickly as possible.

It’s so hard to find a balance. We’re supposed to do so many things and it’s impossible to always do the right one.

But if crying was the solution, it took my acupuncturist about a minute to get me going. I told her I didn’t feel too positive about this FET. She said that we’re a team and that we have to work together. Then, after sticking needles in places that would somehow make me regain some equilibrium, she told me one of her patients who is currently pregnant after a large number of IVF cycles, recommended to tell people like me to carry on because being pregnant brings so much happiness that it is worth the wait and the pain. I don’t even know if this woman really exist, but that certainly made me cry…

I’m sure it’s all in my mind, but I have been feeling a lot better since going to see my acupuncturist…

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11 Responses to The power of the mind….?

  1. damelapin says:

    oh, i love all your steps!!!! After my 1st failed ivf, i’ve watched all the high school musicals (I have a big crush on Zac Efron, shame on me). For the second, I’ve watched all the Jane Austen movies made by the bbc, with a good old english cup of tea (PG Tips, white wiith 2 sugars).
    During the next couple of week, while waiting for my transfer and then my results, I’ll watch The Tudors – again… much to the despair of my husband^^

  2. I think it’s good to cry because it stops your body from holding the tension. I’ve decided that if my cycle doesn’t work, I’m going to allow myself a bloody good cry and an English cup of tea too!

    Glad the acupuncturist helped you process it. What she said is very motivational.

  3. newtoivf says:

    Before my (failed) Ivf cycle I had a weird feeling like indigestion/someone sitting on me, it was horrible. I read in a Chinese medicine book that its good to shout to release stagnant qi and despite my skepticism I tried it and it did help a bit (see my post ‘acceptable shouting’!) So maybe give that a go!
    Think it is defo important to let yourself grieve. I’m in a very similar place, about to start FET but don’t have much hope. And I LOVE the BBC P&P… It’s got me through a lot of dark days xxx

  4. jesselyn6585 says:

    Ugh! Balance…that’s the ultimate struggle. I feel like I’m always trying to be positive enough while still not denying my devastation at having an empty womb. My mom always told me to never hold in tears because they trap “poison” in your heart. I try to have a good private cry whenever I feel off. It usually helps. As for the shouting, you can always try shouting or screaming into a pillow. I used to do that when I was angry. It’s very freeing! Good suggestion from NewToIVF. *big supportive hugs dear!*

  5. Joanna Schwartz says:

    Sent you a looooong email! Love to ya!

  6. E v e l y n says:

    I’m not sure about the crying recommendation. I cried a lot after my miscarriages and when I realized and it didn’t make me feel better, mind you I wasn’t have troubles breathing.

    The first thing that came to my mind was that maybe you need to meditate. I’m not sure where that came from because I certainly don’t meditate and find it near impossible to do, but when my aunt describes what it can do it makes me want to try again.

    I love the saying healthy as a fish. So much better than healthy as a horse. Horses go lame.

  7. Alex says:

    What a brilliant blog post! I like the idea of healthy like a fish too – and I really loved reading your endeavors to get to the bottom of why your mind was/is playing these tricks on you. But more than anything, I thought your doctor’s comments about the labored breathing possibly being the result of emotional distress were…insightful.

  8. eph525 says:

    Sounds to me like you are fighting hard to be a healthy person. Way to go.

  9. When I read your post, I had the impression of reading something I could have written. You are very pro-active with all your actions to make you feel better (sport, eating well, seeing friends, going to your acupuncturist). I also do that and I think that is worth. At least, it is helpful for our mental health!

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