I wasn’t an anxious child. a sensitive child, absolutely- but not an anxious one.
it was only until my very late teens, where a handful of intense and tragic life events triggered this beast in my head. this little voice that plays out movies, imagining the worst case scenarios so realistic enough that I begin to feel these made up stories as reality. ah, anxiety. I don’t like you at all.
most of the time I can keep things under control and manage that pesky little voice. but then sometimes life gets too overwhelming, and I lose hold of the reigns. I have no appetite, I can’t sleep, and movies play out in my head so intensely that I run to the sink and dry heave.
this has only happened a handful of times in the last 10 years, but when it gets to that point- that’s when I find myself back on a therapist’s couch, trying to get ahold of myself again.
now, it’s no surprise to me that these last 23 months on our infertility journey– my anxiety has ebbed and flowed with management. being on a cocktail of hormonal drugs from cycle to cycle hasn’t helped the cause by any means. and now, on the cusp of starting IVF- which takes everything we’ve done prior and amplifies it 323498149814 times more (ontop of some medical issues with my furbaby, nebula), I was the first to acknowledge that I needed more support from a professional.
so I went to the internet to try to find someone who specializes in dealing with infertility issues and anxiety…..and who takes my insurance.
there was one and only woman I could find who fit that criteria, and truly- it was as if the universe knew that we would eventually be connected. she’s gone through 3 IVFs herself. she’s israeli, which for me growing up in a hebrew speaking home of israeli parents brings a sense of comfort and familiarity that I can’t even begin to describe. her ‘chutzpah‘ is something I connect to culturally; it surrounded my whole childhood. and, I suppose most importantly, she’s a cognitive behavioural therapist- which is crucial for dealing with anxiety.
during our second session, we we’re talking and she casually mentions, “you know, I’m having a hard time too this week, so I’m wearing this to help me”. she points to a blue rubber band on her wrist. our conversation moves on.
that night I googled “rubber band anxiety”. (which was probably overstepping my therapist’s master schedule on what we would be working on session to session, haha)
I read a handful of articles, but ultimately stumbled across this video. I’m sure there are better quality and more informative videos on there, but this was all I needed to watch to go, “okay, I get it. it makes sense. I’ll try it.”
I’ve been wearing a rubber band on my wrist for 2 weeks now. and, to my surprise, I’ve only had to snap myself 4 or 5 times I think.
there’s a lot more work to be done with my therapist, obviously. and with the month delay of starting IVF, I feel like I’m sitting on the top of a rollercoaster just waiting to ride down the first humongous drop.
I’m never going to be cured of my anxiety, but now more than ever I’m ready to learn the tools to manage it. I have to rewire my brain, my thought processes, and reteach myself that thoughts and feelings are not one in the same.
…and every now and then I have to snap myself on the wrist with a rubberband. and that’s okay.