Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Failure to Thrive

(1998, near Damascus, Syria) -- Today I began to die. I decided last night. I know exactly what the cause will be, although it's doubtful that it will be recorded correctly. I think only infants are listed this way, but it applies to me: failure to thrive.

That says a lot. First of all, I can't bring myself to do anything gruesome. In a totally twisted way, I can contemplate ending my life but not hurting my body. I must avoid at all costs the appearance of suicide because then all the people I care about will blame themselves.

So how to you fake an accident? I don't know. I just think I will gradually quit living. I'll stop getting involved, making future plans, counting on things. Maybe even eating, except I don't want my teeth to fall out.

I'll just gradually withdraw, and I figure one night, I will simply will my heart to stop beating. My life has been a waste of space and energy.

That's the second meaning of my cause of death. For my whole live I've been one great big failure to thrive. I'm stooped over, wheezy, and averse to exercise -- exactly how I've been since kindergarten. I'm unable to procreate, and I feel I've been robbed of a future. I've got the marriage I always wanted but I'm too self-something to be happy in it. I can't find god in all this although all my supposed learning tells me there is no not-finding god. I can't let go of resentments and old pains even though I know holding on to them will only harm me physically.

(Could I put this to use in my plan? Create a few fast-forming lung blockages made out of wadded up anger?)

I feel alone. I've tried to get over my dreams to have a family, and we've talked about some alternatives, but we don't seem to be able to pursue any. I've always been so past-oriented, because my future -- children being a huge part of it -- existed only in my vague imagination. Now, the future literally doesn't exist for me.

For now, I'm committed to leading the Debate team, but that will be over soon. Spring vacation doesn't grab me, nor does anything next year. Travel seems like just a lot of work. I'm terrified of going home. There would be so many expectations -- for me to get and keep a job, to be a caring family member and fulfill those obligations...it feels as though I'm expected to be somebody, but I'm not and don't know how to pretend any longer. There is no one in here. If there ever was, she failed to thrive.

I can talk to no one. Anyone back home would just feel bad about not being able to help. People here wouldn't understand. I don't want to cause a ruckus by doing something drastic like going home early (I picture getting on a medivac helicopter in a straitjacket). Odd, but it seems like dying wouldn't be as disruptive or look as bad as leaving in shame with my tail between my legs, like I did when I quit the scuba class. Normal people -- those who thrive -- are able to continue.

I only want to talk to someone else who is not normal in the way I'm not. But those people are either drowning or dead, too. No one else understands, and even the kindhearted ones hold contempt for those of us who are weak.

Give me an eraser, hit the delete key.

29 comments:

Lollipop Goldstein said...

I think this post is so important for the reason you state within in--it was important for you to write, but it's just as important for others to read. So they know they're not alone too.

Alexicographer said...

What a powerful post; I'm glad you did find a way to thrive.

What Lollipop said. Is your sense that the internet circumvents part of the problem of isolation that you describe and experienced?

annacyclopedia said...

Lori, I am so moved by how brave you are to share this depth of vulnerability here. I know it is a 12 year old piece of writing, but for a woman as shiny and brilliant and wise as you to share a part of you that once resided in such darkness - well, it takes courage and strength to do that. Thank you so much for your voice and for your honesty - like you, they are inspiring and humbling all at once.

Beth said...

Thank you for sharing this, Lori. I remember such times. It was before my infertility struggles - perhaps that helped me, I don't know. I actually did quit the situation that I was in, and I still regret it. Although, I wasn't thriving and I was sinking....the new start was something I desperately needed....thank you again...

Deb said...

I think so many of us go to that place at some point in our lives. Whether it be infertility or some other life altering event/circumstance. Going there is part of life, remaining there is life ending, either literally or figuratively. Some can find their way out, some need help. There should be no shame in it. Thank you for sharing.

MrsSpock said...

It's the wise women of the blogosphere who admitted their own dark times that pulled me through my own. Thank you for sharing.

nh said...

The sharing of the feelings means that when others feel this way they will understand that they aren't alone. I've been there, in that pit of darkness, and knowing that others have been there make it - not normal, but something that there is proof that you can live through.

kate said...

I feel like there were points in my life that I could have written something very similar to this (though far less eloquently than you have...). It speaks to me. I know what it is like to be in that place and what it is like to be on the other side of that place and what it is like to recognize that place as a part of my life, one that I sometimes fear slipping back towards.

Excellent, excellent post.

Anonymous said...

I spent the past several weeks trying to decide minute by minute if I were going to end it all or continue to live - this courtesy of a fertility drug induced depression. It is just now starting to lift. I was given a 15% chance of my next IVF cycle working. It sucks. I am so tired. I did not have a clue what I was signing up for when I started fertility treatments. Thanks for sharing your story. I am not as alone as I thought I might be.

Belinda said...

I feel terrible that you felt so terrible once, but it was a happy relief to find that the post was an old one.

It might give others in a dark place, hope, to know that you felt that badly but did thrive in the end!

Happy ICLW!

Lavender Luz said...

All -- thank you. Thank you for sharing this journey with me.

Anon -- you aren't alone. You are welcome to email me. I'm sure there are others in the ALI community who would listen and be there and abide with you, too. Please reach out and let someone support you when you need it.

edenland said...

Ummmmmm, gobsmacked.

Wow.

All that pain. ALL THAT PAIN!!!! I can only imagine what it must have felt like.

I teared up, reading this. And thought, no WONDER Lori is such an amazing woman. She's been burnt and molded by the fires too, has battlescars to show for it, and is forever changed. Wisened.

XOXOXOX

Phoebe said...

To see where you have been and to know where you are now are so radically different. I am so inspired by your growth knowing that you have gone through the same things that I have endured. We do not know where life is going to take us. You have transformed your grief into a very powerful experience. You are making a big difference in the lives of those choosing open adoption. Thank you for this insight.

Orodemniades said...

I don't think I ever put how I felt into words, but that about does it.

Fishsticks and Fireflies said...

This is, handsdown, one of the most beautiful and powerful blog posts I have ever read. I have had similar feelings so many times before, and have found knowing I am not alone in any of my feelings to be the best therapy there is. Thank you so much for sharing this.

nh said...

I just think this is such an amazing post. I'm so glad that we get to see into the future from this, and know that good follows bad.

Billy said...

Wow!
I'm so happy you did find a way to thrive, but what a difficult time that must have been. I agree with the others about how important it is you posted it. Thanks for sharing.

Dee said...

Thank you for sharing this.
wheresmy2lines.wordpress.com

Waiting In Sunshine said...

Wow, I could have written this. I, too, have had the thoughts you have had. Many, many times. Thank you for being brave enough to write about them.

I am glad to see you thrive.

Sunshine

http://waitinginsunshine.typepad.com/blog/

Mrs. Gamgee said...

Such a powerful post! THank you so much for opening this window into your heart. I know I have had seasons on this journey where I could echo every word you have written.

And as many others have already said, I'm so thankful that you found your ability to thrive and to add your voice to this community.

Suzanna Catherine said...

Thank you for sharing your story.

Furrow said...

To see where you've been and where you are, it would have to give anyone hope. I'm so glad you made it through.

..Soo.See.. said...

Some have commented "Powerful" and that's how I see it too. Thank you for the honesty, w/o it most of us might not able to relate to it like we do.

Lut C. said...

Arrived here from the crème de la crème.

The black hole, I recognize it. Shudder.

12 years ago, before the internet era. How on earth did women manage to survive IF then? It can't have been easier to find fellow travelers then in real life than now.

I'm glad to hear you got out of the black hole. And thank you indeed for sharing this.

Jaliya said...

I've just come upon this post ... THANK YOU. It is always the deepest relief to read in another's words a story we haven't been able to tell ... a way to understand something that we can't (yet) describe ... a kindred experience that we have shared.

I've been there, too ... and still struggle to thrive.

We're all in this together xo

Mrs.Tiye said...

I know this post is old, but having just found it on the Creme de la Creme, I must say that I am extremely in awe of the openness you shared here. Thank you sooo much for this. I'm glad you eventually overcame it!

From someone else who has felt like I was failing to thrive lately.

J said...

I have searched the internet far and wide to hear these words. After years of a career that was killing me and my body and thus a major factor in my years of infertility...and after my husband's chronic illness diagnosis at the age of 24 and his fear of having children and wittholding his cooperation...after a few cross-country moves and my Dad's two suicide attempts, I am absolutely at the end of my rope. I finally got the children that I screamed and begged for, but I can't get over the resentment and pain that got them here and my anger at my husband for his fears. I wanted to be a mom in my late 20s and now I am not. I am afraid of everything. Every birthday I am obsessed with how old I will be when X happens. I am terrified of going to the OB. All of those trips to the RE have completely traumatized me.

Your post helped. I have everything, but I feel I have nothing. I look back at my ignorance of what mattered and how much time I wasted worrying myself to death. Children were my ultimate. I had no idea, and now I can't be a good mom.

I will try to digest your other post on "I am what I seek," but I will tune in.

Lavender Luz said...

J -- please contact me if you'd like to talk about this further, or just have a shoulder.

Breathe, and know how supported you truly are.

Kathy said...

Wow Lori! I am here from the future via Time Warp Tuesday and so moved...

I often forget and don't recall when I learned that you had another blog where you wrote about your infertility journey. I really appreciate you sharing so candidly in this post (even if is was 12 years old then and 15 years now). A heartfelt blog entry like this is timely and it clearly resonated with your readers, especially a few that seemed to be close to the edge. I am curious if they responded to your offers to be in contact with them and how they are doing.

I have said this before, but to me one of the signs of a truly great blog post is the comments that follow it. There are so many awesome insights and reactions to your words here. This was my favorite from annacyclopedia:

"I am so moved by how brave you are to share this depth of vulnerability here. I know it is a 12 year old piece of writing, but for a woman as shiny and brilliant and wise as you to share a part of you that once resided in such darkness - well, it takes courage and strength to do that. Thank you so much for your voice and for your honesty - like you, they are inspiring and humbling all at once."

Yeah, what she said.

Heading back to the future by way of two more posts from your past relating to "hope," this month's Time Warp topic. I know you said we only had to choose one to visit, but being the overachiever that I am, of course I will be reading and commenting on all of them. ;)