Sunday, April 5, 2009

In Pursuit of Happiness

In January 2009, Ryan snapped this picture of me in a hotel room in Costa Mesa. He was in a two-week training course for work and I had come down to visit him. I like this picture because I think it's a fun close-up. I have used it for various 'profile pics' and the like.

But there is an interesting aspect about this picture that only I think about when I see it. These eyes contained a lot of pain. This picture was taken days before I finally sought help from my doctor. During the trip to see Ryan, I didn't really want to leave the hotel room. Here we were together in beautiful SoCal, all expenses paid, and I felt most comfortable in bed in a tiny, dark hotel room. I spent an entire night of the trip crying next to him while he slept. And I mean an entire night. Although I was pleasant towards him, I was miserable inside.

Months have passed since that time.

Recently, a dear friend and up-and-coming photographer, Isa Sabey offered to take some pictures of us. We hadn't had someone do that for us in years. Here is one of the pictures:

This shot is one of those 'candid' ones Isa snapped when we were laughing at something or other (probably at how awkward we felt having our picture taken).

When I look at this picture, I see a woman who is happy. It has been said that the 'eyes are the window to the soul'. Well, to me, I can see a sparkle in these eyes that has been missing for a long time.

People say a result of seeking help for depression is that you feel like yourself again. Over these five years of dealing with infertility, I had forgotten who I was. I feel like the Michelle from years past. I actually like myself again.

In high school, I was told that I 'always have a smile'. My drama teacher would laugh at me because, even in the most dramatic scene, my eyes were always twinkling. She said, no matter what my face was doing, it was impossible for me not to look happy.

I wouldn't say I'm at that point yet, but I am getting there. I find myself excited about life.

Two days ago, I bought myself a designer purse. The significance of that? Well, for years I have told everyone how much I hated shopping. I don't remember the last time I bought myself something nice. I would go clothes shopping, but refuse to try anything on. Looking back, I realize I didn't really like myself. Not only that, but anytime I (or Ryan for that matter) would purchase something, I would feel that it was pushing my dream of motherhood that much further away. I allowed myself no joy in treating myself unless it was directly related to my goal. The only exception was food. Food was now my comfort.

How things have changed! I find joy in so many things now, including the occasional purchase of something nice just for me. Many people talk about 'retail therapy', but it turns out I only like to treat myself when I feel good.

I could go on and on with the changes happening around here. I could talk about the many times I have turned to Ryan in amazement and said, "I just feel so happy". I can say that I have gone from crying several times per day, to twice in 2 months, and both of those were spiritually related.

The point is that now I feel I can see infertility for what it is, a hard and difficult trial that I pray everyday will have a resolution soon. But, regardless, infertility doesn't define me anymore.

I am a member of the LDS church. I love to cook and bake new things. I like to write. I am learning to be a financial planner and have the best co-workers in the world. Autumn is my favorite season. I work with the teenage girls at church and love it. My favorite smells are the mountains, chopped cilantro, and freshly baked cookies. I like to go camping and visit big cities. I love my kitties and talk to them like they are people. I like the color green, but I don't look good wearing it. I am a wife, daughter, sister, aunt and friend, who longs to also add "mother" to that resume someday.

I still feel sadness when I think of our empty house. I still have days where I don't want to talk about babies or pregnancy or adoption. I still hear the ticking clock in the background and hope I can start my family before it's "too late" (whatever that means).

But I also feel happy. Every day is a pursuit of happiness now. And most days I am winning.


Chhandita said...

That pic is really beautiful! and i am so glad that you are feelign so much better...Spread the cheer around :)

Countless Tomorrows said...

I cherish those days when I feel good. Infertility is a non-stop battle, but sometimes I want to pause and take a break from it and even sometimes I just want to get off the ride so to speak and give up all together. But then I have the good days and I know that life goes on.

Kristie said...

Michelle, I am sooo glad to hear that you are winning! It is so nice to read that you are feeling like yourself again - I look back at that time when I was suffering from depression and it is scary to think how badly I lost myself. I'm so proud of you for seeking help and am so excited for your happiness.

Emily said...

You sound wonderful and content and I couldn't be happier for you. I love, love, love the new pic - you are sparkling :)

I enjoy reading your blog so much - I wish we lived closer so we could be friends in IRL.

Enjoy your new bag and your new found peace and contentment.

Thinking of you & wishing you joy, my friend!

Stefanie said...

Your picture is beautiful. It is amazing how people see the changes in their wellbeing, and be able to rise above it all and find themselves to be happy and winning. I’m glad that you are able to move on.

Like reading your blog and will stop by often

Anonymous said...

Hi Michelle,

You don't know me, but I've been lurking on your blog for a while now, and decided now was the time to say hi! I am so proud of you for seeking treatment and so happy that you are feeling better. Depression runs in my family so I am very aware of the struggles you must be facing - that plus infertility and you've faced quite the battle! So happy that you're starting to come out on the other side...


brandya said...

I am so proud of you! Your blog always has the most amazing thoughts and sweet spirit about you! It made me think of all of the things on my own "resume" of life! Thank you for always finding the sunshine through the clouds! You are an inspiration to me and so many others! Thank you for sharing your love, your heart, your words with the world. Your pictures are beautiful!

B MoM said...

a beautiful honest post. =)

Faith said...

What a wonderful post, and a great word for all of us to hear.

Amy said...

Hi, My name is Amy and I found your blog through other IF blogs. This latest blog you wrote is all to familiar to me. I started treatment for depression about 6 months ago and I feel like a different person. I went from crying everyday to crying very seldom. I hated the fact that I had to be on something, but knowing that one day the treatment for my depression is pregnancy helps. I hope the best for you and look forward to reading your blog. Amy

What a wonderful life said...


As you know I am struggling with depression also. I read your blog to keep up with you - since we live so far apart. I don't know how you have such a way with words but you do. You are an inspiration to me and a joy to be able to call you friend. Thanks for expressing how it feels in ways I have never been able to.


lacey said...

I found you blog and I want to thank you! You"ll never know how much you have helped me. My husband and I are struggling with Infertility as well. Reading what you are going through and how you are dealing with it has really given me the strenght that I can get through this! You are an amazing person and thanks so much. You will never know how much you have helped me.

Kim H. said...

Wow - this is a beautiful post - and I really needed to read it today. I appreciate you sharing it!

Office Olympics Champ said...

luvs you! (even though you bought that purse without me...grr)

Hillary said...

What a beautiful post -- I rejoice with you at your returning happiness! And, as everyone said, the picture of you and your DH is stunning.


Clare said...

Wow your post mirrors how I have been feeling this past 6 months. I started my blog last month because I felt like I had lost myself and needed to reclaim, the person I am, outside of trying to have a baby. I put my life on hold and it made things worse. I totally relate to all your longing that you wrote about, at times it consumes and overwhelms me too. My blog has really helped organise my thoughts and get me back to being me. Glad I found your blog! Happy ICLW!

WiseGuy said...

I want you to continue winning at overcoming depression. I know that it is easier said than done.

I love both your pictures...the first one is sexy and shows off how blue your eyes are. Of course, you know what you have gone through those eyes.

The second picture shows a couple in love - companionship. It is beautiful.

All the very best!


Kristin said...

I am so impressed that you were able to beat the depression back. Good for you.

BTW, even in the "sad" pic, you have beautiful eyes.


Kristin said...

PS...can you email me? I have something I would like to email to you.

Erika said...

What an amazing and honest post. I feel like I too have finally come out of the haze of living infertility. Now I'm living happily with infertility. It took a long time, but I love being happy! I hope that your journey (especially in the LDS culture) is faith building and you don't put more pressure on yourself like I have in the past because it is my role in life to "be a mom".

Good luck! I love ICLW... so glad I crossed your path!


Mr. Shelby said...

These are beautiful pictures and I'm glad you are able to stay ahead of the game. Hang in there.

Mr. Shelby (from iclw)

Jill said...

That post is so uplifting, I find myself smiling at your happiness. Both of those pictures are beautiful!


Dena said...

What an incredibly written and encouraging post. I just ran across your blog and am glad that I did. Thank you for your honesty, it really is an encouragement to see how you're handling all that you have gone through.

Parenthood For Me said...

this is a great post. I am glad you are feeling happier. I have experience with depression so I completely understand. Thanks for sharing.

twondra said...

Here from LCLW. I love your writings and you seem like such a sweet person. I wish the very best in your journey. (((HUGS)))


Mrs. Gamgee said...

Praying that the good days will continue to outnumber the bad...