Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Catastrophization

No, it's not a real word but you get the idea, right?  Catastrophization - taking a potentially stressful or bad situation and playing it out to it's worst possible conclusion.  This is not my usual mindset but I have been succumbing to it more and more as of late.  I'm sure part of it has to do with all the upheaval in my life since this past June (husband transferred to a new office & living apart during the week, my proposal of a remote work situation being met with hesitation & concern, trying to sell our house to no avail, purging ALL our baby stuff only to discover I'm pregnant two weeks later, hubby finding another job back home, lots of transitions happening with my work...need I go on?) but I think a LARGE part of it can certainly be attributed to my pregnancy.  For some reason, I am all kinds of anxious this go 'round and it's making me CRAZY.

Prime example: I went in for my 36 week checkup yesterday and the doctor tells me that baby boy is transverse (ie lying horizontally as opposed to head-down & vertical in the womb).  She matter-of-factually explains that if he doesn't turn soon, they'll see if I'm a candidate for an external rotation and if that doesn't work, we'll have to schedule a c-section.

And just like that, I'm thrown into a tailspin of catastrophization.

"I don't want a c-section!  It's MAJOR SURGERY!  I'll be pinned down on a surgical table with a sheet separating me from my baby boy and I won't be able to hold him immediately and they're going to cut through my already flabby abdominal muscles and the recovery will be so much longer and worse and I'll be stuck at the hospital longer and I won't be able to go up & down the stairs at my house or carry my son or...." (you get the idea, right?)

So I post my concerns on the almighty Facey-face & Tweety-space...just to put it out there.  Not really looking for advice or anything - more wanting community and prayers and love.  A few wonderful friends & family message me privately to say they love me, they're praying for me and Dylan, and the understand my anxiety.  But, as we all know, social media is not the place to just vent.  And so I am flooded with folks whom I honestly believe meant well reassuring me that "c-sections are great!" and "The main thing is the health of the baby!" and so on and so forth.

None of which serves to calm the CRAZY in my head.

Fast forward a few hours: I had scheduled a chimney inspection for the afternoon...just your routine kind of thing.  The very nice man arrives, sticks his head up our chimney, goes outside & looks down our chimney, and then returns to inform me that our fireplace is a MAJOR FIRE HAZARD and has MASSIVE WATER DAMAGE (see what catastrophization does?  It puts everything in CAPS!  With EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!) that can be fixed to the tune of around $5,000.  Really?!  REALLY?!?!

The proverbial straw that breaks the preggo woman's back is the bill we receive from AT&T for DSL service that we've NEVER used and cancelled in JANUARY.  We've been getting bills from them since then and I've called every month, been assured that our account was cancelled and there's no reason we should be getting additional bills (with late charges tacked on, I might add).  When I call the customer service line at 5:45pm last night, I get the "our offices are closed" message that informs me their business hours are 8am to 6pm EST.  Ummmm...it's 5:45 EST, people.  WTF?

My husband arrives home after a long weekend hiking with the guys (his last hurrah before the baby arrives) around 7:30pm to a BASKET CASE.  I have managed to hold it together in front of my 7 year old daughter by playing Slamwich and making dinner with her but the cracks are starting to show.  We manage to get the girl in bed and sit down on the couch...where I LOSE IT.

Thank God my husband is a hospice chaplain.

He lets me cry, vent, freak out, give him all my catastrophization scenarios, and collapse into a snotty heap next to him without saying a word.  And just like that, I'm better (for now, anyway).

And while I'd like to end this post with some amazing theological insight or recognition that my life really isn't hard at all or this wasn't the WORST DAY EVER, the main lesson that reverberates for me is that I am deeply grateful for the safe people and spaces in my life who are able to hear me (really hear me) and remind me that I'm not alone on this journey.

4 comments:

  1. Bless your heart. Praying for you. And wondering whether I might borrow your husband sometime? Mine is a doll, but no hospice chaplain... :)

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  2. I actually think Catastrophize is a word. My therapist uses the word "awfulize"...because it's faster to say, which is an indicator of how often I do it. please know you are not alone! sending you all the good vibes and virtual hugs you can handle. :)

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  3. What can I say except life sure is hard sometimes and I am sorry for all of the trials you are facing. Your husband sounds like a jewel! . I was a major "catastrophizer"(?) until my S.D. asked me to read "Thoughts Matter" by Meg Funk and "Into the Silent Land by Martin Laird. What we think does make a difference. May you find peace and grace in the midst of struggle knowing that others have journeyed there as well.

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  4. I use that word, too. Bless you, it's a lot to handle even without the hormonal load of being pregnant. Much love, many prayers and good baby-turning vibrations being sent in your direction. (And thanks for linking your post at RevGals!)

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