Robin Williams' Depression Pain - Familiar to Infertility Patients?
Robin Williams' Depression and the Sad News
Sad, so very sad, beyond sad, to know that Robin Williams has died. To know that he no longer exists in our world. To know that the depths of his depression brought him to a place where he felt he had no other choice. I’ve read, as you’ve probably read, that suicide didn’t kill Robin Williams, depression did.
Robin Williams’ suicide will bring attention to depression and mental health symptoms and disease, of that I have no doubt. I hope so. I have some doubt. I hope that the attention to his death is more than momentary and that the focus is depression.
Depression is the last thing to take lightly. To try to talk yourself out of or to talk someone else out of depression or feelings of suicide is too big a job for most of us. Especially those of us who are not mental health professionals. For us laypeople, these are scary feelings to experience and just as scary to see someone else experience them.
And of course, you do not have to do it alone. In fact, the point is you can’t.
Infertility and Depression
Infertility can cause depression. I know that’s a bold statement and based entirely on my own empirical evidence. Maybe it’s even a wrong statement. It’s just that I’ve met so many patients over the last two and a half decades that talk about changes that they’ve seen in themselves that I believe it. Men and women who talk about major, seismic shifts in how they see, feel and think about their lives. They speak poignantly about not recognizing themselves in the mirror when they look. I remember that feeling while I was in the midst of the chaos of infertility. I experienced it. I’ve seen it. I believe it. Infertility can cause depression or at the very least it can exacerbate symptoms and make you feel so much worse. It can attack your sense of self and it can make you feel that your dreams and hopes are impossible and too far away to touch.
Basically infertility can kick your a##. If you have been trying to conceive without success, you understand what I’m talking about. You don’t have to be depressed to get your a## kicked. Depression is a huge diagnosis and can be scary to think about, I get that.
You know what. It doesn’t really matter whether I’m right or wrong. I’m not a psychiatrist or a therapist or any other type of mental health professional. I’ve just been privileged enough to have spoken to men and women for almost twenty-five years.
Whether I’m right or wrong about infertility causing or worsening symptoms of depression doesn’t matter.
What does matter is if you feel awful, if you feel differently than you normally do, if you feel hopeless, if you are struggling more than usual, you deserve help. You don’t need to be clinically depressed to get help. You just need to need help.
And if you are trying the stoic, strong routine, drop it. Most of us need help on a regular basis, whether it is changing the oil in our car, or replacing windows in our house. I’m not trivializing this, I’m certainly not meaning too. My point is that we do not have to be the experts in everything nor do we have to have every single skill set. We can accept that there are experts who can help us with our cars, our windows and yes, even ourselves.
You already accept most of this if you see doctors. If you are undergoing fertility treatment, you get and accept that you need help. Hopefully you are seeing a fertility expert (board certified reproductive endocrinologist), please consider seeing another expert.
Infertility Help - Managing Fertility Treatment
Our licesnsed clinical social workers, Lisa Schuman, LCSW and Melissa Kelleher, LCSW, are two experts when it comes to how you’re feeling about yourself, your life, your hopes and dreams. They can provide the help that you need to feel relief from what you may be experiencing while managing fertility treatment. They are both incredible resources for finding relief from the emotional aspects that infertility throws at you, which you don’t quite expect.
Please understand that I am not diagnosing you. I’m not even suggesting that you are depressed. I am suggesting that you take seriously changes in how you are feeling and that you can get help and support if you are feeling differently than you have previously. Lisa and Melissa are two excellent choices of people who can help you.
Don’t wait. Because you have a life and you deserve to feel ok and know that you are ok.
Make an appointment. Be proactive. If you are feeling differently than you usually do, call them.
My favorite advice still stands.
You don’t have to do this alone.
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About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.