This is a kind of post I haven’t written in a while. But it’s a January 20th, and that fact struck me the moment I awoke this morning.
On this day seven years ago, I was wheeled into an operating room on a gurney with tears streaming down my cheeks. Per WebMD, “Dilation and curettage (D&C) is a brief surgical procedure in which the cervix is dilated and a special instrument is used to scrape the uterine lining.” They tell you all about what to expect from your body after the procedure, but they don’t tell you what to expect from your mind.
I wrote about that at length in 2013, in a post called “Black Hole Limbo”. You can read it by clicking on the title. That post was cathartic for me, at the time, but writing it wasn’t enough. What they should tell you after a miscarriage is that you’re not alone. They should tell you to seek professional counseling, even if you say you’re fine. Even if you go right back to work. Even if you are really, really good at acting strong. Even though you’re really feeling suicidal. Even if you can write eloquent blog posts about your entire experience.
I chose to deal with these crushing emotions with wine. Lots and lots of wine. For years, it was my constant companion. I would have denied it even a year ago, but I was your textbook high functioning alcoholic. Coffee all day, wine all night. Repeat. It didn’t take long for me to morph into another person entirely, although I hesitate to make statements like that, since it sounds like I’m shifting blame to this “other” person. It wasn’t another person. It was me. Just a terrible, depressed, diabetic, alcoholic, selfish, stubborn, unfaithful, unhealthy, guilt-ridden, searching, promiscuous version of me.
I’ve only recently come to terms with exactly how horrible I was. I hurt those who loved me the most. And then I hurt them even more. Trying to fill emotional needs with alcohol, sex, and unhealthy relationships only left me emptier than I was before. They also left me divorced, broken, and lost. A stranger in a strange town, in a strange house, picking up the physical and emotional pieces of another destructive relationship.
Sobriety and therapy have been my instruments of change this past year. I feel like I’m finally waking up from a very long, very trying nightmare, of my own creation. This January 20th, I can look back with a clear mind over the past several years and learn from them, instead of drowning them out. The miscarriage wasn’t my fault, but how I dealt with it (by not dealing with it) was a choice I made. I can’t change my past. I can change myself.
This January 20th, my life’s in transition again. My future is pregnant with possibilities. A new career is on the horizon, I’m writing down my story in painful detail, and still healing, still grieving my old life, at once filled with intense regret and unimaginable gratitude. I owe so much to so many who have steered me in the right direction, and even more who have stood by me through all of it without judgement. I’ll probably stop here for now, lest I tailspin into the depths of a sappy greeting card.
If you know, me, you know I’m not the praying sort, but I have grown to love the Serenity Prayer:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
I started this post early this morning, while snowed in with the kids, with frequent interruptions, and returned to it throughout the day, wondering if I should post it at all or just save it. I’ve chosen to post it, to send it out into the universe, in the hopes it might help someone else.
You’re not alone, even if it feels like it. Alcohol and isolation aren’t your friends, even if they are your constant companions. The past is over. There’s a little mantra my therapist asked me to repeat to myself:
“It’s over. I’m ok.”
-Julie Blue, January 20, 2019