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I feel like I’m drowning.

Drowning in isolation, drowning in sorrows and I am drowning in food.

I have completely lost control again and my mind has taken over me.

Although I made a step towards recovery yesterday, I feel that I need to shame myself by writing this.

We all make resolutions in the new year, this year, ours was to try have a baby, we finally got our funds, we stopped smoking, dieted and were living a healthy life, feeling positive and up for the challenge of IVF.

And then of course, you may remember, it all went wrong. A negative pregnancy test, after months, years of hoping, our one chance gone in just 3 minutes. The first thing I did? Drove to the garage around the corner at 6am, got myself some cigarettes, what’s the bloody point I thought?!

A month later we said goodbye to our best friend Billy, another very tough blow, too much grieving for my already glued back together broken heart.

Bigger things happening in the world you might say, yes, I am aware and I do try to do my bit.

I’ve been told: “Steffieb you are TOO sensitive” – maybe I am, but I’d rather be like me than some random troll like some of those who only read half the story, and then decide to judge me on Social Media. This is my life, our life and my blog is my space to be honest and to say things as they are for me.

So, cigarettes, chocolate, cheese, ice cream, anything really, anytime, anything to ease that awful feeling that things are just never going to get better for me. No matter what I do, no matter how good I am, no matter how hard I try, this is my it.

I was so happy to have stopped smoking that I stopped again, about 4 months ago now, so that relapse didn’t last long I am pleased to say. Baby or no baby it’s a habit I definitely wanted to kick and for now I’m all good.

I stopped going out again and my diet went out of the window, so much so that I no longer have clothes that fit me. Tracksuits and pyjamas are what I live in, shame on me.

For letting myself go this way, for my health, for my Shaun, I’m 44 and I’ve given up on myself again… I’m not going to say how much I weight because it’s pointless given you don’t know how tall I am and how it looks, nor am I going to start posting pics of myself. Suffice to say I’ve put 2 stones on since IVF. Everything I’d lost and more. I look and feel disgusting.

The overwhelming and at times scarily uncontrollable suicidal feelings eased a few months after IVF, I expect that the strong hormone treatment eventually evens out and things go back to “normal”.

So, just “normal” anxiety, “normal” low moods, “normal” high moods, the usual nonsense going on in with mind which I have no word for, no diagnoses for. I’ve long given up on professional help and I won’t be going back to any GP to ask for anything. Ironically, it’s World Mental Health Awareness Day today, what does that even mean? Make the hashtag trend of twitter for a day and everything will be ok? It really won’t.

I didn’t make it to my post office for months to see my friends after IVF I’ve felt so bad inside, I went nowhere alone for so long for fear of another panic attack. Something else smacking me in the face and stopping me from going on another day.

Then one day around a month ago, I decided to try again, I spend ages getting ready telling myself it would ok, talking to myself as I do, it’s just a short walk to the post office, I’ll be amongst friends there, safe.

I get there and what do you know, I bump into a “friend”. Someone who was going to be there for me during IVF, only they weren’t, they were too busy trying to get themselves pregnant it seems. Just in case IVF worked for me you see, because you know, I couldn’t possible have a baby alone!! (Insert emoji rolling eyes).

Well, you might say, women have babies everyday! Of course they do and I’m over it, neighbours on both sides are currently pregnant. But bumping (pardon the pun) into this particular person having a fag at 6 months pregnant took me to a new low. This is the kind of crap that sets me back a million steps, the reason I’m better off at home.

I don’t know how I made it home that day, I actually can’t remember walking back, I felt like the blood had drained from my body, sweating and so anxious I felt like the world was coming at me, shouting and laughing at my face. That’s me all messed up for a while. Whilst I mourn a child over Christmas once again, she’ll bring her new baby home and I’ll be kept awake as its cries come through my bedroom walls.

How can women who care so little about their baby’s health, let alone their own conceive and then there is people like me, ready to change my world for a miracle, a heart full of love to give, and nothing… it’s not fair comes to mind, but shit happens get on with it is all I’m told when I cry out for help.

A couple of weeks before that I heard (on Facebook) that my “bestie” for over 20 years, the one who cried to me that she would love to surrogate for me but felt too old, recently gave birth to child number 4 to daddy number 4. Another smack in the mouth.

Life goes on and it passes by so quickly whilst I feel like a huge part of mine is on hold, will I get IVF again? Will I ever have a child? It’s hard to keep anything else going with such uncertainty on your shoulders, I can’t just decide to move on, give up on my dream just yet? Having a child is a huge game changer, changes your life dramatically, or so I’m told.

My blessings? A wonderful set of parents who sadly live too far for me to “pop in” but are only a phone call away, an amazingly patient partner who’s still here (I don’t know how you do it babe), my friend Sal (we go to the charity shop now and then for a wander), an amazing set of friends online who keep me going and let’s not forget the 2 kitties, Matt and Rosie, healing my heart day after day with their antics.

Despite all these blessings, I still feel the loneliness and isolation at night when it’s all quiet and I’m alone with my mind, or first thing in the morning when Shaun’s gone and it’s me facing my future, day after day, desperately trying to hang on to myself and my tiny business, my piece of hope in this huge fog.

In 6 years I’ll be 50, what then? Pass me the ice-cream.

It doesn’t matter how much you love me or care for me, it’s me struggling and trying to cope, me alone fighting to stay alive.

Something else that’s on my mind, I don’t often read about infertility and mental health so I’ve not read much about the implications these issues can have on relationships. How do you remain close to your partner when you don’t feel good enough? Like you’re a lesser woman.

I know that no matter how “close” we get, a baby will never happen. I don’t have unexplained infertility. I’m missing bits which mean no, never, ever, no miracle, pay or use someone else to try carry a baby for you (pay again) because you will never make a baby on your own Steffie!

Add this to my mental health issues and weight gain meaning I feel way too awful to make a move, even with the lights off, how do I keep my partner… the one that keeps me sane and keep me feeling like it will be ok?

I’m so lucky to be blessed with a very settled man who loves the quietness of our home, I don’t think I could cope sat here wondering if someone else might snap him up on a night out, these things happen so quickly.

Our situation demands a lot of communication, trust and understanding, another blessing I have, for now.

Being close with your partner isn’t all about having a baby of course, but when you can’t make a baby, for me it seems to have become about nothing but conceiving. So, being close is always going to end in disappointment which means that it has become painful. It might sound silly but despite knowing it’s never going to work I still expect it to… fancy grieving every month for something that’s impossible. Why would you do it to yourself?

I’ve always said that if Shaun left me I’d stay alone. This is all too much of a burden to carry let alone put on anyone else.

I’ve never discussed the mental health implications of infertility with any of the women I’ve met during my time blogging, for most they get told to relax and keep trying, I don’t know many people in the same situation as me. A pretty final situation when you think about it really, I don’t want to go into much more details about it but is anyone else like me or is it just me and my crazy mind again?

I’m really saved by my crafts, when things get really tough is when you’ll see me making loads, I get lost in counting stitches… my most cheerful online posts often hide a heavy heart. Luckily, I then end up getting carried away with your chats and comments and we have a laugh. Another day done.

Anyway, right now I can’t carry on like this, I don’t smoke anymore and now I need to lose weight.

So I am going back on slimming world (diets are made to make you fall off the wagon but I need a kick start) and I’m going to walk again.

I’ve neglected Dotty and that stops too.

You know how much I love nature and it makes me happy, I live 3 mins away from the woods and I’m pretty sure I won’t “bump” into any smoky bumps in there.

I’m not promising to go every day but I’m going to try my best, we had a walk yesterday morning and I’m just about to go again, just Dotty and me, a gentle walk for half an hour, yesterday, it felt good.

Means I get to share more picture of beautiful nature!

I am shaming myself into treating myself better, my name is Stephanie, I’m 44 years old, I have mental health issues, I suffer from infertility and I am addicted to food.

I deserve to not feel like this all the time and I want to feel better so I’m starting again today, I don’t know if I’ll make it but I owe it to myself to try again.

Please stick with us and help me get to our goal. One more trial at IVF before I run out of time.

Thank you