Friday, July 13, 2007

Surviving my mental map

Schatzi has a post about a book she read called D.eep S.urvival, by L.aurence G.onzales.

The following paragraph made me stop, read it again, think and rethink it.

"Survivors are those who learn to adapt their mental map to the reality around them. Who update their mental model when the environment around them changes. I find this specifically applicable to infertility. My initial mental model of my life, and my mental model of how my infertility treatments would go became outdated. It took me a while, but I am in the process of updating my mental map to better fit the reality around me. And as a result, I am happier (akin to survival in the wilderness)."

Yesterday morning I discussed the whole mental mapping argument with a great friend of mine, one I value as a mentor in my life. He said that so often we allow our lives to be defined by die mental maps we ASSUME we were “issued” with at birth. He agreed that it’s virtually impossible for us to distinguish between what we were programmed to expect as part of our life, and what we really want. But that is a whole other topic.

The important realization I had was that no matter what map I was conditioned with, I have the power to change it. My life seemed utterly and disastrously empty without the prospect of a child of my own. It’s as if I used my map, and when I reached the co-ordinates that was programmed into my mental GPS, and it didn’t bring me to the surroundings I expected when I started the journey, life just shattered around me.

Without realizing it, I have been updating and redesigning my mental map since I started to blog. It’s as if by putting my feelings and emotions into words, and receiving feedback from people in similar (and different!) situations than me, the whole process started to happen without being named.

I've been working on my new mental map without being aware that I was actually redefining who I am. I’m laying new tracks to follow, new roads to travel by and new destinations to dream about. Some days I will lose sight of where I’m going to, and sit down on the side of the road with my head in my hands crying for having to shift my visions for the future.

Being a survivor wasn’t the badge I wanted for myself, but now that I’m starting to realize that I can wear it with pride, I’m working hard at changing my attitude towards it.

I honestly don’t feel like a survivor today. My bed seems like a great option since I’m in a hide-from-the-world mood. Maybe it’s because I’ve tried too hard during the past few weeks to be positive and hopeful and concentrate on my blessings, surpressing the feeling of sadness that was there, just below the surface. Maybe it’s because my mom isn’t doing so well lately and the whole cancer thing is taking its toll on my dad. And maybe it’s just because my holiday is over and Monday is back to school time.

Whatever it may be, today is not the worst one I’ve had and tomorrow is a fresh, bright new day!


Inconceivable said...

WOW - myhusband and I had this conversation at a restaurant last night - i can not wait for him to get home so i can have him read this - You are in my thoughts - farah

lady macleod said...

I love your new path. It is so obvious how hard you are working on yourself. I am proud of you. Now listen to me, don't be a loopy wench - everyone has 'down' days; they are there to let you mentally and physically catch your breath. It is not a failure OF ANY SORT, it is a rest stop, without them you, me, all of us- cannot continue. How inhuman would you be indeed if your parent's situation did not affect you? Silly bugger. Now indulge yourself some way - a manicure, a good wine, special dessert, new knickers, something. My orders, and I expect a report.

Keep your chin up, and keep breathing.

Sarah said...

it's amazing what we learn about ourselves as a result of this shit. it teaches us to be survivors even if we never thought we might be capable of it. not sure if it's the intensity of our instinct to be mothers or if it's the same survival skills that any crisis might teach us.

Pamela Jeanne said...

Independently I used the same word, survivor, in a discussion with a friend yesterday. Your post offers some excellent insight into what we're going through -- together. I watch your progress with much hope!

I also know that while I need time to create a mental map for me I also want to devote time to help reconstruct other people's understanding of infertility. Both require huge amounts of effort and in the end I think both are needed (for me anyway) to get to a place of peace --- where sadness and wistfulness are minor rather than major players. I think you've just given me a good basis for another post!

In meantime, I'm thinking of you and your parents. It's so hard to watch them suffer...