Aug

31

The real aftermath of the war against depression and anxiety.

My husband and I have just met a huge milestone in our relationship.  We have been married for 10 years now.  Quite an accomplishment especially in a world riddled with divorce.  When you think of a successful 10 year wedding anniversary, you think of celebration.  Many couples go on a cruise, or maybe a stay-cation.  Some do fancy dinners and updated wedding rings or other fine jewelry. Maybe a party, a renewal of vows but one thing’s for certain, those successful couples celebrates privately in their own “romantic” way.

My husband and I love each other very much.  We have been through tremendous amounts of ups and downs and more struggles than I think most couples face in the first 10 years.  It hasn’t been fair to either of us but we have pushed forward and aren’t giving up.  Our marriage is still surviving the battle, but the truth is there are always casualties of war.  Our fallen soldier has been intimacy, specifically sexual intimacy.  It is such an important component of marriage and yet I see it laying there by the wayside bleeding out and dying of starvation.

You know what we did for our 10 year anniversary? Nothing.  We had plans to maybe go away but it didn’t happen.  My husband was gone all day from 8 am to about 10 pm preparing for his film shoot while I had pretty much one of the worst days ever.  I had all three kids, had to go to 3 stores to get food for the film shoot and buy school supplies.  It was a humid 118-degree day, I had to borrow my mother’s car since our breaks are out and then I backed into a car in the Walmart parking lot around 1 pm (pretty much the hottest part of the day).  I also had 3 hours of rehearsal where I was teaching a dance to people who don’t usually dance and I really showed my mental stability by crying in front of all of them.  As I left rehearsal I was in the car driving home sobbing, I saw that my husband had made me a video for our anniversary.  It was short and sweet and filled with random people he saw throughout the day wishing me a Happy Anniversary.  It was sweet and kind but I couldn’t give it the attention it deserved.  I couldn’t give my husband the gratitude he deserved. He tried his best to make something out of our anniversary and I couldn’t give anything back.  And that is a perfect summary of our relationship. Especially our sexual relationship.

For years my husband has given so much, He has tried so hard and I can’t reciprocate.  So he gives less because honestly he can’t give anymore and I don’t blame him.  This is the same issue with intimacy.  He doesn’t even try anymore because I know in his mind it’s pointless and sadly he’s right.

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I have never had much of a sex drive. My own personal relationship with sexual desire was twisted from a young age due to molestation and when intimacy arose in my first relationship at the age of 18 I was constantly filled with unnecessary shame and guilt. These issues made their way into our relationship from the beginning and we had to fight against them.  It was not easy but we continued to work at it.  Then depression and added anxiety entered our relationship.  The first thing that was affected was sex.  What little desire I had was gone. All the issues we had worked on came barreling back.  My self-hatred and body dysmorphia made me shudder at the thought of being touched. Still, I fought those feelings and tried so hard to give him the intimacy he deserved and needed. But it wasn’t nearly enough. Truth is, we are now on year 8 of consistent and never ending depression and anxiety and our sex life is worse than ever.

Since the medication that led to me gaining 150 lbs, I have become so incredibly uncomfortable. I am uncomfortable in my skin. To be touched in a romantic (and even unromantic) ways makes me feel almost disgusted.  I feel queasy and uneasy. I can barely even cuddle feeling the way I do.  This is only intensified by the guilt and anger I feel.  I want so badly to be the wife my husband deserves and it kills me that I can’t.  Instead of being in an intimate moment I get caught up in my own self-hatred. My husband will try to look lovingly in my eyes to tell me he loves me or that I’m beautiful and attractive and it’s a struggle not to pull away.  I can’t maintain eye contact with him.  It physically hurts. It’s awkward to hold hands with him,  to kiss him, to have his arms around me.  It feels so foreign and all I can think about is how much I let him down, how much I hurt him by being what I am and how unattractive and gross I feel. Then the real guilt filled thoughts come, the thought that if I let him touch me then he will think we may do something intimate I just don’t have it in me, I can’t follow through.  It becomes another reason to avoid touch or eyes or anything remotely loving because I don’t want to lead him on.  For him to think he might “get something” that I just can’t follow through with. It truly kills me to know that I can’t give him a healthy intimate relationship.

Why this post?  Why now? He and I have talked about this subject before, we’ve known this has been a problem for some time now, but tonight my husband said the words that I have pushed aside in my brain too many times to count.  He said, ” I don’t know if we can come back from this.  I don’t know if we can ever truly be intimate again.”  He wasn’t talking just about sex. He was talking about that connection, that trust, that love that comes from real “love making”.  I know he’s right.  I just don’t know what to do about it. I feel helpless, trapped, angry, guilty and scared.

He is a man who needs sex.  Not just sex but real intimacy and connection and I can’t give it to him.  I want to but I can’t… among the millions upon millions of other things I am failing at this one is the hardest to fix.

There is no solution.  I am so focused on surviving the day, on making sure my kids aren’t neglected, or even stomaching loving touches from my kids who have to hug my disgusting body, that the last thing I would ever want to do is be in a romantic situation. Then there is my poor husband who can’t express that he needs physical attention because he knows the guilt I already feel, how much I beat myself up daily in my mind. The guilt he then feels for expressing his own need makes him feel awful. It’s not fair. I want to blame the depression and anxiety but they are so much a part of me I can’t separate them from myself.  This causes more self-loathing that just perpetuates the situation.

In the battle with depression and anxiety, sexual intimacy is attacked and suffers the most in relationships but it is never really talked about. Not really.  Looking for help concerning the matter has the most generic of answers.  It’s nothing I haven’t tried before which makes me feel even more defeated.  How can I overcome this?  How can I really get over these crippling feelings and thoughts? If the depression and anxiety magically disappear would I still feel like my husband is a stranger in the bedroom?  Will I still crave touch but shudder at the manifestation of that needed affection? Will he still want me when this is all over?  Or will we continue to be invested, roommate? Cause that is what we feel like right now, “roommates” and I HATE it.  I Hate all of this…

 

Sep

10

Distractions

When every thought brings guilt, sadness, pain, and tears, it becomes almost necessary to find distractions at any cost.  Everyone uses temporary distractions. I believe it’s only natural. The problem arises when your whole life is filled with nothing but distractions.

Lately, I have been worse than usual. I have had another medication change and life has been tough. I am having nothing but negative feelings. I have been defensive, impatient, critical, moody, angry, hopeless and just plain difficult.  The slightest thing sets me off and leaves me in a deep despair. I love my children but I haven’t been able to feel any joy around them. I feel angry at them for their behavior, followed by anger at myself for being the reason they behave that way.  I want nothing to do with them or anything else in my life and then I hate myself for thinking that way…

The only way to escape these feelings is to distract myself. With technology I have an automatic distraction built into my phone. I can easily put away hours upon hours on my smartphone, distancing myself from my family, life and most importantly, my mind.  Movies, TV, games, Facebook, Pinterest, music, crochet, theatre and sleep are my drugs of choice. I call it a drug because I can’t get enough. I have to up the usage to get the same effect. I can’t  JUST watch one show I have to watch several. I can’t even watch that show and be content.  I have to be playing a game, or pinning pins I will never use. I can’t just take a 15-minute nap. It has to be 2+ hours and the feeling of restfulness lasts for maybe 10 minutes before I feel helpless and resentful again.

Night time is the hardest. Reflecting on my day full of failures makes me want to lose myself in any way possible. Usually with Netflix and Pinterest. Then when I force myself to go to bed, I am not able to sleep. My thoughts run rampant so, I play on my phone until my mind and eyes are so strained and tired I have no time to think before I fall asleep.

Watching a show during the day for escape is impossible, it becomes too upsetting as moment after moment is interrupted by children. So I sit on the couch with my phone as they watch whatever they want for hours on end until it’s my youngest’s naptime and I can finally lay down and sleep. To escape reality. All the while, my 4-year-old is on his own with the TV. Again. The guilt of this is tremendous! I want him to do more, I want BE more but it all feels impossible. And when I try, I fail, or it exhausts me to my core. I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know how to play with my children. Or how to be patient with them and it kills me.

The failing cycle continues as my husband comes home to a despondent wife, misbehaving children, a messy home and a life he didn’t sign up for. His exhausted despair fuels my need to be anywhere else than present.  I didn’t plan dinner, again. I didn’t put the laundry away that has been sitting on the couch for a week. I haven’t done the dishes for over 2 weeks, nor swept the floor in a month…

It’s no wonder he then distracts himself in his office with games and work and business meetings. Who would want to be around me? Who would even want to be around children who act like animals because I am failing them?

I am writing this at 4:30 in the morning, in my bed, on my cell phone.

I am writing this after spending about 4-5 hours watching TV and pinning what I wish my life was like what’s on Pinterest. Instead of doing anything remotely productive.

I am writing this after forcing myself to turn off the TV even though I really wanted to watch at least 2 more hours of shows.

I am writing this after getting in bed looking back on a day of absent mothering and feeling bricks of guilt being stacked on my chest so I can’t even breathe. Knowing how worthless I really am.

I am writing this laying next to my sleeping husband who saw I got to bed at 3 in the morning… Again. Who had disapproval and disdain reflected in his countenance towards me for this action.

I am writing this laying next to my husband who has barely spoken to me in 3 days.

I am writing this sobbing wondering how can I stop these thoughts in enough time to fall asleep and get up with my children in the morning. 

I am writing this knowing that this dreadful cycle will continue tomorrow. Only it will be worse because it’s the day Ryan works from home. It’s the day he sees how screwed up I really am. How much damage I am causing my children.

I am writing this wishing I could just hurt myself, to punish myself.

I am writing this wishing I was dead.

Because honestly, that would be the greatest distraction…

Mar

20

To be like Bob…

I started counseling on Monday.  In the past, I have had several therapists and never had a great experience.  Waiting to meet the new guy,  my anxiety decided to press upon me hard.   I might have caused a mild earthquake with all of my uncontrollable leg shaking.  Thankfully Ryan went with me and helped me to calm down.  My family stepped up to watch the kiddos and we are receiving help for the counseling bills so there really is no way for me to avoid this anymore. l have my doubts about it’s benefits, but heard the success rate of combining medicine with counselor, especially if you have had traumatic life events, such as I.  I want to have the best chance and really try to not to be too skeptical.

BOB- I have problemsI feel like I have heard it all and logically I have come to peace with my past abuse and abusers.  Yet, I still have “problems”. I know the “basic skills”  to pull out of depression.  Exercise, diet, sun, consistent sleep, etc. etc…  But has that served me well as of late?  No.  Maybe he can help me be more accountable, and maybe he does have a different perspective.

I did appreciate our first meeting.  He knew the importance of comfort and that I am his “boss”. He will push me but that the important thing is that I trust and feel comfortable with him.  He also has goals and is not about “emotion porn” as my husband calls it.  (My Mother is an emotional porn addict- Has to rehash and focus on all of the past, dwell, searching for answers but never does anything about it. She has been in years of counseling that is never going to end). As for me, we are hoping to get all that needs to be accomplished within a few months. Then hopefully move on as a functional member of society.

bob cartoonFor the first week, to find where I am, he wants me to focus on what is right in front of me.  Right now everything in my life feels like a mountain to climb.  And some of these this are as simple as making my kids lunch, cleaning up a spill,  washing dishes, getting out of bed.  These easy tasks truly feel huge to me. And in some moments impossible!  Instead of looking at the mountain and all that I should be accomplishing, I am to look at the few step ahead of me.  Not the top of the mountain.  Now I have heard this before and it feels silly but it is a starting point.  A way for me to measure my growth.  He asked me to not compare myself with others, only my recent self.  Did I do equal to or better than the day before?  No matter how slow it may take me.  And not to push too much, just enough to equal the day before atleast.  So I thought I would go home and try to put it in action.

What about Bob? Full Movie Poster

Tuesday came around and I was pretty energized in the morning (which hardly ever happens)  the kids were wanting to help clean so we did.  I soon found myself getting weak and exhausted and what replaced my thoughts?  Baby steps.  Baby steps to the laundry room.  Baby Steps putting the clothes in the washer. Baby steps….

Oh My Gosh, I am Bob!!!!  Gotta admit, those baby steps took him to places he never thought he would go but he was a caricature! and I am a real human being.  This does give the hubby and I a good laugh.  Which I think helps my mood as I am struggling to do more.  So it is a good thing to be like Bob.  As long as no one tries to blow me up. 🙂

Mar

19

Defining Depression: The Melodrama

Defining Depression. There is no real definition that fits everyone. I hope to share ways to illustrate depression through my own words and through other voices on the world wide web.

melodrama floor movie still

I have often found it difficult to describe my depression in any meaningful or relatable way.  As my husband, who is quite a logical person, has tried to understand depression and the feelings I have, it has been quite clear that it is impossible for me to fully express.   I began looking online for accurate descriptions that he could understand.  Ones that Ryan could connect to.  As I presented my findings I realized how over the top and melodramatic they all sounded.

For someone like Ryan, and even as I read them out loud I could see how some could find all of this made up and a way to get attention. The range of emotions in these “definitions” are far reaching and often feel exaggerated. In some instances I found myself skeptic of the writer, wondering if they were playing a victim, I was falling right into the stigma society had created. When I silenced that voice and tried to break the habit of societal judgment that we are all susceptible to, I could then look past the ones that didn’t relate to me and find what did speak to me.

melodrama movie still

Truth be told, my life is a Melodrama.  Everything feels far fetched and extreme.  The slightest comments, thoughts, and actions appeal to my emotions.  And those emotions take control of everything until there is nothing left to give. Until there are no more tears to cry and the curtain goes down and the lights go out and everything is dark and quiet. You can no longer feel anything because it was all put out on that stage.  Exhaustion takes over until the next day and then you are back on stage.  Places, Curtain, Lights, and begin scene! The show begins again.  More unexplained emotions, more unexpected plot twists and ostentatious events.  Exaggerated reactions that cannot be stopped. and the pressure of performing for all to see.  Being critiqued and judged followed by humiliation and self-condemnation.

melodrama fear

As we know, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts…” -William Shakespeare     The role I have been playing is getting tiresome. I am ready for a new play, a new part,  looking forward to that final curtain call.