Sunday, March 26, 2017

Asexuality vs. Genophobia (fear of sex)

The usual disclaimer: I speak from my own experiences and no one else's. By no means assume that all aces or assault victims are like me.

I struggle with sex a lot, for a variety of reasons. Whether it was intentional or not, I grew up being taught that sex was a sin and terrible and disgusting and awful (and that boys thought about it all the time). Premarital sex was ESPECIALLY awful and of the devil. So from then on out, any time anything remotely "sexual" happened, I was overwhelmed with guilt, whether I was responsible or not.

Asexuality already struggles to be recognized as a legitimate orientation, and I feel like I sometimes just make it worse. I've been sexually abused and assaulted, as well as being emotionally manipulated into sexual acts. My father left, then soon after my ex-fiance left, and I've been told that all of this would obviously turn me off sex.

I mean, yeah. All of those things are legitimate reasons for someone to develop a fear of sex or distrust of sex. No doubt about that.

So, am I actually asexual or just scared of it? I debated myself on this quite a lot, then reached out to other asexuals to ask their opinion. I researched it, I thought about it, I talked about it. I finally decided.

Yes, sometimes I am just plain terrified of sex, from a casual touch of the hand to, y'know, intercourse. I have nightmares about it, flashbacks about it, panic attacks about it. But that fear does not control my whole life and does not affect me all the time.

Sex just isn't really my thing. It's gross. It's messy. It's a lot of effort. It takes forever and people for some reason like it to last as long as possible.

If I really loved someone, I could see myself compromising on the sex. It's taken me an extremely long time to even start to understand that some people DO need sex and that it can be an important part of a relationship. I would never just become a doormat for someone or allow anyone to manipulate me into things because that's what I should do for someone I love, but there's a line between manipulating and compromising.

So no, I do not consider myself to be operating solely on fear of sex.

Antidepressants can sometimes affect a person's sex drive, which I understand. And I guess it's possible that it's affecting mine a little bit. BUT I was in a relationship before I got put on medication, and I wasn't big on the sexual activities back then either. The only reason I think I even did them was because again, manipulative bastard fiance.

But anyway.

I have no doubt that my assault and medication do affect my sexuality and my sex drive, but they do not control my sex drive.

Even if they did, I would pick my medication over sex. I think that alone is kind of telling. I'd rather be happy than have a sex drive.

Honestly I don't like to be super public about my sexuality because it seems like a private topic and I'm worried about offending people or upsetting people who think I should be a completely innocent heterosexual female. But that's not me. And I can't go on pretending like it is while inside I'm thinking I'm broken for not wanting sex.

Yes, my sexuality is my business, no question there. If people ask, I have every right to ignore them. But it's an important topic, and it's bigger than just me.

And this way, when people ask about it I can just send them this instead of try to explain it all over again.

--Dex

PS. For more info on asexuality and gray sexuality, I recommend visiting: AVEN or AmeliaAce.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Highs and Lows of Antidepressants

The past week has been ridiculous for me. Dealing with a breakup, a dance conference, online dating, and unrequited love is all way more interesting when you're also having issues with your medication, let me tell you.

The whole semester has been rocky for me, but in the last month or so it started to get really bad and I finally had to call my doctor to ask about adjusting my medication. We have to do it about once a year, so even though my depressed self is going, What's the freaking point of going on when I'll never be cured? I know that it's normal to have to adjust medication as my body gets used to it. I know that, but it never makes me feel any better. In the past month my anxiety sky-rocketed and I got suicidal again, which made it even more difficult to call my doctor. Phone calls are terrifying. Especially when there's a part of you saying that it'd be way easier to just go jump off a cliff.

But anyway we got my medication adjusted and I was told to call him back in a week or two to let him know how it was going. I only had enough of this medicine to last two weeks. The doctor is not in his office on the weekends or on Thursdays and every day the entire office goes on a two hour lunch break. Sometimes it's a little hard to get in touch with them.

Anyway. Two weeks. No big deal.

I start the new medication and INSTANT MOOD SWINGS BABY. NOT IN A GOOD WAY.

I got so ridiculously manic the first day that I felt like I could rule the entire fucking universe and do it WELL. I told myself I would move to Chicago, I'd clean the house, I'd get the mail, I'd dress nice, I'd put on makeup, I'd read my books, I'd do my school, I'D DO FUCKING EVERYTHING.

Five minutes later I couldn't get off the couch because of how exhausted and depressed I was after that fiasco.

Repeat that cycle for two days while my body adjusted to the medication, and then I was in an okay state of being semi-functional but also still unusually anxious. It was hard to figure out if it was the medication to blame, or typical school stress, personal drama stress, or that wonderful, special time of the month we ladies go through.

Here's another fun fact for you: my morning routine involves me going to the bathroom and gagging for a few minutes, then getting ready for the day. Then trying to take my medicine, gagging some more, clamping a hand over my mouth and forcing myself to swallow. It's great fun. But sometimes it doesn't work and I have to go spit the pills out and gag some more and then I'm so freaking exhausted that I just can't make myself try again with new pills. BUT because of this, sometimes I lose a few day's worth of medicine down the drain.

I kind of forgot about this.

Because then suddenly I was off at a dance conference over a weekend where I couldn't call my doctor and where I abruptly ran out of medicine and couldn't even go to my pharmacy to get more because I was in an unfamiliar city without my own means of travel.

GUYS PLEASE BE AWARE OF HOW MUCH MEDICINE YOU HAVE LEFT.

Finally got home and finally called my doctor, but the last few days have been really really bad. Like, me lying on my bed unable to breathe because of a constant stream of panic attacks and then being so tired I can't get up and do anything. I made myself go grocery shopping and I made myself eat once or twice because I also didn't eat much while at the conference and my body was shutting down, but I still felt terrible and would always end up back curled up on the end of my bed (not even in it), shaking and crying.

Relapsed a few times. Then almost bit my thumb off trying to keep from doing it again.

If you've never had a panic attack, it's hard to describe them, and they can vary from person to person and time to time. Usually I won't be able to breathe and I won't be able to speak. I'll either shake or rock from side to side. I'll usually try very hard not to cry, but that happens anyway. It's a terrifying and helpless thing to go through, especially alone. I try to talk to people when it happens, but I've been having so many lately that I feel like the most obnoxious person ever constantly trying to make people talk to me.

That's why I've tried to make myself get up and do things the past few days, because even though it's hard and I still don't quite relax, it's a lot easier to exist while doing something or while someone is with me rather than sitting alone in my room. The whole apartment seems to suffocate me with gloom, like its absorbed all of my own feelings and keeps sending them back to me over and over and over again.

But I don't have anywhere else to go, so I just sit here for the most part. Bite my fingers and hug my cats and try not to do anything worse.

I got really sidetracked there. I finally talked to my doctor and I'll have a more regular supply of my meds, but he's also not changing any of them. I'd told him that while I was better than before, I still didn't feel great and kind of wondered if there was anything else we could try. But no. The nurse said I'd stay on what I was on and, "hopefully it will get better."

Hopefully.

Thanks.

I guess either way it will still be better than the past few days.

It's pretty amazing that a little pill can make such a big difference to my brain, and I try to be thankful for it and to think of all the things that went well today rather than just the panic.

But it's also kind of hard to keep going after years of this when your own doctor just says, "hopefully it will get better."

--Dexter

PS. I DID DO SOME GREAT THINGS TODAY. I cleaned my sheets, I braided my hair, I put on makeup, I made coffee, I made a sandwich, I hung out with people, and of course I finally got in touch with my doctor. I'm trying to keep all of these things in mind.