Editor’s note: This post is not intended as medical advice. Always consult a medical professional or physician before treatment of any kind.
It was a warm June day when I tried to take my life — not for the first time, but the third time. It was the third time I tried to end it all.
I was struggling again, my depression was in full swing, and I was off my meds. Again.
But my doctor wasn’t the one who told me to stop — I was.
I was diagnosed with depression when I was just 15 years old and have spent the last 18 years in some sort of medicated state. But if I’m being honest, I have a love/hate relationship with pills to this day, and every now and then I take myself off of them because, in my mind, I am good.
My depression isn’t “that bad,” I think.
But then I start slipping. I start falling. My mind starts failing, and I end up worse than before. I end up teetering on the edge of a psychotic break, and I become suicidal.
So when I say antidepressants have saved my life, I mean it — because they have. Figuratively and literally, they have. However, my medications aren’t perfect. At all. And while my meds have made me a happier and saner person — while they allow me to be present and fully aware — they have also rendered me sexless.
My libido is g-o-n-e.
Of course, sexual side effects are a small price to pay for stability and normalcy. For sanity and, well, life. But this side effect is hard on me. And it’s hard on my husband, too.
We’ve found ourselves in a passionless marriage, and some days I can’t help but carry the weight of that guilt.
Of course, my husband does his best to try and turn me on. He comes home from work and his wraps arms around my waist. He rubs my neck and my shoulders and the small of my back. He tries to engage me, but when he touches me, I feel nothing. When he holds me, I feel nothing. And when he kisses me — lovingly and longingly, with the same passion he conveyed with his first kiss 15 years ago — I feel nothing.
The act feels rote and routine, like a task or a chore.
And while I try to get into it — while I hug him and hold him close and kiss him back — most of our encounters end with annoyance and frustration. With complete and utter disappointment.
Because on my end, there’s a disconnect. The pills seem to have created an ocean between my body and my mind.
And while my feelings are disappointing (at best), the worst part isn’t how I feel, it’s how my husband feels. Because my actions (or lack thereof) make him feel rejected, over and over again. He assumes that my disinterest is his fault. That he’s not ripped enough or handsome enough or smart enough or … just not enough.
He believes he isn’t capable of satisfying me.
Of course, I have tried to explain my feelings — I have tried to explain that my reaction is nothing more than a side effect; it’s what happens when good pills go bad. But he still internalizes these changes.
He still longs for the woman I was, not the (apparently) dispassionate woman I’ve became.
So how do we rectify this? How do we overcome this?
Well, the truth is we haven’t quite figured that out yet. But I’m hoping we’ll get there. Sooner, rather than later.
The bottom line is, while a decreased sex drive sucks, skipping your meds and spending your days haunted by dark, depressive, and even suicidal thoughts suck more.
So for now, I talk to my husband. I try my damnedest to be honest with him. And I let him know where I’m at — and where my mind is at. We talk about the numbness and emptiness I sometimes feel. We talk candidly about our lack of passion — which isn’t to be confused with a lack of love. And sometimes, we have sex in spite of it all. Even when my mind is not fully in it.
And while this arrangement is far from perfect, it is the best I can do right now.
Maybe things (or my meds) will change tomorrow, but for now, I am taking it one day at a time until I reach a better place. And I’m eternally grateful I have someone to hold my hand and walk beside me while I get there.