Let’s talk about sex

Sex has been on my mind A LOT lately.  Though not because I’m horny and desirous.  Exactly the opposite in fact.

It is proving to possibly be the obstacle that will break my ex and I for good.

We’ve been reconnecting and I’ve had some really good times with him.  He’s been attentive and supportive in a way that is new and exciting and hopeful.  We’ve laughed and felt connected.  No, wait.  I’ve laughed and felt connected.  He has tried and yet his way of connecting and being intimate is through sex.  With me still being underweight and depressed, sex is pretty low on my list.  In fact I think it has fallen off the bottom of my list and been recycled with last weeks newspapers.

This of course, has brought up many questions with no easy answers.  Is sex a need or a want?  I know it’s important to any relationship – the closeness and connection we experience with our romantic partners is deepened through sexual intimacy.  That is clearly true for my man.  So should I just put out and be done with it?  Well, that’s not so good either.  At a time when I am trying to reconnect with myself and learn to trust my voice and my body, the disconnect I need in order to engage in sex is rather problematic.

I know the logical thing to do would be to compromise and yet that just doesn’t seem to work.  He can’t seem to turn it off ever and I can’t seem to turn it on ever.  I have tried, I promise you.  I have acquiesced because I want to give him that comfort.  Right or wrong, the resulting detachment I feel leaves me sad and a little resentful.  Okay more than a little.  After all, without sharing all the details, it’s not been a complete drought for him, so is it really so hard to have one night of just cuddling?

Biology sucks sometimes.  My biology says “you’re starving and sad, sex is out of the question”.  His biology says “you guys have been on-again off-again for so long, procreate whenever you can”.  Which leaves one of us miserable no matter what.

I hate feeling like a cliche.  The sex-starved husband who is continually thwarted by the cold and distant wife.  Not that we’re married, but the image fits.  It leaves both of us feeling guilty and used at the same time.  And I think it really may be the thing that breaks us.  Which is just so sad.

I’m scared… Scared that this will be the issue that proves intractable.  Scared that I have so little sex drive (it used to be quite healthy and I want those days back).  Scared that he seems unable to be close to me unless there is sex.  I’m scared of what this is doing to us.

And I’m so sad that the person I want to comfort me can’t do so unless there is sex involved.

Finding me… again.

I had a tough and honest session with my counsellor today.

She has a beautiful way of challenging me while also making me feel completely accepted and worthy.  I only hope to give that same presence and grace to my clients one day.

We talked about how over the last 6 weeks I have lost ground.  Not on purpose and no weight loss, but mentally I have been backsliding desperately and feeling that there was nothing there to catch me.  My posts here have reflected this gloomy stance and feelings of angst and uncertainty.

What I had forgotten is that I was starting to see pinpricks of light just a few short months ago.  I am tasking myself with finding those narrow beams again and really noticing the light.  Making out the shadows on the wall and knowing that shadows are only possible if there is light somewhere.

Radical self care.

We had a good laugh at how she’s basically having to kick my ass into focusing on myself and being well once again.  It’s funny, and sad too, how I need that outside influence to remind me that I am worth fighting for and I am worth nurturing.  I was beginning to take those steps a very short while ago and I know that I can do it again.

Each and every day I will ask myself “what am I doing to be well today”?  There must always be an answer, because I deserve that.  I deserve to be well and I need to care enough about myself to make that happen.

Busy

One of the many things I’ve learned about myself over the past few months is that I am definitely NOT someone who thrives on being busy.

Lately, if you throw just one extra thing at me, I’m thrown off into a tizzy and have a hard time righting myself again.  Hence, the less frequent posting here.  I’m in my practicum for three days a week and on my off days, I feel lucky if I am able to get dressed, let alone engage in writing (or anything else requiring thought!).

In a culture that feeds off of busy-ness, I can end up feeling quite pathetic that my relatively un-busy life can still weigh me down.  I hear friends and relatives and colleagues listing off the many responsibilities and duties in their lives and I am in awe of anyone able to keep those balls in the air.  Of course, not everyone is managing as well as they show the world.  And yet, even the least busy people I know have more on the go than I could handle.

I am accepting, though, that this is simply my path and that’s okay.  Although the numbers may be smaller for me, the things I am doing max me out and that’s simply a fact.

Not a good fact or a bad fact, just a fact. No self recrimination or judgment required.

I have to remind myself of this again and again and let it be.  No point in adding guilt to the mix as it won’t make me feel better and it won’t lessen the load of the busy people around me.

I like simplicity in my life and that is okay.  It’s actually something I am proud of and I will work to maintain that attitude and philosophy, despite external pressures to “do more”.  Just like a finicky flower, it doesn’t matter what works for others, I can only grow and thrive in the right environment for me.

On highs and lows

I’ve been trialling a new antidepressant for about a month.  I think it is helping with the lows but what the doctors don’t tell you (or maybe I wasn’t ready to hear), it that I am also taking an anti-enjoyment pill.

If you had asked me a year ago, I would have claimed that I very much wanted to be on an “even keel” and for life to feel more stable.  I see now that I had no idea of what that meant or what it would be like to eliminate the extremes.  Like many others, I think I expected to elegantly take out the darkness and that new light would flood into the space left behind.  But that has not been the case – I’m stuck in an endless twilight.

It seems these pills numb out the good and the bad.  While I am grateful to have sidestepped the painful despair I was recently enduring, I am not sure that this flatness is preferable.  I seem to have settled out at a dull line of mild gloom.  An apathetic equilibrium where I feel nothing strongly; instead, I feel that I just “get by” each day.

An example… I am still in the realm of indecision about reconnecting with my ex.  We are spending more time together and talking about some very tough, very raw issues between us.  On those occasions when we’ve been honestly connecting, I’ve felt only mild pleasure.  On other occasions where we are on the brink of saying goodbye, I’ve felt rather neutral.  No joy at the intimacy, no sadness at the possible losses.

I detest being so numb to what should be pivotal emotional experiences.  I’m paying good money to my counsellor to help me accept and allow all life experiences and here I am taking a pill that makes it all stop.

I’m not sure what the best option is for me.  I couldn’t function effectively before and I fear I am merely existing now.  Life is for living and I want to get back to being engaged in that process.imagesCA5SOIG7

How do I know?

One month in to my counselling internship and I am racked with doubt.

How do I distinguish between newbie nerves and having chosen the wrong (second) career path?  I feel terrified and trapped.  Which is a terrible place from which to make any decision, I know.

My placement is in a social service agency and serves many under privileged clients.  This social service is so important to me.  And yet I wonder if it is the best environment for me as I am continuing to fight through my own struggles with depression, anxiety, chronic illness (diabetes), relationship uncertainty… oh yeah, and an eating disorder.  I find that I am fighting to keep myself in equilibrium.  I find myself triggered at every turn.

And I don’t know that I am best serving either my clients or myself.

Ethics are drilled into us in grad school.  One particular tenet that keeps rising in my mind is self awareness and being mindful of our own issues, limits and boundaries.  Given all my internal “stuff”, am I actually being unethical in continuing to work with clients?  Or is that just an excuse because I find this overwhelming?

As so frequently happens for me, I think the thing I need is to tolerate the uncertainty.

My distaste for uncertainty seems to only grow.  Its ever present nature is driving me crazy.  Which means I really do need to come to some kind of acceptance – the nature of life is that I will never outrun ambiguity and the unknown.

For now, I am reminding myself that this is a learning opportunity and that I am not supposed to have it all figured out yet.  I am also remaining open to what I am experiencing as I try on this counselling hat.  It may be that I am on the wrong track and I need to allow myself to learn what I can even if I end up changing my mind.  Letting go of the resistance to the path I am on will help me to reorient and notice if I like the direction.  A little later, I can figure out what to do with the information I gather.

Yet again, acceptance and mindfulness of each moment are my tools of choice and necessity.