Please be respectful and refrain from judgement if you continue to read this post.
Some people think that depression and anxiety only affect one’s emotions, but this is not true. It is an illness that causes a lot more problems than just “being sad”. Besides the crippling pain and the inability to function at times, it is quite a mood killer sexually. Now I can’t speak for everyone but I can speak for myself, and I think it is important for people to understand- so here it goes, a story about my sex life… or lack thereof.
I guess I started to notice it when I was with my ex-boyfriend at a time where my depression seemed to become worse (harsher psychological pain-causing physical pain, not getting out of bed, etc.), but I never linked it to that. I just thought that maybe I wasn’t attracted to him anymore, which may not have been completely untrue, but it wasn’t the problem. I know he was not the problem because we are no longer together, in fact, I have been in a new relationship for over two years, and I still feel a lack of interest in sex. Of course, this was troubling to me- I mean especially in a society where sex dominates and influences most of the world, I had to wonder why it made me feel strange, almost uncomfortable to talk about or engage in sex. I started looking into it, and it turns out that this situation is very common for those who struggle with depression.
My journey with anxiety has been over the period of my 20.5 years and has always had ups and downs. Lately, I have been taking some steps to trying to improve my mentality when it comes to anxiety. With the stigma that there is around mental illness, I found myself giving me a hard time for not being 100% all the time. I realized that was not a healthy choice, and strove to make a change:
- I tend to be fairly open these days, with the fact that I have anxiety. For people that I find to be my close friends, I try to explain how anxiety feels and decided to reach actively for support or just hang around positive people to make me feel better.
- I am more readily understanding to myself when I have bad days. Just yesterday, I received some upsetting news and decided to cancel a meeting I had scheduled, to give myself some time to breathe.
- I am also working more on being aware of what is happening when I have anxiety attacks. For example, with my anxiety, I usually get usually cold, have shaky hands, a sudden onset of exhaustion, the feeling of wanting to vomit, and either a tight chest or extensive back pain. Tapping into those bodily cues and recognizing them helps me to go “Hey Bec, you need a break from the situation.”
- Finally, I try not to take things to heart as much. With the stress of the fourth year expectations, family, friendship/relationship ups and downs, etc., I usually just live in a state of perpetual high anxiety. To add some comedic relief, I have a running joke with a dear friend that we need to ‘schedule time for weeping’. It’s just a funny way of realizing the truth to our situation and the reality that breaks are good.
I suppose I should say a thing or two about myself before anything else. I’m a first year Physics student at UOIT (although I recently switched from Engineering), I’m very passionate about physics and maths, I love film and video games, I’m an aviation and railway enthusiast, but most importantly I love music. My friends describe me as someone who can play every instrument under the sun, and I’m incredibly passionate about 70’s progressive rock music (My username is a reference to the song Sometime World by Wishbone Ash from the 1972 album Argus, which you should listen to).
But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and it affects me every day, although not to the extent that it used to. I should also say that this post isn’t necessarily meant to help so much as it is meant to inform. In future posts I’ll talk about how I’ve overcome certain things and how you can too, but for now I just want to explain how obsessions and compulsions affect me.
So apparently this month is Ableism Month? I don’t follow this kind of stuff all that much, but with some thought, I do have something to say.
This post was originally going to be an angry rant, but after some thought, I was able to think of a way to inspire people, a lesson I may pass to people who mean well but whose actions have unforeseen consequences. Perhaps I can reach people who are not so well-intended and convince them to change their mind and act in a better way. I won’t know unless I try, I suppose.
What I want to do is give a message of caution to those who profess to be on my side.
If I were to take social justice at face value and not investigate the actions of those who preach it, I could understand why it has so much traction and can even agree with it. The problem is that the way people act is important too, as are the consequences of their actions. When social justice takes the Marketplace of Ideas that is university and changes it into something else, what am I supposed to do? Am I supposed just to let them take the university environment I love and turn it into the complete antithesis? The answer is no.
My last post over a month ago was about my ‘goals’ for the New Year. I have been happily been chipping away on them. #8 on my list was “push your limits.” If anyone knows me, I’m very indecisive when faced with major spur of the moment decisions. I just get super anxious about it and run in the opposite direction, always playing on the cautious side of life! I heard my friend called it “analysis paralysis” the other day and I find that very accurate. However, a major stride I have taken in my journey to get past that barrier was going to auditions for local community theatre. I have always been involved on the stage. I took voice lessons and was in a professional choir for 10 years. I’m usually humming or singing terribly to the radio. I last year I was in a UOIT Drama club play. So in the middle of my stress filled semesters this academic year, I thought I would be adventurous and audition. I ended up being Assistant Stage manager (ASM) in one production and have been cast in another! Wooooo – go me and that meant I accomplished #10 on my list too – “Put yourself 1st!” One problem, I’m not really used to always being on the go….