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.
The most important thing is to remember to treat your depression. First, your mental health is more important than sex. Communication is key; you don’t want your partner (or potential partners) to feel as if you are not attracted to them, but you cannot be sexually involved just for their sake either. Talk to them about it and if your partner loves you, they will understand and will help you in your recovery/healing process. If they are pushy and try to pressure you then tell them to hit the curb, they are not worth it by a long shot. Not only is it a good idea to talk to your partner but your doctor too, they may be able to help suggest ways to increase your sex drive; they can also eliminate/rule out any other potential causes of low sex drive to make sure your depression is the actual cause.
I think another important point to bring up is that after not being intimate for so long it can start to increase anxiety when you do become intimate- thoughts start to fill your head; am I doing this right? Are they enjoying this? Am I boring them? And while it might be scary these feelings will only become a vicious cycle if you don’t talk to your significant other about them. In my personal experience this is a stage I am still currently in as it is a touchy subject and for someone who is as emotional as I am, I find it difficult to bring this subject up. This is the first time I’ve ever shared these feelings with anyone which may not be the best scenario, but I’ll think of this as my warm up for the real deal. But nevertheless don’t follow my example- learn from it; it is not healthy to keep these feelings bottled up, and they need to be expressed.
I didn’t write this post just because I thought it may be useful to those who may share the same feelings as me- it was also written for those who may be involved with someone struggling with depression. Be kind to them and respect the fact that sometimes they don’t have the motivation or confidence to start their day let alone engage in something so intimate and exposing. And when they do feel ready to be intimate be encouraging but not in a way that is going to make them feel awkward or embarrassed. It is so important to remember that they don’t want to be in this situation anymore than you want them to be. Even if you are not sexually active now or are not experiencing this kind of situation now, it could happen, and the worst thing to do is ignore it.