50 Shades of Red: Sex, Sadness & Social Anxiety
~By Elle Davis, This is Mommyhood
I’m painfully shy. I’m also big on blushing, which makes me embarrassed, which incites yet more blushing as well as the wish that I could just disappear. What I usually don’t tell people is that the term “shy” doesn’t really begin to cover how I feel. In fact, I have social anxiety, a condition exacerbated by depression. My depression, meanwhile, is exacerbated by the fact that my antidepressants suck the life out of my libido. Now I ask you: what’s a girl to do?
About 10 years ago, I experienced my first episode of major depression, which made my social anxiety even worse, triggering a painfully sexless cycle. The more depressed I became, the less I wanted to leave the house. I wanted to go out. I just felt too exposed to do so, as if all my insecurities, emotions, and vulnerabilities were advertising themselves like flashing neon signs the moment I stepped outside the door.
My depression and anxiety eventually became so bad that it took all the energy and courage I had to even leave the house to check the mail. I knew I needed medical support and treatment. The hardest part was just picking up the phone to reach out.
It didn’t help matters that the very first doctor I told my irrational fears to replied with an abrupt, “So, what? You don’t like people?”
Okay, I do sometimes prefer animals to people, but that’s not what social anxiety is about. For me, it has more to do with anticipating all of the dumb things I might say in a social situation or embarrassing myself in any number of ways. It’s intense, paralyzing fear, about a thousand times more so than just a little shyness here and there.
I finally found an understanding doctor, and while I still may not be the life of the party, at least I’m at the party, so to speak. I’m stepping out and showing up.
If only my libido would do the same.
After being on an antidepressant for the last several months, my lady friend down South is decidedly not a happy camper. I know that a waning sex drive is one of the side effects of the medication, but c’mon. You’d think that by now scientists (maybe some lady scientists) would have come up with some magic potion to help liven up a woman’s Southern lady.
So I can either be depressed, riddled with social anxiety, and have my sex drive fall off a cliff, or I can be on medication and have my sex drive be obsolete. Yay for choices!
I’ve now gone so long without sex that I think my virginity has grown back. It’s just too bad I didn’t regain my bladder control too. I’ve tried a lower dose of my medication, but that wasn’t a solution. I’m just not at a place where I can do that yet. My doctor continues to think that the medication I’m on is the best for me because it treats depression and anxiety, and I’m not disagreeing.
For a while, I tackled Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred kick, hoping that more exercise would kick-start the fire in my Southern lady as well as in my stomach muscles. Sure, my booty is nice and firm now, but my sex drive is still sputtering. And even though I talk to my therapist about everything else in my life, I can’t bring myself to discuss my sex drive. It’s just too personal. So instead, I write about it and send it off into the world wide web. Because that’s how I roll.
Have any other mamas out there experienced a low libido and if so, any advice for a gal like me? I can’t wait to read your advice.