You don’t have to just lay there and take it.
When I was 15, I attempted to hang myself in my room. It didn’t work.
Over the following seven years, I experienced some of the most incredible mood swings of my life. I would feel so happy, then, before anyone could pick it, I’d slump into a devastating depressive state. My whole family, including my mother, would simply call me a drama queen – but in October 2011, I learned that something more sinister was at play.
I revealed to my doctor that I often thought about jumping in front of a subway train to end it all, but that I was terrified it wouldn’t work and I’d be left in a disabled state. Also, I hate the idea of public suicides. That day, I was officially diagnosed with clinical depression.
He suggested I start seeing a psychologist, but I felt completely ashamed about the thoughts I was having, and I was terrified of being judged by yet another stranger. Hence began my first foray into the world of antidepressants.
At the time, I’d been with my boyfriend (now husband) for two-and-a-half years. Our sex life was absolutely mindblowing: at least five times a week, no inhibitions and so many different positions. We were all over each other all the time. Then I noticed a few changes, the main one being my oddly low sex drive. At first I thought this had something to do with the weight I’d put on, that I wasn’t feeling sexy in my new skin.
I opened up to my doctor and, as it turns out, losing libido is a very common side-effect of antidepressants. And since I’m not big on exercising (exercise increases sex drive), I had three options:
1. Stop taking the antidepressants to get my sex drive back, but also keep the door open to some pretty intense suicidal thoughts.
2. Stay on the antidepressants and squirm through sex, dry as anything while just laying there and willing for it to be over.
3. Stay on the antidepressants and do everything in my power to take back control of my sex life.
I took note of external factors. Being around his family sucked the life out of me, so I made a vow to myself – for my own wellbeing – to spend less time in their company. I acknowledged that I’d have to try harder to have an orgasm, and get rid of the idea that reaching the big O was impossible.
But the best solution to my problem – and one I still use to this day – was adopting a new persona.
I’m not talking dressing up in a school-girl outfit (though I’m certainly not averse to that). I mean believing that I’m this horny woman who just can’t get enough of her man. A woman who will die of sexual starvation right. this. very. minute. if she doesn’t immediately hop on her hubby and ride him ’til the cows come home. I remember every good thing he’s ever done for me. I concentrate on feeling his cock sliding in and out of me. I ask him to go as deep as he can and just stay there. Sometimes I ask him to do me with my underwear pushed to the side and lift me up so my back is sliding against the cold wall. Sometimes I think about things I’ve seen in pornos and try to re-enact them (watching porn has heaps of benefits, FYI).
I am a sexual being. I have depression. These two statements do not have to affect each other – and I’m proof of that.
If you need help, phone the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1800 273 8255.
Comment: How did you overcome the side-effects of antidepressants?