Depression and Sex

I have had mild depression for most of my life, compounded with really bad PMS.  Even with these problems, I have always been a  smiling, cheerful person who loves to laugh and be happy and make others around me happy.

Shortly after my last child was born my hormones began fluctuating wildly and my depression got worse.   And worse.  Especially the week before my period.  I’ll try to describe it.  First, everything, and I mean everything, Conan did would irritate and upset me, right down to the sound of his breathing.   Then my children would upset me.  Then I would cry at work for no reason.  I would take offense at the slightest thing.  If someone needed something or I needed to make a decision at that time, it was beyond my capability to do it.  Getting ready for church, work and school was a nightmare.  Inside me I felt like a monster was taking hold of my soul and I was spiraling down into a black pit of despair.  I would stay up late at night on the couch, self medicating with ice cream or chips.  I couldn’t face the thought of going to bed, because then morning would come and I’d have to start another day all over again.  I was completely irrational.   I would feel like I was going insane.  I just knew I was going insane.  I could not even pray.  Prayer became a kind of mental self torture for me, as I would list to God all the ways that I was a failure and all the things I did wrong and all the mistakes I had ever made in my entire life.  I would get up from my prayers feeling worse than ever and wanting to die.  Then I would berate myself for being worthless, ugly, stupid, a horrible wife and mother, a horrible daughter of God, a terrible daughter and a bad friend.  I would dream about death and actually will time to go faster so that I might be closer to death.   The only thing that kept me from  suicide was the thought of my children being without a mother, even a crappy one like me, and I just could not do that to them.

Conan couldn’t do or say anything to me during those times.  Any little thing that had been bothering me, used to bother me, could bother me, might bother me in the future, became this HUGE, insurmountable issue that I could not let go of.  We would get into screaming fights.  Conan would threaten to leave.  I didn’t care if he did or not.   And he absolutely could NOT touch me at those times.    The only way for me to get through the week before my period was to lock myself in my room and  disengage myself from life by reading a book.  Then my period would start and I’d literally feel like I was coming out of the dark and things would get better and I’d feel better.   I would become rational again, and able to handle and face normal life in a mostly positive way.   This went on for at a couple of years before I knew that this just could not continue.

After one particularly horrible fight, where Conan again told me he was leaving if things didn’t change, I talked to my OBGYN about my problem.  I told him I was going crazy and my marriage was in extreme jeopardy.  He diagnosed me with PMDD or Premenstrual dysphoric disorder   http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/premenstrual-dysphoric-disorder   and prescribed an anti-depressant for me.  He gave me several samples to try and I finally settled on Prozac.  I started out taking it only during my PMDD episodes, but when I took it I was able to see that my mild depression had actually worsened and I needed Prozac on a full-time basis.   I just had not been able to recognize that I had such bad depression until I was on medication.  Then I could tell the difference, and it was like night and day.  Without my medication, my life would be in shambles and my marriage would probably be over by now.  I KNOW what it feels like to go off my meds, because I had to go about a week without it when I couldn’t get my prescription renewed on time.  Everything that I have described came flooding back and it was HORRIBLE.  At this point I NEVER want to go off my meds ever again.

Once my depression was under control, I began taking steps to heal my marriage and myself.   My testimony grew.  I started preparing to go to the temple.  I gained self worth and self respect.  I gained a sex drive.   Healing my depression was the first step to having a loving, passionate, mutually satisfying sex life with Conan.  It was the first step to a happy, healthy marriage.

I know there can be side effects to anti-depressants.  I know that.  But I’m telling you now that even if I suffered those side effects, I would still take my anti-depressant.  Having a lesser sex drive is a small price to pay for not wanting to die every day.  I am very thankful that I haven’t had any adverse effects with Prozac.  In fact, without Prozac I wouldn’t have a sex life at all.   I believe that Prozac literally saved my life.  For years now I have been happy, healthy and thoroughly enjoying sex.

6 thoughts on “Depression and Sex

  1. Zookie,

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I am so glad you got things squared away. Just like sex – we need to be able to talk more openly about things such as this without the shame.

    • You’re welcome! Some day maybe depression and other chemical imbalances will be viewed like diabetes or heart disease, with no shame attached.

  2. Thanks for your honest and compelling post. My wife suffered depression for many years and we did not understand what was happening. Depression can crush spiritual light as well as relationships. It is a serious disease, but it can be treated successfully in most cases and makes a huge difference. If I had read your account some decades ago, I would have understood much better what she was going through.

    • You’re welcome! And you are so right about it crushing spiritual light. There is none in that place. It’s nothing but blackness.
      I hope your wife is fine now!

  3. I found your blog through the Mormon Therapist.

    I am so glad to hear someone else address the relationship between depression and spirituality.

    I do no have the same luck with sexual desires while taking antidepressants as you and it has caused some hard times in my marriage, this alone has caused me to stop medication and save my marriage.I have learned that hormone replacement is a better option.

    Keep up with the explortation of the unspoken topic of sex in the LDS culture. It needs to be brought more into the open.You have a great writing style.

    • My World,
      Thank you for the compliment!
      I visited your blog briefly and sympathize with you greatly! I don’t have nearly the level of difficulty that you do. My prayers are with you.

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