Effects of Meds on Marriage

I’m trying to decide which can cause more damage to my marriage: the medication side effects or an unmedicated illness.

Ever since I started medication for my bipolar disorder years ago, I have secretly struggled with a decrease in sexual desire.

I could stop the meds. Then I wouldn’t have to force myself to have sex with my husband. I wouldn’t have to start mentally preparing myself in the morning so that I could initiate sex that night and make my husband think I’m all fired up.

I am, in fact, fired up. But it’s not something that instantly happens anymore. I can’t get spontaneously turned on and desire sex at random times. Not since I began treatment for bipolar disorder.

I have to spend hours working towards it. Mentally, I self talk.  I do thinks to make myself FEEL pretty. Paint my nails. Or style my hair. Send David a few kinky texts at work. Texts I have already written and prepared and saved in a file. Ready for when I need them. Maybe I put clean sheets in our bed.

And sometimes I go to our “special” drawer. A place where we keep our adult toys. I hold one and visualize the things we’ve done with it. I pick up another and another and imagine what I could do with it with David that night.

Sometimes I start to feel a tinge of desire. Of longing. And I begin to get excited for him to get home from work. I lie back on my bed and all of a sudden I feel like crying.

I should not have to work this hard and I should definitely not need to prepare myself like this in order to be intimate with my own husband. So I battle with the thought of stopping my medications.

If I do that, what happens then? A completely different problem arises. The bipolar itself. A whole new kind of strain on our marriage.

Stopping my meds means the depression will surface. I won’t want to get out of bed. I’ll be very irritable and end up causing arguments with my husband over little insignificant things. Without my meds I blow up over everything.

I may become manic. End up spending our mortgage money on dog toys on eBay. I stop sleeping so I don’t even make it to bed for nights on end.

And sex? Yeah! I can’t control myself. I want to be touching him all the time. I need to be near him every minute that he’s home, often causing him frustration because I take away his personal space.

Then we argue.

We get frustrated.

And I get suicidal.

All of this because I stopped my medication so that I could be more intimate with my husband. But instead, the bipolar has made things even worse.

So ultimately, what has more effect on intimacy in my marriage? I don’t exactly have an answer to that. Living with bipolar isn’t easy and there isn’t a single area of my life that isn’t affected. I wake up every morning, afraid. Afraid that he will leave me because intimacy is so complicated for us.

So what would cause more damage to my marriage? Taking the medication or living with untreated bipolar disorder? I’m not sure and I’m not about to find out.

Because thankfully I have an amazing guy who tries his best to understand me and my illness. We communicate openly about intimacy in our relationship and I know that I won’t ever have to stop my medication in order to keep my husband satisfied sexually.

And I hope you never feel the need to do that either.

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“Did you take your meds?”

Sometimes as I have my coffee I start to ponder random thoughts and immediately hear the statement  “did you take you meds” in my head. A statement, I’ve come to strongly dislike but accept.  It’s one thing to battle my bipolar disorder as silently as possible but every day I hear that statement. I […]

http://itsnotcrazytoday.com/2016/02/23/did-you-take-your-meds/

Learning About Awareness & Understanding During Bipolar States

   This is an excerpt from a part of my reading assignment today. Have I mentioned that I am quite excited about being able to register and get accepted into this course? This is only the first week and already I have learned a lot of valuable things. This is one thing that I will never regret doing.

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The course teaches better awareness, deeper understanding of how to function during states, and helps recognize things of value we can find in the states. Through that you will learn the relationships between these important lessens and the things we measure in this lesson. These relationships are core to the concepts of Bipolar IN Order, so let’s explore them in a little detail here.

Mania and depression do not not just turn on and off like a light bulb connected to a switch. The intensity changes as if you had a dimmer switch that goes from barely lit at all to full intensity. The assessments show that one could be 20 percent, 40 percent, 60 percent or 80 percent, but you could learn to delineate it in 10 percent increments from 10 percent to 100 percent as you develop greater awareness. The important point is that there is a substantial difference between being 20 percent manic or depressed and 80 percent manic or depressed.

Our awareness at different intensities changes in interesting ways. An untrained person, for example, is often unable to recognize the high and low manias but is very aware of the moderate ones. The same person may be acutely aware of moderate and deep depressions yet be unaware of the low intensity ones. Such variation of awareness has a huge effect on our ability to know that we’re in a state or can function during it.

One can be acutely aware that the car is sliding out of control but have no idea how to correct the steering and get back under control. It takes a functional understanding plus awareness to be able to keep depression and mania in control at any given intensity. Teaching awareness and understanding at various levels of intensity are the central components of this course.

When students learn awareness and functional understanding, their ability to function during states of mania and depression increases substantially. They find themselves functioning well in states that previously were filled with disorder.

Our understanding and concurrent functionality brings great comfort to both ourselves and others. We may not like being depressed, for example, but we do become comfortable during such episodes. As comfort increases, we find it easier to both function and gain a deeper understanding of the states.

When we become more aware, deepen our understanding, increase functionality and gain comfort, we begin to see value in states that were once looked upon as nothing but a curse. Finding value creates an additional feedback mechanism that supports greater functionality. When we value something, for example, we tend to be more willing to endure pains that we were previously too uncomfortable to tolerate. We also tend to function better during such episodes.

It is also critical that we learn to recognize the role of time. The longer we’re in the state, the more difficult it is to maintain high levels of functionality. No matter how much we understand the state, each passing moment makes it more difficult to maintain control over it.

Learning to extend the time that we can maintain functionality is the difference between disorder and in order.

This course is designed to increase our awareness, understanding and functionality through specific steps outlined in the upcoming lessons in this course.

This Is Your Battle Too

The speed of my speech, the details of my stories, and the depth of emotions I express as I share them does not mean I am crazy. It’s just that I am reliving the story, including all of the emotions that went with it. Just because I have a lot of … energy … I talk it does not mean I am insane!

Expressing my emotions does not make me crazy or dangerous. If I am talking too much or too loud then please, just say so! If you’re overwhelmed when I am crying then tell me!! If I give you a headache and you need a time-out, say so. I might not be happy about this at first, and I may even feel angry because after all, isn’t love supposed to be unconditional? Aren’t you supposed to put up with me for better and for worse?? But no worries. I would appreciate you stating your boundaries rather than getting overwhelmed and then withdrawing from me, leaving me confused and upset, assuming the worst.

Yes, I know that during times like this it’s harder for you to truly comprehend the intensity of bipolar disorder. The depression is what you are most familiar with. These occasional hypomanic flare ups are very hard on you. I get that. But my actions do not mean I am crazy!! It means I am sick. Just be patient with me. Like all the other times, it will pass. With support and medications I will soon start to seem more like my ‘normal’ everyday self.

Bipolar Disorder is a tough illness to deal with. It’s hard for you, trying to stay patient through the mood swings, pushing encouragement at me when I can’t get out of bed, doing deep breathing exercises and talking me through the grounding techniques when I am deep in an anxiety attack, hyperventilating, crying. It’s hard but you do it anyway.

And it’s also very hard for me. I am the one who has to actually live with this illness. It plagues me every single minute of every single day. You are lucky because you get a break from it. I don’t.

But that’s ok. It’s part of who I am. Being bipolar is, unfortunately, part of my identity. I act different sometimes. Loud. Quiet. Emotional. Angry. Hyper. Tired.

I am a lot of things.
But …
I am not crazy.

Oh The Joys Of Bipolar Disorder

The past few days have been nasty. Yesterday I spent 19 out of the 24 hours in bed. Not necessarily sleeping, but just lying there. I’ve been very unstable. Yesterday I actually began having fleeting thoughts, very disturbing and scary ones. And it’s hard because my husband gets very on edge when he senses these symptoms.

I work hard at hiding my illness because I know how scared everyone around me gets. I know it’s not the right thing to do but I hate the feeling of people breathing down my neck, wondering what my next move will be. Hospitalization often is used as what I feel a threat. I say I’m not well and the next response is “do you need to go to the hospital?” NO!!! Not every episode requires me to be admitted. I do respect their fears though. I don’t have a good track record when it comes to coping well with my illness.

Now today. A complete switch. I woke bursting with energy. I had David drove nuts by the time he left for work because unlike the past few days, all I wanted to do was talk. I cooked chicken and brown rice for dinner. I have stripped and dusted every accessible surface in our 2 bedroom apartment. I’ve put fresh tea lights in all the candle holders. Sorted through and got rid of a bunch of stuff. Experimented with my hair using different clips. Up. Down. Sideways. Attempted to read but I spent 30 minutes on 2 pages. Every little sound and thought pulled me away. And sweat!!! There’s a blizzard outside and I have 2 windows open and a fan on. It’s like my blood pressure is through the roof. I don’t know.

This is ridiculous.

Seeking Mania

Would love to have an energy source to tap into. But no. No such thing exists for me. The only way I seem to boost my energy is if I somehow get a surge of adrenaline racing through my body. A fit of mania so to speak. I definitely am not one to embrace my bipolar disorder but I can honestly say that I would not mind having a manic episode. Just so that I can get out of this depressing monotony of my thinking process.