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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Sex

WARNING for the more conservative of my friends who read this: this may offend so please do not continue if a frank discussion on a broad range of sexual topics makes you uncomfortable. See you next post :-)

For those that remain:

Banjk wrote about a possible link between bipolar disorder (or other mental illness) and a Sexual Definition of Self. Not simply what one does and does not like in terms of sex, but how (and please correct me if I'm wrong, Collin) how the details of your sexual identity are linked to your sense of self. And since mental illness, certainly bipolar disorder, can provide a different kind of sense of self than compared to "normal" people, is the mental illness linked to a unique Sexual Definition of Self.

It makes me think.

I know that my sense of worth is directly tied to my sexuality. It's actually quite sad sometimes. Example:

Rob and I haven't "been together" in a few weeks. We've become both so busy, mid week baseball and hockey schedules make for late nights, a teenager in the house who is going to bed later because it's summer, my requirement to take Seroquel before bed (highly sedating): all have conspired to make the logistics difficult. But that doesn't stop my mind from questioning. We have weekends. But Rob, so tired from the week before, naps. I have instigated things periodically, but the man is so deep-in-the-bones tired, sometimes I just let him sleep.

Last night we went to dinner and a movie (Adam is still away). We came home around 10:15 and I took my medicine. Rob said he was going to settle in with an ice pack on his elbow (he's got very bad bursitis on the left one) and he'd stay up with the dog who'd been alone all day. Resigned to another night falling asleep alone, I settled in with a book (rereading Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace).

But then Rob returned, said he'd ice his arm later, and he came into bed with me.

Later, moments after "the big bang", I was in a position where I was faced away from him, face almost directly into the sheets. I said "You like me, you really like me", trying to use Sally Field to joke about how much I'd missed him.

He said "Of course I like you. I would hope you would never think otherwise". He got up and went into the bathroom. And out of nowhere I began to cry.

The room was quite dark and he came in to kiss me on the forehead and then to ice his arm. I tried to control my tears but they came, silent fat drops of salt water down my cheeks. Because of the dark, he didn't notice. He kissed me goodnight and left. And I cried myself to sleep.

All my life, my sense of worth has been tied to my sexual identity. Sex is a validation for me that I am still worthwhile. Sad, isn't it. I know the logical stuff, the things I would tell someone else who would say the same thing to me about their own life: of course you're valuable, of course your partner loves you no matter how often you've had sex lately, blah blah blah.

The added 40 lbs since being diagnosed just makes it worse. Of course when there's a considerable gap between the times we have sex, there's that little voice that is telling me it's because of my new body. Yes, part of me knows that Rob loves me deeply and that doesn't matter to him. But you've got to understand the irrationality of my mind sometimes.

And here is the possible connection to Banjk's question: is that irrationality simply stereotypical female insecurity? Or is the latent paranoia from the bipolar disorder? Or a bit of both?

As well, plain Jane vanilla sex has always bored me. I don't know why. But kink is important. Of course not constant, because then it isn't exciting anymore: it becomes the norm. But often enough that it is the regular thing. I do believe that, for me at least, that is related to the bipolar disorder. It is a way of getting that rush of mania.

I mean, think about it: the height of sexual activity is the high of manic activity. That's why "questionable" sexual behaviour is one of the key markers of bipolar mania. We want that physical rush, that feeling of walking the razor's edge and never knowing when we might fall off. That thrill, that independent sense of potential loss of control into beautiful chaos.

Before being diagnosed, questionable sexual behaviour was my bread and butter. I was somehow able to not get caught for 99% of it. But there are things that I know were, in retrospect, (thinking of one event in particular, 12 years before I was diagnosed), both attempts to get that rush and to reinforce my own sense of self worth. They both worked, for a while, till the next need for speed came again.

And sad to say, I still miss that, that rush. That particular sexual rush.

Does any of this make sense?


Anonymous Anonymous said...
Yes, it makes perfect sense. And I think you are right that bipolar people identify with their sexualityi more closelly than other people do. That was part of who Michele was..These fricking drugs we take rob me of some ofo othat. I actually have do drive left most of the time. There is an attorney I see that, for other reasons I don't want to get physical with again. He would. But his attempts to sway me, leave me luke warm usually. It's a part of me that is lost if I am to be stable apparently.

Hell yes I miss the manic quality of on-the-edge extraordinary sexual activity. It was like dining on an exotic cuisine. I had the taste for it, that is certain. And Tim, my soulmate was
of like mind. Together we experienced many delights. But he is gone...my playful companion...half of the fun -- he was also bipolar...so, yes Blondzila, I agree with all you have said and mourn the loss. But be cheered because you do have a husband who loves you and you can still have sex. I'm sitting here with an unimaginative vibrator! haha.  

Blogger Gigglezngrinz said...
I can identify with this need and am also bipolar. There has to be something unusual or risky about the encounter to keep me interested, whether it is new places or new things. I never attributed it to being bipolar so thank you for making that connection for me.  

Blogger distantvoices said...
Truly I don't think there is anything wrong with linking self worth to sexual identity. I was reading recently that people with a mental illness,or those who will go on the develop a mental illness, 'feel' the things that are most important to people far more deeply than others .

From my experience this is certainly true ,and was one of the things that attracted me to my wife.The humdrum just isn't an option with her...  

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