I’ve spoken about this here on the blog before, but for new readers:
Yes, it’s true, I have depression and anxiety.
Depression and anxiety are both disorders that can have a significant affect on your sex life. For me, depression hits harder than anxiety. Depression – and some anti-depressants – make me utterly disinterested in sex. Even though I take comfort in physical intimacy with my partner, I don’t usually feel super sexy. We make time to have sex because it’s important to us, but generally speaking, it’s not on my mind.
Aside from sex, my life functions pretty well on the kind of antidepressant I had been taking. I could work, I enjoyed my hobbies, and sometimes I had energy to exercise. I put on a little weight, but that wasn’t a huge burden when I compared it to the feelings I got from having hours-long anxiety spirals.
Overall, I just didn’t think it could be better, so I settled.
I put off seeing a psychiatrist here in Germany for a long time, thinking I wouldn’t be able to find one that suited my needs. I’ve had psychiatrists in the past who were at best disinterested in anything but my medication, and at worse incredibly hurtful with their words (“When are you getting a real job?”). The only one I had and absolutely adored was 8 months pregnant, and left for maternity leave soon after she started treating me.
At the beginning of June, someone I know had to miss their psychiatrist appointment but called to see if the doctor could see me instead. Miraculously, that worked. I didn’t have high hopes going into the appointment, but that changed pretty quickly.
Northern Germans are known for being a brisk and no-nonsense. Usually, that kind of manner doesn’t translate too well in mental healthcare. But I found her very reassuring. She had a kind demeanor, asked simple questions, and actually listened to me. She thought my job was interesting and understood that I prioritized my sex drive.
“Well, since you are having problems with your sex drive, and that is important to you, would you like to make a plan to try a new medication?”
Oh my God, how is this a rare experience? Why isn’t it common to have a doctor – especially a psychiatrist – listen to you and take your sexual concerns seriously?
After having an EEG (all clear!) and spending a month thinking about the switch, we met last week to get the ball rolling. Yesterday, I began the process of switching medications, which will take about a week. This week promises to be challenging, and there’s a chance I could have withdrawal symptoms for up to two weeks total. Yesterday, it was an hours-long headache. Today, I’m exhausted despite 9 hours of sleep. It’s not bad, but I’m not discounting the possibility that it could be. It could get bad.
But if this works, if I do have a higher sex drive and I’m still able to manage my anxiety and depression, then it could be absolutely life changing. If it doesn’t, then we’re back to the drawing board. And at least I know that I have a competent, caring doctor on my side.
Note: I don’t want to tell you what I’m going to be taking, and I don’t want to tell you what I switched from, because medication can be so different from person to person. I don’t have any medical training, and I don’t want anyone to take my blog post as some kind of health advice.