trileptal_tablets

Something happened back in 2009.

My joyless marriage to Millie was bottoming out. Early in the year, as I was falling into a deep and paralyzing depression, I was hospitalized with pneumonia and, a month later, hospitalized again with complications related to the pneumonia.

By the time summer rolled around, I was doing much better, although things with Millie were complicated by severe difficulties she was confronting with the arrival of a newborn granddaughter a long way from where we lived and the fact that two of her family members were terminally ill.

But something happened inside me that I’ll never figure out.  My bouts with depression, my falling into the black hole of energy-less paralysis, disappeared. As I write this paragraph in December, 2016, I am happy to report that the paralyzing depression I experienced in 2009 — and it was similar to bouts I had experienced over the previous thirty to thirty-five years — was my last incident to date.

It’s been a remarkable development. Every morning I wake up and I’m not greeted by the waterlogged duvet of heaviness that I used to feel during bouts of depression. My temperament has evened out — I almost never have flashes of frustration or, as I’ve come to believe I used to experience, flashes of overwhelming fear.

No one at home, or in my family,  is on eggshells around me any longer because I’m no longer given over to brief fits of panic or instant, teeth gnashing frustration. I never did anyone physical harm when these outbursts occurred, but their unpredictability and suddenness darkened my married life and my family life.

My condition contributed mightily to the joylessness of our marriage.

As more days passed without bouts of depression, and as I was spending less and less time walled off in my bedroom, sleeping or avoiding human contact, I suddenly realized, in the spring of 2012, that I wanted to stop hassling Millie about things, thinks like money, our sexless life, remembering to do things, messing up the house, and other stuff I hassled her about. I didn’t exactly utter this commitment out loud, but made a promise within myself that I was going to trust that things in my life with Millie were going to work out and that hassling Millie never made anything better, but, in fact, poisoned things between us.

I’ve kept this promise. Our life together gets sweeter and sweeter. No haranguing. No riding Millie’s ass. No digs. No bossing Millie around. I’ve all but lost the compulsion I once had to think I could improve our life together by exercising more control over our day to day lives.

Our joyless marriage is no longer joyless. We often sit in welcome, not cold, silence for long periods of time and we just as often sit and tell stories, laugh bout absurd things we’ve observed or read about or experienced, and try to figure out where our lives are headed.

One more thing. Well over a year ago, I needed a refill of the prescription I was taking to treat my mood swings, to treat whatever level of bi-polarity I had been suffering from. My primary care doctor wouldn’t authorize the refill until I paid a psychiatrist a visit.

I made an appointment with a local psychiatric nurse practitioner and told her that I was interested in trying to figure out if possibly I no longer needed the medicine I’d been taking.

We talked. At the end of our conversation, she told me that she was not that impressed with my claims to being even mildly bi-polar and she was in full agreement that it might be time to wean me off the drug.

I lessened my dosage. There were no ill effects. I revisited the N.P. and she agreed it was time to go off the medicine entirely. After a few months of not taking the medicine, I visited her again, and reported, again, no ill effects.

I was done taking this prescription.

I continue to live free of the pressure and torment of depression. I don’t know why or how this happened back in 2009, but this freedom has not only helped me live my days more happily, it has helped reverse much of the misery of my once joyless marriage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sex Buddies

September 15, 2009

sex chart

Many, many years ago Sarah’s marriage was falling apart and mine already had.

We were really good friends and seized the opportunity presented by our failed marriages to become sex buddies.

It was the best sex of my life and lasted for just over a year.

It was misleading, though.

For both me and Sarah, sex was not only a way to have fun together and become even better friends, it was a means of relieving the stress of our marital difficulties.  We experienced sex as a retreat, as a way to not only escape our troubles, but to help build each other’s esteem.

I loved this way of having sex.  We both knew that one day our sex buddy time would end, that we really were not cut out for a relationship that involved getting involved in each other’s business, but we were ecstatic to enjoy the time we had.

Why was it misleading?

Well, Sarah spoiled me.

When we stopped being sex buddies and got involved in other relationships, I went into these other relationships thinking that these other women would also look to sex with me as a way to relieve stress, as a means of comforting one another, and as a way of having at least a brief interlude of fun and mutual affection in the midst of otherwise difficult times.

It’s never happened again.

Millie and I haven’t had sex,I mean intercourse, in, well,I’m sure it’s been almost ten years.  I honestly don’t remember the last time, but I do remember being naked together on an afternoon not long after 9/11 that was wonderful, but we didn’t have sex and I remember Millie coming on strong to me a couple of times when we were drunk and I couldn’t perform.   These incidents were at least seven, if not eight, years ago.

I’ve learned that when she’s under any level of duress, Millie cannot surrender herself to sex.

It’s pretty much that simple and over the last several years, thanks to family illnesses, kids having accidents, pressures at work for Millie, and other points of stress and duress, Millie’s libido died.

It’s odd.  For me, if I’ve had a tough day at work, with conflict, too much work and too little time, or if I’ve had to participate in a painful or tedious meeting, coming home, relaxing with Millie, becoming playful, seducing each other, having the evening climax with sex would be a perfect way to let go of the work place, surrender myself to playfulness and fun, and relieve the tension.

Not Millie.  The stress gnaws at her, tightens her up, and makes having fun with each other nearly impossible.

Millie unwinds by drinking some whiskey or wine.

In the past, the booze would sometimes loosen her up to feel relaxed enough to play in bed, but about eight to ten years ago that disappeared.

For me, not making love in the midst of stress has heightened my sense of stress, anxiety, and fatigue. By masturbating, I can bring myself to orgasm, thus having the physical sensation of pleasure and release, but it’s a poor substitute for making love with my wife.

I married Millie so we could become mates in the life of the mind and spirit.

I married Millie so we could be sex buddies, too.

That hasn’t worked out.  I don’t think it ever mattered that much to Millie.  I see sex as central to marriage and a long term relationship.

To Millie, it seems insignificant.

Having a sexless marriage contributes significantly to our joyless marriage.