As a number of blogging friends that I know are also currently experiencing depression, seasonal or otherwise, I was asked to write on this topic. The person in question went from basically… being horny and having many orgasms each day to complete loss of desire that has lasted over a week. The question they wanted answered was if the loss of desire was due to loss of interest or depression.
The answer I have: It is depression.
I’ve been to more therapists than I can remember their names. One of the questions they ask, often in the first 5-10 minutes of the first meeting if you are feeling depressed is: how is your sex drive?
They ask this in couples therapy as well.
Loss of sex drive is one of the big tipoffs for many and it is especially noticeable when it involves a drastic change.
Since everyone has different things going on, I will just share how my process works in regards to this as it may lead to some observations that are applicable for others.
My own arousal is completely intertwined with feelings of submission. I do not get aroused without being in or thinking about D/s in some way. If I am aroused I am feeling submissive. If I am feeling submissive I am aroused.
The first thing that makes me aware that I have depression setting in is the inability for me to access my submissive mental space. For me, feeling submissive is a state of ultimate vulnerability where my heart is pulled to the surface and I am unable to avoid or hide my feelings.
As I have been dealing with depression for 30+ years and finally found a sustainable means of coping in the past 10 years, I have come to learn quite a bit about the process. I refer to the effects of my depression as my “demons.” They are basically impulses, thoughts, and feelings that creep into my head and begin to respond to random triggers and fill me with an impulse of negativity and pain.
One of note was when a friend and I were at a restaurant (I was 20) and she was coloring on the menu with a purple crayon and made a reference to Harold. This was a reference to a children’s book that I cherished from my youth, called Harold and the Purple Crayon. I probably read it and had it read to me well over 100 times from the ages of 2-4 and it carried with it many happy memories of the innocence of youth and times where I was protected from the world that regularly harmed me. I also remember when I was made to give it away at age 5. I had planned to keep it forever and read it to my children. Taking it away from me was a betrayal and it left me devastated (that same day I was forced to give up a number of precious childhood keepsakes). This event triggered me to relive the moments of lost innocence and it was a pivotal moment in my life when sentimental value ceased to exist for me. I relived feeling a part of my heart die and I was overwhelmed with pain at realizing I hated being alive and carrying all of this pain.
While not every trigger is as strong as this one was, they happen enough to make life… feel not good. I have since learned to “shrug off” the impulses, but it doesn’t stop me from having them. During my depression, this will happen anywhere from 1 to 200 times a day, with the worse the depression is the more often it happens.
My coping mechanism is to try and keep myself busy and occupied. Keep my brain thinking about unimportant things. These are the times where I might watch 75 episodes of a TV or anime series in a week. In turn, my heart closes off. My feelings dull and get numb. If I feel anything, it is living vicariously through whatever I am doing or watching.
As this happens, my sex drive shuts off. It’s not like I don’t want to do intimate and sexual things, but it is that I am unable feel vulnerable. When I am not vulnerable, I do not feel submissive. Without feeling submissive, I do not get aroused. Without arousal I have no sex drive. In times like now, where I do not have D/s in my day to day home life it leaves me stuck and blocked.
That being said, my vulnerability can be forced open in the presence of dominance. It requires an incredibly strict and harsh form of dominance, but it can in fact rip down my walls and keep me in a submissive and aroused state.
Hopefully this description will help them answer their question.