Yesterday I had a visit with the pain management doctor. It was a brief check in. It did not quite go how I expected on a few levels. He’s very interested in the totality of my health so he asks a lot of questions about my mental health. I was blunt in saying that I’ve been very depressed. He got really intense and asked me what is going on?
I told him that my husband and I are in a rough spot in our sex life. That things have been rocky on and off in that department from the beginning because I am so fucked up.
I started crying.
The doctor did this thing where he swelled like a lizard trying to intimidate a predator. He started saying with great emphasis, “YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME FOR ANY OF THIS. THAT’S NOT OK. BAD PEOPLE DID BAD THINGS TO YOU. YOU BEAR NO RESPONSIBILITY FOR THESE RESULTS.”
He tried to present a metaphor to me about who is responsible for sexual health and that kind of failed when I rattled off loudly and emphatically that if you don’t ask someone’s STD status and you choose to not wear a condom… you kind of deserve what you get. He didn’t think I would feel like that at all.
He decided to switch gears and explain this a different way since I wouldn’t go along with his beliefs about sexual responsibility.
He said, “Ok fine. Imagine you are a bus. Your responsibility in this life is to drive the bus and stay on the road. Well guess what? Your bus happens to be going through a hurricane. The hurricane isn’t your fault. The hurricane is what other people have chosen to do to you and there is nothing you can do about it. You just have to stay on the road. That’s your task. You can’t control how hard the winds buffet you and you can’t control how much debris whacks the outside of the bus and you can’t control if pieces fly off the bus because of outside elements attacking your bus. Ok, you with me? Ok. Here’s my point: YOU KEPT THE BUS ON THE FUCKING ROAD NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU.”
He then asked me if I had disclosed about my background before I married Noah, essentially… was I allowing him to have full consent when he married a crazy person. I said oh yes. I told him all about my fucked up history and mental illness and my issues. I mean, as best as I could.
He said, “Then it is your husband’s fucking fault he married you and he NEVER GETS TO BITCH ABOUT YOU HAVING PROBLEMS.”
I felt… completely stunned. I was sobbing at this point. I don’t think I have ever in my life had a doctor explode and swear at me so much. That was fairly shocking. Holy tomato. I mean, I swear… but doctors don’t usually swear back.
He told me that he has trauma in his background… not like mine but really severe trauma of a slightly different kind. He looked rather haunted when he referenced it. He did that brief almost hollowed out looking thing that people do when they think back to the ghosts that haunt them.
He told me that it isn’t ok for people to be angry with us for coping with what was done to us by bad people. If we react in a bad way at some time… it’s not our fault. We are doing our best to cope with what has been thrown at us and no one gets to judge us for this.
I told him that being married to a mentally ill person is very rough even if no one is to blame. He glowered and said that even if it is rough they don’t get to bitch. This is what they signed on for.
I just… kind of stopped arguing and kept crying. Because goodness. I don’t agree that mentally ill people are never to be held responsible for their behavior. That’s fucked up.
But Sarah’s probably right and I’m taking on a bullshit level of responsibility here.
I came home last night and told Noah that I’ve been having the thought process that… I didn’t cause the shame he feels about his sexuality. But I did fail to heal it and that was something he dearly wanted our marriage to accomplish. And I feel like there is some element where he is very upset with me for failing to fix that. But I can’t. That’s not in me to fix. That’s not about me, not really. That’s not even about how often I fuck him. That’s bigger than me. That’s bigger than me having physical problems.
If we could both get past feeling so bad about ourselves… it wouldn’t be a big deal if he wanted to masturbate with/near me when my cunt is not up for sex. I like mutual masturbation a lot. I think it’s a great game. And frankly… when I know I’m really not expected to take my pants off I have a lot of fun playing with a cock. They are neat. That’s not something I react negatively to. When I feel I really don’t have to take my pants off.
But that’s the rub. I self impose this feeling that I’m bad if I don’t escalate the sex as quickly as possible.
The pressure doesn’t come mostly from Noah. It is about what I feel is mandatory.
And given that we have records going back to day one of our marriage… I think we can count on our fingers how many months we have skipped sex in 11 years (including that 6 month road trip). There is no case whatsoever for sexual withholding. That is just literally not happening. We don’t have sex 2-3 times a day like Noah would prefer… but Jesus H Christ on toast.
Most bad months we still have sex 2-4 times.
Noah has genuinely never had to cope with a real drought. The longest periods of celibacy we have experienced are immediately post-partum and if you want to complain about that I get to beat you until you are black and blue because MY GOD DAMN CUNT WAS RIPPED APART AND YOU ARE A STUPID SELFISH PIECE OF SHIT IF YOU DON’T FUCKING CARE.
That’s the one time in my life that I will defend my pussy like a god damn honey badger. You don’t get to complain that my cunt isn’t performing well enough right after I give birth. Fuck you all the way to hell and back. NOT OK.
I know women who were not ok with having their cunt touched for a god damn year. I wait like 3 months.
No bitching about my post partum recovery time. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. Ever. (Not that Noah has ever complained. He was willing to try when the doctor gave us the go ahead with the first kid and I declared it a failed attempt and made him stop and he was patient until I was ready to try again. He did not ask to try so early the second time. Noah actually did just fine in this department. So my ranting is at the generic universe and isn’t about him.)
Yesterday when I was talking to my various medical people (acupuncture, pain doctor, and sleep people in one day) and they asked me about how my marriage is going… I was conscious of how much of a problem it was that my former shrink thought Noah could do no god damn wrong and I needed to always compromise in his favor. I said, “He’s a good husband but he’s a person so he screws up sometimes.” That got nods and acceptance. That’s a much more fucking realistic picture of him.
He is a good husband. But he’s a human being so he fucks up sometimes. That’s not the end of the world. I don’t reject people out of hand for fucking up sometimes. That’s life.
But sometimes I cope very poorly with the set of skills I have within me. I cope in ways that hurt me and people around me because I don’t have a better way of handling what is happening to me. Sometimes all the ways I have to cope seem to fail and I feel like I need the big guns and those are never fucking pleasant to be around.
I don’t always cope in nice ways that make other people feel comfy and happy. Sometimes I just keep the fucking bus on the road and that’s the god damn best I can do.
The doctor got really quiet and intense near the end of the appointment. He looked at me for a long minute or so. He said, “I hope you understand how impressive it is that you are still here. The problems you cause by being here are nothing to compare to the miracle of your presence. Most people would die if they went through the size of hurricane you went through. You may not always be convenient, but it’s not your fault and I’m really glad you are here.”
I don’t know that I’ve ever had a non-psych doctor make me cry like that. That was so intense.