I Have Better Things To Do Than Survive

I cut my nails short.

cut my nails short

A fork ring also, for when I am out of spoons.

It’s a symbolic gesture to myself, one that serves to remind me to take care of myself while preparing for what’s to come. My fingernails have always grown long, strong and have been one of my vanity loves about myself, but I need them short right now.

Right now I am fighting with all of my everything not to fall down a deep depressive hole even though all the usual suspects are present. Loss, grief, stress, anxiety that reaches the moon, feeling and being out of control of my life. Having life move and change far too quickly for me to adapt to. Living with very strong trauma reminders (not triggers exactly, but reminders) and it would be so incredibly easy to just free fall to the bottom of that dark pit and sleep.

I don’t want that to happen though. Life is fucking terrifying, but right now it’s pretty terrifying for everyone I know. Taking a step back from the usual subjects of a depressive episode and pretending for at least a few minutes that there is a different American President, there is so much good in my life and possible in my life right now.

Val and I are back together and happy. I’m finding the ability to write again. The kids are all doing well and turning into lovely little people. Poly life is interesting. The world can change in a way that works better for me than how it has operated for a long time. I am closer to the life that I want than I have been in a very long time.

I “just” have to keep myself from falling down that hole, from self-sabotage (my depressive acting out of choice), from getting too deep into an anxiety hole. (Totally different than a depressive one for me, just as hard if not harder to get out of.) “Just” have to keep myself making steps forward and I can get to a level of okay that has been unfathomable until recently.

What the fuck does this have to do with my nails?

My nails are short and polished so that if I do fall down those holes, or if I start to slide, I don’t tear them off climbing back up. They are short and strong, they can grab hold, they can scratch and dig if needed. Chips in polish are little signs where I was fighting back. Scrubbing a floor, building lego sets, typing hard enough I should fear to break my keyboard.

So if – let’s be honest – when I do fall into a hole, one less part of me will be bloody and broken.

Life in Less Limbo

Y’all, it has been a week.

I’ve updated here and there as things have progressed, but it’s nice to put it all together so I can link instead of re-telling the story. As I said in my Surviving Life in Limbo… post, I’ve had a lot of concerning health issues pop up suddenly. Upside, they are rearing their ugly heads just as I finally have comprehensive health insurance. Bless my glorious marriage. Finally, I have progress and an update:

NO CANCER!!!

YAY!! CT Scan showed that my bladder is really unhappy but no signs of cancer. That and other tests have ruled cancer out. Que thrilled excitement.

 

Got this glorious news, made a bad-fucking-ass pot roast, and finally relaxed for a few hours. Watched MSNBC to hear my fantasy girlfriend Rachel Maddow talk about how Bernie Sanders won New Hampshire, and at commercial break, made the mistake of trying to pee.

Que mindbending pain. Acute, astonishing, stabbing, horrific pain shooting through my pelvis. On the only pain scale I consider to be legitimate, I was in “I am actively being mauled by a bear” that was living in my bladder.

This is the only pain chart that I consider to be legit. Thank you Hyperbole and a Half

This is the only pain chart that I consider to be legit. Thank you Hyperbole and a Half

Laid face down on our bed, one eye watching The Donald give a victory speech, which was not helping my pain levels at all, for most of the rest of the evening while fearing emptying my bladder ever again. Rachel Maddow kept making me laugh, which would also cause a pain spike. My emergency painkiller wasn’t doing anything and by morning I was looking for childcare so we could get me to the ER. I was biting and yelling into a towel, fearing any liquid. Okay, great, no cancer, but I feel like I’m dying. Thankfully, my Doctor found space to see me, because I loathe the ER. Would rather remove body parts in my bathroom than go through that bullshit.

I do not cry in public. It’s a thing. Have trouble letting my guard down enough to cry most of the time. I cried the whole way through the visit. No infection, nothing glaring on my CT scan, the best educated guess is Interstitial cystitis. That needs to be verified by a urologist, who I’ll be seeing asap. Interestingly, one of the treatments for interstitial cystitis is amitriptyline. The cause of my anorgasmia, #OrgasmQuest and a medication I stopped talking six weeks ago in favor of other medications that were previously beyond my financial means.

So, I’m back on amitriptyline. Last year when Quest started, this was the wonder drug for my depression, but as The Madness overtook our life and I hit one of the worst depressive episodes of my life, it stopped helping. Wellbutrin has been a better match for my depressive symptoms, with the added bonus of the return of my sex drive. When I get out of the acute pain, it will be interesting to see how both of those medications affect my sexuality. #OrgasmQuest is certainly not over.

First, I have to get out of this acute pain. I’m on mostly bed rest with pain management medication for the next few days. Friends and family are helping out and V has been amazing. I’ve spent most of the last two weeks curled around him in either pain or worry. They’ve been perfection in soothing my fears and taking care of my needs. I’m more comfortable in the caretaker role, much less as the patient, but they are keeping me from doing too much.

Meh

Really sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Progress though. At least it isn’t cancer, “just” probably another chronic pain condition that has no cure or great treatment plan. Yaaaayyyyy. *eye roll* So, that’s where I am. My body says I need to lie back down and pay more attention to the Democratic debate.

Thank you for all the love and good wishes. They mean the world to me. <3

Image

Microblogging: Sometimes I need to hear this…

Sometimes this feels patronizing, sometimes these words are what I need to hear. If you need to hear them, here they are.

Photo credit: https://prisonerofptsd.wordpress.com/wellness-toolbox/support-from-others/toolbox_013_support_004/

Photo credit: https://prisonerofptsd.wordpress.com/wellness-toolbox/support-from-others/toolbox_013_support_004/

Things I’ve Discovered About Myself Today…

This started out as a tweet, but I feel like expanding a little while I have a moment of quiet. Today I’ve learned a few things about myself. This new self that I exist in and as. The largest lesson is that it is incredibly easy to fall back into a pit of Panic Brain, and how very hard it is to shake myself loose once I’m there.

It started out simply. Last night my stream of emails stopped around 7pm. Not unusual. Most of the email exchanges I have are during normal-ish business hours, in the evening most people message me on social media instead. This morning I woke up, no email. Continues through my quiet time, which was nice as I was rather tired. Noon hits, which is the magical time that the youngest decides that he cannot bear to not constantly interact with me.

At the same time, twenty time sensitive emails also hit my inbox at once.

Cue panic. That moment of going from fine to OMG OVERWHELMED was like hitting a mental brick wall, then slowly sliding down. Ugh.

Drank water, stepped away from the cause of my overwhelmed for a few minutes, got some center back. Answered the emails, jumped into the mental health twitter chat by PBS, and kept kiddo happily entertained. Usually I’d feel like a Superhero for that, but no. The lingering panic remained.

After so many months of such unfathomable stress, feeling attacked from every angle, my brain just went into that mode and stayed there out of habit. I’m completely functional, you’d have to know me quite well to see the signs of distress,  but they linger.

Today I learned that I can fake it through bad mental times again. I can push panic to the side enough to get what needs to be done, done. That’s really impressive. That I when I feel like I have too much on my plate, I can step back and see how to handle things bit by bit. Again, really impressive.

Healing is going to take a very long time. Setbacks happen and will keep happening. There is still a very long way to go.

I’m getting there though. I’ll take it.

Stop Using The Mentally Ill as Your Scapegoat ~ #WhatMentallyIllLooksLike

The Stigma is deadly.

The last time I visited my parents my mom and I talked about something I had completely forgotten: When I was 20 a doctor tried to diagnose me with depression (this was 5 years before I started being treated) and we all freaked out and left his office pissed off. Why? Because we were outraged that he would suggest there was something mentally wrong with me– I wasn’t crazy. See, the stigma got me too. People avoid the treatment they need because of what the world tells them the diagnosis means and every time you casually refer to a murderer as “crazy” or say “mental illness” like it explains horrific violence you are reinforcing that impulse.

What Mentally Ill Looks Like by JoEllen Notte…

What is your most vivid childhood memory?

This is one of the few questions about my childhood that I can quickly answer. My most vivid childhood memory is sitting in a Doctor’s office, sobbing hysterically on my Mother in gut wrenching terror. I’m Nine and have just been told that it was in my best interests to go on an antidepressant. When my Mom can calm me down enough to speak, I tell her that I don’t want to go on meds because I don’t want to kill people. My nine-year-old self had already deeply internalized that mentally ill people, especially mentally ill people who are on medication, are dangerous killers. I don’t want to kill anyone. I know that how I feel isn’t how the kids around me feel, I want to be better, but I’m positive that if I take prozac I’ll become a murderer.

I know that I started taking prozac shortly after, but have no memory of how I was talked into taking the meds. Memory gets foggy again, though I remember often faking my caretakers out – putting the pill in a pocket or flushing it. Again, because I was positive that being on medication would make me kill people. Of course, skipping medication like that is dangerous, but the stigma was so deeply ingrained that I didn’t care. Missing doses made my suicidal ideation worse, but my brain said that was better than taking them as prescribed and turning into one of those “crazy” people on the news.

That nagging fear stayed in my brain well into adulthood when I finally saw studies that showed how mentally ill people were more likely to be victims of violence than commit these acts themselves. Even then, even now, that fear will pop up – even though I know that is wrong.

As soon as I saw the news about the Umpqua Community College mass shooting, I got the fuck offline. The weeks after the custody trial were some of the hardest, darkest days I’ve known as an adult, only in the last week and a half have I felt like life was real and that we would be okay again eventually. Darkness compounded by the knowledge that my mental illness, specifically words I have written here, were used against us as “proof” I am a lesser parent. I felt too fragile to deal with the bombardment of voices placing the blame for this tragedy on the mentally ill.

On me.

No matter how hard I try, those headlines, those memes, those clueless social media updates demanding we keep guns out of those “crazy” people’s hands hit me like personal attacks. They bring back that terrified child. They rip me open. I intellectually know how wrong they are, but the pain of seeing people I trust repeat those lies uncritically…It rips me open.

Again, from JoEllen’s piece:

Then it happened, the thing that always happens when folks want to ignore the gun conversation, the racism conversation, the misogyny conversation, hell, whateverconversations we really need to be having and when the shooter is sufficiently light-skinned (because, let’s not bullshit here) – the conversation turned to mental illness.

Suddenly there’s an explanation! Guns are safe you see, it’s just those unsafe mentally ill people that are the problem. Suddenly the term “mentally ill” is being flung around as a slur. Why? Because it’s the bad guy. Mental illness is the scapegoat. Then even the anti-gun people start doing it. Arguments like “Well gun control would keep guns out of the hands of crazy people!” happen. People talk about making registries where we track everyone with a mental illness, like mental illness = dangerous criminal. Pictures of wild-eyed shooters get trotted out (I’m not posting any of them, because fuck those guys) and everyone feels safer because this was an isolated crazy person.”

Everyone feels safer except us “crazies”. You know, some of the most vulnerable of our population.

My name is Crista Anne, and I have mental illness. I came out of the womb with mental illness, I will always have mental illness. In my 33 years, I’ve not been a danger to anyone but myself. I have been the victim of violent crime, repeatedly.

This is also what a mentally ill person looks like.

This is also #WhatMentallyIllLooksLike. I have Major Depressive Disorder & PTSD. I am Mighty.

I have no illusions that this scapegoating of the mentally ill will end anytime soon. At the same time, I can safely navigate myself to the wonderful #MedicatedandMighty hashtag on twitter now and see the thousands of astonishingly brave people sharing bits of their stories. Since #MedicatedandMighty overall does not have the sexual aspect to it that #OrgasmQuest does, this hashtag has been covered in many places Quest was not. The expansive positive coverage of life with mental illness thrills and touches me. It helps.

I choose to focus on the bravery displayed by those posting, the lives lost in the latest mass shooting to garner worldwide attention, and do what I can to push back on the intellectually dishonest bullshit that is ignoring our deeper societal problems and laying blame at the feet of those who are already fighting every single minute to survive.

This post has been incredibly hard to write. While I want to say more, much more, I am going to practice self-care and step away until I feel less raw. I’ll leave you with this segment from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver on the topic. ::Warning, you may want to have tissues within reach::

The End of The Madness – Not the Post I Want to Write

I think everyone knows that there are no winners when it comes to custody cases. Especially once it completely hits the court system, no one wins. There are only degrees of losses.

That being said, we lost in a profound way. Dramatic reduction in time with us.

Can’t really say more for a wide variety of reasons.

I’ve put the news out there with updates on Facebook and Twitter, but it’s taken me until now to be able to post it. The loss across the board is mostly unfathomable. Making words is hard. It’s just, I don’t have words. So, I take the easy way out and past in an FB status from yesterday.

I know that no one expects us to be okay right now, but I loathe how not okay I am. Functional, not rocking at the end of the bed, but holy shit – that’s where I want to be. That sounds great, getting into bed and not leaving for a few years.

Something I’m pretty positive I talked about in ‪#‎sfsmonster‬ was that with this anti-depressant that works for me, living without suicidal ideation is sometimes a hard and foreign. My brain has done a 180 on that, now adamant that I have to keep going, and it is jarring.

Right now I am stuck in a drive state but massively flaring anxiety keeps me on the edge of paralyzed. Thus, I’m fending off panic attacks left and right. I can take care of myself and the people who depend on me, I can get dressed and take care of the house. The dishes haven’t been left behind, the house isn’t a wreck (minus the playroom, that’s a disaster but fuckit), I got the trash out. All things that I’d be completely incapable of right now if not for medication.

I know I have to keep going, I know what to do to keep going, but anxiety right now keeps me semi paralysed. I even know that is okay, I’m actually doing a great job. We both are. This is the first huge body blow that I’ve taken without self harm impulses, which adds to how surreal life feels.

This should probably be a blog post, it probably will be. Now that I can write again, I feel obligated to share. Loading up wordpress makes me panic though. So I write here. Then get to the next step forward.

I loaded up wordpress and I’m hitting post. The Madness period of our life is far from over, but I don’t plan on talking about it much. It’s too raw for now.

I feel *almost* Mighty

Mental Illness, It’s a Thing in my Life

Mental illness folks, it’s not all fun and viral internet attention!

Kinda fell off the edge of the word as far as the internet has been concerned, but I think I’m good again. This is what happened, since speaking openly about mental illness has become one of my specialties.

First, the kids brought me the gift of strep throat. So I started my mini-hiatus because I was utterly wrecked. XVO was also ill, so we were giving everything we had plus a lot more to being the best parents we could be through illness. Then, some shit went down. What happened is too complicated, touching too many people in my world to begin to get everyone’s consent to write about it here, so I’m not going to get into much detail. I’m an Ethical Professional Oversharer.

So shit hit the fan, which leads to more shit hitting the fan. Things are really hard, we’re incredibly overwhelmed. How I deal with being overwhelmed is to shut down and do my damnest to concentrate on what I can handle, what I can fix. That even worked for a while! I wasn’t present online, but I was keeping my shit together mentally – not falling apart as I am so very prone to doing.

Until I couldn’t anymore. Since Sunday I’ve been in a panic episode, with each day getting worse and worse until yesterday I wasn’t able to do much more than sit on the end of our bed rocking back and forth, dizzy, sweating, trying not to hyperventilate. I’d woken up two days in a row to instant panic attacks, with delightful flashbacks to triggering events in my life. It was bad.

Then XVO reminded me that I have a doctor who gives a fuck about me, I should call her. AND I DID! That’s a big deal, when I’m in those horrific places reaching out for help is nearly impossible, more so if I need to talk on the phone. I got an emergency script of meds to get me back to at least functional until I can go in to see her and we can work out a new mental health strategy.

There was some awesome in there, and I’m not talking the SheVibe Cover. While in the panic state, I did not experience suicidal ideation! Which is shocking and amazing. Suicidal ideation is my bag, until amitriptyline, I probably thought about suicide on a near daily basis. It was my brain’s instant answer for everything. Stubbed your toe? Kill yourself! After years of therapy I learned to cope with that, eventually turning it into my own little joke that I didn’t share with anyone. “haha brain, that’s fucking ridiculous. Calm yourself.” No, no suicidal thoughts. “Just” a horrible cycle of panic that I couldn’t break, that kept snowballing.

Orally disintegrating clonazepam, I love you.

Going through the panic episode without also pushing through depression was a new experience. It was more frustrating than anything else, part of me knew that I was fully capable of all these things I could make myself do. Like, you know, opening my email or looking at messages. Not even because I was worried about harassment, I just couldn’t deal with the world beyond the walls of my house. Even friendly, loving concern. Too much. Hell, dealing with toddler life was too much within these walls. Hence the spending most of a day rocking back and forth.

Anyway, the cycle I was in appears to have broken. The Huge Life Stress is still *very* present, but it’s not triggering now. Hopefully the universe will cut us some slack the next day or two so I can completely pull my head above the water and get my mighty back. Today I’m dressed, I have makeup on. I’ve opened my email, bullshitted with Cooper. Played ball with Rawr, read books, cooked. Have a dear friend visiting from DC.

I feel like Me Again.

Now, #OrgasmQuest. There has been no progress because between illness and panic, masturbation hasn’t been on my radar at all. One attempt was made with the Form 5, but quickly abandoned as I realized I was too panicked to relax enough to enjoy anything. It’s now bedtime for the Rawr Monster, so perhaps I’ll be able to post again later with great success. We’ll see.

Mental Illness, it’s a thing in my life. When it hits hard, I fall off the radar. If I’m not posting anywhere? Chances are high that I’m in a bad mental place, not simply busy. I have to get myself back together, there isn’t much that outside forces can do. All the love and sweetness sent my way has been deeply appreciated, even if I didn’t really respond.

Now, I am off to finish the Mothering part of my day. Let’s all hope that he decides that brushing his teeth isn’t torture. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope the last week or two has been better for you than it has been for me.

Back With a New #OrgasmQuest Piece in @Mamalode

Ah, Greetings Darlings!

I took a little unscheduled break from posting, that migraine last week knocked me sideways. When I eventually recovered I felt like I had been out of commission for weeks instead of the two days that it actually was. Then we had an intense parenting load with bonus rare for the area snow storm. Have been as interactive as possible on twitter, but needed a little break from #OrgasmQuest so I didn’t completely burn out.

#OrgasmQuest is back with a new piece in Mamalode!

#OrgasmQuest by Mamalode graphic

#OrgasmQuest by Mamalode graphic

One Mom’s Quest for an Orgasm – This essay ended up being much harder than I anticipated.  I am naturally verbose and trying to condense how I got to #OrgasmQuest plus a bit about how Quest has been received into 500-ish words was far more difficult than I imagined. Worth the effort though, I really appreciate the chance to talk to a different audience. Parents, other Moms in particular, are often in this boat and the stigmas around mental illness & sexuality can be even more suffocating when you’re in a parental role. Thus far the essay seems to be getting a warm reception – Welcome to my world Mamalode readers!

Shortly I’ll have a longer #OrgasmQuest update – I’ve been quiet but Quest has been going strong. JoEllen, The Redhead Bedhead, and I also have teamed up for an important PSA about the ongoing conversation about Sex & Depression. The break was a lovely mini vacation, I’m back recharged and thrilled about the coming weeks. Keep an eye on this space, glory is about to happen.

Greetings Jezebel Folks

 

 

My webcam isn't the best, but I wave hello to you all

My webcam isn’t the best, but I wave hello to you all

Hi there!

Was eating a burrito, idly scrolling twitter when I saw that #OrgasmQuest was on the front page of Jezebel. Have spent most of the last hour staring in mild shock at the incredibly wonderful comments attached to the article. Thank you. Really.

Thank you.

The conversations going on over at that thread are beautiful. Seeing people sharing their stories and experiences is incredibly fulfilling, beyond the gains to my personal life, I deeply believe in lifting stigma around mental health, using medications to combat depression, and of course promoting masturbation. This is such a common issue, I’m proud to speak openly about it.

I am replying to comments on the article as I can, but please feel free to also comment here. I’m easily reached across social media and welcome these conversations. If you have a story that you’d like to share as part of #OrgasmQuest, I’d be honored to share it here. There is my Contact Me form here, or you can reach me on gmail (crista at).

Thank you for reading. Thank you for sharing. Thank you.

I would be remiss if I did not also thank my loves at SheVibe and Good Vibes for sponsoring #OrgasmQuest in the first place. Their support helped get this project off the ground and they have all my gratitude.

#OrgasmQuest Hits the @citypaper!

My dear friend Rachel Kramer Bussel interviewed me about #OrgasmQuest for the Philadelphia City Paper. I could not be more thrilled with how her column turned out or how wonderful the reception has been in the short time since posting. Happily overwhelmed is the best way to put it, as my inbox and mentions are now overflowing with love and support.

Cannot begin to express my gratitude, honestly this blurb made me tear up before I had even made it out of bed. Please read the full column, and if you’re so inclined – share widely. Beyond my adoration of Shameless Self Promotion, Rachel’s skills are unmatched. The more clicks the column receives – the more sex-positive, mental health stigma busting writing gets out into the collective consciousness.

Now! Behold what made me cry happy tears..

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimating that one in 10 American adults report having depression, the effect of medication on our sex lives isn’t an isolated concern. Moreover, the way Crista values masturbation is a model more of us could stand to follow. By privileging her solo sex life, she’s showing up powerfully in the rest of her life. For her, it’s about regaining her lost orgasm to be the best person she can be…

Read the full article

#OrgasmQuest Update: Important Clarification

After a few private conversations with peers about #OrgasmQuest, I’ve realized there are a few things that I need to clarify about my quest. To begin:

This is not about goal oriented sex.

Yes I know, the vibe is more effective a few feet lower.

Yes I know, the vibe is more effective a few feet lower.

I’ve never chased goal oriented sex. That was easy to say because my orgasm was always so plentiful, such a given, that I never had to chase orgasm. Partnered sex was always for the experience, for the pleasure, fun, intimacy, or hell – because there was nothing good on tv. Sometimes it was to get off without having to put forth much effort, but that was sheer laziness. Nothing wrong with that.

Once I had the IUD installed, started taking a tricyclic antidepressant and started Neurontin for my fibro, I began suffering from anorgasmia, like so many other people. Universe creating orgasms suddenly gone. Thus, #OrgasmQuest!

My partnered sex life is still absolutely fucking amazing. There have been a few times that I’ve had orgasms. Soft ones that felt like gentle waves. Nice, don’t get me wrong, but I miss those Universe Creating ones. Miss them because they are some of the best sensations in the world, not because my partnered sex life is suddenly lacking without them. That part of my sexuality is every bit as grand as it was before. Sex is still about the experience, intimacy, fun, pleasure, or because there isn’t anything interesting in the netflix queue.

What I am in absolutely relentless pursuit of is my masturbatory orgasm back. I *need* that venue of orgasm back because it is a tool for me much more than something sexual. Masturbation orgasms are a life hack.

I’m trying to get a quote from my Mom about this to back me up – for now you’ll just have to trust me. Not only did I come out of the womb depressed – one little hand was on my clitoris. When I was a toddler it was known as my “feeling good stuff” and I was taught that my feeling good stuff was awesome, but needed to be done in my room for privacy. (My Mom was/is a fucking bad-ass parent.) I’ve always been masturbating.

Masturbation orgasms are a tool for me in stopping a panic attack. I’m able to focus on pleasure, get off, and ride that through instead of descending into that dark place. When I get a migraine aura? Slam coffee, turn on my wevibe Tango, get off and *usually* I just have to deal with a bad headache instead of losing a day or more to the migraine. Too stressed to parent? Tag in another adult, lock myself in a room, get off and then suddenly I can handle the endless stream of demands. Scared to do a thing? Touch my clit and do it. Feeling a flare coming on? Same as above. Might push it off a few hours, at least long enough to take care of a few things so when I do crash, the house doesn’t go down without me.

#OrgasmQuest is not about goal oriented sex.

I strongly push back against the idea that orgasm is the end all, be all, most important part of a sexual encounter. I believe it is a great part of a sexual encounter, but if you’re also anorgasmic, your sex life can still be fucking fantastic. Mine is still fucking fantastic. Sex without orgasm is not a waste of time. It is not a failure.

#OrgasmQuest is all about getting my lifehack back, the part of my identity that is tied to being highly orgasmic though masturbation, and trying to support others who are facing similar struggles. I’ve received so many wonderful messages about the Quest, people bravely sharing their trials and so much loving support. We’re all in this together folks.

#OrgasmQuest: 3 Week Update Featuring The Original Magic Wand

Betty Fucking Dodson

Betty Fucking Dodson

Everyone* should own an Original Magic Wand Vibrator.

*Everyone who is interested in using a wand vibrator that is. I firmly believe this is a sexual tool box Must Have, something I’ve said for over a decade. The power the magic wand provides is unmatched, stimulating not only the tip of the clitoris, but all those glorious nerve endings through the vulva. Don’t own a vulva? I’ve yet to meet a penis owner who has tried a magic wand and disliked the sensations it provides. (EDIT: After posting one reached out to me! I can admit when I’m wrong.) Plus, these darlings are made to last – decades in many cases. If you are a person who is interested in strong vibrating stimulation, you should own one. Period. (Quick magic wand hack: if you find you go numb from intense vibes, try using a blanket/soft pants between the vibe and your body.)

 Pause reading now, & go buy one at Good Vibes. This post will be here when you get back.

Back now? Your Magic Wand is on it’s way?

Awesome.

You won’t be disappointed.

As stated in my Life on the Swingset Review, I don’t review products overall. Tons of folks have that down well, you can find many of the best on my sidebar. What I am doing here is sharing how this product is functioning within my #OrgasmQuest, this is the first update in an ongoing series. Let me tell you now, the Magic Wand will be spotlighted often.

Three weeks into my quest, two weeks into using the Original Magic Wand daily, I have mixed results to share. Let’s go back to what I said in the original #OrgasmQuest post:

My fibro med changes the way my brain interprets nerve sensation, so I’m going full power. I love my tango, but what my body needs is full clitoral stimulation covering my vulva, exactly what a wand style vibe achieves. This might not be an instant success, but long-term stimulation should do the trick.

Using the magic wand feels…well, magical. The full vulva stimulation is glorious, I’m instantly both relaxed and aroused. The high setting is on the buzzy side, the lower setting has a good rumble. Good Vibes was generous enough to send me a Pop Your Top Kit, the black ridged Pop Top is by far my favorite. (Tip for getting the Pop Tops on. Flip them inside out, match to the head of the wand, roll down and instant perfect fit!) I’m a ridged texture kind of person, so lubed up with Good Vibes Please Cream, the sensations are glorious. My masturbatory position is on my back while propped up with pillows so I can ride the bulbous end to my heart’s content. Let me emphasis this again: feels fucking amazing. I feel like a Sex Goddess while using it.

Still, I’m not orgasming yet. The sensations, the pleasure is incredible, I’m right there on the edge…I stay there on the edge..but the universe creating orgasm does not come. Not the Magic Wand’s fault though, I feel that the medication is still messing with how clitoral nerve stimulation is processed within my brain. The last two times I have used the Magic Wand I’ve felt the vaginal contractions that go along with my orgasm, my brain just isn’t cooperating that I should be having an out-of-body orgasmic experience along with those contractions.

The vaginal contractions are a huge and exciting step forward! The Original Magic Wand and I are headed in the right direction! We just need more time, which doesn’t completely surprise me as I suspected that long-term regular stimulation was going to be required. Mixed results, but with the recent addition of the vaginal contractions, I’m positive I’m on the right path.

My Next Step:

I also have a black Pop Tops Deluxe Silicone G-Spotter, which I have *not* tried yet. Want to spend another week with the full vulva stimulation before I move on to adding internal. Taking it slow here, but internal toys have rarely worked for me. Give myself another week to adjust to both medication and regular stimulation, then I’ll try mixing it up. My mind is open, maybe the G-Spotter will do the trick.

I’ll let you know.

 Disclaimer/Disclosure: Good Vibes sent me these glorious items in exchange for an honest review, which is exactly what this is. Should you make the wise decision to buy any or all of these products via my links, I will get a small commission from those sales. That amount of money is not enough to sway the views I’ve expressed here.

 

Carnalcopia: Depression, Orgasms, and Navigating the Murky Terrain of Mental Health

Surprise Motherfuckers!

Carnalcopia: A Swingset Podcast

Carnalcopia: A Swingset Podcast

Yet again you can find me on this week’s Carnalcopia episode.

After getting the kids to bed Sunday night, I was exhausted and upset that my fingers were too sore to blog. Posted to twitter that I was a sad panda about not being able to update here so I was going to climb into bed before ten pm. Right as I was about to close my laptop for the night, Ashley messaged me with a sweet plea to help save her from a 45 minute monologue (which I have faith she would have rocked) and fill in for Katie on this weeks podcast. Already having taken a liberal swig of NyQuil to wash down my bedtime medications, I sprayed down the back of my throbbing throat with numbing spray, slammed some caffeine and asked if we could please talk about sex, depression and mental health. I was the most confident in my abilities to ad-lib on those topics in my overly medicated state.

Lo! This week’s episode was born.

Ashley and I cover our experiences with being sexual while being depressed, how medications have affected our levels of desire and ability to get off, our deep appreciation for the sex education/blogging community, and of course I slip in a few minutes about football. (bawhahahaha) Normally I don’t listen to myself, but I did play this episode for the adults in our household because I’m pretty damn proud of how it turned out.

Listen here

Also, I mean it when I say folks can always reach out to me if they need advice, support, someone to listen or some kind words. All of my contact info is on the Contact Crista page. <3

Adventures in Better Living Through Pharmaceuticals

I am back to seeing the world through rainbows.

I am back to seeing the world through rainbows.

For most of my adult life I have lacked that magical thing known as health insurance. Once I came of age and was unable to utilize my Mother’s insurance, I lived in that terrifying place of facing financial ruin if I became ill or wanted to try and manage my conditions with medications. I came out of the womb depressed, then intense traumas at a young age added PTSD to the mix. Have intense migraine headaches. On top of all that I also have fibromyalgia. Managing that entanglement of physical and mental illnesses on my own has been a tough road, but I’m still here.

To try and care for myself on my own, I lost 150+ lbs over the course of many years, and have kept that weight off for 5 years. Less weight on my body greatly improved my baseline pain levels. Blissfully I’ve had friends who are physical therapists who helped me out, and other friends who are mental health professionals who allowed me to work through my intense bouts of depression or anxiety without much in the way of payment. My community has come together to keep me going and I am forever grateful for that.

After months upon months of the application process, I finally was approved for very basic medicare through the medicaid expansion in Virginia. Not full blown coverage, but enough that I could finally get a well woman (I hate that term) visit through Planned Parenthood and a visit with an amazing GP who works out of my local PP office. After extensively filling them in with my various conditions and then trying to dance around my medicaid limitations, we made a plan of action to start getting me to operating at something above barely functional.

After having multiple pregnancies around age 30, my period had become unbearable. That isn’t whining. I’ve had an unmediated childbirth in my livingroom, I know what labor feels like. Each and every month, I was having cramps on par with transitional labor and becoming anemic from blood loss. Every month I spent a week curled in agonizing pain, unable to do much of anything. So, our first step was to install the Mirena IUD with the goal of eventually ending my period all together. Fuck. Yes.

My GP had a laundry list of medications she wanted to put me on to combat the fibro, migraines, anxiety/PTSD, but my coverage does nothing to help with those costs. (We’re talking almost 2k a month out-of-pocket.) Until Val and I are legally married and I have his sweet, sweet health insurance, I’m on an inexpensive anti-depressant. I started that medication as the IUD was installed and prepared myself for the emotional roller coaster that is hormones and medications. Without going into too much detail, I went pretty fucking sideways for a few weeks.

Blissfully, things have evened out now and I feel AMAZING. My moods are much more even. I feel much more capable. Not overwhelmed every moment of every day. It’s wonderful, I’m so happy. So looking forward to insurance and seeing how much more I can improve with the other medications to help with fibro pain.

However – My orgasms have gone haywire.

Over my lifetime I have learned that if an anti-depressant says “sexual side effects may occur”, that means I will go hyper sexual. Constant arousal. Preferable to me than loss of sexual desire, but still annoying. As expected, the anti-depressant has done this. Most of the time I am eyeballing the couch debating rubbing against it. (This hasn’t actually happened. Yet.) I’m the Queen of Masturbation though, so I figured that spending all my free time with my We-Vibe Tango would reduce that issue. Sound plan, right?

Wrong.

When I orgasm now, I am instantly hit with intense cramping from the IUD. When I am intimate with my partners, this doesn’t enter my mind because I’m having a glorious time being fully in the moment with them and I orgasm with my usual frequency and intensity. Pain afterwards, but well worth it. When it comes to masturbation though, I think I am psyching myself out. Clitoral stimulation feels great (a majority of my masturbation is just external clitoral stimulation) getting right to the edge is no problem. I just cannot get over the top and into my usual stars exploding, universe creating, touching the divine orgasmic bliss.

It’s frustrating.

I feel mortal.

The obvious solution to keep me from humping walls while my body adjusts to the IUD is to have a ton of partnered sex. Here we hit another problem. We are both people with chronic pain. Times when we are both physically capable of intercourse and the kids aren’t banging on the door for more juice are few and far between.

I am a problem solver though, so I’ve reached out to some of my beloveds to test out some of the sexual accessories geared towards facilitating sex for people with pain or mobility issues. While I do not do many product reviews overall, I’m going to dip into that world on my quest to improve our cripple* sex life.

Do you have a suggestion on a product we should try? Want to join my quest by sending an item for an honest review? If so, please let me know via my Contact Page and I will get back to you ASAP.

*We are both physically disabled people who feel comfortable using the term cripple in regards to each other. I do not wish to upset anyone by using the term. <3