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.

Holy Shit This is Personal

I’ve been posting again, as you’ve probably noticed. Trying to get my words back, trying to get back into the particular personal mindset that used to be so natural to me as a Professional Oversharer. It’s hard. It’s so much harder than I thought. To be fully and painfully honest – I’ve been utterly unreliable with writing. For a bit, flat out cannot do it. My mind says “Of course you can write that – it’s a blog post you could do in your sleep.” Which is mostly true, my experience with writing simple blog posts is so vast I should and could do basics in my sleep.

The problem is that when I start to get into sex blogging – reviewing, writing out basic tips and tricks, talking about my sexuality – PTSD kicks my ass. As I type, my brain goes “Are these words going to end up in court again? Is this the review that is entered into evidence of you being unfit? How will this be used against me?” 

By the time my brain hits that last line, I’m sobbing at my computer until I close it and then put my head on it to cry more. (I didn’t use to be a crier, but the last two years have changed me so much.) It’s hard to face that one of the things you love most, that a skill and tool that used to be so healing and freeing now fills me with pain, dread, fear and panic.

My loves at Vibrant – a new company that I am so in love with and so euphoric to support alongside the other folks who are Doing It Right – have been beyond kind and patient with me. I’ve been writing a very simple product highlight for almost two weeks. Taking so long because I have to stop and cry. Stop and calm the panic down. Stop and remind myself where I am in my timeline. That it is okay, I can do this again, that period is over.

You can be you again. You can be opinionated and openly sexual. You can write and share and be vulnerable again.

The next tab over is the Product Highlight that’s done, editing it now, crying. Writing this stream of conscious post about how scared and panicked I am is somehow far less scary. Putting up this picture of me crying, because I want to be vulnerable and soft online again – is far less scary. The last two years hurt me, but I am going to push through and get this back. Because I need this. I need to be able to do and write posts, reviews, sexuality rants. That is all part of my core now.

Just gotta cry it out first.

Crying Crista, being vulnerable again

Getting better is really hard. Really, Really Hard.

Aside

2017 is a Swan Dive

I don’t know how to do this anymore. Don’t know how to be me. Hell, who I am.

What this site should be.

Everything? Random? Some me? As much of myself as I can let out?

How do I do this from here? This spot. This moment in time as much as this moment in my life.

How am I safer? Is there even a safer to strive for? Will it make any difference? How can it be safe to exist as I know again?

I can’t stop.

I can’t stop who I am, but I’ve been frozen. Paralyzed by the weight of it all. Processing, continuous processing but from the same frozen place. Everything in me wants, needs to move forward but how. How? What’s the best way if there isn’t a right way?

No one can answer this for me, but I cannot stand to stay still.

In the end, 2017 is a swan dive. “I’m gonna do my best swan dive into shark infested waters. Gonna take out my tampon and start splashing around.”

Gonna get my feet wet
until I drown

Crista Anne / Rainbow Revolutionary

The Realities of my life have changed

While I wasn’t posting, while I was getting myself better and healing my family as much as possible, I was also weighing heavy decisions about what to do with…this. #OrgasmQuest changed my life in many ways. Many amazing ways, also many difficult ones. Certainly changed my interactions with social media. It has taken time and distance to sort these out. It has taken a lot of deep thought on how I want to proceed. Who I want to be next. Now that people are paying attention to what I have to say – I feel compelled to speak.

The things I want to talk about from here on out do not always work together. It has taken me a while to sort out, but I’ve decided to split myself to a degree. CristaAnne, this site, is going to be me. Rainbow Revolutionary, a site that is starting to come together will be the home of #OrgasmQuest 2.0, my sexuality writing and activism. Once I had the domain, the changes started to click together for me.

The hardest question was how would I make this change known?

In the various professional groups I’m in I’ve watched how a number of successful folks rolled out new sites, new training programs, new directions for their brands. So many wonderful friends and peers gave me their advice on how to shift branding and I soaked up all their brilliance.

Overall, the theme was to get both sites done – then roll out a contest or giveaway to celebrate. Which is an excellent way to go about building a brand and business. Which is how I started to plan this out. Get everything ready & rainbowed – then make a splash with RainbowRevolutionary at Woodhull.

V worked fucking magic resurrecting the content from one of my earlier sex blogs – PinkSexGeek – and loaded it as back content for Rainbow. That content is all 6-8 years old, and much of it is *adorable* in my baby sex geekdom. My love Cooper and I started talking a bit about design and trading design skills for social media skills. Things were going along nicely.

There was one problem though…

I am not slick marketing or even all that together. My plans were coming together nicely, but they quickly started to feel decidedly not me. My work needs to feel like me or things start to fall apart. When my work feels inauthentic – for any reason – I begin to develop anxiety complexes around it. Those anxiety complexes can become vast and insurmountable in an astonishingly quick amount of time.

If there were awards for speed and complexity of creating these complexes, I’d have shelves of trophies.

A huge part of getting better for me is to work very hard on not setting myself up for failure. Another trophy worthy skill of mine. Very quickly I could see the small ways that is was setting myself up and how they were about to become big issues.

So, I’m doing this my way – Like everything else.

I’m wildly successful when I do things my way so I should probably run with that. I’m approaching 20 years of oversharing, 20 years of being openly a mess online. The awesome thing I have learned is that pretty much everyone else is just as much of a mess, they’re just better at covering that. They’re more comfortable covering their messiness, and I am more comfortable sharing it.

Radical Softness

The Shaming of Feelings Isn't Helping Anyone - Credit lora mathis

The Shaming of Feelings Isn’t Helping Anyone – Credit lora mathis

CristaAnne, this site, will be my radical softness and open vulnerability. After expressing myself this way for 20 years, this is how I process. Over the last year, when I did not feel safe using this tool, was the most disconnected I’ve felt from myself. So I’m using it.

This is my messy life, my messy brain, my messy fumbling though adulthood and parenting. Trial and error, stops and starts, victories and fuckups. Be the change you want to see in the world. This is what I want to see in the world. Less glossy perfection, less hiding of scars, hiding the broken bits that we all have. My power has always been tied to the fact that I am comfortable talking about the every day experiences were supposed to hide. I have this skill because I’m not good at hiding things.

So I’m going to overshare creating Rainbow as I overshare everything else. I will continue my policy of no comment sections, but goodness knows I am easily reachable across the net. When I’m looking for feedback, I’ll put a contact form at the bottom so you can interact with me. I love hearing from and interacting with people – but the internet needs to grow up and learn manners again before I begin to think about comments.

So, your choice. You can watch me sort myself out as I come back to life, or you can just pop in when I’ve gotten something figured out. May not be the expert way to do things, but it’s mine and I’m comfortable with that.

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

Ahem, @buzzfeed? A quick note about antidepressants…

Buzzfeed has an article that is making the rounds, 16 Things No One Tells You About Taking Antidepressants.

Yay! Awesome! I am honestly thrilled to see more conversation that normalizes and de-stigmatizes taking antidepressants if needed. The piece has a lot of good information that’s shared in a positive and reassuring way. Again, awesome. Thank you.

That being said, let’s chat about “#5. Yes, they might affect your sex drive.”

I do enjoy this graphic

Antidepressants often have sexual side effects..

 No one tells you that sexual side effects can occur while on antidepressants?

*ahem*

If I could please direct you just over a few clicks to your Trashy” Feed. There, I linked it so it’s nice and easy. Scroll down a little over halfway down that page and note “This Woman Is Live-Tweeting Her Struggle To Orgasm On Anti-Depressants.”

Hi! That’s me.

Baby Crista!!

Selfie from right after I posted the first #OrgasmQuest post

A year later, still chillin on the “trashy” feed. Talking about how antidepressants can affect your sex life and ability to orgasm. Talking about how important it can be to prioritize your sex life/sexuality through depression if you are a sexual person. Talking about all the media attention I was getting and the bullshit I was dealing with because I deeply believe my message is vital.

Let me put this out there: Maybe. Just maybe, more people would be talking about the fact that medications can screw up your sex drive and orgasmic ability if they weren’t shamed or mocked for doing it.

Most of the comments on that article are great, and most of the votes are pretty okay. However this article on me/#OrgasmQuest – while marked “Win” – has stayed on the Trashy Feed for a fucking a year. I mean, thanks for the views an all, but seriously – the tag for the trashy feed says “adj. of poor quality …. Ugh, so trashy.” People are trying to tell people about how medications/antidepressants can affect sexuality, sex drive and orgasmic ability. Without being shamed.

Maybe try that.

Just sayin’

Edited to add: Re-reading this post 24 hours later I want to add that my issue/annoyance is not with the author of the piece. As I said at the top, I was/am thrilled to see good information shared in a positive and normative way about depression. I also don’t expect the author to know every article ever on Buzzfeed, especially one that is a year old. My annoyance is with Buzzfeed the site. I’ve seen a few articles that talk about the importance of de-stigmatizing depression/sexuality while a few clicks over I’m being stigmatized for talking about sexuality and depression. Apologies that I didn’t make that more clear at first.

Surviving Life in Limbo

Life in limbo is not my strongest suit.

#MedicatedandMighty selfie

#MedicatedandMighty selfie

I declared 2016 to be the year of Joyful. After the unending horror show of 2015, devastating our world so completely it will never be the same again, I declared this year would be joy. I would find joy in my work, in my home life, in the wonderfulness that is being Partnered to my love. Recovering joy and recovering hope for the future.

One of the biggest reasons I felt hopeful was that on the first of the year, I finally had comprehensive health insurance for the first time in years. Regular therapy again. Seeing my doctor to get on the meds that help both my mental and physical illness so that I could work my way into being even more functional. I did a fantastic job on my own, but I do need meds to help me get where I want to go. Especially because I have had extreme pain in my lower abdomen – the consensus was that the hypothesized early endometriosis had gotten worse and I’d need laparoscopy to take care of that. Grabbed the first available appointment with my amazing GP and off we went.

Routine labs because it had been years since I’ve had a physical or the like. Started some meds for fibro, anxiety and depression. All good. Joyful here I come. I was so thrilled, finally I was getting back to my version of “better”. It was within reach again.

Then I needed to come back for another quick test. My nurse brushed it off as no big deal, they just wanted to run something else and needed more urine. Since I always need to pee, no big deal. Didn’t really give it a second thought.

The first depression med we tried obviously wasn’t working for me, so I grabbed a spot on the schedule just before my Partner so we could make changes. Routine stuff right?

Nope.

Some of my labs come back with concerning results. We sit down and talk more about my various symptoms – a majority I’ve chalked up to living with fibro. Here, pee in a cup again. Everyone’s body language changes. My nurse is patting me kindly. My doctor is offering hugs. This is wonderful for me, but alarm bells go off because I’ve been sick all my life. When the doctor wants to hug you, shit has gone wrong.

Shit has gone wrong. The fuckton of tests that have been run have alarming results and quick checks in my now three-hour routine visit continue to be alarming. “The most likely cause for all this is cancer.”

My Doctor is hugging me with a very sad look on her face.

“Likely cancer” and diagnosed with cancer are obviously two very different things. There are a bunch of really unpleasant tests that need to be done between now and then, all of which are currently waiting for fucking authorization from insurance. Of course, then Epic Snow shut down the east coast, so I’ve been told it will take longer than usual.

We just spent the last year embroiled in one of the most vicious custody battles one can imagine. My professional career has been used against us in court to our detriment. The outcome of The Madness was almost the worst it could be. Our family has been ripped apart. I’ve been in one of the worst depressive cycles of my adult life.

I fucking clawed my way back up from that hell though. We got married. I was headed into my year of joy. Get this medical stuff out-of-the-way and I was going to take off. I have workshops to plan. Podcasts to be on. Blogger Outreach and planning for the ’16 Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit. Articles to write. #OrgasmQuest to get going again. I have shit to do.

“Likely Cancer”

This fucking stopped me in my tracks. Even if it isn’t cancer, there is something very wrong going on. The testing process alone is going to be harrowing, trust me – I’ve been through the gamut of testing most of my life. Now, to wait an unknown period of time before we can even begin that because of the goddamn storm.

This is too much. #IamMighty and I am a freaking Superhero. A Rainbow Colored Pleasure Revolutionary. While I am sweet and kind – I’m also tough as shit. Even freaking Superheroes hit their limit and this is mine. Even more limbo. Even more of my life and future completely out of my hands right now.

So here is the deal. This sex blog is pretty deviod of sexy now. As soon as I possibly can I want to fix that. Throwing myself into writing, throwing myself into talking about sex toys, throwing myself into my continued #OrgasmQuest is the way I’ll get through this.

It’s coming, but I’m not there yet. I’m still rocked and semi paralyzed by living in limbo. Overwhelmed by yet another crisis on the horizon. I have no idea what is coming next, but somehow I’ll survive this as well.

I’m doing the best I can. Thank you for sticking by me.

#OrgasmQuest Turns One

#OrgasmQuest turns one & I’m not what to say.

Baby Crista!!

Selfie from right after I posted the first #OrgasmQuest post

A year ago right now I was wiggling in bed celebrating that I’d made due on a promised blog post…

I’d come up with an idea, found sponsors, and followed through with “Crista and her #OrgasmQuest“. Wriggling happily because I’d been disconnected from my community for a while but this was the start of “dipping my toes” back in. Finally I had a “little project” to contribute with again.

Ha. Ha. Ha!

A year later it’s all a blur of my jaw hanging on the floor. Waking up every morning for weeks going “Okay, where I am covered today?” or “What did I do now?”

As time passed hands began to cover my eyes during that first peek at twitter.

It was a wild, wonderful, scary, intense, and above all else – surreal – experience.

A year later I’m surprised and thankful that so many people have stuck with me through the ups and mostly downs.

#Orgasmquest shirt on for the first time!

The first time I put on my @SheVibe #OrgasmQuest superhero shirt

Honestly, at the moment this sex writer is not all that sexy. Newlywed or not. Masturbation moments are few and far between, pain levels are so in the way that intimacy is mostly cuddling and words of affirmation. (As that’s my main love language, this works wonderfully.) Shortly my medications are going to change as I get back to this glorious world of comprehensive health coverage. Mostly I’m biding my time until that happens, see what challenges or lack of challenges there will be once it begins. As #OrgasmQuest turns one, I may be right back to where I was at the start. Thankfully, if I am, it is with the glorious wisdom about my body that gained.

My energy has been focused on enjoying feeling joyful again, reconnecting with the world, and creating positive routines that I can stick with as I keep climbing out of that depressive hole. Nothing that warrants world-wide media coverage, which is a nice change.

There will be reposting of my favorite #OrgasmQuest articles over the next few days on twitter. My life is about to be packed with all the joys and stresses that come with the holidays in a very blended family. (Juggling the schedules of four households is…let’s go with interesting.)

I’m really looking forward to where #OrgasmQuest will take me in year two.

Return of #OrgasmQuest!

#OrgasmQuest makes its return!!

#OrgasmQuest updates had to take a very sudden hiatus as the rest of my life went sideways. While I was unable to post about Quest, that doesn’t mean that I stopped Questing in my personal life by any means. Keeping Quest going for myself was one of the many ways I kept myself together through the most stressful and horrific period of my life. Now that we’re on the other side of that, it’s high time that #OrgasmQuest updates return. On to the Return of #OrgasmQuest!!!

#OrgasmQuest: Where I am now

As I approach the One year anniversary of Quest, I can absolutely call it a success. Over the quiet months I continued to make time for masturbation. That time was both as a coping mechanism like masturbation as always been for me and to continue working on regaining sensitivity and orgasmic ability. I can now reliably orgasm via masturbation and partnered sex!

Snapshot_2015218 (5)HUZZAH!!!!

I can reliably orgasm, but I am now orgasmically mortal. To get myself there I require extended foreplay, extra lubrication, and the orgasms that I have are still much weaker than those “universe creating” ‘gasms of the past. Multiple orgasms are mostly beyond my abilities, and I couldn’t tell you the last time I had an orgasm that included squirting. Trust me though, reliable orgasms again has improved my quality of life a great deal.

So happy

Cuddling my new Precious, the rechargeable Magic Wand

Over the summer there was the wonderful launch of the #MagicWandUnplugged. Those glorious folks at Good Vibrations were wonderful enough to send me one even though I wouldn’t be able to write about the glory for a while. I fell so in love with the Cordless Magic Wand that it completely replaced my corded model. (She has been lovingly retired with a place of honor in my locking #OrgasmQuest Toolbox.) The auto shut off had a learning curve for me, at first it was turning off on me right as I was getting there, but I’ve changed up my usage. Building up sensation at the lower speeds, turning it off to give my body a few seconds that build the craving for more stimulation, then turning it back up to ramp up through the third and fourth speeds.

The ability to have that Magic Wand power without planning where the nearest outlet is has made #OrgasmQuest time much easier, and the slightly lighter weight allows me to hold the wand longer and more comfortably. Earlier in an interview I was asked if I was comfortable giving the magic wand credit for the return of my orgasmic ability, which was answered with a VERY enthusiastic “YES!”

Another piece of my Anorgasmic puzzle that I’ve put together is that there is a strong hormonal component affecting my orgasmic ability. During my period and while I am ovulating is by far the easiest time for me to orgasm. The rest of the month I have to work for those orgasms, but during ovulation and menstruation? They are almost as easy as they were before anorgasmia struck. I am one year into having the Mirena IUD in place and will continue to track how that affects my orgasmic ability going forward.

The Future of #OrgasmQuest

Incredible progress has been made, but I am nowhere near done with #OrgasmQuest. Reliable orgasms are fantastic, but I want my full orgasmic experience back.  Multiple orgasms. Intense orgasms. Squirting. Perhaps Universe Creating Orgasms are beyond my ability, but I will keep working towards having them again.

I want to continue increasing my sensitivity. Love foreplay, but if I can get back to an orgasm with slightly less foreplay needed? That would be wonderful. Need to continue nurturing my Inner Sex Goddess. Plus, continued dedication to self care via pleasure is a wonderful component to keeping my mental health as positive as it can be.

Shortly, my dosage of amitriptyline will be increasing. This drug continues to be the best medication I have found for combating my depressive symptoms, but I have adjusted to the dosage I have been on for the last year. With the massive body blows we have taken in our personal family life, I’ve slipped deeper into depression than I’m comfortable with. There is a good chance that increasing dosage will change the progress I’ve made and I plan on keeping everyone updated with how those changes are affecting me on an orgasmic level and as a person with mental illness.

I love #freethewand and heartily endorse getting yourself one. (Of course I appreciate it if you grab yours via my links.) That being said, I want to expand my #OrgasmQuest arsenal. Have this glorious collection of exquisite sex toys from Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit that have yet to get the loving attention they so deserve. There will be many Quest posts talking about the successes and possible failures of these new options.

REALLY looking forward to spending quality time with The Rumble once it is released so I can compare and contrast the differences between the wands I now own. So much anticipation!

Finally: #OrgasmQuest inspired many others to begin their own Quests. I’ll be highlighting those posts along with ideas on how anyone can be empowered to join the fun. #OrgasmQuest became much bigger than myself or this site. It is one of my proudest achievements, and a project I plan on keeping going for the rest of my days.

Now a request! What do YOU want to read about regarding #OrgasmQuest? Comment below or contact me privately here. I want Quest to be as useful as possible. <3

Of course, #OrgasmQuest is possible with the glorious support of my #OrgasmQuest Sponsors: SheVibe, Tantus & Good Vibrations. Thank you all for being such amazing and supportive friends and loves through the recent up and downs!

Mentally hugging each and every one of you.

Mentally hugging each and every one of you.

CristaAnne.com breaks into the Top Ten Sex Blogging Superheroes of 2015!!

So proud of my little blog that could…

#MedicatedandMighty selfie

#MedicatedandMighty 

When introducing myself in panels, workshops or in interviews I’ll often call myself “a professional oversharer who has blogged since long before the term “blog” even existed.” Starting with angelfire sites in the late 90’s and then LiveJournal, blogger and other platforms – writing online has been a natural comfort zone for my ambiverted self. As I moved through my journey of self discovery I tried out many urls and personas, looking for the perfect fit. Eventually it was obvious that I was most comfortable as myself, so I picked up this domain with the intention of it being a small personal blog and writing outlet.

About a year ago I began writing more about my battles with depression and PTSD which quickly turned into #OrgasmQuest. My little blog that could had worldwide media attention, my life changed permanently. When The Madness hit our life (the custody battle that consumed most of this year) I had to back off posting here for many reasons. For months this site was almost exclusively instagram posts and very sporadic brief updates while we made our way through our worst fears come to life.

While I was unable to speak about my life in a public way, you amazing folks stuck with me. Love and support flowed our way through and after the worst of the worst – I am forever grateful. Right as I began to return to the world, Kinkly launched their Top 100 Sex Blogging Superheroes of 2015 contest. Shamelessly I courted votes without a ton of expectations, my life and thus my writing had not been very sexy. My goal was top fifty, my hope was top twenty-five.

When the results were released a few days ago, I almost dropped my pad.

The Top 100 Sex Blogging Superheroes of 2015:

  1. The Black Pomegranate
  2. The Redhead Bedhead
  3. A Sexy Woman of a Certain Age
  4. Oh Joy, Sex Toy
  5. Girly Juice
  6. Crista Anne (!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
  7. Hey Epiphora
  8. Girl Boner
  9. Slutty Girl Problems
  10. The Ins and Outs

The rest of the Top 100

Crista Anne bills herself as a “rainbow-colored pleasure revolutionary.” We love that slogan as much as her bold writing on sex, depression and everything in between.

Credit where credit is due, my moniker of “Rainbow-colored Pleasure Revolutionary” was bequeathed to me by Carol Queen in the Good Vibes #OrgasmQuest interview. It’s perfect. When my writing is praised as being bold and unique – my goals have been achieved.

It’s taken me a few days to find words of gratitude. 2015 has been the hardest, most painfully soul wrenching year of my life. The darkness that covered so much of this year got the best of me more often than I care to admit. While I count down the days to the end of ’15 so I can put this horrific year behind me, this recognition means a great deal.

Thank you.

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::

Microblogging: @metisblack gave me a tool without knowing it

Metis and I had been on a wandering mission to pickup/close down the bloggers lounge, stopped outside the ballroom because I was planning on filming an “I am Woodhull” video. Instead, Nina was there. I’ve met Nina briefly and had lovely chats with her, but this was my first long conversation with one of my idols. Always fantastic. Metis brought up how long we’ve known each other, and then informed Nina that “This woman right here talked over Dr Drew on live TV because she wasn’t done speaking”. Which got me Nina high fives and a long winding conversation about various Sex Related Famous Folks. It was grand and glorious. (While I didn’t experience imposter syndrome at that moment, part of me did want to evil villain laugh about the company I was keeping.)

This morning a blogger friend posted about how Depression Lies and how they were going to keep that in their head all day until it became truth. We exchanged a few IMs checking in on each other, and at one point I empathized by mentioning how loudly depression was lying to me now and how hard it was to talk over that voice.

…But I talked over Dr Drew (without thinking) because I wasn’t done speaking on live TV. That’s louder than the lying depression voice in my head.

Thank you Metis <3

So Thrilled to be Speaking @WoodhullSFA #SFS15

With everything else happening in my life, it’s incredibly important for me to continue working. This year I am branching out and speaking at Woodhull’s Sexual Freedom Summit. (@WoodhullSFA with the hashtag #SFS15) This is thrilling in a number of ways, I’d previously considered the Summit above my “pay grade”. It’s a chance to spend time with so many people I hold dear, not to mention the Summit itself is going to be an absolutely incredible learning experience.

I’ll be speaking with my love JoEllen Notte, & the fantastic Stephen Biggs  on the workshop: “The Monster Under The Bed: Starting the Conversation About Sex and Depression

At some point in every person’s life they will either experience depression or know intimately someone who has depression. Currently the most prevalent forms of treatment are pharmacological, and the focus is often placed on the alleviation of symptoms like low mood, apathy and amotivation. Relief in any of these areas constitutes success, however, for some there are unwanted sexual side effects to treatment, which unfortunately are seldom addressed. Similarly, when sex is affected by symptoms of the depression itself, the issue is rarely addressed at all. This workshop will discuss how sex-lives are impacted by depression symptoms and current treatments, with a view to empowering both clients and professionals to better address the issues that arise when sex and depression collide.  Specifically, we will share the results of JoEllen Notte’s Sex and Depression Survey and follow up interviews conducted over several months beginning in the Fall of 2014.  Incorporating both mental health consumers’ perspectives and the most current information regarding treatment impacts and side effects on sexual functioning we hope to provide consumers and their sexual partners with practical information that can help them give voice to their concerns.  It is our hope that the information we’re gathering will also inform the way health care providers provide a space for sexual concerns in the treatment of depression, and we also hope to offer some concrete practical direction in this regard.

When: Friday, August 14
Where: Walnut B

I’ll be sharing much of my experience with #OrgasmQuest along side JoEllen’s findings and Stephen’s expertise, with a strong focus on finding a health care provider who respects the importance of sexuality while treating mental illness. This workshop is going to be incredible, so make your plans for attending and put us on your Must Attend list.

(Also, having my own speaker page along side the rest of the absolutely incredible people who will be there makes me want to attempt a backflip of joy, even though I’d wreck myself.)