Happy VDay – I Have A Concussion

Photo Credit Erin Nicole Metcalf

Happy Valentines Day!

Part of getting better has been deep cleaning our home, as depression robs the desire to do more than the basics for me, so I have a long list of those bullshit cleaning tasks like cleaning baseboards and the darkest corners of the kitchen. A huge one was cleaning and mopping the kitchen floor. Which I did! To celebrate that accomplishment, I moved too fast, my feet slid out from under me, and I went full speed into the wall. My skull met the beautiful wooden door frame, and I now have my first concussion.

Don’t tell anyone I’m posting. I’m supposed to be “resting my brain.”

I’m resting, I swear. Kinda.

HOW THE FUCK DO YOU REST YOUR BRAIN WHEN TRUMP IS PRESIDENT!?!?!

Asking the goddamn impossible.

Though my brain is starting to feel like it’s on fire again, so this post is going to be short. Don’t want it to be short because holy fuck do I have words about what is happening in the world, but oh yeah, this hurts.

I’m pushing through my concussion kitty-ness to be sweet to my loves. Y’all know who you are and y’all know I love you today and every day. <3

No really, I got married dressed as a rainbow unicorn. LIKE A BOSS

To My Partner-In-Everything, XVO, I pick you. I choose this life. Each and every day. Life has been impossibly cruel; life has pushed every painful button, life has tested us in ways that are unimaginable to most others. We’re still here, though; we’ve made it through tests that I wouldn’t have made it through with anyone else.

I still look over and think you’re the sexiest human alive as you pick your nose. You’re just as enticing, fascinating, and breathtaking as you were all those years ago at the bridge. When you climbed my balcony and gave me That Grin.

No one else understands me as you do, and I couldn’t – wouldn’t – be able to be this unabashedly, shamelessly me, in any other life. I love you. So much.

To everyone who reads this post, I adore you. Even the folks who are reading this to mock. I adore each and every person who takes the time to read my words. Happy Valentines Day to all of you.

Now celebrate with some self-love, for Valentine’s Day needs masturbation as part of the celebrations.

 

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

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

Derailment and Perspective

Shortly after I posted the Tracy Chapman song earlier I went to go lie down with my toddler. He’s having trouble sleeping, so I was hoping that both of us could catch a little nap and be in good spirits for the afternoon. Almost as soon as I turned off the lights, calmed him from turning off his paddy, and we got snuggly together – I heard sirens.

Now, we live off a busy street so sirens are rather common, but after a minute or two I realized it sounded like they were coming from the next room. Getting up to investigate, I reached the door as a firefighter was approaching to tell me that the house next door was burning and they’d like us to evacuate as a precaution. Kiddo and I threw on coats and headed to another neighbor’s yard where I bounced a terrified mini me on my back for twenty minutes while making small talk to try to cover the terror of possibly losing our house.

We got the all clear, kiddo got a sucker from one of the fire fighters for being brave and for thanking them for not letting his house burn down “cause all my McQueens live in there”. Kiddo checked out the fire trucks but was still too worried to climb in after being offered the chance. It was a “medium” fire caused by a short in the bathroom fan next door.

Still, scary as fuck.

The rest of the afternoon was spent soothing kiddo, I think my spine is about to snap in two from how many back rides I gave him. Complete derailment of what was planned to be a very busy day, but this derailment comes with needed perspective. My wonderful, messy, colorful home is in one piece. Magically my stress over how messy my office and kiddo’s bedroom is has vanished. (Messy, but not a fire hazard.) Now that life has calmed down, I’m less panicked from a massively panic inducing situation, and so incredibly grateful for what I have. Also very thankful no one was home or injured next door, as the neighbors had just moved in and I’ve yet to really meet them.

I have happiness to express about this little blog that could landing higher than I fathomed on the Sex Blogger Superheroes list, a bit of shameless self promotion on other projects, and a bit of news on #OrgasmQuest. Looks like most of those will be pushed to a later time. Now I just want my beloved XVO to get home so we can spend a quiet evening in our wonderfully not fire damaged house.

Perspective, it hits when you most need it sometimes.

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.

#IStandWithPP, #PinkOut Day & My Family

IstandwPP

I #StandwithPP

Slowly I am snapping out of my hiatus to return to the world. A big step in that process was spending a decent amount of today tweeting about how absolutely vital Planned Parenthood is for myself & my family. Hyperbole free, I don’t know if I would still be here without the health care I’ve received there. The magical antidepressant that finally worked after decades of failures came from the brilliance of my GP, who operates out of our local PP clinic. Without that, there would have been no #OrgasmQuest. Without the actual relief of my worst depressive symptoms, it’s impossible to tell if I would have made it back out from that horrifically dark place I was in.

Planned Parenthood treats my fibro, my GP uses me to teach students about the condition and how to perform the pressure point test. Cured my monthly Cramps of Doom that were knocking me completely out of comission for a week at a time. Does not bat an eye at my career, my relationship dynamic (We’re poly), number of partners I’ve had. She treats me like a person with complex medical problems, never dismissing me as drug seeking, faking, or anything else I’ve become so accustomed to.

Yes, two years ago my local Planned Parenthood also performed my second abortion. I’m not here to argue the morality of abortion or tell that story right now. The fact is abortion is health care and they were there when I needed that form of health care.

As much as Planned Parenthood has done for me, they’ve done even more for Val. We went through hell and back to find someone – anyone – to listen to his symptoms, how rapidly he was losing mobility and how astonishingly high his pain levels were. Years of constantly being labelled as showing “drug seeking behavior”. NOPE. It’s not my place to share his medical details, but one look at his latest MRI will bring you to tears. Through the Doctor we see, he’s better than I really ever fathomed he’d be again.

Planned Parenthood has saved my family. This is important. Please, Donate if you can.

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

Healing and Mother’s Day

Val and the kids made me a wonderful Mother’s Day card, I’ve tacked it up next to my laptop because it constantly makes me smile. High fever and all, yesterday was the best Mom’s day I’ve had so far – a lot of it thanks to my Mother In Law (to be). She brought rainbow cake and enough lunch that it spread into multiple meals. Meaning my sick self didn’t have to deal with cooking. That’s really the greatest gift you can give me.

V and his Mom have had a strained relationship that recently has been reconciled, so I’m only now getting to know her. At our first meeting I learned that she’d kept tabs on me, read my site, kept up with #OrgasmQuest, and had apparently stopped a lovely person with rainbow hair out in the world to snap a picture for me. She did so before we met and that warmed my heart greatly. My openness goes beyond her comfort level, which is true for many people, but she said something like my doing a good job talking about the important things most others are afraid to. That’s amazing. That’s fucking everything. Accepting me as I am? Priceless.

I do not put myself in the middle of V’s relationships with people. That includes his relationship with his Mother. I had not met her, so I supported whatever decisions he made on what he wanted their relationship to look like. Also knew that the estrangement was incredibly painful for him, so I’d long hoped for this time when they repaired bonds.

Seeing them together is delightful. Seeing someone else with his mannerisms, speech patterns, all that wonderfulness was just so amusing to watch. As I get to know her better, I’ve immense respect for her. She is a fantastically brilliant, accomplished woman. The kids lives are better for having another strong woman in their sphere.

We had a conversation that involved sexism within the workplace, I ended up interrupting her a few times to just say “my stars, I adore you.” Hell, I’m better for having another strong woman in my life to talk to when the grind gets me down. My family is full of them, but I’ll always take more ass-kicking role models.

I’m happy for us that this period of healing has occurred. Happy that our family is growing together instead of apart. The daily doses of bullshit wear me down, have kept me quiet and within my bubble, but the only way out is through and we’ve got incredible strength on our side.

You know, Taken Out of Context I Must Seem so Strange

You gotta be you, love, especially when its scary.

Obviously, life is fucking scary right now. Our Custody battle and the amazing stress that goes along with that has taken over every aspect of life. While we were at Catalyst, our roommate moved out without much of any notice, which added another intense level of stress. (It’s a good move for her, but happened at the absolute worst time for me.) There has been an added scramble to figure out solutions for the gaps in life that she was covering. Icing on my stress cake has been that we both brought home the dreaded ConCrud. Battling being sick on top of everything else? Yeah, I haven’t been up for anything beyond keeping life running.

Blissfully, I have a wonderful community of friends, family, loves and surprise supporters who have consistently stepped up to reaffirm my faith in humanity. Our Rally has 65 supporters, which has allowed us to find an absolutely fantastic lawyer. (We still need help paying for her services. My gratitude to everyone who has donated is beyond measure or words.) Kind words, Catalyst Snuggles, funny cards and random texts of support have kept me going as the universe keeps pulling rugs out from under me. I love you all.

Coming home from the convention to a new configuration of life, feeling like we had little to look forward to but more stress and battles, I shut down to a large degree. My social media presence has been scarce as most days my computer stayed shut. Found grounding in my offline life. Deep cleaning the house, moving my office back to our beautiful sunroom. Cooking with the kids, playing outside with them. After bedtime, making extra effort to be present with my love. A lot of that was just laying in bed binge watching Friends while holding hands, but it’s been a wonderful recharge.

Our first court date is in a few days, my wonderful Mother is coming up to help out as I will be a massive ball of panic until we get through that. Overall I have a very deep faith that this mess will work out. On the other side will be a massive weight off our shoulders and freedom that we’ve yet to fully experience as a partnership.

“The only way out is through”

I’m making it through. We’re making it through. Step by step, day by day, often moment by moment. In this moment I’m feeling less overwhelmed than I have in a very long time. Working on expanding beyond the bubble I created for myself over the last few days. I’ve a recap of Catalyst to post, as well as a #OrgasmQuest update in the works. Before I did those, I wanted to release some of the stress via this post, as above all else this site is a space for me to be me – whatever that may look like.

Much love to all who took the time to read. <3

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.

#OrgasmQuest, Brutal Honesty & Harassment

Yes, I’ve taken a mini Vacation from writing about #OrgasmQuest.

When I said that it was to combat the massive burnout I was experiencing, that was true – but it wasn’t the full story. Each night this week I’ve sat down and started a Quest post, only to get a paragraph or two in before I was paralyzed by a panic attack. Not just that I’m an introverted person who is uncomfortable with the spotlight (though that is true) but because I can’t handle the harassment.

Ever been globally mocked and slut shamed? Cause I have now and it’s…it’s a lot to take in. A lot to process. Continue reading

Writing for Myself: This is Who I Am.

This site, blog, my tweets, this is all me. This is who I am.

Hello, I'm Crista

Hello, I’m Crista

This is not a persona, this is not a brand. My name IS Crista Anne. As many people can attest, I am the same online and off. The first word people usually use to describe me is sweet. I appreciate that about myself, my sweetness, my kindness, my empathy. I’ve worked hard to retain them though my life.

We live in this age of snark, hostility, harassment. As has been said here before, I reject all that. Yes, I do occasionally use snark in the face of harassment, hostility or threats – but snark in those cases is what I see as my best option. Snark has a place in this world, I deeply dislike that it’s become the first response instead of empathy. People keep telling me to get over it, this is how the world is.

Nothing changes unless people change. One by one. At least in this instance.

When you’re interacting with me online, you’re interacting with the real me. I call myself a “Professional Oversharer” not because of the attention seeking, but because I’m comfortable talking about a wide range of the messiness of life that others like to gloss over. Ignore. Shame. I share my imperfections, flaws, and mistakes along with everything else because I’m comfortable with all of it.

I honestly love myself. Which has taken a very long time to do, but here I am. I love myself, even the ugly bits. The parts that are still broken, for I am a work in progress.

I love my life, as hard and as messy and as complicated as it is. I love my Partner-In-Everything, XVO. I love his strength and brilliance. His goodness, acceptance and support. I love our us. I love how we face life together, even when it’s hard, even when we have differences.

I love my work. The work I am doing now, that I have done in the past, the work I will do in the future. I’ll take and run with Carol Queen calling me a rainbow-colored pleasure revolutionary!” It’s what I am, it’s what I will continue to be.

This site was intended to be my little space within the vastness of the internet. #OrgasmQuest took over for a while, but this is still my space for me. You may not like everything I have to say, you may not agree with everything I do. If you choose to voice those disagreements, as long as it is done respectfully, I’m happy to engage. As stated in my earlier post, I cannot begin to keep up with the emails regarding #OrgasmQuest, but comments here? Interacting with me on twitter? If I’m around, I’m happy to chat. I really do like most people, I do tend to give the benefit of doubt to folks. I hope they do the same in return with me.

Help an Overworked Crista Out Please

Okay, it’s safe to say that the #OrgasmQuest absurdity period is over and I can go back to life as mostly usual. Introverted Crista is very pleased by this, while also very appreciative of all the support and awesome that happened over the last few weeks. Now, I’m trying to collect up the blog posts and other articles that I missed. A number of them happened when I was utterly overwhelmed by the response to Quest, and got lost.

So help an overworked and exhausted Crista out? If you blogged about quest, ran an interview, or covered the coverage – can you leave a link in the comments? Want to get those onto the main #OrgasmQuest page now that I have a bit of breathing room.

As I said last night, just because I had a little orgasm doesn’t mean quest is over. Now, recreate results. See if I can orgasm with less intense stimulation again. Get back to my intense orgasms. There is still a lot of questing to do, and even when I do get all those things back – because I will – I’ll keep the quest going as a promotion of pleasure. To keep talking about these stigmas. This is a life long project as far as I am concerned.

Burned out Crista is Burned out, as you can see from today’s selfie.

Burnt out but smiling. Really, that's a smile

Burnt out but smiling. Really, that’s a smile

Thank you in advance for link hunting for me. Y’all are the bees knees.

Willing to Fight – (Trigger Warning for Sexual Assault/Rape)

Tell me, who’s your boogie man?
That’s who I will be.
You don’t have to like me for who I am
I see what you’re made of by what you make of me.
You know I think it’s absurd that you think I am the derelict daughter.

You know, I fight fire with words
Words are hotter than flame
Words are wetter than water.

I’m throwing up a Read More here with Trigger Warnings for mention of both sexual assault and rape within the rest of this post.

Continue reading