Over the next few months my husband was checked for all the obvious things, appointment after appointment, week after week. He was checked for everything they could think of.
We waited for results, for some kind of explanation to what was (or wasn’t) happening. At first they thought maybe it was to do with a slipped disc and trapped nerve but scans proved that to be wrong.
He was referred to a therapist on the side to try to establish a psychological cause. He can’t remember anything before the age of 9, he vaguely remembers being beaten by a relative but the memories are blurry with big chunks missing; he drunkenly told a friend that he was sexually abused – which that friend then assumed I knew about- my husband has no recollection of this or of telling the friend but by the time we established this the friend had moved on and we were unable to contact him about it. So therapy seemed like a good place to start and a good way to explore all options without dragging it out or focusing too much on one area.
However, the therapist was shit…and that’s putting it nicely. Though thinking back it was probably because my husband had edited the details when explaining the problem so it was set to fail from the start, but at the time- and only knowing the edited version myself- I wasn’t impressed. The first thing he did was put his lack of sensation down to performance anxiety and swiftly prescribed him some anti anxiety medication. He was told they would relax him for up to 4 hours so to take them whenever he intended to be intimate with me. The idea was that they would help him relax enough to stop worrying about what was or wasn’t going to happen…he also advised that my husband abstained from any ‘solo action’…which was the one thing i did agree with.
These pills are strong and known for being addictive, he was meant to take half a pill, the first night he took a whole one and, for a few minutes, he had sensation but it quickly wore off; regardless we were happy with the slight improvement. The next time he took 2 pills…which I definitely wasn’t happy with. He had no sensation that time purely because he was too high to know his own name! Afterwards we lay together and he told me he was ‘high as fuck’ and just wanted to sleep…it was awful. Having your husband dependent on drugs in order to sleep with you is absolutely soul destroying, let alone when you’ve only been married a matter of months AND he takes 4 times the amount of it! it’s the equivalent of ‘needing‘ a shot of Sambucca for Dutch courage…and then having 3 more just in case. It made me feel so so inadequate, it knocked my confidence even more than it had already been knocked by all of the stuff beforehand. BUT, despite feeling that way I never told him that, I just went with it.
I couldn’t, however, ignore the fact that he was technically overdosing on a highly addictive drug so I asked him to promise me that he would take the recommended amount in future and to carry on seeing his therapist. He did, but at the next appointment the therapist simply asked him whether the pills had helped (no) and then said ‘Well what’s the problem then? I don’t know what’s wrong with you, I think you should stop taking the pills and probably look for someone else to talk to because I’m stuck with this one’
I remember the day he came home from that appointment, he was angry and upset, he seemed shot down, embarrassed, frustrated and alone. Having been told myself when I was a teenager that I should find someone else (by a counsellor) I knew exactly what that felt like, you feel completely let down, you feel embarrassed, like you’re too messed up to be helped and like this person cant be bothered to deal with you.
I comforted him, I told him I would support him and that we could try again with someone else when he felt ready but in the meantime there was still the possibility of a medical reason coming back to explain at least part of it. There was still hope, there were still options and I wasn’t going anywhere.
- 10 Best Ways to Manage Your Anxiety (alternet.org)
- Fears as tranquilliser addiction rises (talesfromthelou.wordpress.com)
- Flushing Your Anti-Anxiety Pills Down the Toilet Could Affect the Behavior of Wild Fish (blogs.smithsonianmag.com)
- Over Medicating (cdkptsd.wordpress.com)