Thursday, May 16, 2013

Big post: Sex addiction, ADHD and panic storms

There's been a lot going on in my brain lately, so let's talk about it really briefly.

I can't remember if I've mentioned this before, but my counselor keeps coming back to the idea that I have ADHD. I fidget constantly and he's picked up on this and run with it, inquiring about my study habits, school performance, thought processes, et cetera.  The fidgeting, combined with self-reported problems with procrastination, jumbled thoughts and addictive/compulsive behavior, makes my counselor think I have the neurological condition ADHD, rather than behavioral problems.  He says that those with ADHD can white-knuckle their way through life, as I've done till now (having maintained a great GPA in college, I might add).  However, he says that a full diagnosis, if positive, and pharmacological treatment might help me with all of those things.

I must admit, I've always been tempted to try attention-enhancing medication and I've occasionally self-diagnosed ADHD as a condition in my life.  But the naturopath in me hates the idea of "doping" even more than I already I am.  I don't like the idea of always being within arm's reach of the medicine cabinet, of having to have my pills on me whenever I travel. I believe that those pills and medications are modern miracles and that they can make people's lives better, but for whatever reason, I always have that thought in terms of other people, not me.

Then I went to an addiction recovery meeting.
The meeting itself was wonderful. It felt great to be in a room full of people who had problems and were working towards improving themselves in the face of those problems. There were people there who were addicted to pornography, masturbation, extramarital sex, even sex with a spouse that they felt was too lustful. It was explained to me early on that sexual addictions are problems with intimacy, and in that vein, they tried to share as much as possible one with another so they opened their brains up to intimate conversations with the other members. Additionally, each member hugged one another at the end of the meeting, again, forcing themselves to open up to appropriate emotional and mental intimacy. I felt safe there.

I didn't divulge that I was gay, nor did I divulge the nature of my pornography consumption or sexual encounters, but it was more out of a desire to separate sex addiction from orientation. The simple fact of the matter is that I very likely would be addicted to pornography even if I was straight, even if I was married and having sex on a regular basis. And the second fact of the matter is that I don't want pornography to be a part of my life, even if I end up marrying a Jason or an Adam. I'd like the only nudity in my life to be nudity borne from genuine emotional connection and trust, neither of which are fostered by pornography.

I started driving home from the meeting and prayed for myself for the first time in awhile.  I've offered token prayers for friends, people I see on Facebook who ask for prayers, prayers of gratitude for health and life, but I haven't prayed for myself in probably two or three weeks. It devolved fairly rapidly into a bossy, angry prayer, demanding answers for why I'm gay and what it's supposed to teach me and what form it's supposed to take in the next year or so and beyond. I paraphrased Patrick Henry's old demand, "Give me peace of mind or give me death," and began to realize how much I just wanted it to be over.

This is where it gets interesting, and so here I'm going to add a little disclaimer that I'm not actively suicidal.  I'm not planning to take my own life. I haven't bought a gun, I don't know how to tie a noose knot, we don't own a toaster, I don't have access to narcotics or sleeping pills, etc. But I will admit that I've been passively suicidal for awhile now: not buckling up in the car, not really eating healthy, secretly hoping to get taken out by a drunk driver or inattentive semi truck, the like.

Realizing this about myself last night was scary, so I immediately pulled over in a safe place and sat for a moment. Trying to regain composure, I started to recognize the early symptoms of panic and they came fast.  I thought about what I could do and nothing came to mind except to call my parents.  My mom answered the phone and I told her in my ragged speech that I needed help. I started to express concern for the future, for my ability to do it.  She interrupted with an, "Of course you can!" but I asked her to just listen for a moment.

I spun my tale, expressed everything I was feeling, including the wish that a big truck would just plow into me right then and end it all. I told her that these dual desires of my heart were tearing it in half, that neither option felt good to me, that same old song and dance I've been writing about for two years now. I told her that I know how immature and selfish it sounds, but that I'm sick of making compromises, of choosing one thing and having to give up another. She recalled that I'd always been that way and that I tried to attend every event I could, leaving my soccer games after the third quarter to get to a friend's birthday party in time or taking the last day or two off from Scout camp to attend family reunions in Utah.

I frankly don't remember exactly what she said after that, except that she didn't want me to hurt myself, that she wanted anything but that.  That made me feel good, that she'd rather have a gay son than a dead one.  I've never doubted that, but it was still good to hear.  After reassuring her that I wasn't actively seeking to end my life, she reassured me that things would get better and that as I removed bad influences, good ones would replace them. I tried not to argue, because she was speaking from a place of love, but I have a difficult time with that.  I just wonder why God isn't there for me now when I'm so dark and twisted, but when I need Him less, that's when He shows up.  But love was spoken, so I tried not to detract from that.

After our conversation, where she committed me to calling her for the next few days and reading my scriptures, at least for a minute a day, I went in to the bedroom of two of my housemates.  I woke them up and asked for a blessing and without sparing a minute, they both jumped out of bed, put on white shirts and slacks, and sat me down while I told them what was going on.  I told them about my addiction meeting, my panic attacks, the nature of my attractions and my concerns about being able to succeed. Again, I don't remember what they said, but it was said out of love, and this morning, they both asked thoughtful questions about the program and my attraction to men.

So, the tail's not quite wagging yet.  But it'll get there.


  1. I've been there man. I'm so sorry, it's hard. But there can me joy in live. Lots of it.

  2. Good roommates are worth thanking God for every day. Love 'em.

  3. You are quite possibly the strongest person I know. Seriously, GMP. Keep it up, because the way is there, God just rarely reveals the intended destination, just the next step (and even that is sometimes just a shadow). It's in following that path, even if we don't know if we're really on it, that we find answers we need, even if they're not the ones we think we need.

  4. You are awesome. Really. I continue to fear and to know that you are being emotionally abused in a terrible way - if you choose to live a gay life then you can't attend your church and if you choose to stay in your church then you have to never live a gay life.
    torn in half indeed.
    panic attacks indeed
    suicidal thoughts indeed.
    look at the source of it all, I urge you to really look at it. No one else on here will tell you that.

  5. Definitely take the comments of anonymous with a grain of salts. Suggesting that panic attacks and suicidal thoughts are the direct result of "sin" is ludicrous. One of many examples comes to mind. I am reminded of a "shut-in" couple I used to take sacrament to when I was a teenager. The wife suffered from extreme bouts of depression. She had suicidal thoughts and panic attacks. She was faithful but still suffered. People in the ward made speculations like anonymous. Unfortunately, this is a means of feeling better about oneself (and one's beliefs) by playing up the faults of others like those who blame natural disasters on the iniquities of liberals, gays, etc.

    If you ever need to talk, feel free to email me.


Be nice, mmmmkay? I allow anonymous comments, but not anonymous (or even attributed) douchebaggery. The Gay Mormon Pioneer's tolerance for hate and venom are incredibly low, but his love of communication and debate are high, so have an opinion, but be kind and gentle when you share it.

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