Help me find my attraction! Please!
September 27, 2010 7:17 AM   Subscribe

About a week ago, I was lying down on my bed not feeling well emotionally - I had been very low feeling and had lots of anxieties and stressful feeling for months.

Pretty much, I was feeling very low and negative for months since March. Before March, I had my crushes on different guys who I knew and this was fairly constant since about 13-14 years of age (I have never crushed on girls before.) And yes I did worry, I had come out to my Mom around that same time around the end of February / beginning of March and I started being worried about and started doubting my sexuality due to not being able to fully take the pressure of my Mom since she started to worry about it and cry about it and I was wondering was it worth telling her. (My reason was that I always lied about who I liked to my parents and I felt that since my Mom is a nice parent who cares and is a very logical person. Also, since then my sexuality went on a downturn along with nights with low sleep and constant fatigue. Some months later I was still worrying and doubting what I deep inside knew was true about myself. My sexuality went on a downturn in that I stopped crushing on practically anyone. Even a lot of the crushes that I'd had felt as if they had disappeared. I'd see the person and wonder where all of the feelings went. And while... ummmm... pleasuring myself I'd still have guys in my thoughts though it would be mostly crushes from the past. Not really any new crushes being formed. Occasionally there'd be small blips on it, but very brief.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to an endocrinologist and got some tests done for T-levels, prolactin, and some brain chemicals tested through bloodwork. About a week later, I was lying down on my bed in the evening - not sleeping and I suddenly felt and uplift in my mood for no apparent reason. Not a high, but I suddenly felt better. It's harder for me to worry so much about different things and I feel more positive - something which my parents, friends, doctor, and psychotherapist seem to notice. Today in the morning, I went for a followup today to my endocrinologist. She told me that my blood tests are all fine. I noticed that my testosterone levels are at the high end of the normal level about 1000-something.

So here is where the question is: where have my crushes left and why am I not making new ones? In the past I could've blamed anxiety, but now since that has mostly left me and I feel better, I'm wondering why I'm not crushing so much on people. I doubt that my attraction is completely gone, but seriously what is going on? And my psychotherapist is as clueless as me.
posted by antgly to Human Relations (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Like isn't a steady stream of always-the-same. It's totally natural to go in and out of phases of crushing. It could just be that because you have more self-comfort right now, you aren't feeling a huge need to find an external source of pleasure/happiness, because you've got some in your own self right now. Or it could be that it's just a differnt month in a different year and that's where you are right now.
It's all right.
It's all right to have crushes.
It's all right to not have crushes.
However you are at any moment is okay. Don't worry.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 7:22 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

*Life isn't a steady stream, just like my typing is an erratic flow that sometimes hits the right keys and sometimes not.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 7:22 AM on September 27, 2010

Try to spend less time analyzing why you feel a certain way on any given day. If you are prone to anxiety, there tends to be a need to sort things out immediately and project possibilities into the future. Over time things tend to even out. You sound all too normal. And while a parent may be a good touchstone for you, talking to a therapist or physician may be a better option in the future if you need a fully objective perspective.
posted by docpops at 7:38 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Welcome to being 19!
posted by schroedinger at 7:42 AM on September 27, 2010 [5 favorites]

There is a book (Radical Acceptance, by Dr. Tara Brach) about learning to accept who you are and what you feel--not in a superficial way, but in a way that involves acknowledging who you are and no longer fighting against it, not creating pain and suffering in the resistance of "what is". The concept comes from Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and here is some more information about why acceptance is so important, written by people who have used DBT in their lives and found it helpful.
posted by so_gracefully at 11:23 AM on September 27, 2010

I've read several of your questions that have a pervasive theme: your ongoing attempts to analyze your own attraction. My advice: stop trying to analyze or criticize or justify how you feel. You're overanalyzing it, and the idea of justifying it doesn't even make sense. Focus on accepting yourself, however you are.

You seem to think there's some baseline of normalcy that you might not be doing a good enough job of conforming to, and that this is a serious problem. But that's a fiction. There is no such baseline.

As schroedinger suggested, this has a lot to do with you being 19. You're overwhelmed and confused by your own feelings. To you, they might be startling, amazing, incomprehensible. Really, you're having the same kinds of feelings people have all the time (e.g. having lots of crushes some of the time, not having any crush at other times). This is all pretty mundane and probably won't matter to you at all 5 years from now.
posted by John Cohen at 12:35 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've read several of your questions that have a pervasive theme: your ongoing attempts to analyze your own attraction. My advice: stop trying to analyze or criticize or justify how you feel.

Seriously. You're a teenager. Try focusing on your schoolwork, spending time with friends (and not the kind that tempt you into threesomes, cough cough), and maybe getting a job. Spend time with normal people doing normal, everyday things and stop spending so much time in your own head obsessing about this stuff. Keep up the therapy, but as I've said to you before, remember to work with your therapist -- if she's suggesting stuff for you to try, try it and talk to her about what's working for you and what's not. I highly doubt she simply said, "Sorry, I'm as clueless as you" and nothing else.
posted by Gator at 1:00 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

And yes I did worry, I had come out to my Mom around that same time around the end of February / beginning of March and I started being worried about and started doubting my sexuality due to not being able to fully take the pressure of my Mom since she started to worry about it and cry about it and I was wondering was it worth telling her.

I had a very tough time coming out. Very conservative Super-Christian family, was sent materials from "Love Won Out" and other damaging so-called Ex-Gay ministries by family members who "just wanted to help see you through this dark time." For me, it wasn't so much a flying leap out of the closet, but rather a timid step out, a quick retreat back in, followed by two timid steps out, another one back, until finally, on the brink of a psychological breakdown, I said "Enough!" and jumped out of the closet, slammed the door, and threw the fucking key away.

You cannot live your life in a continual struggle to try to please other people or meet their idea of the man you should be. I'd always been very close to my mother, and after I finally came out for good, we hardly spoke to each other for a long, long time. There was a longer period where my husband-to-be wasn't welcome at their house. My stepdad wouldn't even come over, because he didn't want to be around "him". I stood my ground, and said fine, if my beloved isn't welcome in your home, neither am I.

Fast forward. Mom is now planning our wedding and asking us when we're finally going to adopt some kids and start a family.

Your mom loves you. Whatever her personal beliefs are, she may be having a hard time reconciling her love for you with your newly-revealed sexuality. But she does love you. You've done your part, now it's up to her. If she's a conservative Christian, the battle likely being fought in her heart right now is her love for you, her son, whom her heart says she loves no matter what, vs. her long-held (and incorrect IMHO) religious beliefs telling her that your "lifesyle choice" is "sinful" and "an abomination". Hopefully, her love for you will prevail over religious bigotry, but that's something only she can work out for herself.

In the meantime, live for yourself. You are nineteen. You're still on the warm-up lap in the great race that is life. You are going to meet and fall in love with many wonderful people along the way, and hopefully, you will listen to your heart, and nothing and no one else as you decide which people to pursue a relationship with. Don't worry about why you feel the way you feel; at nineteen, your hormones are like a kindergarten class with no teacher in the room--it's utter chaos. Just try to enjoy each day as it comes, and give your mom, family and friends a little space to work this out on their own.

And please remember: Coming out can be a very emotional, traumatic, and sometimes drawn-out experience. No matter what your family or friends might say, please remember that you are perfectly healthy and fine, just as you are. And, it gets better.
posted by xedrik at 2:09 PM on September 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

Being a teenager/young adult is really hard and confusing. Being a gay, bisexual, or questioning teenager/young adult even more so. Your confusion and mood swings are pretty normal -- try not to worry about worrying so much. :) Focus on positive things that are good for you and life will get better in a few years as your hormones settle down and you're more firmly established in your own identity and life.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:01 PM on September 27, 2010

OCD OCD OCD OCD. Your therapist might not realize you have OCD.
Seriously, read this.

What you are experiencing IS anxiety, it is what the doctor who wrote the article above calls a "backdoor spike." That is when you don't have anxiety about something so then you worry about why you don't have anxiety about it. (Like I can look at a girl and not worry about being gay and that causes me anxiety, because if I'm not worried about it then I might actually be gay!) I suppose this is very good, you've made a lot of progress.

This is referred to as H-OCD, as in homosexual OCD, but you have heterosexual OCD, where you are actually gay and know you are gay but somehow your OCD is trying to make you think you're straight.

Dude, I know, and there are better places than Metafilter to discuss this. Really. I used to think that coming to the green with all my anxiety related problems was gonna help but it was usually just frustrating because I have OCD and most people on Mefi do not.
posted by tweedle at 5:58 PM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Umm... Please don't listen to tweedle -- even if he is a doctor, he is not YOUR doctor (and I doubt he is a psych at all, because trained doctors don't diagnose non-patients over the internet based on a few paragraphs of info).

Seriously, tweedle, I know you mean well, but you cannot make off-the-cuff diagnoses like that.

Antgly, I want to second what many have said up thread: you're young, you've obviously got a good head on your shoulders, and you're doing your best to take care of yourself in a stressful situation and time in your life. But it IS in large part just that -- a time in your life. Things get better, they make more sense as the pieces fall into place. You're going through changes, and dealing with your identity -- let things happen as they will, and don't worry too much about forcing any outcome or constantly evaluation yourself. Try to live in the moment and enjoy the ride that is your life!
posted by diocletian at 10:20 PM on September 27, 2010

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