I'm Depressed -- Don't Touch Me


Flickr photo by Nick J Webb
I used to love being touched. I was that high school girl who flung herself on people for a giant group hug, the demonstrative girl friend who would reach across the center console just to grab a hand.

Then the depression settled into my bones. Withdrawing into my dark world, I lost the pleasure of responding to human touch.

 

Advertisement

When you don't feel comfortable in your skin, it's difficult to imagine deriving pleasure from it.

And then came motherhood. And someone . . . always . . . touching me. Touching my breasts. My stomach. My thighs. As she got older she moved to yanking my hair, clenching my wrists and climbing my legs.

By night-time, I was touched out. As I once wrote in a much-criticized essay for Babble, my sex life suffered because, "I just want[ed] a few moments to remember it's my body to begin with."

But remembering who I was was painful too -- I could only love my husband from afar, and the strain on our marriage was palpable. In a paradoxical way, I found the more I was resistant to touch, the more I needed it to make me feel whole.

The sense of touch is a strange trigger for some people. As one mom struggling through a bad marriage recently told me, she craved his touch like a drug. The longer she went without just a gentle hand on the back in the kitchen or a gentle chuck under the chin, the less she felt like a person.

A new study has even found massage therapy can be beneficial in treating depression -- in part because trust built between therapist and client allows for the release of oxytocin in the body.

Do you ever wish people wouldn't touch you?

Read More >

emotional health mental health sex life

You May Also Like

From Our Partners