This is a good day to accept your age, and yourself
(No. 94) Sexual desire over 50, dysmorphic challenges and sleep (yawn), by Stephen Williams
Happy Pride Day to all the people of a certain age
Photo by Rene Böhmer on Unsplash
The celebration of life on Pride Day every year in Chelsea, my neighborhood in New York, always lifts my heart. The streets are filled with love and joy and lots of PDAs. Pretty much the happiest celebration of the year. Wonderful to see older people living it up all weekend, free to be themselves, yet still vigilant against all of those who are working to undermine their liberty and sense of self. Sending love, especially, to all transgender people, who are under a particularly stressful spotlight these days.
My ears are really weird
My body changed significantly in the last 6 months, as I lost a bunch of weight that I gained during the first two years of the pandemic. I attribute the gain to losing my sense of smell and taste to the virus. For about a year after getting covid, the only foods I could taste were fatty, sugary foods like cardamom buns from the Danish bakery down the street. I’ve got my tastebuds back, thank goodness. But now that I’ve lost the weight, I have realized I was also depressed at times in the last couple of years, which probably made me eat more than I should have.
As is common with men, my depression was “hidden” — meaning I didn’t recognize it, or talk about it. Not even in my weekly group therapy. It related to the stresses of the pandemic, for sure, but also to concerns about what my old age would be like (I always assume I’ll have an old age, which is pure hubris), and work. But somehow I pulled myself into a new attitude, helped by exercise and a good diet.
These days I’m likely to hear a “you look great,” when I run into someone I haven’t seen in a while. I enjoy the compliments even more than I ever enjoyed a cardamom bun. In general, I feel like I look well. But I also know that my brain is wired with body dysmorphia, and that sometimes its hard for me to see what I actually look like — whether its heavy or thin, alert or distracted. I’ve had intermittent body dysmorphia since I was a child. But I’m fortunate that it has diminished as I’ve aged.
Others aren’t so lucky. In fact, some aging people suffer more debilitating dysmorphia as the years pass.
“Without treatment, body dysmorphic disorder can get worse as people get older. They become even more unhappy with physical changes that come with aging, such as wrinkles and gray hair,” according to The Cleveland Clinic, in Ohio.
Various therapies and medications are used to treat body dysmorphia, with the goal of being able to manage the symptoms so that they don’t rule a person’s life, rather than completely banishing dysmorphic thoughts. Progress, not perfection, in pursuit of calmness. If you constantly misjudge your appearance or weight, especially to the point where it is disrupting your life, then you might find relief with a therapist.
For an interesting take on body dysmorphia, read this surprisingly optimistic article, titled “Body image distortions are a normal feature of mental life”.
A comedy about the sexual desires of women over age 50
“One of the strengths of this Australian film is the sensitive way it represents the different desires of individual women. After all, the title of the film is How to Please a Woman not How to Please Women.”
Once again, scientists show that sleep is the most important thing we can do for our health and longevity. Ok, going to bed soon.
Scientists have found a link between intense anxiety and lack of sleep. Apparently, a good amount of deep sleep (as opposed to REM sleep or light sleep) gives your brain a chance to rewire itself to relieve anxiety.
Everything is fine when you are young and stupid
I will leave you with the news that even singers Belle and Sebastian are getting older. “Now we’re old with creaking bones,” these indie darlings sing. They don’t really sound like they mind the changes. — Stephen