Like most of the sins, it isn't always bad. Lust, or at least the potential for it (aka attraction) is what initially introduces a lot of people who then go on to fall in love. If we're honest about it, it's often physical attraction that initially stirs our interest in people. It's rare, though I'm sure there are exceptions, that someone thinks, "I bet that horrendously unattractive person over there is really interesting, I think I'll go introduce myself." This doesn't make us shallow. It makes us human. We are naturally wired this way and attraction isn't a choice, it's a feeling. I would, in fact, venture to say that virtually all love once started as lust. Indeed, this might be slightly less true in the days of online dating, where you may get to know the person and form an emotional and intellectual connection before you spend time in their physical presence. But even then, I think that the attraction is more or less what eventually differentiates a romantic partner from a very good friend.
I think we all know where lust goes wrong, and therefore, I'm not going to devote a lot of time to it. Anyone that's ever been cheated on or cheated themselves understand the damage it can do, and even if you haven't been on either side of the equation, I'm sure you can imagine.
Instead, I think I'll devote some time to how lust is misunderstood as it relates to mental health. After all, that's the theme of this blog. Most traditional descriptions and portrayals of cycling disorders, such as bipolar disorder, will include signs such as promiscuity. Movies portray women dressing in less than appropriate clothing with excessive makeup during manias or hypomanias. As a result, it sounds like those of us who cycle go running around scantily clad, lusting after everyone and anyone, and just generally causing trouble. Let me say, I know a lot of people with cycling disorders, and I've never noticed a change in their clothing or makeup, other than perhaps them not wanting to get out of their pajamas when depressed. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, as I'm sure there are reasons for these "signs" to have been listed, but I can say that it doesn't seem to be the norm. If I'm wearing less clothing or more makeup, it's because it's too warm, or because I'm going out for a fancy event and I'm actually trying to look presentable. Here's the thing: depression makes us exhausted; meds make us dizzy, nauseous, and disoriented, hypomania increases energy, but after it subsides, it completely drains us. If we're lusting after anything, it's probably a good night's sleep, and we're probably wearing oversized pajama pants and diving for our pillows.
I realize this is probably the most un-exciting post you've ever read on lust. No fifty shades here. But it's important, and as my purpose on this blog is to dispel myths and eliminate stigmas, well, I think it does it's job. I'm proud of myself that I wrote this post at all, for all that it made me uncomfortable. Three sins down, four to go.