Thinking Out Loud: Looking at Mental Health, BDSM and D/s Relationships

In my time of blogging, not to mention my own existential wanderings, I’ve come to realise that there is a relationship between those into BDSM and anxiety and/or depression.

The only thing I have had trouble understanding is the answer to the question – why?

Do these two things exist because of each other? Does one lead to the other? Is it through our development, whatever leads to the makings of anxiety in our mind or biological make up, that we become drawn to BDSM and Dominant / submissive relationships?

I’m not saying that you can’t have one without the other – you obviously can – but since opening my blog and talking to the gracious souls that wish to strike up a dialogue, a recurring theme I’ve seen is that anxiety and depression are threads that weave in and out of these lives.

I don’t know why. Sometimes I like to think it’s my anxious mind that helps me be kinder to the world and to partners and to people. Is that another connective tissue or am I simply being egotistical at this point? Questions upon questions.

Maybe I’m not qualified to even answer, or to write this article. I’m a writer, not a therapist. I merely think out loud.

I don’t know what to tell someone when they ask if their interest in BDSM is linked to a trauma that occurred early in their life. I can’t say, only offering to be a sympathetic ear and to gently remind them that practicing BDSM and D/s safely should not bring about any guilt.

I don’t think we’ll get all the answers. Maybe we’re not supposed to. Maybe, so long as things are practiced in a healthy manner, so long as the individual’s state of mind is calm and in a positive state, maybe the why isn’t as important as the how.

In the end, what’s important is finding that sweet spot of living peacefully with your demons. Of safe environments in BDSM, of living with grief. Co-existing, you know?

Make time for yourself. Take care of yourself. Remember that living with a mental illness CAN be compatible with BDSM and a D/s relationship because the physical safety and mental well-being of those involved is a key factor and can be safely explored, with or without a partner.

When I began to actively explore BDSM and a D/s relationship, I didn’t know where I could stand. I often have so many thoughts that I need to have someone who can reassure me that things are okay, that they won’t tire of my questions or run out of patience. And I found my footing! And the same can happen for you!

No matter what has happened, we can come back from being knocked down. I have to believe that we can. Even in my worst days of panic.

An Open Letter To Anyone Struggling

To Whom It May Concern,

Maybe writing this is futile. Pointless. I don’t know. But every so often, I like to leave a note to whom ever is passing by.

It’s never too late to start again. Think of it as a chapter, a new book, a part of the saga. The next entry into the book you’re writing. The movie you’re making.

Explore the fantasies that scare you, do the thing that you’ve been wrestling about. Keep a journal about your progress.

Do not be ashamed of your feelings. Do not feel stupid for asking for help. There are no stupid questions. And each one of us started at the beginning.

Know you’re going to fall. You’re going to hurt, you may even feel like things are hopeless. But you can keep going. You just need to step, one day, one moment at a time.

Remember: You do belong. You aren’t alone. You CAN do this. You DO have time. You CAN be in a successful relationship, they will accept you. You ARE NOT psychotic.

You are the captain of your own ship, the master of your own soul. And you have the strength, you might have just forgotten how to wield it.

Lastly. Know that my email is always open. I would never judge nor would I turn you away.

Indeed my life fluctuates from the ever busy to downtime, but know this: I would not ghost you, I would not ignore. I will write as soon as I am humanly able to.

You don’t need me though. You have everything you need within you. Be brave, keep your head up and remember: one day at a time. Tomorrow is a new day.

Before long, you will climb that mountain and stand victorious!

TD&D

Don’t Talk Yourself Out of It: Depression, Anxiety & BDSM

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I have been sitting here trying to think of a way to open this little article but I’ve got nothing. Talking about mental illness, let alone addressing what it’s like to live with something like depression and anxiety is hard to convey just how destabilising it is.

 

A question I sometimes get from people who suffer from depression or anxiety is – Can I live a normal life in this BDSM Lifestyle? It’s one that always manages to hit close to home because in a heartbeat, I’m right back to my own panic, wondering the same thing, wondering if I’m broken or if I should just let my lady go because someone else can take care of her better than I could.

 

The answer to the question is: Of course you can have a normal life. It will be tough, it may be laced with paranoia but through a little bit of willpower, sunshine and determination, you can find you will have more of those better days than the ones spent crawling through the swamps.

 

A key aspect of this is communication. Not everyone understands anxiety and will find it alarming. For me – and I realise this doesn’t work for all – but there was a time where it really alarmed my girlfriend. I would explain what I needed from her in my downer times, I explained that anxiety is so powerful it is capable of convincing you of a bullshit thought.

 

In time, she came to understand, even relate. In time, we had a system worked out that made our relationship stronger.

 

A second key aspect of this is trust. This one is important because it’s like solving a complex mathematical equation. You’re going to be worried about the initial opening up – and that’s healthy to an extent. Take your time. You will know when you feel like taking that second step in trusting someone because the clear-skies part of your mind will want to act but the other part will want to freeze and find another twenty reasons why it’s a bad idea.

 

Yes, it will leave you exposed. That’s the tricky thing about trust, you have to put yourself out there and hope it pays off. If it doesn’t, you have to have something solid to remind you it’s okay, like a positive thought or a song lyric or a mantra even. Something tied to a happy memory.

 

Trust also plays its part in the beginning of your journey into BDSM, because your mind is going to want to shout any kind of obscenities your way and then tell you why it’s going to harm your mind further.

 

BDSM is largely a psychological interaction, that much is true. But you don’t need to take that step to involve a second party until you feel you are ready. How will you know when? Your heart will tell you. Trust me, there’ll be a time.

 

If you are worried that any kind of risky play will influence your depression, BDSM has plenty of safety counter measures that will stand firmly in place should you feel things are getting out of hand. If it helps to ease your mind, read about the BDSM Contract, safe words and remember that any kind of interaction can be stopped if you feel overwhelmed.

 

As a Dominant man, being assertive when struggling with anxiety and depression is tough. I feel stupid sometimes saying or doing anything to my kitten. Repetition helps, I find. The more I spoke up, the more I got used to the idea of speaking out loud.

 

Practising alone can help matters. Speaking out loud, writing what you’d say down on paper, these are all different ways that can help you grow more confident with getting used to being assertive.

 

Regardless of role in the dynamic, if your shyness factors into your anxiety, communicate is the best thing to do. You may feel embarrassed and silly but I think you’ll find if the other person truly cares, they won’t mind at all.

 

There have been plenty of times where I raised the issue of my shyness and my kitten did the same and it made things more intimate and lovely and downright beautiful.

 

Whether you are a teenager or an adult, remember that the fog will clear and you’ll pass through an anxious period. You’ve done it before, it sucks I know, but you can do it again. Be there for yourself, take your time and remember, everything will be alright.

 

As always, if you need to vent any anxieties or just ramble the hour away to ease your mind, you can reach me at darkanddominant@hotmail.com