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 email@example.com