On Self-Harm, BDSM and Mental Illness

In an earlier 30 Days of Kink post, I talked a lot how I distanced myself from playing with blood as a kink because of my mental state at the time.

A fellow reader asked me to elaborate – and I wasn’t sure how I could, or what I could even say, but I thought I would attempt to talk a bit about it, in case there are those out there, lurking and anonymous.

I can’t really tell you why I began to cut myself when I was a teenager. I’m sure internet articles will tell you the basics about it – it’s a cry for help, it processes feelings, all that. I’m not disputing that, I’m just saying I’m not sure why it happened for me. Maybe I was making sense of the world and processing through my first real break up with a girlfriend – I don’t know. I was just drawn to it, seeing how much pain I could force onto myself.

What I can tell you is a girlfriend and I, a likeminded Kinky individual, began experimenting with knife play, right down to causing bleeding. I can still see her carving asterisks into her thigh as we both got off on it.

The thing was, this wasn’t knife play in a controlled safe environment – our heads weren’t in the right frame of mind. We were both dealing with depression, mine all the more sneakier by me not even realising it. Looking back I suspect I was so adamant to avoid my family’s line of depression that I refused to believe.

So knife play wasn’t a good idea for us because we were taking what should’ve been an isolated pain or pleasure experience and somehow using it to deal with what was bubbling underneath. I mean, I can’t speak for her, I’m just guessing at this point based on experience with her then and experience as an adult now. And, you know, my own personal thoughts.

The final straw came when I stabbed a pair of scissors into my arm. I could actually hear the skin pop as it was torn open. With that, I broke down, angry and ashamed and disgusted at myself. Nothing I can write will convey how torn up I was by this action.

So I stopped and never looked back on doing it again.

Could I engage in knife play? I could – to an extent. There would have to be limitations – no blood, for starters and no actual cutting so I guess it’d be more in line with role play – and I would initially struggle to not picture the moment with the scissors, but I could.

Yet I still struggle with thoughts of suicide. Sometimes I can picture – so vividly in my mind – hanging myself in the garage – but when such times come, I try to think on hope, try to remind myself I have family, I have a life – I have a beautiful lady who I would forever shatter if I did such a thing. And I think how my suicide would make the lives of my dearly loved so empty that my heart hurts and stills my mind.

So. Two things – if you’re like me and knife play has become a fetish, stop and be clear on why you are doing it, think on how healthy it is, think of ways in which you can explore alternative methods of pain and pleasure. Be sure as to how safe and controlled you are.

If you’re anxious and depressed and suicidal, remember you’re not alone. There’s no shame in seeking help, from your local help line, from a friend or family – or if you don’t have anyone, from me. You are never alone, no matter what.

This extends to anyone reading – be you new reader or old, regular lurker or new lurker, someone who has been trying to write the ‘perfect’ email instead of a rambles or if you think you are too old or young or whatever – please – if you want to write, if you need to write, just put it down all at once. You’re writing to a guy with a floordrobe so don’t worry about a mess – i don’t judge.

Be kind to yourselves and remember how important you are to the world.

The Healing Power of Nude Meditation

It seems my mind never switches off – and I say this because when I undressed and hopped into bed to the sound of rain on a tin roof playing on my phone, as is my sleeping ritual, I thought about the people out there, somewhere along their journey, anxious and alone and feeling like today is the day their mind will finally break.

I can’t help everyone, I know that. It’s impossible to. Sometimes you have to let people find their own way through their struggles. But that doesn’t stop me from trying, from offering a non-judgemental space to talk, to offer mentoring.

I thought about all this while my body went limp, while I felt the gentle breeze of the fan pass by my feet, left to right, right to left. I heard the rain, soft and relaxing, create a space for me, a dome in which I was perfectly safe.

If you’re out there, reading my words and we’ve yet to talk for whatever reason, might I suggest some sort of nude therapy? What’s a noise that you love, a noise so calming to you that it brings you to a halt? It could be the sound of the shower running, the ocean waves crashing into shore, birds in the forest, cars on the highway? Something soothing and sweet to your ears.

If you are ever anxious and the world feels like it’s about to crash around you, do me a favour and try something.

Find an app or a CD or something with your favourite sound, rid yourself of your clothes, find your favourite space in your house and lie down. Have a think about your body – what’s tense right now? Your shoulders? Your neck? Stretch out, flex those muscles, and let yourself go limp. Relax your entire body.

Think about how your body feels in the moment – the sheets around you, maybe a breeze on your skin – think about yourself in this space, free to be exposed to the air and the room and your favourite sounds.

Listen to your breathing. If you’re anxious, steady your breathing by breathing in. Hold. One. Two. Three. Release slowly. Wait. One. Two. Three. Breathe.

You’re a beautiful, liberated being – encased and protected in your favourite place and space. Forget about the outside, easier said than done I know, but in this moment, there is only you in this world, just as there is only me in the country side, laying in the grass and feeling the rain pelting my skin as I look up at the stars. I’m free, just as you are free.

Meditating has helped me in my most anxious times. It centres me, helps me breathe, helps me realise the truths about my life and where I am going. It’s not for everyone, and it takes practice, but if you are feeling anxious, down, hard on yourself and your body and your life, I recommend you try it.

And as always, if you are struggling, for whatever reason, remember you are not alone. There is a whole support system out there for you, even the hotlines – which I know are embarrassing to call but are full of lovely people. Talk to someone, a friend, a friendly stranger, me. My door’s always open.

Negative Thinking and Me

It’s always surreal when a reader or a lurker from the blog comments in on an old story and mentions I’m a good writer or that my words have helped them in some way.

Somewhere along the highway I’ve become predisposed to a negative outlook and am cautious to accept any positivity coming my way lest it leads me astray.

I realise that makes me a hypocrite in a way, not taking my own mental health advice to stay positive, but isn’t that the way with some of us? So eager to help and put faith in others and reluctant to take our own advice?

Last week I caught up with an old friend who I mentored in early 2017. It was a lovely chat, the kind where you feel like nothing has changed, you simply paused the conversation. Well, I had learned that the concepts I put forth to her had stayed with her. She had taken exercises I recommended, advice I had given, and still adopts these in her life daily.

I was, admittedly, a bit taken back. As a mentor, I figured I did help others in the moment but believed I would be of no more use after they grew. And then – see – came the negative thinking – who are you to lead? Who are you to teach? What can you possibly do? Maybe this is a fluke – I jumped from the positive to a negative.

I spoke to my dad about this on the weekend, my negative thinking. He says it’s part and parcel of the human condition but that you may grow out of it. I’m 31 now and I’m still interchanging positives and negatives depending on the day. Hm.

A favourite exercise of my kitten and one that some students I have helped mentor love is writing down three positive things that happened to you in your day to day life. Maybe I should practice that myself.

To Any Readers Wanting To Email Me But Are Terrified To…

If you were to go on a reading binge back through my blog, you would find several instances where I talk about wanting to write in to me but feeling fearful, embarrassed, guilty, weird, insane, anxious – you name it.

It comes from a place of good intention. I might receive an email from a reader beginning with “I’ve started this email several times and even now I am fighting on hitting send” and so I become inspired to write a gentle reminder to any reader, vocal or lurker, that reads me often.

To those readers, vocal or lurking, let me say this:

When it comes to your background, I won’t judge. When it comes to your age or sex, I don’t judge. With any kink you have, any troubles you have – anything you feel like sharing, you must understand that there will be no ridicule on my behalf. If you were writing to me, I’d be honoured in the first place.

If you’re a teenager, I won’t judge – this one, I feel, can be very important as its an age where you want to ask questions but feel an adult crowd will look down on you for ‘being a teen’ or, worst case scenario, refuse to talk to you because of the age gap. I got this one a lot myself in my own journey and so, as an adult, I want to open myself to any teen that has questions, male or female. You don’t have to walk this path alone.

If you’re a girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife or a couple writing in together, I don’t judge what it is you want or looking for or asking about. If I can help, I’ll gladly listen and help out.

I don’t mind if your email is messy or unfocused or rambling, I really don’t. I mean, just look at my blog – the unfocused heartfelt articles, the late night ramblings, and the anxiety-fuelled poetry – IT’S OKAY to be messy. If you really want to write but are struggling, do me a favour – just write and try not to edit yourself. Say hello; tell me what brings you here. If you have a question and that needs to establish background, by all means – do so. We’re human, we’re not perfect. It doesn’t have to be perfectly edited.

As well as that, if English isn’t your first language, it doesn’t have to perfectly structured either. I’ve had a few French people write in, which is a lovely and surreal experience, knowing my words have reached around the world.

No matter who you are or what your story is, I promise I won’t laugh or ridicule or judge or shoo you away. The way I see it, as soon as you open up email or begin to write or hit send, that’s a safe place to say how you feel, free of ridicule or laughter or judgement. At least that’s my intention and my hopes.

Lastly, let me be clear – Please please PLEASE don’t feel obligated to email me in any circumstance because of this. My goal here is not to goad you into writing, it’s only to reassure anyone doubting themselves should they be on the fence of things. Remember, we’re all in this together and I only want to do my part to help should you feel I am worthy of your time.

 

 

 

 

It’s The Little Things

When I first decided to offer help for anyone that wanted it if they felt they could trust me, I felt for sure, like most ideas in my head, that it would be a complete disaster. That I’d fail, that I’d be perceived as a weirdo. I mean, this is the Net right? And who wants to put themselves out there to a stranger? A – in their eyes – nobody? It’s a risk. Especially if your trust has been abused before.

I still feel pretty stupid about offering up a chat sometimes, even when a reader occasionally says hello and has nothing but nice things to say about my writing. Like, what right do I have to offer help, you know? I’m just another guy on the Internet.

And then, it’s the little things that come by and warm my heart. Like a few days ago, out of the blue, I received a message on Fetlife from someone I spoke to back in 2017. Admittedly I had forgotten – it’s the curse of being forgetful. But to hear from someone that I helped, that I gave great advice, that I inspired them to find their voice and challenge their fears – it’s very moving. It brings a tear to my eye because just that means the world – knowing in some way that my words are helping. That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do since my own experiences led to too many years wasted on torment and self ridicule.

I love this community, you know? This ragtag team of misfits with gentle souls, curious minds and warm spirits. It’s inspiring, not just as someone who finds it fulfilling to mentor, but as someone who might need help one day. I know I can approach someone honestly and receive advice.

Sometimes I doubt myself, doubt my words and think of just giving up writing altogether. But then something happens – it could be a blog post from a fellow writer, it could be an email from a reader, it could be a comment or a gesture of kindness in my world when I’m out shopping – life has a way of bringing back the light and providing a drive sometimes.

Me, Nudity & Mental Health

The other day I saw a scene in a tv show in which a child, maybe 13 at most, sitting in the bathroom talking animatedly to his mother while she bathed and it got me thinking.

I never had that open relationship with nudity in my family. Even being shirtless in the present makes my family seem to cringe – and it’s weird to me.

Did this lead to an unhealthy view point on nudity? I don’t recall any old world biblical lessons on keeping my clothes on, but I don’t remember a whole lot of discussion about freedom on the subject either.

I felt being nude was wrong, even in the privacy of my bedroom. I felt swimming naked was wrong, running in the woods naked was wrong – but I did it anyway, was drawn to it – not because of the wrongness I feel but because I merely wanted to.

I feel a bit blah about my body now, but that’s age catching up to me. That’s my lifestyle. I still wander my home naked and I encourage my lady to as well.

What would my life or mindset be like if I was exposed to nudity, or a more liberated lifestyle by my parents?

I’d like to think that if I had children – and don’t sentences like these go down well with actual parents! – I’d be less restrictive with my children to a certain extent and age.

A recurring aspect in this community I have found is a link between low self esteem and discomfort being nude at all. Is this a case of upbringing or the things I experience as I’ve gotten older – age catching up to us?

As a Mentor, I’ve helped some grow a bit more confident in their naked bodies and for that I am glad. Focusing on the positive is a wonderful thing and can bring up about a delightful lightness.

I’ll never know the answers to any of the questions I’ve asked in this ramble. I suppose that’s another one of life’s unsolved mysteries. And that’s okay, each day I’m naked as a way to live freely and lightly and I’ll forever remind anyone struggling with their own worth to do the same.

Frequently Asked Questions About A Mentor & Mentoring

What exactly IS a BDSM Mentor?

A Mentor can either be a Dominant or submissive who has been in the lifestyle for quite some time. Their role is to act like a friend first and a guidance counsellor second, listening to the pupil / student, answering any questions they have and recommending valuable resources that pertain to their interests. The period of time that they help the individual depends solely on the individual themselves.

I will note that Trust is very, very important to build and to have between the individual and the Mentor, for there can be types out there that use Mentoring as a guise to prey on those who really don’t know BDSM and it’s intricate dynamics and can end up falling victim to this.

Remember – watch for red flags, take your time and do not be rushed. Make sure their agenda lines up with your own, that your well-being is in their best interests. If it’s a Mentor you’re looking for, ask yourself this – could you get along with this person outside of BDSM talk?

Is a Mentor a sexual or romantic role?

No, absolutely not. While the topics discussed may be sexual in nature, I feel the Mentor’s role is to instruct and to guide and discuss.

If I’m a submissive / Dominant, do I need to find a submissive / Dominant mentor?

This one depends entirely on the individual. Some would feel they benefit more from someone in the same dynamic, while others feel someone in the opposite dynamic could shed a light on unforeseen ground. That comes down to personal taste.

There is the argument that the individual would benefit learning from the community as a whole. I mean, I did that myself, spending my own time reading and learning, so I can’t argue against that – Why would I? But on the other hand, a newbie learning one-on-one with a mentor gives him or her the chance to discuss topics without other minds expressing themselves and potentially leading to confusion or overwhelming the individual.

Again, it’s really a matter of preference and what’s more comfortable for the individual.

What exactly do YOU do as a Mentor?

I like to just be a friend and listen, first and foremost. I think that’s the most important thing, to be there.

In the past, I would encourage sending an email to my blog address, and if they felt comfortable doing so after befriending one another, to talk on a platform of Instant Messaging, for any direct line.

I say ‘in the past’ because I’ve stopped being as active in offering help presently – purely because I don’t want to annoy. And I don’t want to cross any boundaries if the individual is married or in a relationship. I don’t want to interfere or influence, merely help on the individuals terms.

But beyond that, I offer advice, I suggest activities such as meditation and journaling as a way of self-healing. I have had one individual ask me for help in getting them motivated in their daily life – small self-help and healthy living things like that.

I answer questions best I can, quell anxieties about their own ideas / feelings, squash misconceptions, offer activities I used for my own anxieties and journey. And be a back up, go-to friendly ear.

Can you explain your own experience(s) in Mentoring?

I’ve mostly had positive experiences in Mentoring and have even made a couple of good friends that have kept in touch and update me about their lives and their relationships and their own progress. This is the most rewarding thing I feel – knowing, in some way, maybe small, maybe more then that, that I’ve helped somehow.

I have had a negative experience too, last year. I came into contact with one person who only wanted to argue bitterly and he saw me as a focus point for that anger. I tried to get to the bottom of that anger but in the end, I had to cut contact. And being the sensitive person I am, that shook me quite a bit.

How does your lady / kitten feel about you Mentoring?

Before I started offering to help to anyone on the blog, I told her exactly what it was and what I hoped to do and why it was that I felt compelled to do so. I received her loving support. And If she was uncomfortable with any of it, I wouldn’t do it at all.

It can be a daunting thing, to journey into the world of BDSM. You may be worried you’ll fall into the pond when you just want to dip your toe. Just know you’re not alone in the journey – there are resources there within your reach. There are communities there full of the loveliest people that will help you as kindly as they helped me.

When it comes to seeking help, measure your options. Find what works best for you. Take your time on deciding if you want to work one on one or with the community – and most of all, be safe!

If you have any further questions, let me know and I can add this to the list – and if you ever need individual help, I’m always a message away! Good luck.