Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Depression and Submissiveness

While poking through the various blogs I read (ok, trying to catch up), I found a link to Selkie's blog, went over and started to read.

Last Thursday, she had a little rant on depression and BDSM. You can read it here. Made me wonder who these people talk to to come up with ideas such as submissives being depressives. And that perhaps the BDSM plays into it.

Now, what I'm going to say here is my opinion and my experience only, so obviously I don't expect anyone to agree or have necessarily experienced anything similar. And you are welcome to state your objections, just be nice about it.

For years, and looking back through journals, clearly all the way back to my teen years, I have had times where I've felt like I was being sucked into the abyss. Now, I'm not going to call it depression as I've never been formally diagnosed ~~ although based on some informal conversations with people who do diagnose and treat depression, plus taking some questionnaires, if it wasn't actual Depression, it was pretty darn close.

Fortunately, I never got to the point where I seriously contemplated physically hurting myself or suicide (thoughts crossed my mind, but I pushed them out), but I often thought of just walking away, leaving it all behind (husband, kids, home, job, etc.), with no plan of where I would go, what I would do, just needing desperately to get away from everything in the idea that perhaps then the pain would go away (I even had clear visions of walking down the front walk with a backpack, without even looking back). Somehow, in all the pain is was feeling, I was still able to realize that leaving would only hurt my family, and based on my pain and misery, I didn't want to possibly cause those feelings in them.

For years, I spent far more time in that dark place, functioning just enough to get by, than I did out of it. Why didn't I discuss it with a doctor? Honestly, I just figured it was normal ~~ I was stressed by high school, then by college, parents divorcing, relationships of my own, trying to juggle work and school to pay bills, marriage, children (2 close together), etc. And when I did try to mention it to doctors, they'd get to the "hurting yourself/suicide" questions and when I answered "no, but I do just want to leave it all, just crawl in a hole", I would generally get the "well, then you're not really depressed, you're just exhausted, try to get more rest, eat better, etc." type of speech. So, again, it was just 'normal' and to be expected, so I struggled on.

If you've read this far, you're probably wondering how this ties into BDSM and submissiveness. Bear with me, I'm getting there *grin*

With all the reading I've done during my life, romances were not part of it. Now if romance were a part of the story, that was great, but I did not ever, ever go into the romance section of the book store. Frankly, I was embarrassed by the covers (bodice rippers, anyone?) and just couldn't bring myself to take one up to the counter and have anyone see what I was buying. Then, a few years ago, I discovered contemporary romances ~~ often written in first person, women who I could relate to, strong alpha males, and nice covers. I started reading then, wanted what they described, and tried to figure out how to get that kind of vibe going in my marriage.

Enter the internet and searching for erotica online. I found sites with all sorts of stories, but the one's that really got my attention were the spanking and dominance stories. I recognized that this was what I was looking for, what I needed in my relationship. Just accepting these things about myself, identifying myself as a woman with submissive tendencies, with sexual wants and needs, started to lift the dark cloud that had hung over me for so many years. And once I opened up to DH, and he came on board (at least somewhat, however sporadically), things really changed.

I rarely now have those black times, where I feel I'm sinking down into the dark whirlpool and don't feel like I will ever make it out. It does still happen, but less frequently (months apart now) and less severe (days instead of weeks/months). And before anyone says, PMS, um, no, not really, especially not in the past (god forbid PMS should last for months), although all those hormonal shifts can contribute. But I've checked the calendar and can honestly say that I there is no strong correlation between my dark times and my period.

So, in conclusion, in my case, realizing, accepting, and acting upon my submissiveness has actually reduced my "depressive" episodes. I realize this is not the case with all people, but it's my experience.

Final note: I am not a doctor or a therapist or anything like that, so I am in no way advising that anyone who has been formally diagnosed with depression and/or prescribed medication to treat their depression, try BDSM as a treatment. Obviously, working with a doctor/therapist, getting the medical help that is required is the proper way to do things. Depression is a medical condition that can have serious affects not only on the sufferer but also on their family and loved ones. Don't be like me ~~ if you think you may be suffering with depression, go to your doctor, and if they don't help, go to another doctor, and another until you find one who will truly listen, run tests, do whatever it takes to figure out what is wrong and get you the help you need to heal.
Depression is not your fault.


Heartzlady said...

Robin, if you change marriage to divorce, you could have been telling my story. I too thought it was 'normal' and therefore just lived with it. Then when I got my first computer and did that first internet search for 'the s word', well, I'll just say that the days started to get lighter.

Identifying myself as a submissive definately helped, but it was when I finally accepted myself as a submissive that the real change happened. I still have dark days too, and sometimes they're dark enough to scare me a bit, but they're less often and less dark than they were before I accepted myself and found a loving partner to share this side of myself with.

Thanks for your post about this, it's hard to admit out loud... thanks :)

~ Terri

Anonymous said...

Thanks Robin for posting this, you've given me a lot to think about. I can relate to this on many lelvels. I need to think this through. I love your pics. They are beautiful.


M:e said...

Excellent post lovely one....wonderfully written.

love and hugs xxx

Constance said...

My feeling is that recognizing who you are and what you need / want, (and that it's ok) regardless of what that is, is bound to lead to a brighter outlook and better days. Often that has to do with our sexuality, but not necessarily BDSM. Or it could be a hobby, some other passion, politics, whatever. But 'to thine own self be true' does make so much sense, and when we begin to do that, I think we're bound to be happier.

Robin said...

Hi Terri ~~ I didn't know when I wrote this whether anyone would identify. Bittersweet to find out that others do. It's too bad what family/religion/society can do to us, and that the medical community oft times dismisses it.
So glad you're doing better.

Hi KayLynn ~~ Thank you for commenting. I know my situation is not the norm for people who suffer from depression, I just wanted to share my experience.
Glad you like the pics. I've set one as my desktop and I have the slide show as my screensaver.

Hi M:e ~~ Thanks for reading and commenting. You are always an inspiration. Thanks for pointing me to selkie.

Hi Constance ~~ I agree with you absolutely. Sometimes it's just a struggle to get past everything we're taught to find our true selves. I'm still working on it, and expect to continue doing so for the rest of my life.

*hugs* to all of you.

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