Though this post deals with depression and suicide, please note that blyss is
a mental health professional, this article isn’t written to diagnose or outline professional treatment for any mental illness. A short list of suggested reading and resources will be provided at the end of the post. If you are having thoughts of suicide, please pick up the phone and call the National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-TALK ( 8255) right now.
With the recent passing of actor/comedian Robin Williams, there has been more of a buzz about getting help to treat depression before it reaches the point of attempting suicide. Unfortunately, much of the buzz has waned at this point. It’s unfortunate because in general, most people in their day-to-day lives, still gloss over depression with all its symptoms and effects, unless of course he/she is directly affected by depression – then that’s a different matter altogether. As my journey continues, it’s not unusual to come across those (often many) that have or are dealing with depression in some form – seasonal, low-grade, temporary (triggered by dealing with grief, loss of a relationship, work stress, etc.), manic, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and the list goes on. There’s a stigma associated with depression (or any form of mental or emotional illness for that matter). Often times, people who cope/suffer from depression are labeled as crazy or weird. Emotionally ‘healthy’ or ‘stable’ family members (and friends) struggle with understanding the depressed individual; often times a relative will tell them to ‘snap out of it.’ My ma’s go to advice was to tell me to ‘blot it out your mind,’ which of course is usually way easier said than done for the depressed individual.
This girl’s experience with depression
By the age of 10, there had already been two definitive attempts to end my life and many more ‘walk-throughs’ of possible ways to make an exit. There was a brief period of about 3 years (the middle school years) that life was exciting and full of hope. However by the end of my freshmen year of high school depression had been triggered and there would be 3 more subsequent attempts with the last one (at the age of 18) leaving my bewildered ma in denial, at least outwardly so. The last attempt was ruled as an accident of an out of control car (mine) that crashed into a telephone poll at about 50 mph, and that’s what she accepted. But there was one auntie that didn’t accept the 'freak, out of control car' ruling. When she came to me in the emergency room, she stood next to me crying and made me promise to never try to commit suicide again. In reality, the promise was made, but other ‘passive’ ways were carried out: i.e. not caring for my personal health, suppressing emotions or denying them, retreating into myself/mind, and ballooning to over 400lbs in my adult years. It wasn’t until somewhere in my early to mid-30s that it dawned on me what had happened all that time, and it was then that changes were gradually made to begin living in order to come up from below the mood blue.
For me, there’s no point in publicly going into every aspect of what triggered the depressive/suicidal states that were experienced, to do so would take away from the intention of this post. But in each instance, there never seemed to be a way to stop the mental/emotional pain except to simply retreat from the world and sleep. And when that pain and anguish invaded my sleep or kept me from sleeping, the ‘rational’ out was to make that sleep permanent. As a very young child, of course, there was really no understanding of what was happening inside of me, but in short, my emotions, thoughts, and triggers overwhelmed me. As an adult, the option used to ‘manage’ all of that was to distance myself from what overwhelmed me and keep my relationships (friendship and intimate) on a ‘rational’ and superficial (distant) playing field (that’s not healthy, by the way).
Learning to live in the light
There came a day when staying in my cocoon was far more depressing and excruciating than being outside of it. It was like having this slow agonizing torturous death by loneliness, boredom, passive destructive behavior, and simply existing and not living a full and productive life. There was an attitude change from reactionary decision-making to making more proactive and forward thinking choices. No matter how small the proactive choices seemed at the time, they all added up in the long run (over a period of years, not months). Also, there have been three major influences that helped me live and experience more enjoyment in life:
- Seeking professional help – just recently someone said, “You don’t have to tell everything to everyone, but you have to tell everything to someone.” This is where professional help comes in quite handy, having a therapist is an open invitati, n to tell the truth and shame the devil. There was a time when doing so left me feeling quite inadequate, but living in my head alone coupled with trust issues made this the best option for me. There are some really wonderful counselors, therapists, and psychiatrists but it may take some time to find the right match. It’s important to be patient and at least get a very basic list prepared of what’s needed to open up. For myself, there was a time when it was important to have a female therapist… until the day there was no other option but to have a male therapist! But you know, that was the best therapeutic/counseling experience ever! And please know that there are professionals and professional services that offer discounted or free sessions, it just requires some looking and digging depending on your location.
- Leaning on my faith – not everyone has a religious affiliation, but, this was/is something that has helped me tremendously. It’s my belief that my life is not my own, therefore, it’s not mine to take, squander, or sabotage, although admittedly it took me some time to get solid with this. With that in mind, it was important for me to find my purpose and live it. This is remembered almost daily at this point – almost because many days, life is flowing so freely that the reminder isn’t necessary! For those that don’t have a religious affiliation, time can be spent in meditation and reading universal words of inspiration.
- Moving this body – it’s amazing how much exercising or being active changes one’s perspective! It’s been a long arduous journey to be consistent, but finally, there’s consistency in my workout routine. Not only that, but at this point my weekly activity level has increased tremendously. The adrenaline/endorphin rush achieved from an intense routine that leaves me sweaty, panting, and aching is awesomeness!! Even if my mood is a little low before working out, afterwards, a girl is feeling like Wonder Woman (only more giddy). At this point in my journey, though being a responsible steward of my body is a definite priority, it’s one of the more enjoyable priorities. For so many years there was a disconnect between my mind and body, but not anymore!
And this ties into the Lifestyle, like, how?
As a slave, it’s my responsibility to take care of me. A depressed slave isn’t able to give the best of service and a dead slave can’t serve at all. That may sound harsh, but that’s the reality of the matter. Everything that helped me to live life rather than exist became a part of the growing hope inside of me – hope that was desperately needed. Truly, there was a deeper desire and curiosity in regards to how my future would unravel, how much life could be enjoyed, how certain experiences would feel – suddenly the ‘need’ or ‘want’ to disappear faded away. Because being a service oriented slave is such an intricate part of my core, being able to fully express that ‘hidden’ part of myself became a part of all the new-found hope. It would have been unfair of me to attempt to use the Lifestyle as therapy, an escape from my internal condition, or to expect a Master to fix me (because Master’s are magical, right?). This doesn’t mean that certain aspects of the Lifestyle can’t be therapeutic or cathartic. It also doesn’t mean that a Master can’t assist with the healing process – it just shouldn’t be expected
At the risk of sounding like a PSA – if you or anyone you know (that includes your Dom/Master or sub/slave sister/brother) is visibly suffering, please reach out for help and support! It may not be the easiest thing to do, but it’s a rewarding thing to do. Please take advantage of the resources listed below and the multitude of additional resources found through searches.
Lots of love, blyss
- National Alliance on Mental Illness
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or call 1-800-273-TALK ( 8255)
- Veteran’s Crisis Line
- Kink Aware Professionals Directory on the NCSF website - Therapists and Counselors- Psychologists