Compassion and Mental Illness Or Friends Who Accept All of You

I have a theory, people with mental illness tend to be more compassionate and understanding of other people’s flaws. For example, the first person to romantically accept me, every secret, every scar, and every contradiction, had a history of depression. Furthermore, I have many friends with various mental illnesses, some of that is by design like meeting people in treatment and I suppose the others are because we attract people similar to us.

Tonight I had dinner with a wonderful friend; we’ve known each other since high school. We met online and discovered we lived in the same town. At the time, we were both mired in our eating disorders and we did some rather disordered things together. The first time we met in person, we bought diet pills together. We ended up going to the same university and living on the same dorm floor (not by accident). Now we’re both in grad school! Tonight we ate dinner at the same place we met 6 years ago. Talk about full circle! She is one of two RL people who I sent a link to this blog. I sent her the Feminism link because I knew she came from the same world and might understand what I tried to convey. I feared there would be a lot of negative feedback. So, I wanted some affirmation. She did understand, but I did not need to worry. No one replied negatively.

Apparently my friend read more than just that one post. So now she knows more than most people. My family may not understand, but she is fricking awesome! She (as far as I know) does not share my proclivities, but she was not weird about them at all!

I realize the people who understand me on the most fundamental level and forgive my mistakes the easiest are the people in my life with a history of mental illness. That doesn’t mean I plan on actively seeking out others with mental illnesses as mates because I fear for any future children’s genetics; nonetheless, I think it is an interesting observation.

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Reasons for NOT coming out…

1. Once you tell someone, not in the lifestyle, you are a masochist, it becomes a joke. For example, while baking 2 days ago, one item needed to be rolled in powdered sugar right after it came out of the oven. My mom said, “Ok, we need the masochist!” *she laughs*

Now, that is not especially hurtful or rude, but would it be socially acceptable to say, “Ok, we need the lesbian!” No, I think not. I don’t know, I’m probably being overly sensitive.

2. Once you tell someone, it becomes okay to randomly hurt you. For example, After someone pinches me hard enough to break skin, I say, “What are you doing?” They reply, “What? You shouldn’t care; you’re a masochist.”

Um…That is not how it works…   LotS_Cara's WTF face

Like taking a Maserati and using it to sell vegetables at a Market

Earlier I had a conversation with my dad. He seemed worried about something. He said he had “a daughter intent on making [him] old before [his] time…because [I] let stress overwhelm [me] too easily.” I asked if he meant he feared I would kill myself. He said he thought I was more stable than that for the past few weeks and he worried I would fail school and work as a cashier at Wal-Mart forever because that was the easiest path and (apparently) I often take the easiest path. I give-up too quickly. He compared me to my aunt who has a college degree, but worked half days at a lunch lady at a local school. For 15 years she worked there, but stayed part-time and never attempted to advance her position. She simply did the bare minimum. Furthermore, she lived at my grandma’s house for all those years, rent free, and without contributing to any bills, even groceries. Yet, she had 4 kids who also moved in when she did. He said if I resign myself to being a cashier at Wal-mart, it is “like taking a Maserati and using it to sell vegetables at a market.” In other words, while neither of us believe anyone is “too good” for a job because you should do what pays the bills regardless of your IQ, education, or any so-called “right” to a better job, he thinks it would be a waste for me to drop out of law school and be a cashier. He thinks I can contribute more to the world by being a lawyer.

I suppose I am being weak like he said, but that hurt my feelings. I am not like my aunt. I am not taking the easiest route. I don’t even know what he is talking about! I can’t think of anything I gave up because I didn’t want to do the work. Right now, I am not doing the work I need to do in order to complete the semester. I have not done that work almost the entire semester. It isn’t because I don’t care though. It is because I am scared. I realize that is exactly what he said. The difference is that I don’t want to give up. That is not my intention, yet I know by not studying, I am giving up by proxy.

I don’t know how to force myself to study. I have recordings of lectures. The recorder is sitting next to me; I am supposed to transcribe them and create an outline to take to exams. Since Thanksgiving, I have barely done anything. I haven’t even started one class recording.

I don’t know what I’m saying. He is right, but he hurt my feelings. He is only calling me out with the truth, but I am not like his sister! Even if I don’t make it through law school and I wind up in a entry-level pink-collar job, I would not be like her. I would give my best and I would not turn down offers to work more hours or promotions. If there was no hope of promotion in the company, I would find another job. *sigh*

Nonetheless, it would still be a waste. I know that and it makes me feel incredibly guilty. What little worth I attach to myself is based on others, either I have some worth because people who love me see worth in me, or I have worth because I can make a positive difference in people’s lives. I cannot make the same difference at Wal-Mart and the practice of law. I am squandering potential. While I could still make a difference, just by creating a positive and helpful interaction in someone’s day, it is not the same magnitude of difference and it is wasting the potential to make a larger difference. Purposefully wasting potential like that is wrong. It is not the same as harming people, but it is a little similar because I could have helped more people.

This line of reasoning is similar to my earlier posts. I am no super-human, I am not destined to do anything wonderful, but I do have a duty to try to damnedest and that requires more of me than it may require of someone else. As a result of innate intelligence (which is still not as high as too many other people) and gifts in life, like the ability to go to good schools, I have a duty to make a large positive difference.

BDSM: It's not about the pain; it's about trust. Right?!

“It’s not about the pain; it’s about trust.” – Echo in Dollhouse s01e09

This is true. It might be a little about the pain. 😉 However, for me, BDSM is about so much more than pain. It is about trust. Giving myself over to someone without reservation is beautiful. Unlike some who call themselves masochists, I do not crave pain, except when I’m very upset as a distraction. Pain as a distracting coping mechanism is not related to BDSM. In general, I don’t like pain. I want it to stop. However, I thrive on pleasing people. I always did. Through masochism, I can give someone a type of pleasure that not many would endure willingly. Through withstanding pain, I show submission and putting someone else before myself. As I said, I do not enjoy the pain. I do not get off on it. I struggle and beg. Yet, when it is over, once I recover, I want more. I like bruises. They’re physical proof of my strength, of my willingness to serve. They can excite me.

Furthermore, pain is inextricably linked to submission. I don’t know how that happened, but it did. Without pain, it feels like a role in a play; it feels like an act.

In order to let someone have that much control over me (I.e., restraints I truly can’t get out of on my own), I must trust them with my life…literally. Once bound, I am s.o.l. if they decide to go past my boundaries. That type of power exchange makes me feel safe, like I’m enveloped in a warm cocoon. I believe this is because of the high level of trust necessary. If I trust them as much as I need in order to put myself at their mercy, I cannot help but feel safe with a collar around my neck.

My favorite female characters confounded me for a while. (Cara from Legend of the Seeker, Echo from Dollhouse, Max from Dark Angel, Sydney Bristow from Alias) If I identified as submissive, why were my favorite characters the strong, self-reliant ones, who often ignored authority? Then I realized, this isn’t about laziness and wanting someone to control my every move so I didn’t have to think. It isn’t about wanting someone to take care of me and it isn’t about weakness. I value self-sufficiency and internal fortitude, in myself and others. This dynamic is about a self-sufficient, whole human being trusting someone, loving someone, enough to give that person control. The only person I could turn myself over to is someone who I knew held my best interest at heart. If my arms are going numb and I signal to them, they will listen and fix the problem to prevent nerve damage, as opposed to continuing their work for their own gratitude.

In turn, that magnitude of trust forms a deeper bond than most relationships. Moreover, trust generates feelings of security, peace, and happiness.

Are those feelings possible in vanilla relationships? Sure. However, my experience is BDSM fosters trust and openness on different playing field, faster than other relationships. It is inevitable. To be safe, you have to talk about everything going on inside you physically and emotionally.

I know there are people out there who use this lifestyle as a smoke-screen for abuse. That is awful. I have been very fortunate to be with people who respect my wishes and value my well-being above their own happiness.

If BDSM is so great, why do I have so much trouble accepting it? Well, I think there are some great aspects to it, but I also fear I have ulterior motives like self-harm. I don’t know how to suss out where genuine kinks begin and self-hate begins. I wish I knew. I don’t know what I’ll do if I decide kinky cannot be healthy for me. Also, for some reason, I feel guilty about it all.

I feel weird that the only time I find pleasure in intimacy is with BDSM trappings. I’m afraid that means something is wrong with me, that I’m not normal. Maybe if I find the right person, pain and submission won’t matter. Who knows. What if this dynamic is all I ever feel comfortable with AND it is unhealthy? I just don’t know. I also don’t know how to go about exploring these things. It feels unfair to experiment with someone. I couldn’t see myself with a vanilla person. Therefore, I’d be exploring the vanilla side of life with another kinky person. Yet, what happens if at some point, I decide BDSM is no healthy for me? What if I realize all these thoughts about pain and trust are simply rationalizations to mask self-loathing? What if it is all about the pain because I think I deserve punishment? I guess I break-up. That sounds simple, but it is not simple for me. I may be young, but I do not take intimacy lightly. I would feel dishonest going in to a relationship to explore non-kinkiness with a kinky person. Dishonesty would destroy the needed trust, making me feel unsafe. Do you see the problem?

I suppose to the solution is to develop a more relaxed view of sex. I doubt that will happen. *sigh*

If anyone is reading this, do I make sense at all? My own mind confuses me; therefore I imagine others would find it convoluted as well.

Mea Culpa

Oops, stayed in bed all day again. …After just telling the Dean I was getting better. Grr.

I’m currently skipping therapy. I skipped class. I’m afraid I may have met my get kicked-out limit by skipping today!

I know hypersomnia is part of depression, but sometimes I stay up extremely late doing random things online or reading for fun, knowing I will have trouble getting up in the morning with less than 8 hours of sleep. I’m beginning to think it is a form of self-injury or at least, self-sabotage. I’ve also started driving without heat in 30 degree weather. I’m suspicious of that behavior as well.

I really should shower and get dressed before my mom gets home. On Friday she threatened to commit me. On one hand, I feel like I’m not a danger to myself at the moment. On the other hand, in the very recent past, I was, I’m also not showing up were I’m supposed to (school, therapy), not going to treatment (I skipped Friday to), not doing my Activities of Daily Living, and she  used to work for the Courts to commit people. Therefore, she knows what to say. If she counted my meds, she would realize I’m not taking Lamictel. I stopped when my psychiatrist worried I was swinging toward mania. I would rather be manic than depressed. So far, no dice.