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Struggling

I’ve been struggling the last few days. Struggling with depression, and anxiety, and just this inner feeling that I am not good enough. For anything.

I don’t know that this is the place to process that, if people who read my blog are at all interested in ramblings on my mental health (or lack thereof), but, hey, it’s my blog, damnit, and I’ll post what I want. 🙂

It’s primarily been my anxiety that has been bothering me. I find myself getting sorta worked up about nearly anything. For example, my wife was sleeping one evening, because she wasn’t feeling well, and I had a near panic attack, because I didn’t know what to do with myself. I think this is related to my past abusive experience, because my abuser would get angry with me if I didn’t do what she wanted if she was asleep. She didn’t like me doing anything that distracted me from 100% focus on…HER.

And so I was worried that while S was asleep, I would do the wrong thing. I would entertain myself and she would be angry because I wasn’t staying focused on her. Which is really weird, because she doesn’t care what I do when she’s in bed with a migraine, as long as it isn’t so loud that I’m keeping her up or something–this would be pretty much the opposite of something she would get upset about.

But me, in my own inimitable fashion, got myself all worked up and in a tizzy, so that I was crying nonstop, and basically wanting to die.

The wanting to die, of course, was related to wondering WHAT THE FUCK was wrong with myself. I was so angry and frustrated with myself for not being able to know what to do with myself while my partner slept. I promise, my partner has taken naps before without me having a meltdown. But Saturday night? It wasn’t happening. I was hysterical, I was crying, and suddenly, I was suicidal, because I was furious with myself for behaving like an insane person.

Things have calmed since then. My wife is fortunately sane enough to recognize that this was not the end of the world, despite my effort to convince her otherwise. We’ve cuddled and hugged and talked about it. And agreed that I need to resume my journaling, my work in my CBT book, and work on de-escalating myself when I start to get worked up.

I have to use my coping skills. I need to identify them clearly, and practice them regularly. Because, quite frankly, I don’t want to feel this way again.

Why Do I Like it?

Dark Musing always makes me think.

Why do I enjoy TTWD? What do I get out of bending over for my partner to whack away at me? And why do I crave it when it’s not happening?

As others have said, it is incredibly cathartic for me. I’m sure there is some accuracy to the psycho-babble-sounding theory that I have some kind of guilt complex, and a need to be punished. Damn right I have a need to be punished. Perhaps even a “guilt complex.” Could counseling “fix” it? I doubt it. Nor, frankly, am I interested in being “fixed.” So while I may have a guilt complex, my self-esteem is doing okay.

Dark Musing fussed a little at one of his commentators for saying that she wasn’t a masochist, but liked to be spanked. I find myself relating strongly to that concept, though! I don’t feel like a masochist. I don’t like pain, not even erotic pain. I don’t particularly thrive on it (though I’m perhaps more masochistic than the average joe, in that, under certain circumstances, I CAN get a rush from it, and find that ever-dreamed of subspace). What I DO like, and what I DO thrive on is feeling that someone else is in charge. Submission.

Spanking is one of my most direct ways of knowing that I am submitted to another’s authority. I am bent over, in a somewhat humiliating (or at least HUMBLING) position, awaiting (and then experiencing) the crack of a belt, or that slap of a hand, or the thud of a paddle. The pain is not fun. The pain hurts. Many times, I want it to stop.

When I am being spanked, not only am I very clearly NOT in charge, but there is a feeling of intimacy with the one who is spanking me. There I am, vulnerable, and deserving of punishment. The lash is a mercy, and I submit to it at her will. I will feel no pain, but that decreed by her. I will be punished, but it will be at her will, and no more (and no less) than SHE determines I should take. There is a tension between her protection and her punishment–she who would never hurt me is causing me pain, and something about that tension makes me feel incredibly loved. She, who would never hurt me, loves me ENOUGH to cause me pain, to do for me that which I cannot do for myself.

I am free. Free from decisions, from guilt, and I am freed by HER; I trust her to do what is needful, and as she does so, I am made safe.

Well, I waxed a bit more romantic there than I meant to. And after all that, I’m still not certain I captured the heart of this.

You see, somehow, when my wife is spanking me, as I gasp, and whimper, and she strokes my back to comfort me, even as she brings the belt lashing down again, I find a haven that I have never in my life known, and all my life dreamed of. There, in my most vulnerable moment, I am safest. Exposed, and loved. Spanked and cherished. THAT, is something I value in a way I can’t put words to.

Dealing with Stuff

So, I’ve become more…active in therapy again, by which I mean that I’ve actually been going (after a 4 month hiatus).  Sara and I are really focusing on me actually DEALING with some of this stuff.  I even have a new book Mind over Mood, which I highly recommend to anyone who struggles with depression or anxiety (or, like in my case, both!).

At the same time, working with my psychiatrist, we’ve decided to change the meds I’m on, which has had me both on an emotional rollercoaster and feeling physically like crap as I go through withdrawals as I step down from my own meds, and (starting today) begin new ones.  Oh, the joys of SSRI’s. Sigh.

Anyway, all of this is to say simply that I will probably be using this as a place to process some of the feelings I’m going through and some of the exercises I’m doing in what I’ve dubbed my MoM book (feel free to read any psychobabble you want about that name for my book, too).

So, yeah, feel free to join me on this journey, post comments, whatever.  If you got this blog address from me, you know I think you’re awesome, and I enjoy having you in my life.  And if you surfed here randomly, welcome to the madness.

Getting There

So, I’ve been working on…finding good ways to handle my anger, or really any of my negative emotions. I just tend to get…overwhelmed by them, which results in me crying, and having a hard time breathing, and sometimes throwing things or hurting myself. Obviously, this is something I’ve talked with my therapist about quite a bit.

I could spend all day talking about why I think it’s a problem, and I think it really does have to do with the fact that I simply didn’t feel like I was allowed to express any negative emotions when I was younger. That just wasn’t okay. But I know lots of people were raised in situations like that, and they don’t seem to have the difficulty that I do with their emotions. Bully for them. 😉

Anyway, me, Sara, my therapist, have been working on me learning to communicate how I’m feeling, actually articulating what I’m feeling, and what I feel like I need.

And tonight, I felt like we had a major success. I was upset about something–something little really, but I’m premenstrual, and got really worked up. And I was starting to cry while I was trying to talk to Sara about it, and she was being all calm (which was helpful), but then I was mad at myself for crying over such a dumb thing, and I told her I needed to go lay down. She said okay, but followed me in, and now I’m all out crying. So she held me, and we talked about what I was upset about, and pretty much worked it out. But I still had all those negative feelings, just…sulkiness, really, leftover anger, stuff like that. I told Sara I just wanted to sulk and that I just felt upset still.

So she told me she was going to leave me alone in the bedroom for 15 minutes, with instructions that I wasn’t to hurt/damage anything, including myself, but that otherwise, I could do as I liked in the room, journaling, punching the bed, reading, whatever. And, most importantly (to me at least) she reassured me that she’d be back for me in 15 minutes, that she looked forward to me rejoining her in the living room.

It worked. I journaled, I (attempted) pullups on our pullup bar. I stretched. And by the time she came back I was thoroughly relaxed.

Would that work every single time? I don’t know. I know some elements of what made it work, though:
1. She listened to my feelings, and I did my best to articulate them.
2. She said it was okay to feel that way.
3. She didn’t assume that b/c I felt upset, it meant she had to change something she was doing to fix it–she simply allowed me to be upset.
4. I was able to communicate what I felt like I wanted/needed (to just have time to be upset), and she let me be upset, let me be alone to sulk/whatever.
5. She reassured me that she wanted me around still.
6. I spent the alone time productively.

So, I’m feeling pretty good about that at the moment, and like I’m actually improving in this area.

Plus, I’m feeling so…GOOD, about it. My feelings were okay. They were (at the risk of sounding all psychobabbly) validated. I didn’t have to stop being upset, b/c it was inconvenient. I’m amazed at what that feels like. And even more amazed to realize that many (or at least some, surely) actually grow up with that.

Go figure.