Apparently in the past week I seem to be bothered by more and more of what I read. I can't tell if it's me being overly sensitive or frustration with people making generalized statements that only apply to a portion of the population but in a way that presents it as if it is the only way.
The other day I read a post about "do not use BDSM to treat depression." To be honest, I mostly skimmed it (I did not want to get overly invested and frustrated after reading the first few paragraphs) but what I gathered was that it was a cry out against submissives using post-play endorphin rushes to combat depression. In this case it is seen somewhat as a drug of abuse vs. attempting to deal with what is going on inside of them.
While there is a demographic out there that I feel this is applicable to. People that go have sex with a stranger when they are feeling down. People that binge eat when they are feeling down. People that get high when they are feeling down. For those people, yeah, I will agree that running out and having a play scene probably isn't a great means of coping, just as the other choices I listed above aren't great methods of coping either.
That being said, I disagree with the force of their statement as it tends to lump all types of depression together as well as what people choose to do about it. I've honestly never met a bipolar person and had them recognize that they are in a downswing and rationally sought out a play session to get good feelings. If I could reword the overall message it would be: "Do not exploit BDSM as a drug of abuse." I believe that statement applies in a general sense.
I know why reading this was enough to set off my red flags. It is because when I talk about my own depression, at some point I will be forced to defend myself against someone's judgement who has taken this stance in too literal a fashion... and is unwilling to delve deeper.
I have a great deal of difficulty separating "the effects of emotional damage" from "depression." As one of the 15 therapists put it, I have many reasons to feel sad and my depression magnifies the sadness. I tend to equate the ghosts of the past haunting me with depression. While it may be a chemical imbalance that triggers it, there are reasons behind the sadness.
I don't just feel bad. I feel bad for specific reasons. Life has torn holes in my heart that have never fully healed. I have worked my ass off to overcome them. I have tried burying them, medicating them away, drowning them in drugs and booze. I have changed myself, the way that I live, how I go about things, and so on. Eventually I reached a plateau that I have not been able to surpass. This is my limit (so far). I am imperfect. I am flawed.
The holes in my heart resonate with feelings about me. I will be abandoned. I am worthless and undeserving of love.
As much as I battle this with my brain, it feels like scribbling with chalk over words that have been carved in stone. They will seem clear for a while, but time and climate eventually wash it away, leaving only what lies beneath.
Over time I have learned to channel this pain into love. Rather than merely accept the words, I fight against them, constantly proving myself and making them untrue. Each "victory" is only temporary, if I stop fighting for an instant, only what is carved in stone remains. I fight and I fight and I fight. I will earn her love and loyalty. I will earn my sense of worth. This is my ongoing battle that I fight with every ounce of strength that I possess.
D/s is my sanctuary because it carves new tablets for me to focus on. Her happiness is what matters. her will is what matters. These newly carved words bury the old and silence their ache.
When my depression kicks up, the demons are barely an annoyance. I don't care what they have to say because she is all that matters. D/s is my anti-depressant. It is my source of meaning. It is what saves my soul.
I have to wonder what the people that truly know me would think on this subject. Would they tell me not to use BDSM to combat depression? Or would they tell me that I've managed to make something beautiful rise from pain and suffering?
I like to believe the latter, but if I'm wrong, I hope they will let me know.