‘Masochism’, or ‘Why I Like Being Punched In The Tit’

So I’m a masochist.

Kind of an emotional masochist in a lot of ways – but that’s psychological crap we really don’t need to go into in this post.

I’m a physical masochist. I love pain. Physical pain. Nothing – nothing – makes me feel better than being pushed into a state of pain so intense that it fills my entire body and mind with pure, inescapable sensation. Stronger than pleasure, impossible to ignore. I try every time to fight it, and every time I give in to its call.

I love being hit and kicked. I love being whipped and flogged. I love being tied into unmanageable positions and having sensitive parts of my body like my nipples and clitoris tortured. I love being cut. I love being burnt with wax, and I love having needles stuck through my skin.

Writing it all down like that almost freaks me out a little bit, so you must think I’m completely insane!

I’m ok with that though.

If you like going on rollercoaster rides or parachute jumps, you’re probably like me. If you’re an athlete, you’re probably like me. If you’re a fan of metal or dubstep, you’re probably like me. We all push our bodies to extreme places in order to trigger a rush of chemicals that create a natural ‘high’. The way that I do it is less socially accepted than the way that you do it, but we’re essentially doing the same thing.

When I get, oh, for example, punched in the tit (by a friend or partner, after requesting that they do it), it knocks the wind out of me. I stagger back. Then there’s a deep ache inside. My instinct is to run away from the pain, to distract myself with lullabies and safe thoughts, to allow my breathing to get away from me, to scream it all out. But when I manage to stay with my pain, eyes locked with my partner, feeling and feeling and feeling it without resistance, I get an incredibly euphoric feeling.

Oh and another thing. I get an incredibly sexual feeling.

Not just mentally. There’s a place I can get to, and in that place, anything and everything that happens to me whizzes directly to my clit. A whip on my backside can cause shuddering orgasms, without my genitals ever having been touched.

OK, so I’m a freak. But this is what my body likes. This is what my mind likes. When I’m being hurt physically (with consent), my mind shuts down to all but the most basic of thoughts. It’s like meditation or being stoned. I relax completely, especially when the person I’m playing with is someone I can trust entirely with my body and mind. I give over control and just…feel…

It’s addictive, OK. But so are sex and drugs and rock n roll. Discovering this side of me has taught me a huge amount about who I am as a person, and I’ll never go back. Not now I know.

Coming Out: Polyamorous

Here, in the ‘Coming Out’ series of posts, I write on a different topic every time. Generally they will be stories of me coming to terms/coming out about various ‘taboo’ subjects. These posts are a blend of the personal and political, so stay with me!

So. I am polyamorous. This is a very new discovery. I’ve only realised this in the last couple of months.

Some misconceptions about polyamory.

1. I’M NOT A SWINGER.
Swingers have sex with other couples/partners in a non emotionally intimate way. Poly-amory literally means many-loves, and although my partner and I will ‘play’ with people we’re not emotionally attached to, that is not polyamory, and the people that we are polyamorous with mean something to us. I care about these people deeply. I offer, and receive from them, the same level of emotional support and care that I offer and receive in my relationship with my live-in partner. I am open to the potential of a live-in relationship with more than one other person.

2. IT IS NOT A CHOICE.
I like to call it ‘relationship orientation’. Like sexual orientation, it is not something that I’ve chosen. Like sexual orientation, it fluctuates and changes throughout my life. Many people would not be suited to intense emotional and romantic relationships with multiple partners. But to me, discovering that I am polyamorous is like coming home. I’ve always been a very tactile person and a very loving person, and always had an excess of love and loyalty to give. Having multiple partners allows me to give and receive as much love as I have always wanted to without holding back. It’s just right for me, in the same way is it feels right for me to be with both women and men.

Politically….polyamory is difficult. Simply put, society seems to view polyamory these days in a similar way to how it viewed homosexuality thirty years ago. We have no legal rights. Our marriages are illegal. Our practices are frowned on. Being in multiple relationships is regarded as cheating, when actually, central to polyamory is being open and honest with all partners about outside relationships.

My opinions of marriage have changed as well. I’ve suddenly been given new insight into how it feels to be outcast from society’s narrow ideas of what the main ‘acceptable’ idea of relationships are. And it makes me angry. Marriage doesn’t mean much to me, with its’ history of religious and ownership connotations. However, it means a lot to society, and having your relationship denied by society, when it’s a consensual loving relationship, is intolerable.

Coming out as polyamorous is harder than coming out as bisexual has been. I’m still not fully out because I know that judgement is rife against polyamorous relationships. Mainly because of misconceptions I think. Still, I’m not ashamed of who I want to love, and how I want to love, and whatever the reactions are to my lifestyle, I won’t be shamed out of what is the best expression of who and what I am.

Coming Out: Bisexuality

Here, in the ‘Coming Out’ series of posts, I write on a different topic every time. Generally they will be stories of me coming to terms/coming out about various ‘taboo’ subjects. These posts are a blend of the personal and political, so stay with me!

This is now quite a historic piece of writing, which I never posted when I first wrote it. But I didn’t want to not post it. So although I’ve come a long way concerning my sexuality since this post in terms of experience, etc, I still present as a straight woman most of the time, so the issues I talk about here are still (I think) relevant to the person I am now.

So. Bisexuality. When I had the idea for doing a series of ‘Coming Out’ blog posts, of course, the first one had to be about my coming out process as bisexual. I want to give this series a political touch whilst remaining centred in my own experiences, so I’ll be discussing my own sexuality, and understanding of it as well as the wider implications of being bisexual, and the difficulties bisexual people experience in coming out.

I grew up in a fairly understanding setting. My parents aren’t homophobic, and from the age of around 12, my close female friends and I found ourselves explore our sexualities through sexual games etc. In fact, my first kiss was with a girl. Growing up close to Brighton meant that being gay didn’t seem a terrible or terrifying thing – however, I was of the first generation that used the term ‘gay’ as a negative adjective; ‘Your trainers are gay’, ‘That band you like is gay’, ‘My mum’s so gay’. This meant that, although non-straightness wouldn’t, in serious conversations, be thought of as an awful thing, ‘gay’ was weird, and odd, and defective in our normal parlance, and our ideas of gay people were of exclusively men that were incredible camp/transvestites.

I worried hugely when I first felt attracted to another girl as a young teenager, and worried even more when I confessed my attraction, freaking the other girl out so much that she wouldn’t speak to me.

After that, I decided I liked boys and just got on with it. I continually found myself attracted to women, watched female-only porn and experienced mini crushes on various female friends, which I viewed as intense friendships.

As I got older, I privately started to explore my feelings about women, but only really in my head and on computer screens. I did that fake lesbian kissing that girls do in clubs when they want to turn boys on, but never felt ready to explore my feelings towards women.

When I did feel ready, I joined a dating website and looked for both men and women. I even went on a date with a woman. But then I met my partner. We are perfectly suited to each other, and they understand and support me in a way in which no one else has ever done. I also fancy them a lot, and we have great sex 🙂

My partner, though, is a man.

In fact, despite all my feelings, explorations and sexual curiosity towards women, I’ve never been in a relationship with one. And this is the problem with being bisexual. Bisexuality is so invisible, so easily deniable, because it isn’t based upon behaviour. I am attracted to all genders, but all that anyone sees is a straight girl (or if I was in a relationship with a woman, a lesbian girl).

Being seen as straight, being assumed to be straight, has its benefits. Unlike gay and lesbian people, I can walk down the street with my partner and be accepted by the strangers I walk past. I don’t have to be scared for my life just because I want to hold hands with my loved one. My bisexuality is very easily hidden.

But being easy to hide doesn’t mean that my identity isn’t a challenge.

Common responses to telling people that I’m bi?

“It’s just a phase”
“It’s greedy”
“You’re just not ready to come out as gay”

It’s pretty exhausting to have this invisible sexuality. But I will never regret knowing myself well enough to be sure of who and what I am, and being proud of that, despite whatever misconceptions and stereotypes people throw at me.

Been a while…

Wow, it’s really been a while since I’ve been on here…

So what has been going on with me? A lot has been going on with me…

Firstly, I got used to my antidepressants, started counselling, finished counselling, and got sane again. Tried to go off the antidepressants recently, got insane, went back on them, got sane again.

Now I’m reassessing my sanity. It’s not something I’ve had, consistently, without extra, medicinal ‘help’, since I was a child. So why am I trying so hard to get to a place where I can be sane and stable, all the time? It’s not something I’ve ever had. It’s not my fault. My brain doesn’t produce enough ‘happy’ chemicals for me to be on an even keel without help. But maybe that’s ok.

Right now, I’m on a low dosage, I’m stable. I have ups and downs that feel natural, and I have worries and sadnesses and self consciousness that comes and goes, just like a normal person. I look at when I last posted to this blog. I wasn’t sane. I wasn’t happy. I felt nothing, everyday. I felt nothing, or I felt like I was about to die with sadness. I had no idea what my issues were or how to cope with them. I had no idea where my negative feelings were coming from or what had caused them in the first place. I felt guilty all the time. I felt awful about myself, and never thought I would know how to feel good about myself. Counselling gave me the tools to understand myself and forgive myself. But that doesn’t mean it could magically fix my brain chemistry. That’s a lifelong journey, and it will probably never end.

Symptoms of Depression VS Side effects of Anti-Depressants

The question being: how can you tell the difference between the two?

I took the step, a couple of weeks ago now, to start taking anti-depressants. I could cope with the sadness, I could cope with the fatigue, I could cope with the self-hatred and the anxiety and the hopelessness, and even with the constant urge to self-harm. But I couldn’t cope when it all went away.

I mean, literally. My feelings (of which I had been feeling too many, too intensely), all just disappeared. I don’t remember if it happened gradually or overnight, but I remember how scary it was. It wasn’t that any of the physical symptoms of depression that I was experiencing (extreme tiredness, loss of concentration/motor skills, inability to sit still/inability to get out of bed, jaw clenching etc) went away, it was just that all I was capable of feeling was these things. No sadness, but no happiness. No anger, but no sense of humour either. I was also becoming slower, intellectually, having to read each sentence of a book or article a few times to understand it, and taking longer to process and make sense of what other people said to me.

So that was really scary. And even though I had counselling on the cards on the NHS, I knew that A) I would quite possibly end up having to sit on the 15 month waiting list for it (even though I’d already been referred for a year), and B) the counselling would be a long term help, whereas I was finding it harder and harder to physically make it through each day.

So I decided to go back to my GP and ask for anti-depressants after one particularly memorable evening when, despite having no emotions whatsoever, I found myself sobbing hysterically for around 4 hours for pretty much no reason.

The GP visit was interesting: ‘But what life events have happened in the past month to make you more depressed?’ – my only answer to this (I was too depressed to think of it at the time, but it would’ve been kick-ass), was: ‘The main life event that’s made my depression worse has been jumping through hoops to qualify my worthiness for treatment for my depression, and having no idea whether that treatment could start in a few weeks, or in 15 months.’

Anyway, she prescribed me the damn drug, yay.

So here comes my problem. I’m sitting, reading the leaflet in the packet like a good girl, and I’m having a real issue with the side effects listed. In that almost all of the side effects of the anti-depressant were symptoms of depression that I was already experiencing. I think the only ones listed that I wasn’t already having were nausea and weight loss (my depression made me fat).

I’ve been on them now, as I say, for a couple of weeks, and I’m really finding it hard to work out if they’re having any effect. The first couple of days I was on them I couldn’t get out of bed because I felt like I was literally just about to throw up, constantly, for two days, so that’s an effect, I guess. I’d say my appetite is also probably reduced quite a bit, which is really annoying, cos I get all excited about eating something, take one bite out of it, and feel sick. But then I was already getting that feeling for a couple of weeks before I started the drug.

I suppose my sleep might be a little disturbed, I’m getting more (and really terrifying) nightmares, and possibly feeling a touch more tired, too.

I’m possibly a bit less anxious? Yes, I think a bit less anxious, but then everything’s feeling really daunting, a bit scary, and waaaay too much effort, so I don’t know if that counts as a different kind of anxious.

So I suppose what I’m really saying is that, so far, I’m not feeling a whole lot of better. I’d say I’m possibly feeling a little worse (physically of course. As I’ve mentioned, my only ’emotions’ right now are physical sensations).

The whole point of taking these drugs is to get my emotions back, which I…don’t think has happened yet. I mean, I’m not sure, but I think that not being able to work out/remember whether I can feel anything or not is probably quite a clear indication that I can’t feel anything. I do hope they help. I don’t have that many options left and I suppose I do (in a very disconnected, depressed way), worry, because another mentioned ‘side affect’ of the drug is a sense of flatness or de-personification, which, as I’ve mentioned, is my main problem just now.

But hi-di-ho, I guess I’ll just wait. And wait. And hopefully, one day, I’ll feel some more things. I’ll keep you posted, either way.

Has anyone had a similar experience with anti-depressants? Does anyone know how to tell the difference between symptoms of depression and side affects of anti-depressants? Can anyone tell me why the room’s been spinning the whole time I’ve been writing this?

Answers on a postcard (but written really clearly cos printed text is confusing for me right now, let alone blummin’ handwriting!)

British Values for British People

Great piece on British Values. I mean, really, British Values! I ask you, what the hell are they supposed to be? My top picks: 1. Oppression of minorities and women 2. one rule for the people and another for the private schools 3. fish and chips

Left at the Lights

As a member of my family, a friend of many circles and a citizen of the patch of land on which I made my entry into the world, I share a common set of values with the people I choose to have in my spaces. They’re old, young, black, white and brown. Some of them practice a religion but a significant number don’t. They come in all shapes and sizes, genders and sexualities. Oddly, they do not share the same political beliefs necessarily but they place the same values on the things we all think are important; like treating each other with respect, for example, and dignity regardless of borders and stereotypes.

Honesty also scores fairly highly in our value system. It takes courage and humility to admit when you are wrong or when you may have hurt someone, unintentionally or otherwise. Recognising humanity in others is something I need…

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A more accepting age? Why stigma is nowhere near a thing of the past

For how many other illnesses would you have to wait 15 months or more for treatment to even begin, unless you were on death’s door? In treating how many other illnesses do we neglect to give patients a range of treatment options? How many other illnesses cost the economy over £100 billion a year, according to the Centre for Mental Health, but are only allocated spending of just £11.3 billion a year? 25% of our population experiences mental health problems each year, and yet mental illness (including dementia), is allocated just 13% of NHS funding.
Despite a rising demand for services, mental health funding has seen a real-terms cut of 2% in the past 2 years.
Fewer than 4 in 10 employers say that they would employ someone with mental health problems (http://www.mind.org.uk/media/1081517/Mind-Manifesto-Jun14.pdf) and yet we have people writing articles saying that there is no longer a stigma around mental health!
Even on a cultural basis, as purplepersuasion quite rightly points out, we jokingly call people ‘mental’ or ‘psychotic’ if they act strangely, we say that we’re ‘depressed’ if we’re having a bad day, we make jokes about suicide, self-harm and ‘mental patients’. We make parties themed around ‘looney bins’ and victorian asylums – and we assume that people with psychosis are violent and dangerous.
So not only does the stigma most definitely exist, but its prevalence in our general consciousness has filtered through to adversely effect actual treatment of real mental health patients. It’s basically a fucking disgrace!

purplepersuasion

STIGMA

  1. fig. A mark of disgrace or infamy; a sign of severe censure or condemnation, regarded as impressed on a person or thing; a ‘brand’.

Example: 1882   J. H. Blunt Reformation Church of Eng. II. 172   Branded with the stigma of illegitimacy.

Oxford English Dictionary

 

I’m particularly lucky where stigma is concerned. Despite having had bipolar since early adolescence, generally I have not experienced much stigma and discrimination. Some of it is to do with how open I am (it’s harder for someone to attack you if anything they could potentially use against you is already out in the open) but some of it must just be pure lucky because almost everyone I know who has a mental health condition has experienced much worse stigma. I know people who have been turned down at interview or hounded out of jobs, people who rejected by friends and family, people verbally…

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