on black dogs

When I posted a tweet saying that I had my own visits from the black dog, it was partially borne from knowing several submissives who have had their own experiences with mental health conditions. Those are their conditions, and not my stories to tell, but they have spanned across a multitude of issues.

I have always been very much against the stigma that comes with mental health. A person can have a broken leg, and society expects them to heal. We are realistic about it; a sports player, for example, may see an end to their field career, but we still accept that the person has a wealth of knowledge and expertise if they diversify into another area. If a person experiences a break to the mind, we treat it with suspicion and recoil. But much like the person who has a cast on their leg for a few weeks, the person who has a break to the mind may also heal, if given sufficient support and resources. Much like the sportsperson, they too may have an injury so grave that they have to make other changes to their life. Yet they still have years of experience and knowledge to offer. Even some racehorses survive a fall.

Like many people, I was of the opinion that the pandemic and concurrent lockdowns did nothing for people’s mental health. Humans are a social species by nature and seek the companionship of others. Loneliness does nothing for the psyche or the soul. I do not think it is normal to see family and friends over an electronic device for years, lose years of your youth to being a shut-in, or lose family members. I have wondered a lot, even now, about the long term impacts it continues to have on people, even with things like social anxiety. I work with some younger people who have terrible levels of anxiety speaking to people, in a way I simply did not at their age, and part of me wonders if it is in part due to being cut off from a key aspect of social development. There are people I know who developed severe issues with anxiety and depression throughout the pandemic that they still live with now. Whether or not those issues were dormant inside them and the isolation only provided fertile breeding room for the conditions to develop is open to interpretation, but I do know first hand of people who watched cracks appear across ice psychologically, and they have never quite managed to pull themselves out of the water.

Which brings me to my other point in saying that I had experienced my own issues with a black dog. I do not see the shame nor stigma in these conditions. Sessions for many become confessional booths, where they will tell you things that they do not feel able to tell anyone else. Perhaps some of it is because they know they also pay for privacy, and thus it is easier to tell someone like me that you have struggled with anxiety, depression or worse because I will not make you do anything with this outside the confines of a session. I am not your mother, sister, wife or friend. You can block me and never have to deal with an issue that you can drown out with any other noise or shiny toy. I will not be there consistently to nag you about responsibilities, or encourage you to do anything about problems. For some people, that works, and it is probably why it is easier to tell me. I am the distraction, the glitter and rainbows, to the putrefaction of reality.

If, however, someone you find entertaining on the internet saying they just see a struggle with mental health as being akin to getting over a broken leg and they too have had problems with depression as a catalyst for things in your own life, and this relates to you on some level, here are some resources:

I started writing this blog as I was beginning to write another one regarding people working out traumatic events in their lives via BDSM. One of the examples I used was religion; having been raised Catholic, I can understand why a person would use role play to work out their own issues. That, however, is a blog for another day. I do not practice the religion anymore, but I am quite spiritual in that I believe you get what you return to the universe. I am paid to be extremely cruel to those who want me to be extremely cruel to them. In turn, I believe you settle your karmic balance by extending kindness and compassion to those who also need it. We are all only merely human at the end of the day.

C x