Monday, December 8, 2014

Anxiety and BDSM

I get a lot of questions from littles asking how they can take part in the lifestyle even though they have anxiety or past trauma that caused PTSD. While I know next to nothing about trauma, trauma therapy, and how to approach heavy triggers in BDSM, I can speak from experience with panic disorder.

While I can't speak for all littles with anxiety disorders, aside from panic attacks I get extremely insecure and paranoid. I'm constantly worried about my behavior around people: Am I too hyper that I come off as annoying? Am I too friendly that I come off as being fake? Are those people laughing at me or are they laughing about something else and I just happen to be walking past? Am I a burden to Daddy with my mental illnesses? What if people are only friends with me because they pity me? What if I get an attack while giving Daddy a blow job and throw up on Him?

As you can see I would be a girl that some men or women would call, "high maintenance". I need lots of reassurance, attention, and support. Not everyone can put up with mental illnesses, either because they have their own or because they lack the knowledge behind it and how to help. If you're not willing to put up with your little's "bad side" or mental health issues, you don't deserve them at their best.

As a Daddy or Mommy, your job is to care for you little in many different ways. When your little has an anxiety disorder or a history of trauma, more patience, understanding, and care is required. People have different coping methods for dealing with their anxiety and calming down. What may work for me may not work for others. You need to understand your little's symptoms and work with them to see how to nip the attack in the bus or calm them down after the peak.

Dealing with your little's anxiety in general:

A common idea for helping a loved one with anxiety is to simply be supportive. Remove your little from the situation or the trigger and tell them to take deep breaths (especially if hyperventilation occurs) and count slowly with each inhale. Talk to your little in a soothing and calming voice; avoid raising your voice as it may startle them more. Speak words of encouragement and positive messages such as, "Everything's okay. You're going to be okay and it will pass."

Do not tell them, "You have nothing to worry about." While this is a sweet (yet generic) statement, if the little has panic disorder, we known that we have nothing to worry about yet the attacks still come randomly. We don't choose to worry or have attacks. This statement is almost as bad as telling a depressed person, "You have nothing to be sad about. People have it worse than you." Everyone deals with stress differently.

Do not touch your little unless asked. I've heard this from friends who also deal with anxiety, hugging is a real hit or miss for calming attacks. Most of the time only a select amount of people can get away with hugging and a back rub without creating more of a sense of panic.

Never ever shame your little for having an attack or for asking for your help. It doesn't matter how small the issue is, just don't do it. You're supposed to make them feel safe, not shame them and make them feel worse for having something they have little to no control over. After I have an attack I feel mortified and want to cry, the last thing I need is for someone I love to give me a hard time and magnify those feelings.

Anxiety and the lifestyle:

Communication with limits and safe words are going to be your best friend. Whether you're into bondage, S/M, or D/s dynamic you and your partner need to have a safe word picked out. This is even more important with anxiety because that one word can stop an entire scene and bring on the needed (after) care. You can choose an overall word or have two: use one for something that's pushing their limit, and the other to signify that something in the scene is setting off an attack.

Take note of your little's body language and check in with them every so often, even if they haven't used their safe word. For some littles, there's some shame and embarrassment in using the safe word due to the fear of disappointing their Daddy or Mommy. Remind them that there's nothing wrong with needing to pause or stop a scene.

With bondage it's best to start of with small and simple ties. If your little is curious about bondage/shibari but has anxiety, work your way up until there is a level of comfort established. Start off with simple arm restraints and ask them how they feel. Have equipment near by such as a cutting utensil (especially for difficult ties) to undo them if your little begins to feel negatively restrained, frightened, or even uncomfortable.

It's very important to have safety equipment near by and your handy-dandy aftercare kit. Always be prepared.

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