Maintain Your Mental Health while Submitting to Your Dominant
Some SubSays tips on dealing with mental illness while in lifestyle.
Submitting to someone is an extremely wonderful process of giving over aspects of your life that you used to control to someone that you trust. In the BDSM lifestyle as a submissive, being “owned” by a Dominant should be an wonderful event that makes you feel like you truly belong, not only in this lifestyle, but with your partner. I wrote an article entitled “I’ve Submitted to Him,” that you can read for more information on what submitting really means.
Looking at the other side of ownership, the submissive side, there are so many factors that have the potential to lead to mental health problems if you are ill prepared to handle them. I myself live with mental illness, and I’m currently medicated for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and acute manic depression. I love that I now have a firm grasp on how to properly handle myself in my D/s relationships so that I am safe, sane and mentally healthy. This article will outline what I used to think submitting would entail, what I’ve learned, and tips and tricks to submitting with mental health! As always, if you have any comments, questions or concerns, please feel free to tweet me at @SubSaysHello, I don’t bite unless I’m told to.
Now on to the good stuff!
What I Used to Think Being Owned Was Like
When I first stepped foot into the kinky side of relationships, I was really scared to fully submit and be owned by someone. My biggest fear was that they would abandon me after collaring me, leaving me basically at rock bottom and completely on my own. I also had this strange fear that They would stop thinking about my consent and my feelings since They already got me in Their collar, like it was some clever ploy to get me to submit. I was also always worried about having a D/s relation turn abusive as well, since not all "Doms" that you meet either on the internet or in person are really what they're cracked up to be. I just kept thinking that anyone could magically call themselves a "Dom" and without the proper trust buildup, just take you at will.
What It's Really Like
The opposite of that.
I did all my research into the kinky world, lifestyle, and read advice article after advice article about collars, being owned, and the community in general. Now having lived in the community for a longer time, I can confidently say that what I used to think being owned was like is absolutely, 100000% WRONG. My biggest pieces of advice for any submissive person is to be extremely careful in choosing a Dominant to submit to (or consent to play with), and to remember that you can ALWAYS say no. Recognizing that you should always have the power to say no is something that’s really difficult to wrap our head around sometimes as submissives. I personally just love serving my Dom and doing what is asked of me since it makes Him happy, and I hate having to say no to something.
Being owned should be a beautiful thing that comes with love, trust and energy between the two partners that gives and takes in a healthy power exchange.
Tips and Tricks for Dealing with Mental Illness While Being Owned
Now for the piece de la resistance! If you’re like me and suffer from mental illness, than you’ll know as well as I do that some days are better than others. Our struggles become increasingly difficult if your partner doesn’t fully understand what mental illness is, how it works, or what to do on bad days of ours. There’s always the chance of feeling trapped, feeling scared of abandonment, feeling terrified to do wrong by your Dom, and being scared that you won’t live up to Their expectations of you. Here are some cool ways to work with those feelings, turn them into something positive, and strengthen your relationship!
1. Find out what you need!
Do some mental inventory exercises and find out exactly what aspects of your relationship are benefiting you personally, what makes you the happiest and what makes you feel most like yourself. Knowing what you bring to the table in all aspects is so important for mental health – I’ve found nothing to be worse than walking into a situation without knowing what you have to offer, and just blindly searching for ways to make everything work.
The best case scenario is that you would have done this mental inventory, understood your personal likes and dislikes, understood your role in the BDSM lifestyle to the best you can, find things that you'd still like to explore, figure out what goals and aspirations you have, and then convey all that information to your Dominant before securing that relationship and giving so much of yourself to Them. You can’t belong to someone else if you can’t belong to yourself first. Personally for me, I had to do some soul searching in the way of a couple bad partners to fully realize what I needed out of a relationship.
In my case, I need to be needed, and I also need patience, attention, kindness, sincerity and trust, to name a few points. I bring my submissiveness to the table in the form of kinks that I have found myself to possess. I bring my bubbly personality and princess-like demeanor. And I am aware that I have all these things, and that to be my true self, I have to continue to express these things.
2. Find some “me” time to recharge
Recharging is so important for your stamina and mental health. Take some time to find a fun activity or hobby that you can do by yourself. It’s amazing what taking even 10 minutes to do something you love by yourself can do for your happiness, focus and self-awareness. MY favorite things to do for “me time” is to write, paint, do yoga, meditate or listen to music! Here are some other ideas if you need a boost:
- Cook something yummy that you really love eating (I vote a pirogi bake! SO GOOD)
- Sing a song and dance around your room in your underwear (no one’s watching, so who cares anyways?) Make sure you have at least three songs in your queue, since you’re probably going to want to continue with your dancing after the first one.
- Re-read a favorite book, or part of that favorite book
- Snuggle in with your stuffed animals or pillows and put on your favorite movie
- If you’re a little, try making the BEST BLANKET FORT EVER and then hide in it for a while with your stuffed friends, talking to them about your problems
- Make a good cup of tea, find your favorite blanket, and curl up on the couch, perhaps with a journal or something to jot ideas down that come to your mind while you sit there and contemplate your life over warm yummy sustenance. Here are some tips to make a reflective journal.
- Take a drive! Nothing better than just picking a road and driving until you don’t know where you are. It forces you to take your time, listen to music and zen out
- Try yoga – yoga’s helped me combat much of my mental illness problems since it brings awareness back from the outside world and into my body. I love practicing mindfulness and self-awareness exercises as well.
- If you like working out, hit a gym or go for a run! I don’t recommend running through the woods in the winter, but if you’re like me, I love running among trees and finding a secluded spot in the middle of the forest to sit, take a break and think
- Make some art. Art doesn’t have to be good, it just has to be art. When doing this, I find it helpful to pay attention to sensations like dipping your fingers into paint, the vibrations of a brush when its on canvas, and the emotions you try to convey in your piece. It could literally end up being a scribbly mess of colors, but hey that’s art!
Tips for Vocalization
So all that being considered, what if you realize that you’re not happy with a current situation, a scene you did with your Dom(me), or an aspect of your relationship? There’s a super simple solution here folks…ready for it? TALK ABOUT IT (woah what a concept, right?).
Make sure that you’ve done your mental preparation, figured out exactly what you feel the problem is, and approach your partner with intent to resolve the issue. It’s a lot easier to deal with your own mental health if you vocalize and communicate any potential problems right from the start, so both of Y/you/all of you are aware.
For example, if after my mindfulness exercise I realized that I really just wasn’t happy with Sir calling me a “slut” even during sex, and that it was causing me mental grief. I would think on it, and make sure I can realize exactly why that bothered me, and approach Him to tell Him that I’m just not into it and I’m saying no to that specific element of play. For how easy this is, it sure does seem like rocket science to a lot of people. Just remember that your relationship should be based in mutual trust and comfort – if T/they’re unwilling to accommodate your specific needs, then maybe it’s time to think on bigger changes and newer ideas of play.
Ensure that YOUR situation is right for YOU
A huge part of mental health recovery and living with mental illness is doing what you know will benefit you the most, and recognizing that you not only matter but that you deserve to live a happy and fulfilling life. Just ‘going with the flow’ and accepting whatever comes your way because you can or you feel you have to won’t give you that amazing and healthy life experience that we all crave.
Being with your partner should be amazing, rewarding and full of love. If it’s anything but that, I would absolutely encourage taking some ‘me’ time and figuring out just what YOU need to live YOUR best life. And I completely, 100% understand that it’s extremely difficult, but it’s really not more difficult than living in a unhappy situation where you are uncomfortable and wishing to escape every single day. You tell me what’s worth it!
As a final thought, please try to remember that you matter, you’re your own first priority, and that you belong to yourself before you belong to everyone else. Mental illness is terribly difficult to live with, but the universe works in weird ways, just let it unfold around you.