How many ways can my anxiety count the days?

Content note for self-harm

One-day, two-day, three-day, eighty.

It seems ironic that my mental health would take a nosedive in May: Mental Health Awareness Month. During this time, I am more cognizant of possible mental health issues, reading articles, meditating, and writing about mental health more. However, as time ticks on, I am aware that I am becoming less capable of coping with the chaos of the world. Or perhaps the world is becoming more chaotic than ever before? Both statements are true.

A significant sign that I am slipping when it comes to dealing with my anxiety and depression is that my people pleasing personality becomes more prominent than usual. It becomes apparent that the need to please everyone is seeping into all that I do. The awful problem with trying to please everyone is that I never feel good enough for anyone. This is a lesson and an old demon that I thought I had put to rest.

That is the trick depression plays on its sufferers; if you have maintained a healthy mindset for a long period, it’s easy to talk yourself into believing the illusion that you are recovered or have moved past your mental illness.

In the beginning of quarantine I am hanging on, not losing too much sleep, and not slipping into the deep dark rabbit hole that depression is. I am talking to Dr. Payne and I know He has me, and He will help me. Then I hit a major bump in the road: my personal physician decides that she wants me to try a new medication for my asthma.

This medication doesn’t simply lead me to slip down into the rabbit hole of depression, it throws me there head first and I am suddenly lost in a maze of awful thoughts: “Nobody loves me, and I can’t do anything right!” Then thoughts of self-harm creep in, “Why am I here? Something sharp cutting into my arm would feel better than these feelings!”

Depression lies to you; it tells you that making people happy is the only way to be loved. It also tells you that nobody loves you. I then feel that I must hide my feelings from those around me. Depression and anxiety begin to constantly whisper in my ear that Dr. Payne and Princess care more about each other than they do about me.

That is not true, and I know it isn’t true, but there are times at 2 am when anxiety tells me I have to make things perfect, that doing so is the only way to be happy. In those moments I lose my grip on my emotional and mental wellbeing. I then fall back asleep, and when I wake up, most days I am in control of the negative thoughts.

There are moments of clarity when I can see happiness and daylight, and I talk to my partners about what is going on in my head. However, this is not easy.

As time marches along, and what the world tries to refer to as the “new normal” becomes a scary thing, I ponder what the current state of the world and its unpredictability mean for my mental health. I fear I may not make it to the end of 2020 as an emotionally stable person.

I must fight the demons, the demons of fear that tell me I am too much emotional garbage to be worthy of anyone’s love and attention.

I can tell myself that I am worthy. I can stand up tall, smile, and say that I am loved, I am worthy. But there are moments when I wonder if fear is right, and I am the one lying to myself.

As we talk about the struggles, Dr. Payne reminds me that when times are rough it is more important than ever to rely on our protocols, those things about Power Exchange that keep us grounded. I wish it were as easy as that. I find I have to remind myself that I am collared and owned, that I am no longer the person who struggles daily with being in charge of myself. I fall back on old shameful behaviors that I should know do not work for me. We have had more tension events than is normal, and my anxiety and inability to remember who I am now is often at the center of the tension.

The world is still chaotic, and Dr. Payne tries to filter the outside disorder as much as possible. As time marches on and quarantine is extended, ten-weeks, twelve-weeks, thirteen-weeks, thirty, I touch and acknowledge my protocols and daily tasks: the simple act of drink service, blessing Sir’s tea, and kneeling at His feet when I am in need of guidance. I continue to love and support Princess, and give consent daily to the person who has agreed to be my Dominant, to protect and love me: Dr. Payne, my husband, my Dom, my forever partner.

The acts of nurture, service, and love

If you have ever seen us in public and commented on my clothing, you know my standard response is, “Dr. Payne buys all my dresses!” I say it with a smile. It is a dictated protocol response, however people who know me personally know how much I love this. The phrase is attached to the act. Dr. Payne buys the dresses to be sure of a certain look, but I am the one who makes an effort to pair items together with the proper makeup for the look He loves so much. I love getting dressed up for Dr. Payne – for events, for date night, for Him. His look when I have perfectly achieved the pinup style that I adore is priceless. I feel pretty and wanted. He feels honored and proud to see His Kitten well adorned. These are balms for an old wound of feeling ugly and unwanted.

There are other aspects of my outward appearance that are not part of our Power Exchange Dynamic but are still within the form of service. This involves the other member of our group: Princess. There is no Power Exchange between Princess and myself; we have a more intimate relationship than just lovers. The things we do for each other are acts of love. Princess has become my nail artist, but this is more than just painting my nails and making them pretty. There is a sincere intimacy in the touching of hands and feet, the tender caress on my hand as she grooms my nails, and even the quick tug bringing my hand back into place when I become distracted. In these moments between us, it is just us in silence enjoying the simple touch. This is the balm for an old wound of thinking that I was not good enough to let others do anything for me.

Putting on makeup is an act of grooming and service to myself. It becomes an act of service and bonding when Princess wants to do my makeup – girl time! Even the simple act of bathing myself is service to Dr. Payne. I must care for Sir’s property.

Then there are the times one of us is not well due to some physical illness, or a chronic issue that flares up. In these moments of physical or emotional pain, we care for each other. In these moments we are reminded that we serve the Collar, and of what it means to love each other.

This is not just Power Exchange, we are family. My service to Dr. Payne is not just service; I love this man and I love to serve Him. The service of presenting Dr. Payne or Princess an evening drink is an act that brings me great joy. This is a shared act of communion.

It becomes this circle of serving each other; service does not equal submission. The acts of service become a form of healing old wounds: damage others have done to us, and damage we have done to ourselves.

When you see us in public, when you see me on social media, you will know that I am healing those around me, and I am constantly being healed.

It hurts

Photo by Bianca Salgado from Pexels

Today it hurts

My mental illness tries to own me

The anxiety throws me into the undertow

The depression drags me under

I worry if Sir will see me struggling and pull me out

Will He notice or will I quietly slip away

Then He takes my hand

He grabs my collar

He looks into my eyes

He says, “come back to me”

I remember who owns me

And the hurt is eased