Coming Out! Current Thoughts on Mental Health, Sexuality, and Kink

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I recently discovered that I’m bipolar. For so many years, I struggled with the depressive episodes of bipolar thinking I was just dealing with regular depression.

Every time I’d been put on antidepressants in the past, they never sat well with me. Recently, I had been taking Zoloft, which had been great for my depression, but seems to have contributed to my recent manic episode where I had to be hospitalized.

My recent hospitalization was horrific. And my experience let me see just how backwards the mental health care system is in our country. I was raped by another patient, dehumanized and victim blamed by staff, and more. I’m working this out in therapy now as well, on top of all my other trauma I’ve accumulated in the last year or so.

But at the very least, I have a new, more accurate diagnosis. For one, now I know that I need to be wary of antidepressants, they can be bad for people with bipolar. I’ve also learned about mood stabilizers and know what symptoms to look for if I’m entering a hypomanic/manic or depressive phase of my illness.

In a way, I know that I’ve been able to take advantage of the “positive” (hypomanic) aspects of my illness. I was able to earn a 4.0 in grad school, work full time at a library, get scholarships, and help rear a small family some years ago. In retrospect, when I think of these sorts of times in my life, I was hypomanic, full of drive and energy and the capacity to do almost anything I put my mind to.

But my inevitable “crashes” after these energetic episodes have taken a huge toll on me. I’ve had bad depression, viral infections, body pain, and more.

What’s frustrating is that before I was harmed, by a non-licensed hypnotist and his BDSM practices, I had always been at least functional with my illness. But after his intervention my illness became debilitating.

I decided that I wasn’t going to be quiet about my diagnosis (or my past abuse for that matter). I’m not ashamed to have bipolar and PTSD (the PTSD has gotten worse after my last hospitalization), and so I find power in not keeping it quiet.

There are a lot of creative and famous people who have been or are able to function in spite of their diagnosis of bipolar. Carrie Fisher was one of them.

Carrie Fisher on Bipolar
Source: https://twitter.com/bphopemag/status/771709916830629888

Anyways, I’m glad to know more about myself and my mental illness.

I also did finally come out publicly as bisexual in the last couple of weeks. After my experiences, I have had to face a lot of the skeletons in my closet, so I made the decision to be open about my sexuality as well.

I was raised Mormon and had a lot of self hate and guilt for the feelings of “same sex attraction” that I had over the years. I no longer have that guilt and realize there is nothing wrong with me when it comes to having the sexuality that I do.

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I decided to come out publicly on my twitter and other social medias. Bisexuality is still highly stigmatized and bisexual people have a lot of problems when it comes to mental illness. I hope people will be able to read this article about these very issues.

“Prejudice manifests itself multiple times over to dismiss bi people with mental health problems and reduce them to perverts and sex addicts rather than autonomous human beings with valid identities and feelings as profound as anyone else’s. Their lives and experiences are routinely put up for debate as though the rest of society should control their characters. Autonomy is something sought to be crushed, as is bisexual identity as a whole. The prevalence of such biphobia and mental health stigma regularly leaves those who are vulnerable questioning their entire sense of self, as though they could be flawed just for existing which can lead to extreme self loathing, depression and even suicidal ideation.” -Source

The shame I felt as a bi person was unwarranted. After talking with some friends, I discovered that I may even identify as a demisexual. I had someone try to convince me that I was a “slut” about a year ago. I don’t have a problem with sluts and am against slut shaming in general, but that is not who I am.

The Mormonism from my youth never sat well with me because I was always an opinionated woman who liked to call out the men who claimed to have authority over me. Last year I had someone try to tell me that my Mormon upbringing made me incapable of being anything other than a submissive.

Bullshit.

Frankly, the only reason why I had submissive tendencies was because a lot of it had been ingrained in me by society and by my religious upbringing, for sure. My social anxiety also gave me the crutch of trying to be a pleaser. But it is not who I am. I was never happy as a submissive Mormon woman, so I don’t know why I would ever be happy as a full-time BDSM submissive.

My original interest in submission came from a place of fun and play, and the way it was thrust upon me with manipulation and hypnosis was not at all playful or fun. I was told that submission was an essential part of who I was as a person, and that combined with the hypnosis involved exacerbated my mental health problems.

I recently met someone who is a spiritual guide, and also a dominatrix. She was supportive of me and helped me see that there are good uplifting people in the BDSM community. I also recently learned a new term: MTDs (Male Therefore Doms). Sadly, as the name implies, there are men (and some women) who assume that males have a better position to be dominant and females should be submissive.

Women are already so submissive in the patriarchy as a whole, and so I’m tired of that role. If I’m going to do something for fun, I’m not going to reflect the submission of my upbringing in a patriarchal religion and a patriarchal society.

Hell to the no.

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I’m not a little girl who enjoys being told what to do. I’m a free agent and I am powerful and self aware. If I ever considered kink again, I’d take on a dominant role.

I’m intelligent and a warrior. I’m someone to be respected and admired. I don’t get off at being shamed or humiliated. The fact that so many have done that to me throughout my life, and told me that I should appreciate it, is repugnant to me now.

People who’ve hurt me no longer have any power over me. I’ve come to accept the pain that comes with being alive. All I can do is try to be a decent human being and seek empowerment from my experiences.

Sometimes, you need to get broken down just so you can build yourself back up.

Also, I’ve had an amazing spiritual breakthrough of sorts. When I left the psych ward a couple weeks back, I had this song on repeat. The lyrics are amazing. It’s about finding the beauty in the pain that we encounter in life. (There is also an inner child of sorts creating by drawing throughout the video.) It meant a lot to me and I hope you’ll take a listen/watch.

And despite my issues with Mormonism in the past, I also formed a relationship with some local sister Mormon missionaries. And they gave me love and a listening ear shortly after I came home from the hospital. This made me realize something that I recently posted on my Facebook:

Good people use labels and identities to help themselves feel spiritually connected to the world and others. When we use our labels to feel superior to anyone else, be it Christian or atheist, or liberal or conservative, or single or married, or whatever, or use those labels to try to manipulate others into doing what we want, that’s when the disconnect happens.

The path to happiness and connection is, I think, pure love for one’s self and others. And self care before caring for others. This is huge.

Thanks for reading. I have a lot of creative projects I wish to pursue and am excited about the future! I wish all of you lovelies the best.

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Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge: There Is No Exit

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Based on true events.

I stand and look down at my bare feet. I see the scar from my youth creeping up from my toe to ankle, like a meandering snake.

My ankles. They are swollen from the restraints. The restraints they put me in when I was in the hospital. The restraints they found necessary when in my mania I said I wasn’t bound by their rules.

“Let me out!” I scream into the yellowness. This yellow room, reminds me of Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper quite literally. In the walls I imagine the women, creeping around in eternal madness like me.

“PLEASE!” I scream. Scratching at my arms, I beg for release. I can’t escape. The room is locked. Four padded walls and a thick metal door with a narrow window are all I have for company.

Walking up to the window, I plead with the Indian woman at the computer on the other side of the door to listen to me.

“Please look at me! Let me out!” I scream into the window. “Let me out!”

She doesn’t see me. I’m invisible.

I am desperate.

“Let me out! Let me out! Let me out!” I slap my face. Hit my head with my hands. I claw at my arms, seeking freedom from my own skin, trying to let my very essence break free from its corporeal restraints.

She looks at me. “You are a good girl.” She smiles at me.

Hope.

She makes me feel hope.

“Please,” I cry. “Just let me out.”

She speaks soothing things to me. Through the window. My hope grows like a welcome, warm fire.

She hears me. I’m a human to her.

We’re interrupted. Another woman enters the antechamber wearing disdain like a regal robe.

“Stop talking to her.” She says. “She’s just trying to get your attention, she’s probably borderline and just wants sympathy. You need to ignore her.”

“No!” I am crying. “Please!”

The Indian woman, the woman who called me a “good girl,” the woman saying comforting things through the window, turns away from me. She pulls her computer back away from the door.

So she doesn’t have to see me.

No!

She is gone. I am alone again with four yellow walls and two cameras. One in each corner of the room.

I scream. I don’t know for how long but I scream.

I sit on the only object in the room, a mat with a symbolic picture of a man on a bed. It looks like the Tarot card of The Hanged Man.

The Hanged Man.

Submit.

“No!” I scream. “LET ME OUT!”

I start banging on the door. I feel my hands and wrists buckle under the weight of my body as I throw myself against the door.

This is madness. They are making me mad. They want me to be a madwoman.

I don’t know for how long I do this.

Eventually I get tired.

I sit on the mat in cobbler’s pose. I look at my feet, folded open like a book. A book. They ripped a book out of my hands when they put me in here.

The Poisonwood Bible.

They would never return it.

Staring at my feet, my vision grows sharp. I’ve never seen so clearly in my life. Even though they tore the glasses from my face when the security guards were piled on me before entering this hell, I see.

Leaning forward, I rest my head on my feet.

I breathe.

I can do this.

I stand again, and do yoga poses.

I’m not sure what happens next. Flashes of mania and flashes of awareness overtake me.

At one point, I scream at the camera and make obscene gestures.

“Fuck you, Mark Zuckerberg!” I shout a manifesto against Facebook. It seems appropriate.

“My brother is watching all of you! You all are fucked!” And I believe my brother is. He works for the government after all. In my heart I believe he is there, with me, telling me everything is going to be OK. Watching me. But most of all, he’s watching them.

He’ll make them pay.

“There is nothing wrong with me!” I scream at the cameras. “There is nothing wrong with me! I’m a human! I’m who I am and that doesn’t make me any less than you! You have me locked in here but it is YOU who are not free. My mind is free. I AM FREE.”

For a while I sing. I sing songs from Les Misérables at the cameras. I sing I’m Proud to Be an American.

Do you hear the people sing?”

I make the performance of my life.

At some point in the turmoil of events, I remove my scrubs.

I’m naked now.

As I piss myself, the warmth of fresh urine covers my legs and feet.

I don’t remember leaving the room, but at some point I do.

They don’t get a doctor to evaluate me or the bruises inflicted on me by staff. But they put me back in my room with a camera, so they can keep watching me.

Eventually they tell me I was in there for four hours.

That’s not a long time to liberate my mind.

-LH

This story was written for Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction Challenge “There Is No Exit.”