Ashamed of who I am
There are going to be moments when you need to make that one decision. How much do you let someone know about who you are? How vulnerable do you allow yourself to be with a certain person? How much honesty about your internal demons are you ready to express? I have been in those kinds of moments many times in my life, and I always ended up filtering the truth, censoring myself.
You see, everyone is struggling at one point or another during their lifetime, but there is a difference between one rough patch, and chronic mental illness. I don’t want to invalidate anyone’s pain, of course. Loss is hard to deal with, losing a job is terrible and heartbreak is extremely painful! Those kinds of struggles are short-term though and they will eventually pass. So when you are going on a first date, you won’t need much of a filter, you can talk about how work is stressful, how losing your mother three years ago still has you heart-broken. But can you talk about crippling anxiety, flashbacks or manic episodes that push you to ruin your life on a regular basis? Most people would run the other way! Or would they?
I am a wreck, and I hate that I am a wreck. Every day of my life is a constant struggle. My physical health is just as worrying as my mental health these days, but it is definitely my mental health that is making everything a million times more difficult. I am more than one person. Most people can not even imagine what that entails. It means that the trauma that I had to live through during my childhood has fractured my mind, I am fragmented, I am parts, not one whole. This can get entirely confusing to me (which me even???), but even more so to the people around me. I have flashbacks every single day. I constantly apologize. I often can’t even take a shower, and spend days in bed. I have crippling health anxiety. I have crippling social anxiety. I go from weeks of depression, to weeks of manic behaviour, to weeks of self-destructive hell. I sometimes don’t leave my house in months. I am not exactly what anyone would consider a catch!
How much is okay to share?
So, when going into any kind of relationship, romantically, D/s or even just play, how much do I actually have to share about myself? I am ashamed of who I am. I know I am not the perfect partner, or the easiest person to be around. I am embarrassed. I hate myself for what I have become. I so wish it would be different, I so wish I could think differently about myself. See, and there isn’t only the mental health issues, I also dislike my body, so most of the time, I am embarrassed to be around people because of how I look. I am worried they’d find me disgusting or unattractive.
How much of my soul can I really share with someone, without them getting scared of and running into the other direction? See, I am an honest person. I also don’t want to become a burden on anyone, nor do I want to make anyone feel worse. It might feel like Pandoras box when telling someone about all that is me. It is frightening and I expect rejection. I rather save myself from future hurt by being honest. In my current relationship, my boyfriend and Master knew and knows about everything. He was my friend and main support before we got together. And when we got more serious in our relationship, I asked him several times if he was aware of what he is getting into. He was and he keeps reassuring me that he doesn’t regret having become more committed to me.
Honesty versus Shame
Still, there is this shame that keeps bugging me. I am ashamed of who I am. I am ashamed of the things that have happened to me. I am embarrassed by not being able to function like a normal person. I need to be taken care of. I need to be pushed. And sometimes I just give up. I can’t. Sometimes, I just can’t. While I usually don’t share much about myself with other people, because I am ashamed and embarrassed about how my life has been and how it is right now, I don’t think it would be fair to hide those things from my partner. Do I still sometimes hide what I am feeling? Yes! Do you always tell him all my thoughts? No!
The communication and foundation that we have in our D/s relationship allows me to be myself. That very much has gotten me to wonder! Maybe the shame I am feeling is a self-shaming, a toxic shame that comes from my trauma issues and my assumptions that everyone would look down on me and would find it way too complicated to be around me. Shouldn’t I at least give people a chance to get to know me and decide for themselves if they find me interesting enough to play with or to be friends with?
I am all for fairness. I am all for being honest. But it depends on the context. Not everyone needs to know about my fuckery. My vulnerability needs to be worth it. Taking the step to let someone get to know the real me is a scary one. So it is a decision I want to make, when I feel that I want to get close to someone, and I feel that full honesty needs to be the foundation of our connection.
The Veil of Shame has been lifted
Being honest about my mental illnesses was the right step to take in my relationship with my Master. I am very much convinced that it is one of the main reasons for our relationship to work so perfectly as it does. I don’t have to put any energy and effort into pretending to be fine. It is okay that I am anxious. It is okay that I can’t always do things that normally functioning people can do. It is okay that my past has been a constant trauma. It is okay that my bipolar episodes make me unable to be consistent. He knew what he was getting into and he still wanted to be with me! Being in a D/s relationship has improved my mental health. He is a caretaker Dom, so he actually likes being able to take care of me, to reassure me, to give me hugs and to sit by my sides when I am struggling. All this has been very confusing for me in the beginning. Same as his total acceptance of my body. He is attracted to me. Our sexlife is absolutely amazing! The BDSM part of our relationship has been healing for me.
I would have never thought it would be okay to be myself, and to not hide. I would have never thought that someone would cherish me for who I am. That someone would not be repelled by what and who I am. I have been ashamed and embarrassed because of my mental health issues all my life. I still am, in most contexts. But I am not ashamed about them in my relationship. I sometimes feel frustrated, I sometimes worry about being a burden. But the veil of shame that had covered my life for decades has been lifted, at least in the most important area of my life. May this be a beginning to a better acceptance of myself, and a reminder of that I am more than my mental health, that I have something to offer too. At least it never gets boring with me. There is always that.
(Picture from Google)