Talking about Mental Health
Ever since I was unable to push away my struggles anymore, I wrote about mental health and mental illness. But for most of the times, I was talking about mental health, not about me. It took almost 30 years for the severity of the brokenness of my mind to become obvious. It was not like I didn’t know that something was off with me. But I was still able to ignore it, to minimize it, to distract from it. I got diagnosed with depression for the first time in 2008, but it eventually passed and I didn’t take it seriously. In retrospect, of course it disappeared. I suffer from bipolar disorder so depression is only one of the episodes I go through.
It was first in 2010, when I had a major breakdown after a triggering vacation time with my family, enormous stress from university and the death of one of my best friends, that everything caught up with me. And jeez, how it caught up wit me,
Within months I went from a functioning human being to a total mess. I ended up in psych wards for dozens of times, sometimes for months, the next few years. I tried out medication, after medication, I had diagnosis after diagnosis, I had therapy after therapy. Nothing helped. Up to this day, nothing really helped. Instead, things got worse. I got my shit together a bit more in 2015 after I got admitted to the hospital against my will. That was one of the scariest moments of my life. Since then, I have been staying away from professionals as much as possible.
After my breakdown, I withdrew from everyone in my life. I was ashamed. I didn’t want to be the mentally ill person. You know, I used to be a competent person that everyone turned to. I was acing university. I was healthy, I had energy. Sure, I had always been different, but I hadn’t been a mess. So I withdrew from everyone, because of shame. During that time I started a few blogs, just to get things off my chest. I don’t like talking about my issues, I don’t like being the center of attention because of my struggles. I don’t want to be defined by my mental illness.
So, I started writing anonymously. I was very vulnerable, open and raw in my posts. And people didn’t believe me. They invalidated me. They were upright rude. So I decided to not ever talk about myself anymore in that way. I feel shit enough about myself and my situation, I don’t need others to put me down and disbelieve me on top of that.
So I focused on mental health advocacy. For four years I was the community leader on one of the biggest mental health support sites on the internet, with hundreds of thousands of members. I could use my experiences to help others, and to train people in supporting those who struggle. I never talked about me, but I could still talk about mental health and mental illness. It was a very rewarding work and I miss it dearly still. But it all just blew up in some drama and well, all that is in the past now.
So after that I was stunned. What was I to do? I loved being an advocate for mental health and to help others. But how could I do that now? I started a blog that was about just that: mental health advocacy. I wrote a lot about mental illnesses, explained difficult concepts in words that everyone could understand. And it was and still is, quite a popular blog.
When I started this blog, I didn’t want my mental illnesses to be of any focus. I wanted once again, to come across as the person I want to be. I didn’t want to be defined by mental illness. But I still ended up talking about my struggles. Because unfortunately, they are a huge part of my life. I have talked extensively about how afraid I am that talking about what is going on with me, could take away the flair of competence that I want to have shining through in this blog. Many of my readers have said that it is not that way at all, but that they enjoy getting to know who is behind the sexblogger Deviant Succubus. But that nagging voice isn’t easily silenced. I will always feel a tad uncomfortable talking about my mental illnesses and my struggles.
What I have learnt through participating in the Sex Bloggers For Mental Health meme and talking openly about my mental illnesses, is that by being me, I can still spread awareness. I can educate and I can make people think. I can help people reflect and maybe feel more comfortable talking about their own struggles as well. And maybe, I can even eventually learn that it is okay to be me, and that not everyone judges or shames me because I am mentally ill.
Now, my most popular mental health related posts this year were not all linked to the Sex Bloggers for Mental Health meme. But let me first start with those that were linked!
This post is the most viewed post from my Sex Bloggers for Mental Health contributions. Now, this was a fucking hard post to write. Why? Because it was the first time I coherently wrote about that man’s role in my life, and to openly admit some of the things that he has done to me (and my mum and sister). If you have trauma related mental illness, you tend to minimize your trauma, especially if the trauma was complex. Admitting and accepting that really bad things happened to you, forces you to look at your life differently.
See, I always knew that my childhood was kind of a mess. But I thought it wasn’t that bad. I was still alive, and in my family, we never talked about it. Everyone seemed to just go on with their lives, and so did I. But it crept up on me, and when I eventually told some people (my ex, therapists etc) about some things from my past, they were all in shock. And the further it went, the more memories came back. Memories I questioned, that I thought were just some weird sick fantasies of my mind. I needed the reassurance from many people, including professionals, that my childhood was indeed majorily fucked up. And I still deny it sometimes. I still minimize it. I still say that none of it can’t be true because otherwise I would have always known.
But the reality of things is: my father is an abuser. He has sexually, physically and emotionally abused me for years. Also, he has allowed others to rape me when I was a child. He tried to kill me more than once. He has made my life into a horror show. Writing that post about him was scary. What if he reads it and he will come for revenge? And what if it isn’t true after all? What if what if what if. That man still has incredible power over me, although I have cut him out of my life.
The second most read post from my Sex Bloggers For Mental Health contributions. This post is extremely raw. It just came to me, and I had to write it down. It felt like my soul was screaming and the screams needed to be translated to the world. The strength of the post lies in that I accept what he has done to me. I write down in black and white that I know that he is the abuser. That I see him for what he is. And I stand up and say: what you did to me, was not okay. What you did to me is unforgivable. It was an emotional post to write, and just reading it again, it made me feel all those emotions again, the ones that needed to come out the day I wrote it down.
No one ever needs to forgive their abuser. An apology received does not equal forgiveness. But I think that it can bring legitimacy and validation to pain. It can make it easier to move forward. My abuser(s) have never apologized to me. As a matter of fact, when my sister brought it up that he abused us when we were children, he said that she was making a scene and that we were just weak if we thought that was abuse. So I am quite certain that I will never get that apology, and reassurance, that those things really happened and that he acknowledges that.
My third most viewed post for Sex Bloggers for Mental Health. I had wanted to write that post for a really long time and I am glad that I finally got around to do it. Trance, dissociation and subspace are quite similar mindspaces and it can be very difficult to differentiate between them in the moment. And that becomes very complicated when it comes to sex.
I experience all of them. I can be easily hypnotized and put in trance, and I am even able to practice trance on myself. Dissociation is basically the main symptom of my mental health struggles. And I experience subspace quite a lot during sex. So I had to learn to be aware of which mindspace I am in when I am starting to “float”, because trance can be dangerous in the wrong moment, dissociation means I am triggered, and subspace is the only one where it is okay to let go.
My Posts on Dissociative Identity Disorder
I didn’t link my posts on Dissociative Identity Disorder to the Sex Bloggers for Mental Health meme, but they are by far my most viewed posts on mental health. The one on Dissociative Identity Disorder and Relationships is my most viewed post for 2019 overall. Writing about DID is extremely difficult for me. It is one of the most stigmatized disorders and most of the time, I am in denial about having it. I mean, it is blatantly obvious that I do have it. There is no question about it. I have papers from a psychiatrist describing exactly what I am dealing with. But part of me doesn’t want to be this fucked up. Part of me wants it to not be real. And it is a covert disorder, so there is the strong urge inside me to hide the system, the alters, the mess.
But I have had very positive feedback from others about these two posts. I appreciate when people take the time to read and comment and tell me that they have learnt something. But even more so, I appreciate when those who are suffering from the same disorder, reach out to me about it and thank me for writing the posts. They feel less alone, they feel heard and validated. And I think that is the reason why I will continue to write about my mental health issues: it is a sort of advocacy. I can be a voice for those that are silent. And I can educate. And having that as the primary goal, instead of trying to get validation myself, or being the center of attention for things I’d rather hide from the world, is very helpful to me.