Monthly Archives: July 2010

The scene viewed from two poles

masks
Blogging the other day, I mentioned that for me, there’s a link between kink and being bipolar. Casey mentioned on Twitter that she’d like to hear more about the connection.  So here goes.

The easy answer is that both the spanking fetish and bipolar disorder are parts of who I am so naturally they’re connected for me.  But that answer’s easy and not either complete or useful.  The sort of thing one says to avoid anything too personal.  The honest answer is more involved.

One of the symptoms of the manic side of me is hypersexuality.  Not everyone who’s bipolar has this one but I do.  My desire for play is highest at these times, as is the depth and breadth of my desires — at a certain point pretty much everything sounds hot as all get out.  Over the years I’ve made some poor choices at these times, been careless with both my body and safety.

Example: One time I was craving contact and play so much I picked someone up on AOL. I met with them to play at my place an hour later.  This was without any negotiation or even knowing their real name (never did learn it). They weren’t a bad person, but we had very different limits. I ended up getting physically hurt, realizing after they’d left I needed medical care.

There’s nothing wrong with being sexual or playing with a lot of people.  I firmly believe my inner slut is to be loved, accepted and embraced.  But there are right and safe ways of doing it.  The above was neither and I was lucky it didn’t turn out worse. Yet my manic side has real advantages to my scene self sometimes.

You see, generally speaking I’m both shy and introverted. I don’t socialize well and spend a lot of time inside my own head.  When I’m mildly or hypo manic, I’ve got a lot of energy for scene social life, am able to manage friends (on and offline), blogging and play effortlessly.  Mania is, for me, partly characterized by insomnia, which means I have a lot more time to get things done, a lot more time for play, a lot more time for people and new projects.  I love the me I am during these times.  If I could live my whole life in a state of mild mania I would, even with the occasional lapse in judgement.  Manic Mija is a lot of fun at a party, though probably less fun to live with full-time.

But the thing is, whatever I might want, I don’t get to stay like that.  And the higher or more manic I am, the harder and farther I have to fall. People who are used to me being in touch wonder what happened, sometimes worry they’ve done something that caused me to break off contact.  Knowing this will happen (it’s only a question of when, not if) sometimes makes the highs harder to enjoy.  I feel that how ever happy I can make people in the now, they’re going to inevitably be disappointed when the “real” me swings back again.  There’s also nothing quite as awful as suffering from a bout of depression after having made a series of terrible manic choices and commitments.

Yet my depressed side doesn’t feel like the “real” me at all.  I’m fortunate as bipolar people go in that I don’t experience severe depressions as often as I experience mania. Those times are connected with my scene self only in that depression makes everything, everything, e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g feel like a huge effort. While there’s never really a time when I don’t feel some sort of desire for play, depression leaves me feeling play impossible with anyone other than Paul.  Even then, he has to lead completely.  The only emotions I feel like I can show are hurt and pain.

There’s probably more to it, but that’s as far as I can go with thoughts on the scene and being bipolar.

I like this one…

side-effects
As I wrote a while ago, I’m bipolar 1.  For eighteen months I was a good girl and took lithium twice a day — had bloodwork for it on schedule once a month.  The drug worked, in so far as my mind and body were quieted by it. And goodness I slept well.  But maybe it worked too well.   My body gained 40 (yes, FORTY) pounds, something I was not happy about.  But worse still was what it did to my mind.  I lost the ability to think in a complex theoretical manner.  My then doctor, a very nice older man, seemed to think this was a valid trade-off for sanity.  I didn’t and stopped taking my medications.

My body, my science experiment, right?  Okay, yes but maybe not a great idea.  Without a mood stabilizer, which is what lithium is, my moods were, well unstable again.  The anxiety and fear began to creep back.  My sleep was disrupted.  And the feeling that the inside of my bones were buzzing came back too.  Even though no one around me complained (Paul is good that way), I could also feel the rise of mania.  It comes with the warm weather for me.

After 6 months I realized I couldn’t keep living like this and went back to talk to my doctor only to find he had retired.   I was given a new doctor.  At that point, before my first appointment with her, I almost gave up.  I’m so glad I didn’t.

My new doctor is great. I love her.

She’s younger than my first doctor, about the same age as me actually.  No judgement about kink stuff, just wanted to know how it made me feel and how I see bipolar disorder in connection with kink.  They do connect for me, and that’s fine.  Even more importantly, she understood that my academic work matters a lot to me, that not being able to think in a theoretical manner or read philosophy wasn’t a trade off I wanted to make for sanity’s sake.  So we’re trying a new drug called geodon.  Three months in and it’s looking good.  It’s not ideal — I feel achingly drowsy on it sometimes and it costs a lot, even with my insurance — but I can take it and still write, still focus, still feel like myself.

These are good things.

Now to try and do something about these forty extra pounds of me.