As you know, I’ve struggled with my mental health since I was about 13 years old. I saw a psychiatrist for a little while when I was 16, but when it wasn’t helping I pretended I was ok so she’d let me go. It wasn’t until I started university that I felt I needed help and therefore, I went to the doctor in Wales. He gave me antidepressants, which seemed completely inappropriate to me. When I saw a psychiatrist before I was 18, she said that medication should not be the first port of call, but that it could be an option if normal therapy didn’t help or wasn’t enough. But if the medication was necessary, it would always have to be under regular supervision of a psychiatrist. I had seen this doctor for the first time for less than 10 minutes and he gave me these pills that are known to have bad side-effects without any follow up appointment. So instead, I decided to go to student support.
Student support gave me someone to talk to but they specifically stated that this person wasn’t a professional. Students were only allowed to have 5 sessions, to begin with, but during my second one, she told me she couldn’t help me because my problems were too complicated. She suggested I go to the doctor, so I did, again. This time, he straight up told me that if I wanted help I should go to student support and well… that wasn’t an option so I started cutting myself for a while. Two and a half years later, one of my teachers went to the doctor with me to demand help as apparently I looked like a ghost. They referred me then but I moved away before the referral came through because I finished my degree.
I then moved to Scotland for my MFA and we were hoping that the Scottish NHS would have more funding. I’m not going to go into that long story as it simply concludes with, wow, the NHS is utterly useless when it comes to mental health (I’m not saying it’s their fault and yes we have to be grateful for free healthcare, but their mental health services are failing, at the very least, every single student I have ever met and it’s not ok). However, I enrolled at a richer university compared to the one in Wales so we had high hopes that they might help me. It was a struggle to get the help but once they gave me my current counsellor, things started to change.
I had almost never met him at all, as I nearly cancelled the appointment, unable to take another disappointment if it turned out to be one. When I saw him he admitted that he wasn’t sure if he could help me, that he was still learning and not specialised in the area of which I thought I needed help, but that he would try to learn and see how he could help, if I was up for it. I saw him again four weeks later, which then changed into once every three weeks. At first, it felt like seeing him didn’t make a difference and I felt bad about wasting his time. He was also unsure if our appointments were useful and the university has a limit of 10 appointments per student, so I didn’t think we’d get anywhere. I needed something stable, it took way too long to explain the difficulties I was having to begin with. He realised this too when we got closer to the 10 and decided to ignore the number. We started meeting every 2 or 3 weeks and very slowly, he came to know me better and I could feel okay for a few days after we’d seen each other.
My training with Lois
During the duration of the first year of my MFA, Lois was training me. If you’ve been reading posts about my journey with her, you know that she made a big impact, which wasn’t only linked to submission. She was training me to be a slave, of course, but In order to ‘control’ me, she had to know me and this included my mental health issues. She once asked me, if there is one thing you could ask for in exchange for 24/7 slavery, what would it be? I answered that I would want to be protected against these suicidal, dissociative breakdowns, of which to this day, I haven’t been able to describe what it is or what it feels like. She didn’t understand what they were at the time and she didn’t realise how serious it was. She seemed convinced that she understood but I knew she didn’t. How can you, really, if you haven’t experienced it yourself? But it didn’t worry me. You’ll see, I thought. A few weeks later she realised. That’s when she truly started diving into my psyche to try and dissect it.
For quite a while, I didn’t realise how much she was learning about me. She had told me to write to her whatever came to mind, no matter what it was so when I was having breakdowns, I wrote to her even if she wasn’t online. We only talked about one of these occasionally but months passed before she suggested I could try and approach my breakdowns differently. She didn’t say that my thoughts, feelings and responses were bad; she simply wanted to offer something that might help and after that, she became a little more involved in this aspect. She raised the topic more often, asked me questions about my family and my past. Slowly, we started to understand me more. I told her every time I had a new insight, which could come from me, or my conversations with my counsellor or later also through my conversations with Dad. Gaining understanding didn’t come from just one thing. Everyone played a role in it, but hers appeared to be the biggest, as we could get to the next part of the puzzle together by using the new pieces we’d found. Slowly, over the course of the year, we figured out what happened to me when I broke down. We were able to trace the thought patterns and my responses and where they originated from.
When training ended, we didn’t stop talking. Our conversations were sparse and infrequent, but she still supported me and we still talked about my psyche sometimes. However, my counsellor and I reached a point in which we could get to the next part of the puzzle also but there was too much time between our appointments. It meant that whatever we got to two weeks ago was gone in the present appointment. I started seeing him every week since the start of January and there has been a lot of progress since. He’s starting to understand more and more, just like Lois and I did, but we’re now reaching a point in which it feels like I might have to tell him more.
The role that kink plays
Finding and accepting myself as a slave has played a big part in my recovery and helps my current mental health a lot. When telling him about certain insights, I always left out the role the dynamic and my slave self had played in it and I completely avoided telling him about Lois for the first year. But at a certain point, I didn’t feel able to say I’d just gotten to certain insights on my own so I told him I had a close friend who I met on the internet and who had been a big support in my life. I didn’t go into detail the first time I mentioned her; I only let him know of her existence. Then three appointments later I gave him a specific example of what she and I had discussed once. By the third time I mentioned her, he started to wonder if she and I had a romantic relationship, which I assured him we didn’t. But you can only keep claiming this for so long when she was the closest to me anyone ever got (and that’s without physical contact even, ha).
This week, he said that I’d never really told him anything about her or the nature of our relationship. After all, I’d only told him that we were close and had somehow gotten to these insights that just friends wouldn’t usually get to- not all of them anyway. He said this a minute before our time was up and I told him that I didn’t know how to explain it. Next week, maybe? But how could I possibly explain it? Is this the point where I tell him that I was in a D/s relationship? (I certainly won’t say M/s, lol). However, he won’t know what it means regardless and I don’t know how to explain that either.
How do I tell him that I initially found purpose in being a slave because Lois told me to always start our conversation with, ‘As long as I can be useful to someone, even in the future, I have a purpose,’ and that if I didn’t, I’d have to drink from the toilet as a punishment, which meant it was essentially drilled into me? How do I tell him that I find purpose and happiness in serving someone and that it’s their wishes that matter, rather than my own? How can I possibly explain that suffering pain within that dynamic can help me get out of dissociation? Will the latter seem like self-harm and will the former make him think I have been brainwashed and taken advantage of? Will he think of all of this is toxic and as if this was an abusive relationship and that if I ever engage in such a relationship again, it will be abusive once more?
How do I explain that she was good for me and that this journey which I have continued on my own is still good for me? Do I have to? I don’t know. Maybe I do because if I want to get to the bottom of all of it, every part of me counts. But can I? Should I? I don’t know.
Update: I did tell him and it was fine. He was interested and we have since talked about it a few times in our sessions.
So much that you’ve unpacked here.
Blogs are a great space aren’t they.
I couldn’t vocalise anything unless asked questions with my first course of therapy.
The counsellor recommended Jornalling and show them each week.
It really helped me find my voice.
I eventually told them about my coercive d/s and things greatly changed.
As you’ve stated. Sessions are limited when charity funded.
Look for some counsellors that are kink friendly.
It definitely helped them dig deeper, too deep.
You will find your way through this – with the right counsellor
Wishing you well
Blogs really are. If you don’t have anyone to talk to or to like, have that reflection and figuring out of feelings and thoughts with, blogs kind of offer that in a way. For me anyway!
Where they kink positive on beforehand? As in, did you know?
Dm me x
Dear Marie Louise,
I have no experience with therapy, but I think I have seen how a D/s relationship – even an online one – can be helpful in a mental health fight. Still, I am an amateur, so take whatever I say with appropriate helpings of salt.
You say that you cannot explain your suicidal, dissociative breakdowns, but from reading your blog, you give the best descriptions I have seen. Granted, I have not seen many, but yours are in a class of their own. Your descriptions give an insight in what it is like that is by far the best that I have seen. So please don’t give up on explaining it to an open-minded professional. I think the right person will understand.
I have pondered the question of whether to disclose a D/s relationship to a counsellor or therapist in a somewhat different context, so I am very interested in knowing what conclusions you reach.
D/s and being a slave are so much of who you are and of how you function. And, as you say, you have reached so many insights through your conversations with Miss Lois. It seems like it would be impossible to explain who you are and how you function, without disclosing that. There is, of course, the question of whether the counsellor is kink friendly in the first place and can take in the information in a constructive manner, instead of reflectively thinking that it is abuse or a kind of self harm. I don’t know if there is a way that you can tiptoe around it and get a read on where your counsellor stands. I would think that you would have to be fairly open minded to be a good counsellor, but I have been wrong before.
Which then leads to the big question: Can you explain who you are and what you are going through, without disclosing your slave identity, your relationship with Miss Lois, and the nature of that relationship? Does it feel like you are talking about yourself, when you talk to your counsellor, while hiding these things? And do you feel that the feedback and advice that you get from the counsellor apply to you, or only to the non-D/s person you have described to him that is not the real you?
Seen from a distance and through your blog, it seems that your slave nature is such an integral part of who you are, that it must feel like you are talking about a different person, if you leave that part out. And it must feel like the feedback you get is for that person and not for you. I would be very interested in hearing your take on that and whether my reasoning is all wrong.
So, as I am sure you have deduced, I would think that you would have to disclose your kink side to your counsellor, for him to be truly helpful to you. And that would only be successful, if he is open minded and can take in that information without being judgmental or jumping to conclusions about abuse and self harm. So I think the first step would be to find a way to test the waters and see if he is indeed kink friendly. If he is not, I think disclosing will do more harm than good and put an end to what help he has been able to give you. So I think those are the things you have to weigh against each other until you get to the point where you either decide that disclosure is a risk worth taking, or that it is better to make do with the limited help he can give you without disclosure.
From your description, it sounds like he is quite invested in you and wants to go out of his way to help you.
Good luck and all the best,
Just a few random thoughts on this subject. By word of warning I am neither a professional, nor have I ever suffered depression, anxiety, PTSD or any other condition so I have no actual experience and may be talking out of my ass. I am however a fairly logical person and have lived a little of life.
I think that you need to ask yourself a few questions beyond the “should I’s” above. Firstly, are you ashamed of being a slave? As has been mentioned, your slavery is a very large part of you and has also played a very large part of finding ways to progress. If you are not ashamed of it, then why hide it? If part of your recovery was discovering that you were straight, or gay, or trans or a furry, or any other variation would you hesitate to discuss that part of you. Submissive in my book is just another sexual orientation.
Second. Do you think that your therapist is an actual professional that has your best interests at heart? If you believe that he wants to help you then withholding information that may provide that vital breakthrough …. well, might not be good.
Third, I think that you forget that D/s and M/s and BDSM and all other kinks in general are probably far more common than any of us realise, and if not common then at least known about and to a degree understood. All you have to do is have a look at how many members in your area that are on FET and you start to think that we are not the rare freaks we tend to believe we are.
Fourth, even if you shock him and he is completely unaware of anything related to D/s, are you incapable of explaining it in a way that will help him understand that it is not all whips and chains and abuse?. The examples that you provided above were all phrased in the most negative and shocking ways, we both know they can be described better than that.
Fifth, Do you think that he can help you progress much further without knowing the whole story. Personally I think he possibly can, but then that will eventually reach a limit and there is danger that you will continue your appointments without making progress, simply going from the habit of it without any real hope of help.
sixth……worse comes to worse. You are brave enough to tell him, he is shocked, outraged perhaps disgusted, is he professional and mature enough to get past his own personal feelings, put them aside and concentrate on helping you?
In closing, remember that the worst part of doing something new is the fear of it. We work things around in our heads and come up with the worst possible scenarios and outcomes, when we actually do something, it is rarely as bad as we feared.
I wish you good luck with your choice, and like others look forward to reading your decision and how it goes.
First off, thanks for this great post.
If you are unsure about what to tell to your counselor, and how, perhaps there might be a “crazy” solution to this: giving him the link to this blog.
Yes, this is scary, and probably you are not going to do that. But if you do, it would be a way to give him access to a lot of useful and unfiltered information about your psychology. I believe you should at least think about it as a possibility.
Hi Marie Louise. After following your blog for a while now and after reading all or most of your older posts you still amaze me how articulate, honest and touching your posts are. I cannot NOT feel for you.
I agree with Henrik. And like him I an no professional, so this is only my personal opinion based on my experience and, well, some logical reasoning. I believe that you should find a way to open up to your councellor and reveal also your kinky and D/s side. And of course risk that he may not be all that kink friendly. Or that even if he is that he may find some of your activities too extreme or “unhealthy”. But I do think that your sessions with him cannot be as effective for you as they could be if he knew and understood this important and integral part of you.
I still remember how utterly embarrassed and ashamed I was the first time I had a session with my sexual therapist. Firstly because of my problems (the reason why I seeked councelling) and secondly because I knew I would have to reveal my kinkiness as well. How could I otherwise expect to be councelled if she didn’t knew what made me tick? I was very lucky I guess, that she was the right person to talk to. A kinkster herself, as I started to learn after a couple of sessions when she started to share her own sexual experiences in discussions about my sexuality and my relationship in general with my Wife. She basically dissected our relationship and my sexuality, effortlessly and kindly without judgement and I don’t think I hid any “dirty” secret from Her. It was like a big burden fell from my chest when I gradualy “came out” about my submissiveness, my issues and fetishes. I told her things that even my Wife was not aware of. My Wife knew about the sessions but unfortunately never wanted to participate in them (too embarrassed) even though the therapist lady nearly begged her to come to them. Our sexual and general reltionship improved, not least of all because my therapist had me understand that it was perfectly OK to be as submissive to my wife as we both wanted and to be her sex slave provided that we both enjoyed it and that it was all consensual. This lady really helped me and I am very greatful for that.