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.
Xx Marie Louise