Tuesday, January 23, 2007

"Bound" And Less Determined

I had no idea how to title this and I am still not sure how to write this without it descending into some sort of lurid expose into Patient Anonymous' past experiences and dalliances. That is not what this is about. But I need to put how I made an interesting self-observation into context so that will necessitate some self-revelation. And really, if you've been following this blog at all--nothing should surprise you anymore. We're all adults here. If this shocks you or you find it "titillating," get your head out of your ass.

I have worn one of these. Several times. But not in a psychiatric setting. Many years ago, I did a tour of the BDSM/fetish scene. And yes, the Bipolar was in full swing (undiagnosed, untreated.) This is no "value judgement" on "the scene" or myself if you will, it is simply the point where I was in my life.

I was introduced to all of this by a friend who was involved and asked me to go to a BDSM safe practices session put on by a local advocacy group. I found it rather amusing that she thought I might be "interested." Sure, why not? So I attended with her and her male partner.

Interesting, indeed! Wow, they pulled out all the stops! There was so much to look at! Some items seemed as if pulled out of some kind of medieval torture chamber and others just looked kind of neat and fun! At a certain point, the session leaders asked for volunteers to put on some type of bondage gear and then share their experiences with the group later on. Oh, I was excited! Pick me! The offer for the straightjackets came up and several arms shot up in the air. I was selected. Now the cardinal rule of S&M is "Safe, Sane and Consensual." So if at any time, anyone became uncomfortable, or agitated in their "restraints" they were to notify someone immediately and they would be taken care of.

Oh my. What a strange feeling. I had never had my body placed in such a position. At first, it was incredibly awkward but I realized that if I didn't fight it, if I just relaxed into it... All of the sudden, something rather strange began to happen to me. I felt comforted like I couldn't believe! I sat in that straightjacket for hours! I honestly don't remember how long it was but it was most of the afternoon of the full day session. I didn't want to take it off!

I later met a man who owned two straightjackets (who also coincidentally was diagnosed with MDD and ADD.) We are still friends to this day. He also designed bondage gear. We both found it incredibly calming and soothing and would occasionally get together (outside of the public scene where we did this as well) and basically tie each other up in our homes for comfort! Other elements of sensory deprivation could/would/might be employed.

When things got really, really rough for me and I couldn't sleep, I would occasionally employ self-restraint techniques in order to somehow try and calm myself down. My friend even offered me one of his straightjackets but I never got the knack of getting in/out of one solo (Houdini, I am not.) I managed with some personal and self-styled gear.

Think this all sounds a little bizarre? Temple Grandin (along with my friend) may not agree. If you do not know her, she is Autistic and has done some work (but not limited to) The Calming Effects of Deep Touch Pressure. Now, I am not on the Autistic Spectrum and despite how many similarities I may think I have with my friends' Autistic son, I don't believe I would fit the diagnostic criteria. Asperger's might be the closest I could come and even that would be a stretch. But it is interesting to see the similarities with the ADD children. And I do and always have had some other "sensory" issues. Probably not enough to again, meet the criteria for Sensory Integration Disorder but still, it makes me think!

I've always loved being loaded down with extra blankets on top of the duvet or I'll even throw all my partially worn clothes on my side of the bed, just to have that "added weight." I've always loved the feel of restrictive clothes (tights, leggings, bodysuits etc...--not "nylons" or "pantyhose" though--the fabric needs to be heavier!) I've been like this since I was a kid!

And no, you don't need to go as far as Temple's "Squeeze Machine" if that sort of freaks you out. It does look a little scary. A lot of Occupational Therapists advocate the use of weighted vests or blankets with kids that are Autistic, ADD, PDD or have SID. The affects of these have not really been studied (and neither has Grandin's machine) but I did manage to find this.

Perhaps I've managed to trade some of it in for "chemical" restraints now? And no, I don't want to bring up the whole debate about restraint usage in hospitals/institutions. That's not what this post is about either.

And if any of you out there are giggling away, stop it right now. If anyone actually has any serious questions pertaining to BDSM, contact me privately and I may or may not answer them--depending upon if you cross any boundaries or if you are completely inappropriate.

Edit March 09 2007: Aspergers has now entered the picture in terms of my psychological/neurological profile. I am still awaiting "confirmation" or at least an opinion from two separate psychiatrists.


jac said...

Hey, I drifted in from michelle.
I don't feel surprised and read it with out a giggle; in fact I found some answers to some lingering personnel questions though I didn't understand the meaning of many terms used in this post.(BDSM,ADD,MDD etc..)

Well! Though I don’t have any questions for you, I felt that you should be answering, if some one had a real question… but your "may or may not answer them" would sure scare them.

Thanks for sharing; it was very informative to me.

Patient Anonymous said...

Hi jac, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I really wasn't sure if anyone would after I posted this.

In case you are still wondering:

BDSM: A combined acronym of Bondage/Discipline, Domination/Submission, Sadism/Masochism

ADD: Attention Deficit Disorder (can also be used interchangebly with ADHD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder but those who may be "less hyperactive" in a diagnosis may be simply deemed ADD eg. ADD - Innatentive Type)

MDD: Major Depressive Disorder

The reason I added the "may or may not answer" was more to do with the BDSM stuff. I'm not scary or a "meanie" by any stretch. Like I said in the beginning, I just didn't want the whole thing to go down a pathway that wasn't intended. I guess I was also trying to be a bit humours in my own silly way but sometimes that also does not always translate via text on a screen.

I'm very glad that you got something out of this post and it didn't sound like a big heap of trash.

Psychosomartyr said...

Well, I had a little look about prompted by your post and learned that there are dog behaviourists who have developed a slightly restrictive vest to be used with anxious dogs. The developers claim that it is calming for dogs.

I searched about for a physiological explanation and apparently some physiologists say that the restriction can calm dysfunctional breathing and correct underlying imbalances in oxygen saturation and CO2 levels.

Very interesting.

Patient Anonymous said...

Hi psychosomartyr, thank you for commenting. That's intriguing to find something along these lines applied to animals. Reminds me rather tangentially when my cat and I were given the same antibiotic (at different times, mind you but it amused me.)

I don't think it an illogical conclusion(?) to jump to something like calming one's breathing? When people are anxious and hyperventilating, the point is to try and stabilize them by getting them to slow their breathing down.