Top suffering

In a perfect world, discipline would cure all ills. But in the real world, not so much. How do we deal with those diagnoses that spanking just can't make go away. (You know, depression, ADD, DID/MPD. The thing a therapist would put on your medical record to convince the insurance company that they have to pay up, if you had a therapist and health insurance.)

Top suffering

Postby FootballJunkie » Wed Apr 06, 2011 2:32 pm

So...what do you do when your top is suffering from a mental health issue?
Right now T is dealing with some depression issues, which not only means that ttwd is on hold for a little while, but it also means that sometimes I have to take control to help him get things done. Stuff like, "are you out of bed yet?", "have you done these chores?", etc. At times, this means going over to his place and helping him get those things done or dragging him out of bed.
In a kind of ironic note, I think I have been better behaved since he's been struggling with this just because I know that he can't be there for me like that right now. However, it is hard when I do want attention and specifically when I want that kind of attention. I just didn't know if anyone else had dealt with this particular issue and had any tips for how to handle it. Both Top and Bottom perspectives would be welcome because I would love to know how Bottoms handled the not getting attention and ttwd that we crave and I also want to know what a Top might be thinking and how best to help him right now.
Also, prayers would be appreciated, if you believe that way.
Thanks!
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Re: Top suffering

Postby JigsawAnalogy » Wed Apr 06, 2011 3:24 pm

W and I have dealt with this in various ways over the years. With her, it is often physical rather than mental health, but I think that when someone is very sick in either way, or both ways, it takes its toll.

We did put TTWD on hold, although that can't last quite as long as depression or chronic illness will last.

Another thought is to figure out ways that T can be a top when he's up for it, and not feel too much pressure when he isn't. I know that W has been reluctant to start when it felt like she would have to take on the whole load.

Speaking from my perspective of having dealt with bad depression and physical illness, it was really hard for me to do even a little when I thought that meant I would be expected to do everything; once I was able to train myself to do just what I was able to do, and to stop when I needed to, I was actually able to do a whole lot more than when I kept trying to take up the whole load again.

I wonder if it would help you if you could find ways of reframing the help you're giving him as a submissive gesture? That's a big struggle for me, but it makes sense when people suggest it. I have trouble *doing* it, but I can see where it might help me.

Good luck. I empathize with both of you!
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Re: Top suffering

Postby TryingReallyHard » Wed Apr 06, 2011 3:57 pm

JigsawAnalogy wrote:I wonder if it would help you if you could find ways of reframing the help you're giving him as a submissive gesture? That's a big struggle for me, but it makes sense when people suggest it. I have trouble *doing* it, but I can see where it might help me.
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Re: Top suffering

Postby Meg » Wed Apr 06, 2011 5:01 pm

Until O had hip replacement surgery this past December, her physical condition deteriorated on a steady basis for about 2 to 3 years. She also experienced serious depression during this time, probably brought on at least in part by the incredible physical pain she was under.

JA and TRH's suggestions about submissive service are right on!

We did not put ttwd on hold; however, it was pretty limited. The system we had was set up so I could monitor myself for the most part, and did not need much maintenance or active Topping from O. She could muster the energy for a mild spanking about once a week which is pretty much what I was supposed to receive under the system.

We also have the ongoing issue that O has PTSD, and has fairly severe flashbacks. During those times, she can get *really* mean. We have found that, as hard as it is, it is really best for both of us if my *behavior* remains submissive during the flashbacks, so she is less likely to see me as a threat and someone she has to protect herself from. On the other hand, I have to be careful *not* to allow myself to go into a submissive mindset or let my emotional defenses down...so, it is best if I *act* in a more submissive manner without *being* submissive, if this makes sense. If I can not do that, it is best for me to just leave her be until one or both of us calms down enough to handle things. If I am able to recognize the flashback, I can usually do what I need to pretty quickly; however, if I don't recognize it...well, that sometimes is problematic. Luckily, we have been together long enough and O has done enough work on herself, that it is getting easier and easier to recognize the flashbacks.

It is *really* hard though...and you both have my sympathies and well wishes.
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Re: Top suffering

Postby Desperate4Discipline » Wed Apr 06, 2011 6:21 pm

FJ,

Although I haven't been doing ttwd enough to give you any advice, I want you to know you have my sympathy and I hope everything works out and T feels better soon. I've been there and it's a very dark confusing place. Hang in there.
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Re: Top suffering

Postby Eayore » Thu Apr 07, 2011 6:29 pm

I am thinking of you both as you go through this. I hope you can remember and celebrate the discipline you have had from T in the past, and you feel confident that it will come back in the future when T is ready. (That's easy to say, I know!)
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Re: Top suffering

Postby W-Jigsaw'sBoss » Sat Apr 09, 2011 12:54 pm

umm... crap.

This is such a tough situation. You want to help your partner get out of the bad place they're in, and at the same time, you're feeling a distinct lack of attention and care yourself.

It seems to ME that the issue isn't a ttwd one, it's that your partner is depressed, but you want to help him in a way that doesn't undermine the power dynamic that you've both agreed to. At times that I've needed something a little more assertive than encouragement, J and I have tried several different tactics.

One of those was that we tried switching roles. It's helpful that J's multiple- it turns out one of them's kind of a top!!! Not that it lasted very long, but I'd be willing to revisit the idea once our main ttwd gets back to a better, more stable place.

The other is that your top needs to understand that in order to take care of you, he needs to take care of himself. Us tops have GOT to be accountable for owning up to our own issues- it'd be like someone thinking they can carry a heavy load without acknowledging that they need upper body strength. Or something like that.

Encourage, ask, demand (respectfully!!!) that your partner get the help they need to feel better. You BOTH deserve that.
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Re: Top suffering

Postby Meg » Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:55 pm

I think that it depends on the Top how much the bottom can take control over the situation. Whether vanilla or ttwd, it can take years and years to learn your partner.

In my case, when O is depressed, the absolute *worse* thing that I can do is overtly take control. When we were still vanilla (or thought we were vanilla)...the worst fights that we had were when I was trying to make O get out of bed and do things when she was depressed. She responds to commands and feeling like she is being told what to do with becoming more stubborn, and doing the exact opposite. Actually, ttwd has made it *much* easier to care for her when she needs care, because she responds much, much better to gentle coaxing and encouragement than someone telling her what to do, and learning to be submissive has helped me get into that mindset...which is another reason for keeping ttwd going when she was not well.

Everyone is different though...and what works for W or for O may or may not work for T. It *is* a rough situation. If you have a decent relationship with T's family and you can talk with them, it might help you know how best to handle T. I learned how to handle O's depression from watching her mother interact with her, who was amazing at getting O to do she needed to do.
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Re: Top suffering

Postby JigsawAnalogy » Sun Apr 10, 2011 12:16 am

amethyst wrote:I learned how to handle O's depression from watching her mother interact with her, who was amazing at getting O to do she needed to do.


On the other hand, you might get a reeeeaaaaallllllly clear sense of what *not* to do from watching interactions with their families, depending on the situation.

Did I say the bit of advice I have for partners of people who are really depressed (or who have other issues going on)? It's this: Make sure to get some support for *yourself*. Have people you can vent to about how it's frustrating and difficult and infuriating. Get shoulders to cry on. You can only help your partner if you're being supported. (You know the old thing about the emergency instructions on a plane and you're supposed to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you help anyone else. Do that.)
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Re: Top suffering

Postby W-Jigsaw'sBoss » Sun Apr 10, 2011 1:07 am

I second third and infinity this.
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Re: Top suffering

Postby Meg » Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:41 am

JigsawAnalogy wrote:On the other hand, you might get a reeeeaaaaallllllly clear sense of what *not* to do from watching interactions with their families, depending on the situation.


A point. Either way, it is valuable information.

JigsawAnalogy wrote:Did I say the bit of advice I have for partners of people who are really depressed (or who have other issues going on)? It's this: Make sure to get some support for *yourself*. Have people you can vent to about how it's frustrating and difficult and infuriating. Get shoulders to cry on. You can only help your partner if you're being supported. (You know the old thing about the emergency instructions on a plane and you're supposed to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you help anyone else. Do that.)


Really, really good advice! (I...ummm...have always been pretty bad actually *doing* this) But, really, really good advice!

(did I forget to mention that I am a bit stubborn myself...lol)
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Re: Top suffering

Postby FootballJunkie » Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:59 pm

Thanks for all the replies and well-wishes! I really appreciate the support. :mademyday:
It doesn't help things that we've both been battling the flu the last couple of days...

JigsawAnalogy wrote: Make sure to get some support for *yourself*. Have people you can vent to about how it's frustrating and difficult and infuriating. Get shoulders to cry on. You can only help your partner if you're being supported. (You know the old thing about the emergency instructions on a plane and you're supposed to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you help anyone else. Do that.)

That's actually ironic because his mom told that to me in that exact phraseology not two days ago (of course it was in reference to making sure that both of us eat - something I am horrible about for myself, but I think it applies to the entire situation).
Unfortunately it is incredibly difficult. It isn't easy to talk to other people about this. It's not like I want the whole world to know that T is suffering, but then I am also just worn out. Even without this, I would be past my limit with graduation in 3 weeks and a wedding in a couple of months...I'm a little overloaded. :juggle: I've tried to pretend I'm superwoman, but that never works out. In fact, I've made myself sick...and if T snaps out of his depression even for a moment, I'm in for a doozy :hairbrush: as one of our main rules is that I don't overwork myself especially when I am sick... :outtahere:

amethyst wrote:I think that it depends on the Top how much the bottom can take control over the situation. If you have a decent relationship with T's family and you can talk with them, it might help you know how best to handle T. I learned how to handle O's depression from watching her mother interact with her, who was amazing at getting O to do she needed to do.

It was actually really good to have T's mom here this past week. I was able to see what she did and both what worked and what didn't. Thankfully, I was able to talk to T and ask if he would like the things that I would intuitively do differently or not, so that was a good learning experience for me. However, I am the only one who's dealt with T in a depressive state for any length of time, so...there wasn't a lot to pick up on on that front, but as far as just taking care of him and catering to him, it was a good experience.

W-Jigsaw'sBoss wrote:umm... crap.

This is such a tough situation. You want to help your partner get out of the bad place they're in, and at the same time, you're feeling a distinct lack of attention and care yourself.

It seems to ME that the issue isn't a ttwd one, it's that your partner is depressed, but you want to help him in a way that doesn't undermine the power dynamic that you've both agreed to. At times that I've needed something a little more assertive than encouragement, J and I have tried several different tactics.

The other is that your top needs to understand that in order to take care of you, he needs to take care of himself. Us tops have GOT to be accountable for owning up to our own issues- it'd be like someone thinking they can carry a heavy load without acknowledging that they need upper body strength. Or something like that.

Encourage, ask, demand (respectfully!!!) that your partner get the help they need to feel better. You BOTH deserve that.

:yeahthat: Thankfully, I actually can demand that he get help since my speciality is psychology :rubhands: I have had plenty of classes (not to mention other real life experiences) that have taught me what to do and who to send him to. I finally found someone good for him (I hope!) and have respectfully demanded that he call them tomorrow and get an appointment! Unfortunately, no matter how many psych classes you have had, dealing with depression in daily life is still not necessarily easy to cope with and there are no steadfast rules...it all just kinda depends on the person and the situation. I hope we'll be out of the woods soon if this psychologist can help him.

JigsawAnalogy wrote:I wonder if it would help you if you could find ways of reframing the help you're giving him as a submissive gesture? That's a big struggle for me, but it makes sense when people suggest it. I have trouble *doing* it, but I can see where it might help me.

JA, I really want to do this, but it is really hard. There are times that he's asked if I could take control and I've always shied away from it because it didn't seem right to me, but in this case he needs it and I am more than ok doing it. If you have any practical tips for "submissively controlling" let me know! It's also hard because I can only cater to his needs so much before I have to look after myself, whereas typically we take care of ourselves and each other in a pretty even balance so everything gets done with (theoretically) less stress and no hard feelings. Now, however, I feel myself being pushed past my limits, not having time for all the stuff that I need to do, and, therefore, getting irked when T asks me to do more...

I don't know if all of my ramblings made much sense, but thank you all for rallying around and offering encouragement and advice. You guys are simply amazing! Thank you all!
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Re: Top suffering

Postby JigsawAnalogy » Mon Apr 11, 2011 6:14 am

FootballJunkie wrote:JA, I really want to do this, but it is really hard. There are times that he's asked if I could take control and I've always shied away from it because it didn't seem right to me, but in this case he needs it and I am more than ok doing it. If you have any practical tips for "submissively controlling" let me know! It's also hard because I can only cater to his needs so much before I have to look after myself, whereas typically we take care of ourselves and each other in a pretty even balance so everything gets done with (theoretically) less stress and no hard feelings. Now, however, I feel myself being pushed past my limits, not having time for all the stuff that I need to do, and, therefore, getting irked when T asks me to do more...

I don't know if all of my ramblings made much sense, but thank you all for rallying around and offering encouragement and advice. You guys are simply amazing! Thank you all!


Your ramblings really make sense to me. I wish for both our sakes that we didn't know how it felt, but since we do... I'm glad we can support each other!

I actually don't have many practical tips for "submissively controlling" things. When I feel like W needs to be told to do something or helped in that way, I find myself going into big sister mode, and kind of bossing or cajoling or encouraging from that state of mind. It's not that I *do* the "taking care of things as an act of submission," it's that I can see it would work if I *could* do it. :P

I do get that feeling of taking care of someone up to a point, but after that point, you get drained, and it's hard to regain that energy. Here's where I'm really going to suggest making sure you're getting support--even coming to the board counts, although having someone in real life can help even more! Even if it's just going out for coffee with one of your friends, not talking about T's stuff, but just about stress you're feeling with graduation and the wedding....

I'm sending good thoughts your way. :vibes:
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Re: Top suffering

Postby Meg » Mon Apr 11, 2011 11:00 am

If you have any practical tips for "submissively controlling" let me know!


I can help out here. A lot has to do with your tone, demeanor, and *how* you say things. Here is an example. It sounds like T needs to get to a doctor to deal with the depression...he may need some meds. A first impulse would be to nag him to call the doctor, or to call the doctor yourself and make him an appointment. You can accomplish the same thing by saying, "Honey (or sir...if that is part of your arrangement), it is really hard for me to see you so depressed. Do you think that maybe it would be a good idea to go see the doctor? Maybe that will help," in a gentle, submissive tone of voice. If you are willing, and you get a good response, "Would you like me to call for you?" If he says no or even if he snaps at you, let it go....and maybe try again in a few days. I could usually O to do something after about 2 or 3 rounds of that. Also, as much as you can frame things in terms of *your* needs, not his. "Honey (sir), I am really hungry now, should I make us something to eat," rather than, "You really have to eat something!"

I learned a *lot* of tricks from watching the Six Wives of Henry VIII, particularly the later wives, when Henry got old and sick. The old BBC version from the 70's...it is on the instant cue of Netflix. Given the fact that...well...their heads could very well get chopped off gave the wives good incentive to keep submissive...lol. There was a particularly masterful move by Anne of Cleves....the one who kept her head, literally....where Henry fell asleep during their conversation, Anne gently nudged him, yawned, and said something along the lines of she must have been really tired and apologized for falling asleep on him.

Another masterful move was in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, was the Mother getting the Father to believe what she decided was *his* idea for the daughter to work at the travel agency.

This is much, much harder to do if you have not been spanked in a while...or at least I have found this to be the case. Sometimes, I will consciously remember my last spanking beforehand to get into a submissive frame of mind.

Good luck...and we are here for you.
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Re: Top suffering

Postby TryingReallyHard » Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:45 pm

FootballJunkie wrote:Unfortunately it is incredibly difficult. It isn't easy to talk to other people about this. It's not like I want the whole world to know that T is suffering, but then I am also just worn out.


Depression is an illness. Like many mental illnesses it has a stigma, but the truth is, it shouldn't.

If he had cancer and was struggling with it, would you hesitate to lean on your friends? Or (this way hits home better for me-->) if your close friend's partner was struggling with cancer and she needed some support, would you think less of either of them if she leaned on you? If you are anything like me, you wouldn't think less of them, in fact you'd probably be a bit hurt if she didn't think she could depend you.

Even so, letting my friends in on a difficult situation was really hard. At first I felt like I was just bad mouthing RH. Then I broke down and was all sobbing and snotty with hiccups and maybe a little drool... :blush: And when I was done, my 2 very good friends were not only very understanding and supportive, they were about ready to beat me for trying to shoulder so much on my own for so long.

But it is still hard. Good luck!! :grouphug:
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