“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 judgment” 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 straitjackets 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 straitjacket 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 straitjackets (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 straitjackets 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: Asperger’s 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.

Edit May 2009: Asperger’s dx confirmed.

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  1. jac

    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.

    Like

  2. Patient Anonymous

    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.

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  3. Psychosomartyr

    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.

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  4. Patient Anonymous

    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.

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  5. Well that was a post that went off in an unanticipated direction!
    I have just been reading ‘Animals in Translation’ by Temple Grandin so I found it really interesting.
    Think of the images of babies in Russian maternity hospitals, all trussed up like parcels, tightly wrapped in ‘swaddling clothes’ (to swaddle, to bind bandage or envelope) It has been away of calming babies for centuries, didn’t some one get ‘wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger’ one Christmas day ;)

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  6. Hi, uphilldowndale, good thing I’ve my comment notification on as this is one of my older posts. Yes it did go in a very different direction but I had to mention just how I personally found this out! Welcome to my blog where pretty much, I am not shy.

    I do not know that much about Temple’s work (other than the “ethical” slaughter chutes that she designed for animals) but I do know “swaddling.” So yes, it all follows along the same lines. Very intriguing, don’t you think?

    My attitude has always been, don’t knock it ’til you try it ;)

    Nice to hear from you,
    PA

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  7. Bruce

    Hey I’m an ADHD guy (emphasis on the H!) who also has a dignosis of ‘Autistic Spectrum Disorder’ it’s never been more specific than that, but I suck socially and people think i’m rude cos of the whole eye-contact thing – or lack of it anyway.
    I have weighted blankets since I was a little kid, I used to pile stuff up on my bed, and when my mom and dad tidied up I used to put layers and layers of clothes on instead!
    I still wear runners tights, or compression shorts under my clothes, sometimes I’ll put on a similar top like an Under Armour shirt or something.

    I used to wrap a ‘Buff’ (headscarf/wrap) thing around my wrists at night if I was having trouble settling. Stopped me fidgeting so much.
    I got given a straitjacket (originally intended as a joke) by a girlfriend, I insisted that she put me in it. With some egging on she eventually put me in it nice and tight.
    I sat on the rug in the middle of the living room wearing it while watching TV, and within the hour I was fast asleep.
    Not fallen asleep like that in years!

    i’m not with that girl anymore which is a shame as I have nobody else to put me into it : ( it’s wierd, but It’s just so calming.

    Since then, it’s been hung up in the wardrobe until I can find someone to stick it on me.
    I’ve resorted to the weighted blanket again for now.

    Bruce

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  8. Hi Bruce, nice to meet you and welcome to my blog as I don’t think we have met before. Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. I really enjoyed it.

    I’m curious if you have been reading other posts I have written because you wrote: (emphasis on the H!) I tend to do that a lot. *laughing* Plus we have more in common with your “ASD” dx. I should probably update this Post as at the end it says my dx was pending.

    Well, yes, it sounds kind of vague–the ASD–but in the end, I suppose it really doesn’t matter too much? I was emailing a friend of mine (referenced above with the son) last night and I told him of my Asperger’s dx. His son has Asperger’s.

    These are all “labels” and at times they are useful when needed but so often I really can’t be bothered with them and other “labels,” as well. They can be troublesome and on the other hand also not so necessary. Nonetheless, we do need them to “make sense” of our world and when we need to communicate at certain points.

    Sorry, tangent there as I must be having a bit of an ADD (not so much emphasis on the H!) today! *laughing again*

    I am so envious of your weighted blanket! It’s funny again how we both love the feeling of being totally loaded down with lots of stuff and I always did the clothing thing as well! God, I’d even go for my cats when I had them if they were willing to stay all night sleeping on top of me! *laughing for the third time*

    In thinking back though, one of them did have a thing for cuddling up for a little while on my chest before I did go to sleep! I wonder if he knew. Animals are extremely sensitive to people and their behaviour/s.

    Again, more in common with the straightjackets! If I was working and had the money, I might be tempted to buy one myself but they are terribly expensive! Plus, I live alone. Maybe one day if someone comes into my life? *wink*

    I also mentioned self-restraints.

    However, a note about that! Doing so was always pretty tricky and quite funny. I have a bed that is perfect for such “activities” but you need to be kind of flexible and rather patient when doing things on your own! *laughing even more*

    And speaking of laughing, I would always end up taking them off in my sleep! I would wake up “un-bound” and everything would just be lying there! I recently was concerned about twisting my ankle so I “bound” that up in a tensor bandage (by the way, a very cheap “accessory” if you will) and I had taken that off in my sleep, too!

    I guess I’d had enough restraining and was suitably rested. *rolls eyes*

    Anyway, take care and please feel free to come back and visit anytime.

    PA

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  9. Lisette

    I’m bipolar (and possibly autistic–Aspberger’s). I know exactly what you mean about the weighted down with covers thing. It drove my husband nuts when I was married. I discovered corsets and then BDSM about 6 years ago. Within a year, my bipolar cycles were longer and the highs & lows less extreme. I’ve been able to manage my illness through these methods much better than I ever did with meds or therapy.

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  10. Hi Lisette. Nice to meet you as I don’t think we ever have before. That’s because I definitely would have remembered talking about corsets! I’m just kidding (though not about the corsets!) You could have commented about something else. Either way, welcome to my blog.

    Very cool that you understand this whole concept (BDSM notwithstanding.) That BDSM/fetish part was essential for this post. It made me realize, as an adult, how powerful the feeling actually was. It went well beyond piling things on myself as a child!

    I’ve talked to lots of people where they are so in tune with how this works. It may sound like some, bizarre quackery, or even torture if kids are involved. That is why you should work with an OT (Occupational Therapist if ya don’t already know, folks.) I definitely say this for kids! A BIG yes!!!

    I think that’s pretty funny about your (ex-?)husband. You said “was married.” Still, you’d have to find an understanding partner for all of this.

    What I definitely find interesting is how this has affected your Bipolar. I’ve never heard of this one yet, so thanks for letting me know! Wow.

    I know my brain’s too complicated to stop my meds with all of my diagnoses. I do have a weighted blanket though, and it’s awesome. I bought it as a X-mas pressie for myself last year and have been meaning to put up a pic. Look at the date! Yeah, I’m so on the ball!

    So you take care, and come back anytime.
    PA

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  11. robert

    As a recently diagnosed adult with ADD, reading your article resonates with my own acknowledgement of how being sexually submissive and exploring DS calms me and frees me. It is one of the few ways, pre-medication, that I was finally able to quiet myself and just respond. .
    It is interesting to note that when I say sexually submissive, that does not cross over to my role as a leader in my work, nor my self confidence, or even my self-worth. I wonder if others have similar experiences?

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  12. Hi robert. Pleased to meet you and welcome. I’m very sorry for replying so late. I hope you come back and read my comment back to you.

    It’s great to hear your story and as the last commenter I replied to, thank you so much for your honesty. A lot of it makes sense. At least in terms of what I wrote re: spending time in the BDSM community? *laughing*

    Seriously, though? I’m not sure how many subs in the scene have AD(H)D but you never know. If I were to go back to the scene, I’d probably start asking. Or I could? And get away with it!

    It sounds egregious to say this, but I was a bit of a “darling” of the Fet. world. Tiny/petite. Only the underlings of the high class Dommes were tiny outside of me. I even ingratiated myself to the most premiere Domme above her underlings. She was fucking gorgeous and everyone would drool over her.

    We did some silly, simple play for show in the bar, but I did talk to her on a personal level as well. Again, embarrassed to admit but if I could go that far? Well, nobody gets that far unless…

    Regarding your last question, I’m SOOO glad that you asked it and I didn’t have to say anything about it on my own! The answer is LOTS!

    There are a lot of men who have very busy lives, possibly involving many levels of power and oh, yeah! They’re subs and have Dommes that they’ll see more than their Corporate Lawyers!

    When I was in the scene, I didn’t play. I just partied with friends. But the people I met, and the high level jobs they had? I was totally blown away! I made a great friend who was an Actuary and we’d go out for dinner and have lots of fun.

    An Actuary. So there you go.

    Take care and come back anytime,
    PA

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  1. 1 Patient Anonymous: Just Another Head Case Search Term Madness «

    […] restraining techniques for bipolar child – Okay, I’m not an expert on either raising children, Bipolar or otherwise but I would STRONGLY not recommend this. However, I did blog in all seriousness about this. […]

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