Tag Archives: psychology

How did you do it?

After people get beyond the novelty of talking with a former sex worker and I answer all of the questions that I did in my last post, the thing I most often get asked about is how it is possible for me to create connections with people right away.  

In the context of the work that I did for Mistress Simone, this was trivial.  I already had a certain amount of native talent in the area. I was fit, good looking, well spoken, and I have a fucking amazing voice.  The people that I saw were already primed and seeking a connection – all I had to do was not fuck it up. Of course, I still sometimes did – and not being an idiot, I try to learn from my mistakes and do better the next time, or at the very least, make new mistakes. 

All of those first-date like meetings served to teach me rather well in how to create a connection and how to maintain someone’s interest once I do.  As a result, I’ve created the neural pathways to instinctively know how to attract and maintain the attention of almost anyone.  

I don’t necessarily mean a romantic or sexual connection here – and it would be impossible for me to create such a connection with anyone, since there are at least a large number of people out there who would not find me attractive – at least, not right away.  But even when you are not taking sex into consideration, it is often very useful to be able to establish a connection right away, even if it is shallow.  This is a core skill for salesmen, or personnel managers, or product marketers, or just about anyone, actually. 

People are already hard-wired to look for connections.  Humans are social animals – without a clan, we die – and when an opportunity arises to meet a new person, you make a snap judgment – whether you want to admit it or not – about how you feel about that person.  Is this a person that I want to fuck? Is this a person that I want to talk to? Does this person make me feel threatened, or does this person make me feel safe? I can almost guarantee that all of those questions are going through your mind about every new person you meet, every time you meet someone new.  You may not be cognizant of them all at the moment you meet, and the answers to those questions can (and do) change – often quite quickly – but every person answers all of those questions, and dozens others besides, about every person they meet, within moments of meeting them.

The good news is that most people are actually pretty decent people, and that most people really do want a positive outcome to meeting anyone.  That does not mean that everyone wants to fuck you, but it probably means that more of them do than you realize. 

The worst part of this post is coming right now: there is a trick to it.

It’s not something that I started doing intentionally, but eventually I noticed the effect, and I can occasionally be something of a social scientist brat – so I performed experiments.  I talked to my friends in new ways, I talked to their friends and watched their reactions intently, and I interacted with total strangers.

It’s actually much harder to do this in the context of a normal social club/bar/party setting than it is as a contracted sex worker, but the stakes are also a lot less and I really didn’t care about being rejected – I was inoculated to rejection when I was a younger, more instantly visually appealing man.  Which is to say – I’ve been rejected a lot…

But I said there is a trick, and it would be really mean of me to mention it and not tell you, wouldn’t it?  So here it is: if you want to create immediate connection with someone, no matter their gender, age, or motivation, the answer is always the same…

Make eye contact and smile.

Seriously.  That’s all that’s needed.  Most of the time, you get a smile back and then you can move to the next step, but often you will get a shy look away or a terrified turn of the head or even see them get up and run away.  Don’t worry – you’ll get another chance, but there’s also the chance that they just don’t like what they see and you should give up.  

If they look away but eventually look back towards you, you can try it again one more time – but more than that and you are being creepy and need to stop.  Otherwise you’ll ruin my reputation. More often than not though, if you don’t stare at them and try to will them into talking to you, they will be intrigued by the non-threatening smile and return their attention to you and give you a better chance – but it’s a bold thing to hold someone’s gaze who isn’t expecting it, and it intimidates a lot of people at first.

The next step – and the crucial one, I’ve found – is to ask them for a favor.  It has to be something trivial that they can complete without needing any skill in a short period of time, and it cannot be in any way sexualized.  Anything creepy here is going to just push them away and tickle their ‘not okay’ vibes. Besides – you’re not in this for the sex anyway, because if you were, you’d be smart enough to realize that the best way to accomplish that is to just pay for it.

This will require you to actually think a bit, perhaps, but as a good example, imagine that you saw an attractive, clean-cut, non-threatening looking man smile at you and give you some time to react, then he gets close enough to ask a question and says, “Would you mind holding my drink for me for a moment?  I’ve just noticed that my boot is unlaced and I’d like to fix it.” Then he hands you his drink.

Most of you are thinking, “well, now I roofie him and when he’s good and lit, get him to take me back to his place where I fuck his brains out and then roll him for any cash he might be carrying on my way out – hoping never to see him again.”  

No.. wait.. That’s not what I want – and that’s only happened once…

But you do see the point, right?  You’ve created a connection, immediately.  You’ve engaged their compassion as well as curiosity and maybe lust. 

But isn’t this all terribly manipulative and premeditated and awful, Rant?  How is this different from any of that pick-up artist crap that you are always shitting all over?  Aren’t you just using psychological tricks to manipulate people?

Well – maybe.  But name any interaction that you have with anyone, ever, where there is not some form of manipulation taking place.   The whole point of communications is usually that there is something that I want (even if it’s pretty mundane) and I want you to help me with it in some way.  And more to the point – you do have to start somewhere, and while I could just stand next to someone until I hear something that I can talk about and then try to jump into the conversation… that is a really weak place to start, putting yourself in the submissive position before you even begin to communicate – verbally, at least.  

By asking for a trivial task to be accomplished, you’re giving your conversant the power to say ‘no’ and walk away, or to pick up the gauntlet and do something trivial in the interest of more conversation. And conversation is the goal here, so you have to follow up after this and actually have something interesting to talk about.  There must have been some reason you wanted to talk to this person. Maybe you overheard them talking about something you are interested in, or maybe you just really like the way they make that dress look and you want to fuck their brains out.  Talk about it – whatever it is – or let it go and forget about it entirely. 

Interesting – or perhaps the opposite, actually – is that this works equally well with people who are sexually attracted to me as those who are not.  In either case, I’ve engaged their curiosity and given them a focus, and then all I have to do is hold it. 

Of course – you must also be charming and debonair and have impeccable sartorial choices if you want to maintain this contact, and that becomes a much more involved process and there are no tricks for that – either you will establish a real connection, or you won’t – but that is entirely up to you.  The vast majority of the work involved in making a new connection is in those first moments of uncertainty, and by looking for a smile and asking for a favor, you can short circuit a lot of that. 

What was it like?

What was it like?

That’s the question I get more often than anything else.  It’s a part of my past, and there are posts about it here on this blog (starting here, and then going through parts 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 – and more to come) but once people learn that I used to be a sex worker, that is the question that I get more than anything else… 

 

What was it like?

 

Well – it’s not really an easy question to answer…  I could come up with some suitable metaphor if I spent a moment trying to do so, but that would only give you a part of the answer, and the real answer is quite complicated.  

It was different things at different times.

In the beginning, it was fucking awesome…  literally and figuratively.

Oh sure, I was terrified at first, but once I got over that and sort of jumped into it with two feet, it was really pretty amazing for awhile.  Though eventually I started to become unhappy. I had no control over my own schedule, no choice in who I saw, no vacation days, no benefits, and while partying all of the time can be great for a while, eventually I started to burn out and then I just wanted to be a real boy again.

And this is where I start getting interrupted with questions about specific things…

 

Did you ever have to have sex with a client that you didn’t find attractive?  

 

No – not really.  I worked for what amounted to a high-end brothel that operated right under the noses of everyone around, and maintaining such an enterprise required a lot of money, so my Mistress (Simone was her name) charged a lot for my time and kept the client list pared to those that properly fit in with her aesthetic.  I am still not 100% sure that I know what that was, but nearly all of my clients were married women in their 30’s and 40’s, and they tended to spend a lot of time and money on their appearance. They chose me not because I was younger/hotter/better than the men they could get – almost any of them could have easily found sex for free in the wild, but they were paying for discretion and often for a very particular set of interests.

It did happen that I would have to see clients at times when I was not particularly “in the mood”, and unlike my female counterparts, I did not have the option to just lube up and lie there, so I learned all about pills and creams and pumps and rings, and I employed them all from time to time.

 

But did you ever have to have sex with someone who was just fat or ugly?

 

No – I had clients who were overweight by society’s standards, even obese in some cases, but I would never classify someone as fat unless it was a name they claimed for themselves, and the only ugly I ever see is the kind that stains a person’s soul – and has nothing to do with their body.

 

Did you ever have sex with men?

 

No – or at least, I don’t think so… I was offered money to on several occasions – sometimes it was quite substantial, but trauma in my past has always prevented me from being sexual with men – at least from the active position, and if I were ever used as an inactive participant, I was not present for the act.

I used to be adamant that this never happened, but I get glimpses of memories that make very little sense otherwise, so I have to wonder what I don’t have full memories of… 

There was certainly a time where I could not conceive of the possibility that this may have occurred, and I will fully admit that even writing these words causes a spike of anxiety for me, but in retrospect it really makes very little sense that I never saw male clients. 

I was certainly involved in several group-sex scenarios where men were present.  I can remember those pretty clearly.

 

Where is the most interesting place that you have had sex?

 

Interesting is such a strange word… but my answer to this question is actually pretty easy, and it has nothing at all to do with my life as a sex worker.  

I had sex in the confessional of Saint Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco.  The only thing that would have made it better is if she had been wearing a nun’s habit when we did it.

I know.. I’m a blasphemous devil who will burn in hell for all eternity…  

I’ll keep the lights on for you.

 

How much money did you get?

 

Not as much as I should have…  this is not to say that I didn’t ‘sell’ for exorbitant prices – my time went anywhere from $200 to $700 an hour, depending on duration, activities, and when in my ‘career’ I was engaged.  However, Simone managed and held the money in almost every case. There were a few outcalls where I would be expected to collect the fee and return with it, but more often than not I saw people in the apartment that Simone provided for me and she handled the money before they ever arrived at my door.   She covered my expenses, kept me clothed and fed and housed, and gave me chunks of cash from time to time with the idea that I would use it to splash out and have fun of my own. It probably contributed to some of my idiosyncratic spending habits now… all of my day to day expenses were handled for me and I didn’t have to worry about them, and while I did have bank accounts and credit cards of my own – for the most part I always paid cash for everything and carried large amounts of it.

I honestly have no idea what my income was for the not-quite-two-years that I spend under Simone’s direction, but as I was her property, I didn’t decide many things and I didn’t really keep track of what I did.

I probably spent close to $50k in cash across the time I was with her, and my expenses probably ran close to $100k per year, but I was living at a much higher standard of living than I would have chosen for myself and didn’t have much choice in the matter. 

All told, if I had to do some diner napkin mathematics to guess at the totals… I probably cost Simone close to $200k per year, and I probably earned her about 3-4 times that, quite possibly more.. Most weeks I ended up with appointments for at least 15 hours – sometimes as much as 50 – but those were generally inclusive of longer sessions with discounted rates, so I’m not quite sure how it evened out.

The important thing to realize though is that I never really got to keep any of that.  Perhaps I could have been more responsible and pocketed or even deposited some of the cash that I was given, but I tended to spend it – just as Mistress Simone had instructed me to do, and often at the places where she instructed me to do it.  But it was not all bad – she took me shopping somewhat regularly and put me in expensive clothes (that I also didn’t get to keep) and generally kept me up well – I just had nothing to call my own, not even my body, and I viewed it all as normal and expected.

 

Did you ever have sex with any famous people?

 

Depending on how famous you are asking about.. yes, but no one on the A-list or anything like that.  More often they were important people than famous people.

 

Who were they?

 

I’m not telling you that.

 

How many clients did you have?

 

I had several regular clients who I would see on a regular schedule – or sometimes an irregular schedule, but I also saw a lot of clients only once.  I’d say it was close to a 50/50 split between clients that I saw only once and clients that I saw more often than that. Some of them would see me at the same time every week – almost like going to see a therapist or a chiropractor, and I suppose I served a very similar function to some of these women.

All told though, I don’t really remember how many it was over the span of my time working for Simone.  I tried to stop counting at 150, but ended up keeping track up to about 180 and then I really did lose track.

 

What was the weirdest session that you had?

 

There were a few that stand out, but I do think the mother/daughter doubles session that I had was probably the strangest.  The mother of the pair was a regular client of mine, and her daughter was a purported virgin at 26 and that was apparently a problem for both of them.  I would honestly have had no qualms at all about seeing the daughter in a separate session, but her mother brought her along to hers and was present the entire time. 

I did not end up interacting – physically – with both of them that day, I only interacted physically with the daughter while the mother watched and provided commentary and instruction – to her… it was all very odd.

 

Did you ever have a problem ‘getting it up’ with a client?

 

Yes, I did, but it was not frequent – and it was almost always because I was pushing my body too hard rather than anything else, though I can occasionally get in my own way, psychologically, as well.  I had a pump that I could use if I absolutely needed to have an erection, and strangely enough – even though I suspected that it would cause problems, it almost never did.

There are exceptions, of course… and I was punished for those.

 

Did you always have sex with your clients?

 

We always performed some sort of sex act, yes, but it was not always penis-in-vagina sex that was happening.  I had one regular client, in particular, who would visit me at the same time every week and have me spend her entire hour just going down on her as she climaxed over and over again.  We almost didn’t even speak about it. It was all very utilitarian, but she would usually orgasm around 20 times in the hour.

Some of my female colleagues would talk about their clients who would just want emotional intimacy and often only limited physical contact, but I never had a client like that.

My theory is that the women who would come to see someone like me had already made their choice and were not going to be dissuaded by last-minute cold feet that affected many of the men, or that the men sometimes rationalized things… right up until it came time to make the action that would be the point of no return in their mind.  The women had already passed the point of no return before they walked through my door. 

 

Did you ever get asked to do something you didn’t want to do?

 

Sure – that was pretty frequent.  Most of the time I had to do them anyway, but sometimes I was allowed to say ‘no’.

 

Okay – what kinds of things?

 

Well – I was not terribly keen on the mother/daughter virgin team that I talked about previously, and there were some of my clients who really enjoyed degrading me or physically causing me pain, and while I found that I could lean into the physical pain, my reactions to the degradation were all over the place and never positive. 

 

Did you ever fall for a client?

 

No – though I did have clients fall for me.

I was emotionally walled off from the ability to care for anyone other than Simone at that time of my life.  She was my world, and everything I did was to please her. 

 

Did you ever run into clients in ‘the real world’?  And if so, what did you do?

 

Yeah, I did – though rarely.. The places that I would go to socialize catered to a different caliber of folks than the pool of people from which Simone’s clients was taken. 

If I saw someone who I recognized from the job, I would pretend that I didn’t know them, even when one of them once made the mistake of recognizing me and then perking up to start to say something, realizing the company she was in, and then didn’t know how to handle things.  I told her politely that she must have made a mistake and that I have ‘one of those faces’ that everyone finds someone recognizable in. It helps that that is actually true. 


I have been asked other questions, of course, but these are among the most common.  If you have other questions that you would like to ask – I respond to emails as quickly as I am able, and you can always write in the comments section as well.  I will do my best to answer anything you ask.

PSA: No – some hacker did not record you masturbating

I’ve received dozens of emails like the following, where some ‘anonymous hacker’ writes to me and tells me that I have been caught masturbating and that if I don’t send them bitcoin really soon, they’re going to send a video of me masturbating to everyone in my contact list and completely ruin my life.  Given how common this is, the chances are pretty good that you have received a similar message as well, or that you will someday soon.

This email is from this past January – and while I did remove some of the parts about how to pay this guy, with what remains, you can clearly see that I’m well beyond the 72 hours that I was promised, and this ‘Brant’ did not even do me the service of sending people my masturbation video like he said he would.  How rude.  I’m pretty sure that most of them would have liked to see it…

LAST WARNING lordrant@domrant.com!

You have the last chance to save your social life - I am not kidding!!

I give you the last 72 hours to make the payment before I send the video with your masturbation to all your friends and associates.

The last time you visited a erotic website with young Teens, you downloaded and installed the software I developed.

My program has turned on your camera and recorded your act of Masturbation and the video you were masturbating to. My software also downloaded all your email contact lists and a list of your Facebook friends.

I have both the 'Lordrant.mp4' with your masturbation and a file with all your contacts on my hard drive. You are very perverted!

If you want me to delete both files and keep your secret, you must send me Bitcoin payment. I give you the last 72 hours. If you don't know how to send Bitcoins, visit Google.

When you pay in full, I will remove both files and deactivate my software.

If you don't send the payment, I will send your masturbation video to ALL YOUR FRIENDS AND ASSOCIATES from your contact list I hacked.

You саn visit the police but nobody will help you.
I know what I am doing. I don't live in your country and I know how to stay anonymous.

Don't try to deceive me - I will know it immediately - my spy ware is recording all the websites you visit and all keys you press.
If you do - I will send this ugly recording to everyone you know, including your family.

Don't cheat me! Don't forget the shame and if you ignore this message your life will be ruined.

I am waiting for your Bitcoin payment.

Brant
Anonymous Hacker

P.S. If you need more time to buy and send 0.587043 BTC, open your notepad and write '48h plz'. I will consider giving you another 48 hours before I release the vid, but only when I really see you are struggling to buy bitcoin.

I would really love to just eviscerate this message, because there are so many things here that simply make no sense – like, anyone who knows me knows that I don’t have an active facebook presence, so threatening to use my facebook contacts is a pointless threat, and there are numerous other reasons why this is ridiculous, but I don’t really have time for that…

I will admit though, I do kind of like the whole “type ’48 hr plz’ into notepad” thing – that implies scrutiny is continuing, which ups the fear level a bit.

It is admittedly pretty scary, if this is something that you would pay attention to or be scared by.  And with shows on TV like Black Mirror and all of the other various techno-dystopian views being presented to us all of the time, along with real threats like identity theft, this can be a very disconcerting thing.  However – I can authoritatively say that I’ve received many, many messages like the above and never once has anyone ever been shown a video of me masturbating – even if they really wanted to see it.

This is not to say that things like this are impossible – it’s certainly within the realm of possibility, which is probably why it is an effective scam, but that’s really all that it is, a scam – it’s not true extortion and you’re better off keeping your money or your bitcoin to yourself and just deleting the message from your inbox.

The many faces of Rant

I have made a number of difficult admissions through this site.  This is probably the most terrifying thing I’ve ever contemplated posting to a public site and it has nothing to do with BDSM but everything to do with me.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I have been through psychotherapy and have been on prescriptions for psychoactive drugs at various times in my past – over the course of writing this blog, even.  However, I have not been completely open about one of the more challenging aspects of my atypical neurology, and in order to be consistent with my mission, I have to be unflinchingly transparent and vulnerable, so here I am…

I have Dissociative Identity Disorder.

For those of you who don’t know what that is,  you can follow the link above or just accept that it is the current accepted terminology for what used to be called multiple personality disorder.  There is literally more than one person living in my body – though the degrees to which they make themselves known can vary tremendously.

The ways in which it can manifest are legion, and I have been in deep denial about my own condition for years, which created more than a few problems for me.  I was able to conceal it from almost everyone, even from myself – perhaps most especially from myself, by being paranoid and attempting to control every aspect of every moment of every day of my life.  I spent huge amounts of mental and even physical energy in just monitoring myself for consistency and trying to portray an unbroken narrative for myself and everyone who interacts with me.

It was exhausting.

I developed habits though… I repeat myself a lot, both in written and verbal communications.  Most people completely fail to notice, but those who do tend to think that I am merely emphasizing the things that I want to say for effect – and often that is the case, at least in part, but sometimes I’m also doing it so that I can make sure that I will remember…   I meditate – and when I forget to do that, or when life gets in the way too often and I don’t make the time – I suffer for it. I use drugs to force my mind into the state I want it to be in sometimes as well. Nootropics and psychoactive chemicals are my friends and allies.

The memory gaps are the worst thing.

I can be working, sitting at my desk, writing code and being in the zone, and then I will lose track of time and space and my consciousness will return and I will find myself in a completely different part of the office or in the kitchen or even in my car, completely unaware of hours of time that have passed where I have had conversations with coworkers, accomplished work goals, even eaten meals or used the bathroom.  That happens with some frequency, and I’ve just grown accustomed to it. I have learned to ask leading questions and prompt people to fill in missing information for me in conversations all of the time, because when I’m at work, about a third of the time it isn’t really me there.

Sometimes when I go out to my favorite weekly event – Bondage a Go Go – I will end up finding myself at home in bed and not remember how I got there.  Sometimes there are people with me throughout this entire process – my former partner would frequently accompany me to and from BaGG and spend the night with me, and often I would not remember things from some point after our arrival until the next day.  Often pieces will come back to me, but sometimes they won’t – until my personality shifts again, and then all of the corresponding memories come flooding back in again, only to be lost anew when I shift again.

My personality shards – my alters – to use the common parlance, each have different motives and desires and personalities and while I am fortunate enough that these are almost always in concert with each other, sometimes they are not.  Sometimes they even conflict with each other… and as you can probably imagine, this makes dealing with me difficult sometimes.  I can seem like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at times, I’m sure.

Recently, this has all been very different though – and not in a very flattering way.

When I was suppressing the expression of personality shifts, I would minimize the impact, even when they happened.  I would go on with life as if I was always the one at the controls and while I had gaps in my memory of things, I could usually fill them in pretty effectively and by denying the gaps existed, I was presenting myself and everyone around me with an unbroken narrative.

And that is how we experience the world, I’m realizing… I mean, I’ve always known this, but it is not something that I usually spend much time thinking about.  We experience everything as a continuous story, beginning when we are born and ending when we die.  This is the normal, expected, and understood way in which people live their lives – when you’re trying to explain anything to someone else, one of the most effective ways to do that is to relate it with a story.  

With the exception of our daily sleep periods, humans experience their entire world as an unbroken narrative.

Except — I don’t.  There are breaks in the narrative for me – every day.  When I was not monitoring myself as much, and when I denied my interior pieces, I failed to notice this, but the narrative of my life is not unbroken – and there are pieces missing for me all of the time.

I had no idea how much this was affecting me.

To be experiencing so much missing time and to be openly accepting the transitions was causing my mind to fragment even more.  Personality characteristics that are dominant with one alter were beginning to bifurcate more tenaciously and rapidly, leaving my dominant self, the one who I most often consider to be me, with the least agency that I can remember ever having.  

The parts were growing at the expense of what remained of me.

For some reason that I can’t explain – maybe it’s self-selection bias, maybe it’s something else – the BDSM community seems to be home to many more people with DID than would match population statistics.  I know several people in my local scene who also have DID and one of the more fascinating things to me is how the disorder manifests differently in different people.

Most of my friends and acquaintances who have the disorder have the ability to conduct conversations between their alters within their own mind.  The only way that I have ever been able to have an actual conversation with a different part of myself was very recently when I was staring at myself in the mirror and having a conversation with myself.  

My alter – who is known as Damien, though he doesn’t refer to himself that way except to note his presence to those in the know – would talk through my mouth at me as I stared at the mirror, and he would respond to things that I thought back at him – so anyone watching the conversation would only hear Damien’s voice, and I imagine it would have been really fucking freaky to watch.

Damien told me about the world as he sees it, a little bit about what he wants, and a lot more about how he wanted my former partner to succeed, and plans for how she can probably do that.  He told me about his disappointment in me. He told me that he does not understand why I let myself get hurt, and he offered to take over for me. Permanently.

I almost let him.

It is something that I still think about.  Since having that weird conversation with myself a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been unstable.  I have a very hard time concentrating on anything at all. I can tell that he feels much more stable, more in control, more complete than he used to be.  

A completely different alter – one who lives in a very different world than I do, and who believes in things like magic and supernatural connections between things – led Damien and I through a ritual that was intended to close some of the gaps in my memory and help him to cope with the fact that his carefully laid plans were falling apart and give him some broader context in which to operate.  

As far as I can tell – from his perspective – it was a complete success.  I feel slightly more grounded than I did, and it did return a small portion of the personal agency that I feel was eroding, but he is resplendent.  He has been staying out of the light because I did not accept his offer to take over control for me, but his fear and doubt are gone, and mine still remain – and may be even greater, and while I don’t actually know if his offer is still valid, it tempts me even now.

But it is a terrifying thing.  It feels like a lesser form of suicide.  If I do this – who will I really be? I know that I won’t disappear entirely, Damien doesn’t when he is no longer in control – and he continues to learn and grow.  

I am nearly certain that this is something that I have already done once before – not to let Damien take over for me, but for me to take over for the one who could no longer handle living.

I may very well be the result of a first suicide of this type, and the original progenitor me is still locked inside me somewhere, but he never comes out anymore – would that be my fate if I were to surrender to the more Dominant part of me?

Who knows?  Perhaps it is all delusion anyway.

I’m still too afraid to try – still too afraid to know.

And so – I remain Rant.   For now.

 

Words have power

My life is awesome.

What appears below the fold, after this entry (and now encapsulated as a part of it), is a piece of writing that I first posted to my fetlife account about five months ago.

In it, I recount a rather simple change in the way that I interact with the world.  I literally changed one phrase that I commonly uttered to another phrase that had exactly the same meaning in my own mind, but where the words that I used to express it were different – in a rather fundamental way.

Think of this as the update that I hinted at with the original fetlife post – and a way for those of you who do not know me on fetlife to catch up to an important change in the ways that I perceive and interact with the world.

Six months ago, when my friends would ask me, “Rant – how are you doing?”  my response would likely have been, “I’m alive.”

Six months ago, when my friends would remark on how well things appeared to be going for me, I would agree with them, but I would say, “Yeah, my life doesn’t suck.”

Six months ago, my trademark method of self-expression was to use understatement as a means of conveying my real feelings.  If I were to ever say something like, “It’s better than a sharp stick in the eye,” what I would really mean is, “It’s fucking amazing.”

It was an inside joke.  It was a ‘clever’ way to express myself without overextending myself.  I felt like those that really knew me would know the difference, and it would mean that I was somehow at least understood a little bit by a small number of people in a way that is not obvious to the uninitiated, and for some reason, that was important to me.

But, fuck, was it a limitation on how awesome my life could really get… and that was something that I completely failed to anticipate.

In the past several months, I’ve taken that narrative and completely rewritten it.

When my friends ask, “Rant – how are you doing?” I emphatically reply, “My life is awesome!”  and I mean it.  

When my friends remark on how well things are going for me, I don’t respond with, “Yeah, my life doesn’t suck.”  Instead, I say, “Yeah, I know! My life is fucking amazing!” and I mean it.

Oh sure, I have off days.  Today is kind of an off day.  Life has been keeping me very busy, and while 90% of those things are wonderful (at least for me) and I would not trade places with anyone I know or even that I know of, not every day is perfect.  

I wish I had more time to write.

I wish I could finish Part 8 of My Personal Journey (and Part 9, and 10, and however many more parts it will take to finish).  I wish I had time to compose the follow-up to my piece on subspace that I’ve been tinkering with for years. I wish I had time to write general responses to some of the questions that I receive in email rather than just barely keeping up with responding within a week or so on an individual basis.  I wish I had time to finish the novel that I have decided to complete and try to get published before the end of next year. But the things that keep me away from doing the things that I want to are just some of the most amazing and wonderful things I could ask for…

I am living a life of embarrassing riches in terms of love and joy.  I have the respect and support of dozens of people in personal, romantic, and professional capacities.  People want to be around me.  

This is not exactly new – but my previous self-deprecating behavior was serving as a barrier to forming new connections and standing in the way of expanding or strengthening those that existed.  My confidence and competence were always there, but my demeanor was standoffish or aloof or even anti-social and it was limiting me in ways that I didn’t even understand.

Words have power.

I’ve known this for a long time.  I’m a writer, after all.  And even before I could recognize that, I always had the capacity to be persuasive and elicit responses in the people with whom I would interact should I choose to make the effort – I just rarely did… and I have no idea why.

Perhaps I was afraid of rejection – that was certainly at least part of the problem.  While I’ve always had reasonably high self esteem – years of social pressure to be like someone I am not turned me into a bitter and angry man at points of my life, and even when I thought I was out from under the weight of those things, when I thought that the stark depression that kept me holed up inside my house for days at a time was gone for good, I was still not realizing my potential because I was holding back.  I was holding back with my actions, and I was holding back with my words, and I was holding back with my emotions.

Deciding to never hold anything back any longer and believing that I have the power to overcome any awful thing that life might throw at me, and then proving it to myself, over and over again, with everyday annoyances and life-shattering realizations, was the thing that opened the world to me.

I am living my on my terms now – and part of the reason for that was really just as simple as choosing more carefully the words that I say.

It’s been awhile since I’ve said it, but I am Rant.

This was neither a rant nor a story nor a lesson, and it may be ultimately nothing more than a piece of mildly masturbatory self-praise, but it is my truth for now, and my life is awesome.

What follows is the text of the original fetlife post.  There are reasons why I won’t link from here to there, but I will likely repost this to fetlife as well and link there to here.  Feel free to drop me an email if you’d like to understand the reasons why or if you’d just like to let me know that personal stories like this are something you actually care to read – or use the comment form below.  

I will find a way to carve out more time for Part 8 soon – do not despair.

Until then – I remain…

 – Rant


My life does not suck.

It’s a mantra… almost a catch-phrase. It’s a common part of my personal vernacular, and it’s undoubtedly true. I use it to express pleasure.

But words have meaning, you know?

My life does not suck is the thing that I tell my friends when I am happy.

I say My life does not suck when I realize that the choices I have made have led me to a place, or a person, or an event where I feel at home.

But a friend recently pointed out to me that there is a kernel buried deep within that phrase – that it conveys doubt or uncertainty.

At first I blew him off – I don’t mean anything bad by the phrase, I see it as a refutation of a state that feels unpleasant. I see it as a positive affirmation of my choices and direction.

But words have meaning, you know?

Yesterday, before meditating, this was one of the last thoughts to pass through my mind. An offhand comment at a party where I had a hard time hearing over the din led to days of percolating thoughts and introspection.

I kind of love it when things like that happen.

They give me a chance to see the things that are hidden from my attention, but that have an effect on me, my presentation to the world, and even how I see myself at a subconscious level.

To say My life does not suck is the bare minimum above My life sucks.

Does this mean that I am afraid, most of the time, that my life does suck?

I do often feel misplaced, like I don’t fit anywhere, like no one will ever really understand me. This community accepts me, but still does not understand me. The moments when I feel like I belong are few and far between, but I fake it as best I can.

Am I contributing to that feeling with the words that I use, even if the meaning is completely distinct in my own mind?

I’m still not sure, but while my life does not suck, from now on I think I am going to say My life is awesome! instead – even when I am not feeling quite that strongly that it does.

We shall soon see what difference, if any, this makes…

 

Second Interlude: The Ravings of an Insomniac

It’s just after 3 am where I am, and I am – obviously – not sleeping.

Insomnia is one of the side effects of the work that I’m doing to purge my demons.  Of course, insomnia has been something that has plagued me for most of my life – reaching back to these very same events that I am trying to relate here.

It’s almost certainly appropriate that the song I’m listening to as I write this is My Demons, by Starset.

I had planned to write something different here, but something within needs to get out now, so here I am.

I’ve been to see many counselors and healers of various different specialties.  I’ve been on drugs, both the prescribed-for-you kind, and the self-medicating variety.  I’ve meditated and even cast spells in an effort to push the memories away, but they will     not     die.

I know that every event in my life has contributed to make me who I am today, and for the most part, I am proud of that man, so I do not express the opinion lightly that despite that pride, and even against the chance that I am now a better person than I would otherwise have been, I wish I could undo certain things from my past.

I have striven to make amends for all of my past mistakes, and I am content with what I have been able to accomplish in that regard. Those are not the things of which I speak.  I would have that younger me not endure the things the he did…  and I feel terribly selfish for thinking that.

It’s not just possible, but likely, that without the experiences that I have had, that I would not be nearly so compassionate, kind, or thoughtful.  Without the suffering, I would likely not have learned empathy to the extent which I have.  Without the years of bitterness and resentment, I would not have built a stronger character that can weather hardship without becoming spiteful.  Without my relationship failures, I would not have been introduced to BDSM, I would not have had children, and I would not have started this blog.

I know that my reach is not vast and that this is an insignificant piece of a vastly larger construct, which is, itself, infinitesimally smaller against the vastness of the universe itself.  What I do or don’t do does not change the course of things much.  However, as a result of this blog, I’ve met some of the very best people from all over the world.  I’ve made durable, lasting, loving friendships that I treasure.  I’ve been told more than once that my message and compassion have saved a life.

And I would wish all of that away if I could.

Sometimes I wonder if the demons are me.

I feel weak.  Most of the images that I would wish away are not even real.  At least, that is what I tell myself, as I hide behind my bastion of science that does not allow for such things to exist.  But either way, most of the images that I would wish away, changing the course of time, are not even real.  So I am weak, and to be rid of these unreal, troubling images, I would undo all of it.

One of my psychologists was very interested to know about my views on religion, and asked me to question my own adherence to atheism, pointing out that because one cannot prove that God does not exist, atheism is as much a matter of faith as Christianity.

I made a pithy remark about the tenuous existence of a God whose existence depended on the logical fallacy of proving a negative, but there was no real passion behind it, and I realized that whether she was right about atheism being a matter of faith or not in general, it didn’t matter at all, because for me, it was.

I had to believe that there was no such thing as God, because if there was, then the things that I took part in were real. I had to believe that the supernatural was impossible, because if it was possible, then the things that I saw were true.

I have always been a firm believer that observable events always have rational explanations, even if sometimes those explanations are not something that we understand just yet.  But for a time, even that definition was too permissive.  That might mean that the things I witnessed were real, just not something I could understand, and that is an even more terrifying idea.

I’m in nowhere near so fragile a place now, and writing things here does help.

I know that my experiences were drug induced – poisons, really.   That is all the rational explanation I need.  It fits.  And with the exception of the occasional late-night bout of insomnia, I really am dealing with it much better now, on my own path.  I know that I will soon be to a point where I can get past the hold these things have on me, where I can use the experiences that I had to help others heal, and I know that the journey is worth the sacrifice, but sometimes I wish that younger me, the one who was curious and bold, would not have had to be broken first, and that I didn’t sometimes become him again in my dreams.

 

 

My Personal Journey : Part 3

Part 3:  Power corrupts

I am going to stop making promises about how far I will get with this story in each installment – since I quite obviously have more to say on some of these topics as I commit them to the page than I initially thought.  So – from now on, I’ll just keep adding parts of my story to the journey as it unfolds.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the fact that this post took me awhile to get up because of the effects that writing it had on me.  I began by writing about the change of power dynamics in the Lodge, and how that affected me both then and now, but as part of writing that, I began to relate in some detail one of the rituals that I was always the center of attention for, and as I was writing it, I started to re-experience the feelings that I had, and I had to stop.  I have cut most of that, but I’ve left what I can, for now.

One could be excused for thinking that the feelings that bothered me so much were feelings of victimization or exploitation, but that’s not what really bothered me.  I felt megalomaniacal, with delusions of grandeur.  I’ve been having some small amount of difficulty in keeping these feelings from bleeding over into my day-to-day life. , but I think I’ve managed to normalize things at this point.  I am somewhere in the middle of where I want to be: warm and open, honest and bold – and where I was: cold and closed, aloof and narcissistic.  I’m not as open and warm as I was just a few weeks ago, but neither am I as aloof and unconcerned as I was twenty years ago.

But to get back to the story…

My interactions with Joe’s extended family and a few others from the neighboring communities started to have a profound effect on my view of myself as a man over the next couple of years.  I will refer to this extended group of followers from now on as the Lodge (since that was how we referred to ourselves).

My interactions with the Lodge began to take on more and more ritually significant roles, and either by fate or happenstance, this coincided with my own realizations concerning my atypical neurology and how I interacted with the world.  This would prove to have a profound effect on who I became and the decisions that I would make for the next decade.

However, in order to understand how this happened, it is first necessary to explain something about the central concept at the core of our beliefs – the Thelemic concept of True Will.

I could probably write a book on that subject alone, but to provide just a small bit of context so that this makes sense, I will relate the two meanings that the concept of True Will carries.

Firstly, the meaning given to the outer order and the world at large – and the only official definition – is basically this: every person has a ‘best path’ – or True Will – for them to live in this life, and as long as you stay on that path, you will be happy and things will be easy for you.  All of the things that are stressing you out now are things that are happening because you are not aligned with your True Will.  This concept goes a bit further and early induction rituals involve contacting your own personal Holy Guardian Angel to help reveal your True Will, but basically you are told that there are different voices within that speak to you about what you should do, representing different facets of a cognitive being that connects us all, and you need to be able to filter out the voices that do not belong to you and that once you do that, everything will be perfect for you.

Secondarily, there was the meaning given to the inner circle.  This may have been unique to our Lodge and my future interactions with members of the more official Ordo Templi Orientis would indicate that they do not generally acknowledge any other interpretation of True Will.  Whether this facet was a perversion unique to Frater Jubal (for he did claim to have secrets) or a more widespread ‘inner doctrine’ I do not know, but the gist of this facet of True Will is this:  as long as you are aligned with your True Will, you can do no wrong.

That is a very simple statement to encompass a much broader range of things, but that was the justification for every evil thing done by Joe or myself or any other member of the inner circle of the Lodge.  If I am acting on my Will, what I am doing is absolutely – even Divinely – right.

Tying destiny and will together like this is insidious.

And then Joe did something that I’m certain every other Thelemite would balk at – he told me that I had the power to read others’ True Will.

According to everything that I had read, this should not be possible.  One’s own True Will should only be revealed through a few specific rituals or ordeals.  But Joe called me an Ascendant Being and told everyone that I had the ability to read their True Will, putting me in the position of being the Lodge fortune teller, for the most part.

In retrospect, I see it as a cunning move on his part.  He thought he could control me, and he saw the opportunity to use a smart, observant kid to gain even more control over his flock.

I actually have no idea if this was his true motive or not, but it certainly makes a great deal of sense.  By not claiming the power for himself, Joe was being falsely humble, and by telling the members of the Lodge that I had the ability to read their True Will, and then ‘guiding’ me to do so in such a way as to get everyone to do what he wanted them to, Joe was able to elevate himself – and me – from teacher/priest to demigod.  Suddenly, if you had too much difficulty with the initiation rites (which was a very common problem for new acolytes), you had another option – you could just ask me.

This made me indispensable,  and Joe continued to groom me to ascend to leadership positions within the Lodge.

This break from previous teachings actually caused a few people to leave, but those who remained were even more loyal and bound to us.

Ultimately though, this would prove to be the linchpin that gave way and allowed me to escape the Lodge.

As I grew older and more confident in my abilities (and while there was always a part of me that knew that something wasn’t quite right, I was, for the most part, a believer at this point) I began to disagree with Joe.

I can still vividly remember the argument that he and I had after I had read someone’s Will and gave a different pronouncement than Joe had pre-suggested to me that I should tell her.

It was a direct challenge to his authority, and he began as you might expect, by distancing himself from me and pronouncing that I had strayed from the path, appealing to the Lodge to oust me, for the most part.

It worked too – but only because I let it, and realizing that has been one of the biggest events of my life.

He made certain that our argument was very public, and while Joe was a very smart man, he was outclassed in this fight.  He said that I had lost my way and that I would need to do penance to find my way again.  This was not the first time that he suggested that I would need to do penance, but it is the first time that I disagreed.  I took Joe’s own words that he had previously lavished upon me when I was a more timid, more compliant acolyte.  I stopped speaking to Joe, even though he was the one in front of me – I started speaking to be heard – and I said that as an Ascendant Being, my mastery of Will was complete, and that as an avatar of the Lightbringer, I was the only being capable of discerning the Truth, and that, indeed, Joe had lost his way.

The last part is almost certainly actually true, but I no longer cared.  I was about to leave for college and I was beginning to see things for what they truly were – a dangerous cult built around some stolen ideas and a charismatic personality.  I was happy to let that argument be the last interaction that we had before I moved hundreds of miles away.

It wasn’t until much later that I would begin to understand the actual value of the things that I was taught and to use the gifts that Joe had helped me to hone in reading people as a way to gain personal power, and even later than that before I realized that to be such a creature would be to lose myself completely.

When I was 18, I graduated from high school as Salutatorian and left behind my small rural home town.  I would spend a few days back in my parent’s home during that first year away, but after that, I would limit the amount of time that I spent in the area, even to the point of seeking poorly thought-out plans to ensure that I wouldn’t have to return.

One of those would result in an early and inappropriate marriage – and the other would result in sex work and my first introduction to BDSM.

I’m nowhere near done yet…

  • Rant

backlash and progress

Combatting misogyny could be my full time job, but I am glad that it is not.

The United States are currently going through a bit of a re-shuffle with regards to national identity, which is pretty obvious to everyone on the world stage.  We’re kind of like your neighbors who are constantly fighting with each other and you’re never quite sure whether or not to call the cops and report potential domestic abuse.

Just to be clear – if you hear something that you think might be domestic abuse, you should call it in.

I kind of wish someone could call the cops to get us out of our current set of problems.

Anyway – the issue that I want to talk about is the spate of recent revelations in the media about men in positions of power acting badly towards women.

The list of influential men being accused of sexual misconduct seems to grow every day, and my suspicion is that it will continue to do so for some time – at least until the backlash comes.

It seems like every politicized event in US current events eventually results in a backlash.  We’re already seeing some of it with these sexual misconduct allegations – a lot of powerful men who fear reprisals of their own are being silent for the moment, but I predict that they’ll gather around whoever has the audacity to stand up and make the claim that this is reverse discrimination or something else just as silly.

Firstly – this is not an example of reverse discrimination.  Women are not forming mobs and lynching men.  In fact, they’re not even really calling for the lynching of the men who are actually responsible for acting like perverts, which would be mob justice, but still not discrimination.  In most cases, they’re merely coming forward to tell their stories and not calling for any action at all.

Now, I do think that actions should be taken in most of these cases.  However, we’re losing sight of the most important part of what is happening.

In case you missed it – my opinion is that the most important part of this is that women are beginning to come forward and tell their stories.

This is important, because until recently they haven’t felt safe enough to do so, and that represents a huge failure on our part as men who care for women and as a society in general.  We must capitalize on the opportunity that this is affording us.  We must do what we can to prevent the backlash and keep this forward progress.  We must empower every person to tell their story so that we can all learn and grow – together.

Some of these stories are horrible to listen to.  Some of them are just plain weird, and as a self-proclaimed pervert of the highest order, for me to say that is … something.  But no matter whether they are hard to hear or weird or even just ordinary (I’ll leave that word there for a moment…) the fact is that women are finally feeling like the social narrative will permit them to come forward and speak about the things that they have had to endure.  It is long past time that we take such things seriously.

Do I think that every man who has had allegations of sexual misconduct come out is guilty of those things?  No, I do not.  I think that a small percentage of the stories that are coming out are falsified, but I think that is a rare exception rather than the rule as many of these men would like you to believe and as men have insisted is the case since society began to view women as people.

Despite a more receptive climate than in the past, I think it would be a massive stretch of the truth to say that society is open to such things yet.  There is still a strong stigma associated with coming forward with allegations of this type, and the women who do so are courageous and in many cases, desperate.

Part of the blacklash story is that these things happened decades ago and it is not fair to the accused to have to defend their actions from such a long time ago.  There is some small amount of merit to that argument – but only because human memory is fallible.  It is very likely that the facts of an event that happened years or decades ago will become distorted in the memory of those who were involved over time.  This is a proven concept in modern psychology practice – human perception is fallible, and it changes over time.  This is one of the reasons why crimes often have statutes of limitations.

That being said, I think every single case should be investigated – even those that happened 40 years ago.  I think where there is sufficient proof of misconduct that there need to be serious consequences for those involved.  This is how progress is made.  These consequences may only be a loss of social capital in some cases, but in some cases, that may be sufficient.  If you take a man who abuses his power and remove that power from him, he may not be able to continue his abusive practices, or he may learn that his actions – while tolerated in the time when he committed them – were never really acceptable and will be tolerated no longer.

Ignorance of the law is not seen as an excuse for committing a crime, and while I look at the things that some of these men are accused of and wonder how it is possible that they ever felt justified in some of these things, I can kind of see the argument that opinions on what is acceptable have changed over time.  I can maybe see where posing for a photo with your hands someplace they ought not be without consent could be mistaken for humor – because much of the purpose of humor is to make the unbearable, bearable – but I don’t know how anyone ever felt like nonconsensually locking a woman in your office while you jack off is anything but creepy and sad.

Empathy is the thing that would have prevented all of these problems.

Put yourself in the shoes of the person you are interacting with.  Try to understand her motives and fears and then think about what you are about to do.  Just because you might think it would be awesome for a woman to lock you in her office and masturbate while you sit there trapped does not mean that she will feel the same way.   You have to not only put yourself in her place, but you have to put yourself in her mind.

The fact that she is on the other side of the desk means that the right thing for you to do is to go out of your way to be respectful, honest, and engaged.  You have all of the power – don’t abuse it.

Pain and when the fight is over

In October of 2011, I was in a terrible car accident that almost killed me.  I was at a dead stop on the highway and a driver in a work van was not paying attention and struck me at full speed – probably close to 75 miles per hour.

I was physically broken by that accident.  Emergency responders had to cut the door off of my car to get me out.  I was concussed, suffered a minor skull fracture, a fractured clavicle, three fractured ribs, an avulsion fracture of my cervical spine, and countless soft tissue injuries, the scar tissue from which still causes me pain today, almost every day.

I can still count the number of pain-free days that I have had since October 2011 on two hands.

But I don’t have to be pain free to function, and I’ve developed a staggering tolerance for pain.

Recently I was in a conflict where I broke my jaw (hence the photo in my entry from earlier this month) and I walked around with a broken jaw for more than a week before I realized that it was broken.  Sure, it hurt, but nothing more than I go through almost every day.

Physical pain and I have been traveling companions for a long time now.

I am only now beginning to realize that emotional pain and I have been traveling companions for most of my life.

Just in the past two years, I’ve been working hard to peel back the layers of my mind and access the deep hurt that has been buried there.  I have developed emotional scars as well, and where I have learned to tune out the physical pain and walk on in the past 5 years since my car accident, I had also developed ways to tune out the emotional pain, I just didn’t realize it.

This is where things start to cycle back on themselves, and I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s helping me to function again, so I’m just going to live with it for now and examine the consequences later.

I can’t take my anxiety medication right now because of my closed jaw.  The capsules cannot be broken and there is no liquid variant available, so my psychiatrist gave me a different liquid medication instead.  It doesn’t really work for me, so I’ve just stopped taking the meds altogether.

This is dangerous, I know.

This is probably not the right way to go about things, I know.

But those wonderful drugs that opened my viewpoint to allow me to experience more of the emotional spectrum and to be more emotionally available to my partner.. they appear to be a crutch, and it’s possible that my already developed and natural coping mechanisms – while not ideal, perhaps – may actually be more effective in letting me live a somewhat normal life than the drugs have been.

I took them, and I went to counseling, all in an effort to save my relationship and fight for the one that I love.  But my counselor betrayed me and my girlfriend left me and now I’m physically broken again, emotionally vulnerable, and heartbroken in a way that I have never been before.  I rarely leave the house, and there are days when I do not speak to anyone.  Not one word.

But you know what – despite that.. despite the depressing canvas that I’m creating upon, despite the lack of medications, the lack of contact, the isolation from my family, the lack of any available friends, the severing of the best and worst relationship that I have ever had… despite all of this – I’m getting better.

I’m hardening again, and that may ultimately not be a good thing, but the funny thing is that I’m finding that the further I hold the world at bay, the easier it is to deal with.

I’ve cocooned the pain away, and it becomes easier and easier to deal with every day.

I was fighting hard for something that was probably hurting me more than helping.

The fight is over for now, and I have to find a new way to move forward in the world.  Oddly enough, pushing away the pain has led me to be more present and patient.  Or maybe it’s the lack of drugs that has restored my patient nature… either way, the fight is over, and I’m finding new ways to deal with the pain.

I am strong like the Oak.  Pretending to be a willow does not suit me.

 

  • Rant

Chemical Control

I am a Dom.  Sometimes I don’t act very Dom-like though, and for the past several months, I’ve been out of control and very rarely Dominant.

The essence of Dominance is Control – control of yourself, control of your environment, control of the scene, control of your submissive.  That is the order and hierarchy that the world should adhere to from the perspective of the Dom in me.  Rant’s rules, distilled to the control elements…

But lately, I have NOT been the one in control – the demons in my mind have been controlling me and therefore everything else in that chain – including my saint of a poor submissive girlfriend.  The fact that she stayed with me through all of this is something for which I shall always be grateful and never fully understand.

But let’s back up a bit…

I live in the United States.  California, to be exact, and the San Francisco Bay Area – which is more tolerant than other places in this country, but we still lag behind in a few areas and one of those is that there is still a stigma attached to mental disorder.  People still seem to think that if you are diagnosed as bipolar or depressed or with general anxiety disorder that there is something fundamentally wrong with you and, perhaps more insidiously, that there is something dangerous about you.

To a certain extent these fears have a basis in reality… as I have personally come to learn in the past several months. But more importantly, these sorts of preconceived notions can affect how one perceives such things, even when one has personal experience.

I have battled depression, and recently, anxiety as well.

I knew the demons of depression, and that was part of the problem with this most recent bout of anxiety.  Anxiety and depression look and feel very different, and yet they can cause a lot of the same sorts of symptoms and problems.

When I was controlled by depression, I wanted to kill myself.  I was overwhelmed with the world and I just couldn’t see any way past the horrible realization that everyone I loved would be better off without me dragging them down.  I was despondent and in pain and sometimes even just breathing seemed to be too much effort.  I wanted out and I could see no other way.

Fortunately for me, I was strong enough to recognize that suicide is ultimately an extremely selfish act, and I chose not to be so selfish and got help.  I pulled out of my depression and I thought that I was cured.

I’ve always been neurologically atypical, but it never even occurred to me that I was suffering from anxiety.  I was stressed out and I couldn’t sleep and I was irritable and short to anger and couldn’t concentrate and had all of the other hallmarks of severe general anxiety disorder, but I was sure that I was “just a little stressed” or that once the current crisis abated that things would get back to normal in short order.

But that was masking the problem.  The current crisis always gave way to the next.  And that’s just how life is.  Life is not easy, and if you let every issue balloon out to the point of crisis, you will be fire-fighting all of the time.  There is no shortage of crises to be found anywhere nowadays.

I started fighting with my girlfriend – daily.  We fought about everything and nothing at all.  We spiraled into the same patterns, over and over again.

But never did it even occur to me that I was the problem.

Even that statement isn’t really fair – the problem wasn’t me, the problem was that I was unable to cope with the level of anxiety that I had in my life.   Once again, I was overwhelmed, but this time instead of forcing that inward and causing myself to be depressed, I pushed it out into the world around me, and I lashed out at the people I loved.  I shut out all emotions and I pushed everything and everyone away.

My girlfriend tried to get me to get help.  And I even went along with it, but I didn’t try very hard.  I saw a doctor and I told him what was going on in the broadest of terms and when he told me that I just needed to deal with it, I took that in stride and just figured that I was facing daily stress like we all do and that better time management or organization would help me.

But no amount of organization or time management can fix a broken mind.

As the anxiety got worse, my symptoms did as well.

I got delusional.

I stopped sleeping almost entirely.

I lost the ability to concentrate, even for minutes at a time.  If not for the reputation that I have developed at work, I would have been fired several times over for being behind in my duties or just plain failing to get things done, and the more I failed to get done, or the more behind I would get, the more anxious I would become.

I felt like I was failing at everything.

I can recall many conversations with my therapist or my girlfriend where I said, “I’m failing at everything,” but it was never enough to clue me into the real problem.

My friends and even my family would tell me that I needed to get help, but I was sure that I knew better.

“I know what depression feels like, and this is not that.” – I would tell them.  And I was right, but I was completely missing the point, it wasn’t depression that was sidelining me, it was something else entirely.

Of course, it took things getting really horrible before I actually took the steps that ameliorated the problem.  My body started objecting in the most amazing ways…

My blood pressure went off the charts…  I’d started dropping a lot of weight.  I was sweating like crazy – so much that even the skin on my palms was beginning to peel…  but even that was not enough.  I didn’t go back to a psychiatrist until I had a panic attack.

I was driving on surface streets and had a panic attack and failed to move when the light changed.  People in cars around me honked and leaned out their windows to yell at me and flip me off and I still couldn’t move.

Eventually I was able to begin breathing again and moved my car.  I got home and resolved right away that I needed chemical help for my anxiety.

I found a new doctor (who is pretty amazing, actually) and started a new treatment program and now, three weeks in, I am in control of myself once again.

The difference is as stark as day and night.

Just a few weeks ago, I doubt very much that I could have managed even to sit still long enough to read a blog post of this length, much less actually write it.

The last time I was taking psychoactive pharmaceuticals, I was worried that I was going to be stuck on them for the rest of my life.

I wasn’t.

I may be on the new meds that I am taking now for years to come, but I don’t care one whit…. I am in control again, and it feels good.

Back at the helm.

I am Rant.