i’ve been living with significant body aches and fatigue for years now. it took me until this past summer to finally speak to my doctor about how i’d been feeling. my theory is that i’d been living with pain for so long that i didn’t even think to tell any of my doctors about it. i had learned to muddle through and assumed this was just how you feel when you’re hitting middle age and when you could be in better shape. i didn’t really know much about chronic illness.
after some bloodwork, x-rays, and a physical, the rheumatologist to whom i had been referred by my awesome, compassionate internist diagnosed me with an autoimmune disease. i’ve been working with her since and i’ve been making some progress towards remission.
while it was a relief to get a diagnosis, the last few months have been difficult trying to make some serious lifestyle adjustments. i’m someone who will –go go go– until i drop right into bed for an entire weekend of slow recovery. i’d been fighting myself for years, trying to push an exhausted body and mind harder and harder.
but that’s something i can’t do now. i have to measure out my time and energy and prioritize. i have to cut corners where ican, get someone to help me, not push too hard on days when i do feel strong and relatively pain-free. i’ve had to learn to give myself injections, to get more sleep, to drink way more water, and to say “no” when i know i’ve reached my limit. i’m still trying to learn what those limits are and how to pay attention when my body says “slow down.” it’s difficult; i’m a perfectionist and i’m stubborn.
all of that said, i’ve still enjoyed a really healthy sex life in the last couple of years with a partner who understands my body sometimes better than i do. for good overall health, regular sex and impact play has helped keep me flexible and smiling.
I mentioned it to my rheumatologist at our latest appointment and she was ecstatic. When I told her how, she was really intrigued. We believe that, somehow, the BDSM play helped to rejigger the pain messages my body was sending. Researchers believe that mixed up pain signals are what fibro essentially is, after all.
unfortunately, i don’t quite have that relationship with my rheumatologist, but i can say with confidence that impact play has often “rejiggered” my entire being, loosening up muscles and strengthening fascia and lengthening my spine. my hips, accustomed to the tightness brought on by a sedentary job in a crappy chair, start to sway a little more, making circles and slow U-shapes. i can feel a pop and a snap here and there as tension releases. sometimes i cry from deep in my belly, heaving sobs escaping my throat and tears falling onto Daddy’s bare feet.
with every swing of the padded baton, i feel lighter. my mind is focused on the pain of the paddle hitting my pink flesh. my desire is to please and to release. my release gives Daddy pleasure, too, as he knows the week has been so long and i’ve pushed so hard. he knows our friday ritual is important to me and to my physical well-being.
he is a very important member of my treatment team, needless to say.
i’m trying to view sex and kink as part of my wellness plan, quite honestly. when i’m depressed or in pain, i tend to avoid people and prefer to be left alone to recover and heal. but what’s actually more useful to me as a long-term coping skill is reaching out rather than isolating myself. asking my partner to paddle and cane me, to redirect my attention from the pain in my lower back to the stripes he’s putting on my ass, is so effective for me when i remember to ask for it or when i’m lucky enough that Daddy notices and initiates.
just as i view cannabis as medicine, similarly i view impact play (and bdsm more broadly) as medicine for my body and spirit. there’s not a painkiller as effective as my Daddy’s hand lovingly squeezing my flaring arm. 😉