When your mental health goes south
Hello Sexy Readers,
Boy has time flown since last time I wrote. A lot has and I have needed some time to process things properly before writing. Fear not though, nothing truly bad happened, it was more a case of being thrown into a state of deep emotional turmoil. It’s not going to make a sexy story, but I thought felt it was important to write about how the state of our mental health can impact our lifestyle journey. I hope you find it helpful.
After a very exciting and fabulous start to 2023, I had hoped that this was a sign that we had finally cracked the secret formula of making easy connections during club visits. It had all been so easy and natural during December and January. How wrong was I!?
February came along, and we had a number of sexy and exciting encounters planned. We were going to go to Torture Garden with Sassy and Sammy, the week after we had a hotel meet with our oldest LS friends and then the week after that the Bedhoppers’ and Wanderlust Swingers’ Red Hot Party. All things I was really excited about, however, in the background, my mental health was slowly, but surely on a slippery slope down. My mood was dipping and my anxiety was rising.
I was really excited about Torture Garden, I had heard a lot about it, but wasn’t too sure what to expect. Considering we went with swinging friends, I thought play might be on the agenda, but I wasn’t entirely sure as it was a fetish event, and I hadn’t really got an idea what to expect. Torture Garden itself was spectacular and I will definitely write about that soon. I don’t cope too well with the unexpected at the best of times though, so being that my mental health was on slow decline, a whole night of this kept me on high alert the whole night. I never fully relaxed and an undercurrent of anxiety simmered in the background, something that was going to become a theme for the next couple of months.
I was feeling exhausted, low and generally not well after our TG adventure and so I made the decision to cancel the get together with our friends. I wouldn't have been much fun for them and I wanted to be in better shape for the big RHP event. Deep down I knew I should not have gone to that either: I was edging towards depression and my general anxiety was high, however I was ploughing on with life, trying to pretend everything was fine. And the prospect of missing out gave me big FOMO. Once there, with my general anxiety being as high as it was (but not as high as it was going to be after!), I was, again, not relaxed at the event. My neurodivergent traits that mean that social interactions are generally enough of a minefield as it is, kicked in in full force. I was overthinking every move, every step and every conversation. I was trying to plaster on a happy face, but inside I was not happy at all. The volume of people and the sensory input was overwhelming. I couldn't work out who to talk to and who not. I felt like an outsider looking in for the whole of the event. By 1.30am, I was in Mr L’s arms crying, because I was convinced no one liked us. It was not a good place to be in, especially not at an event.
Once we were home, some physical issues with Mr L, that I’m not going to go into now, but rest assured it’s nothing serious, made me acutely aware of our age gap and my mind spiralled down a not very nice place, thinking about our future. The spiral downwards continued. Mr L was now getting concerned about my state of health too. He tried to find out what I needed to feel better and I told him that I felt that what I needed was some alone time. For me uninterrupted alone time is the space where I recharge my batteries, but being the main carer of the household, that is something I rarely get. I decided to turn the catch up with a friend for evening drinks and a meal, into a day out on my own.
As it happens, when that that day came along, it also happened to be the day I hit rock bottom. I spent every moment of the days leading up to this day on the verge of tears and it took a herculean effort not to cry each time someone talked to me. So when one of my best friends called that day shortly before I was meant to go out I couldn't hold back the tears and it all came spilling out. After talking to him, I spent more time hysterically crying with my therapist, who managed to calm me down by the end of our session. I then had a whole afternoon to myself in London and by the time I saw my friend, I could finally hold a normal conversation again. That afternoon on my own and that evening with my friend did me the world of good and I came home feeling much much calmer. Rock bottom had been reached, time to climb back out of the hole.
The low mood never left me though. We had a club meet with our oldest friends that weekend and that did not go very well at all. I hid it as much as I could, but spent the night irritable, veering between anger and the feeling I was going to burst out crying. We left fairly early, for a club, because I was exhausted.
Spending weeks with such high anxiety and adrenaline levels, had now left me utterly and totally exhausted. I was sleeping a lot, but work up feeling equally exhausted. Mr L, who is the most wonderful husband, could see how unwell I was, and he took over a lot of slack around the house, getting up early, providing me with tea and breakfast in bed. It was around that time that I told Mr L that what I really needed was a proper break: time of work, no kids and time with just each other. No lifestyle shenanigans. Just time to reconnect, recover and relax. Mr L listened, agreed and booked us a midweek trip away for the first week of the Easter holidays, because our adult son would then be available for childcare.
Before our little holiday, I met the wonderful Afterhours_KP. I drove all the way to see her, and we met up in Birmingham. A whole weekend on my own, to do my own thing and then also having fun with a friend, really lifted my mood. I don’t think she is aware just how much better I felt after that weekend! It really was so very needed for me to have that time away from home and not think about anyone or anything else in my life.
A week later, we had our holiday. I almost felt like my old self. Just really tired. However, it really did feel like I was on the road to recovery. That was until the spectre of work loomed on the evening of Easter Monday. My anxiety levels shot up the second I started thinking about logging in. I had not realised how much my job had been affecting me and this sudden realisation I had to go back, really brought it all to the open. I spent that Sunday evening crying in Mr L’s arms, I was so anxious. The next day that feeling of deep dread had not left me and I logged in. All seemed well, until the next day when I had a message of my boss asking why I had done something. This made my anxiety about work shoot up even more and I spent the rest of the week feeling like a big, tightly wound ball of anxiety, ready to burst into tears any minute. On that Friday, I had a meeting with my boss and was essentially sacked. I choose not to work my notice, because my reaction to having to go back to work had helped me work out the cause of all my emotional turmoil and I felt that it was best to cut my losses and put my mental health first. Working my notice would not have served in my best interests, I recognised I needed out.
Now it is exactly a week since that Friday. This Monday, when I went for my post school run walk, I felt lighter, more free and happier than I have felt in a very long time. It’s funny how a small part time job can affect you. It affected every single area of my life in the end to the point where I was questioning what on earth was happening to me: was it my perimenopause (another future blog post) ramping up more, clinical depression, something else? Although I had found the job stressful for months, it really wasn’t until Easter Monday that I linked my declining mental health to the continuous stress I was under from a job that did not suit me, or maybe it should be a management style that doesn’t suit me.
So now what on earth has this got to do with the lifestyle? Well, nothing and everything. My mental health declined to a point where the spaces I go to escape the stresses of normal life didn’t bring me joy anymore. The swinging lifestyle has always been about escapism for me, a little bubble to escape from all the stresses and worries from real life. But this time, it did not work. In fact, I couldn’t relax and enjoy my time in these spaces anymore, which ended up causing me more stress and worry and which then fuelled that downward spiral.
So, all in all, this post is about how important it is to sometimes take a little step back from the lifestyle, especially when it stops bringing joy. Maybe examine why it is not bringing joy anymore and see if the cause lays within the lifestyle or outside of it, because as you can see, in my case, the root cause of my ailing mental health and my lack of joy about our adventures, was something entirely unrelated. It did have me questioning whether I ought to revisit us being in the lifestyle though. We certainly had a lot of chats about our future in the lifestyle during this time and that will as always be fluid, depending upon the situations we encounter and the opportunities that arise. Who knows what the future brings.
I felt it important to write this blog post, because although the stigma around ailing mental health is not as bad as it used to be, it is still there. Even in the midst of all my turmoil, I did the thing so many of us do: “I have a good loving husband, a family, a roof over my head and we go on regular holidays. There is no reason to feel so low and anxious, I should feel happy.” But of course, it is rarely as simple as that.
Right now, I am taking it day by day. I am allowing myself to recover, to have fun exploring photography and to enjoy posting over on all my naughty sites, something I actually really enjoy! I’m trying to learn to live in the moment and not overthink things too much. As a chronic overthinker, that is not an easy thing to do!
I hope to bring you a more fun blog post to you next time and if you’re still here, then I thank you for reading along. For now,
Until next time my sexy friends,
Love, Mrs L x