Let’s talk about anxiety. I’ll be honest, talking about anxiety makes me… anxious. But this is an important aspect of my personality that I need to work on and that few of my acquaintances are aware of. To give you an idea of where I fall on the scale of anxiety, consider that picking up the phone to order a pizza nearly causes a panic attack. Stress effects most aspects of my life, and last year it started affecting my vision.
Stress Is in the Eye of the Beholder
You know those grey “Spots” in your vision after you look at a bright source of light, then look somewhere dark? They hover around for a bit, make it difficult to see, and then disappear after a few seconds. Last year I had one of those spots, but it never went away. Not only did it stay in my vision, but it started growing larger. From a small light-bulb shaped splotch to a giant ‘apple seed’ taking up most of my central vision in my right eye. Then I began to notice that straight lines were not appearing straight when viewed through my right eye. Anxiety ridden web MD searches informed me that this could be the precursor to a retinal detachment and that I should seek medical attention immediately.
The reality as I came to learn, was that I had stressed myself out so much that I essentially developed a blood blister underneath my retina. This condition is known as “central serous retinopathy” or CSR. With CSR a pool of blood forms underneath your retina and basically lenses your vision like a fun house mirror. There is no cure for CSR but decreasing stress might help it drain over the course of 6 months.
It’s not worth getting into the details of what stressed me out this much. Needless to say there was stress from all aspects of my life, work, family, and social. However, this is no excuse. Stress is something that I choose to let into my life, and I needed to get control of.
Facing Your Fears With BDSM
One unexpected tool I have developed for stress management comes from my experience in the the BDSM and fetish communities. People that enjoy BDSM scenes are familiar with the giant build up and ‘release’ they experience when playing. When I participate in these ‘scenes’ I experience pain, pleasure, stress, and fear. Even just watching certain scenes have me facing some deep seated phobias such as knives, needles, and blood.
Trypanophobia: the fear of needles and injections. I am so afraid of needles that once, a doctor hadn’t taken the time to warn me before pulling out a syringe to administer a tetanus shot. This poor, tiny doctor was quite surprised when his tall patient went unconscious and started hurtling towards the ground. I went down so hard and fast (giggity) that day that I broke my nose on the ground. And there the doctor stood, tetanus shot in one hand “Uh… nurse?”. I hate the needle so bad that when I go to the dentist to get drilled and filled I forego the nova cane. that’s right I opt for the full pain of the drill over a few seconds of the needle. It’s not the pain, it’s the fear.
Getting back to my vision problems from this past year. I was informed that I would need to undergo a procedure in order to image my retina and get the full diagnosis. The procedure pretty much resembled a scene from the SAW series. “Would you like to play a game?” I was informed that they would need to shoot a sophisticated scanner into my eye while pumping florescent fluid into my arm that will eventually bleed into my eye. They use this method to track down where the fluid is leaking from, so it’s a very important test. I really needed to pull myself together and face my personal jigsaw killer.
It’s common knowledge that the worse part about something is usually the buildup, and not the act itself. This is where the fetish community really helped me. I have never participated in needle play but it’s something I have been exposed to. (Despite receiving offers to participate in needle play, to which I respond with a polite “HELL NO”). So I set up the scenario in my head that this trip to the injecting eye-scanner of doom was actually just an elaborate BDSM ‘scene’. Turning it into a BDSM play session and thinking of it in those terms helped me manage my anxiety about the procedure. With BDSM scenes you usually have a safe-word, something you can say to stop the scene immediately if uncomfortable. Even though this procedure had no safe word, making myself believe it was there if I needed it, put me at ease.
Cosmic Cum Rave!
So how did I do? Well they DID have to stop the procedure once so that I could lay down. Apparently I had turned sheet white and was about to pass-out. I did manage to remain conscious and finish the procedure without any further issues. What was my reward for exhibiting such bravery when faced with my demons? Bright orange fluorescent cum! Turns out the fluid they used to image my retina was responsible. Neon-rave cum? Almost made it worth it.