– a unique view of depression
by Matt – service provider with the TLC Trust
We all have mental health. Sometimes this can be good, sometimes mediocre and sometimes our mental health can be absolutely diabolical. When we are also experiencing physical challenges, whether long term or something that has just happened to us that slows us down, this can impact on our mental health and make us feel even more like…. well… I’m sure you have your own word for that feeling.
A healthy, active sex life will have a positive and energising effect on your mental health and it could be argued that, if this is lacking, it can make you depressed. There are also possible barriers to getting the sex you need – whether actual (you can’t seem to get laid) or emotional – you may feel so depressed that you don’t feel attractive/sexual/desirable/don’t have the motivation.
Depression isn’t the only form of mental ill-health, of course, there are many conditions that can stop us in our tracks but, what I want to look at here is the connection between sex and depression. I think this can be applied to most mental health problems but feel free to let me know what you think.
Firstly, let me tell you that there is a very close link between depression and anxiety and some conditions, regardless of the actual diagnosis, are often rooted in clinical depression.
There has been much research into physical touch and the effect this has on the brain. Our brains (don’t panic, I’m only going to skip over the science bit!) produce the happy chemicals for us that keep our moods pretty balanced and this then enables us to carry out daily activities – it’s the motivator if you like.
So…. what happens when you go without touch? The body starts to respond by shutting down certain areas of the brain that produce these happy chemicals. Then what happens is we get low, our view of ourselves becomes distorted and we misinterpret why we haven’t been touched for so long: ‘I am ugly, I’m unattractive, I don’t like my body’; ‘nobody touches me because I’m disabled’ – the list of self-judgements goes on.
STOP. Take a moment.
I’m going to share something with you first, before we look at some solutions, because I think this is really, really important. I am a professional sex worker and a trained therapist. Therapists (counsellors, talking therapists, psychotherapists etc.) are notorious for not self-disclosing and being ‘the expert’ who appears to be free from ill-health and cannot possibly be as nuts as you feel right now.
This is so wrong I could giggle myself to the mental health unit.
Some years ago I experienced a complete mental breakdown, at one point (and this was years after qualifying as a talking therapist) I was in a suicide prevention unit rocking under the table thinking ‘what the hell happened?’
Please stay with me because this is about you, not me, but I really want to reach out to your humanness.
What happened to me is very simple – I got sick. I am a human being and as such fell ill and my mental health appeared to vanish into the sunset without a trace.
Now back to you and what I learned from this whole experience. Firstly, we are not perfect, we are sometimes brittle and fragile and secondly, we all need to be held.
Before I got sick I spent months, literally without seeing a single human being or being touched. There were circumstances that brought this about but also some of it was because I was depressed and didn’t know it.
Now, I look back and think ‘thank God that happened because I now really know what I had always thought – human touch heals’.
This website (and ebook if you’re reading this via the download) is all about your sexual health, your sexual liberation and is a reflection of your beautiful sexy self. When you are touched in a sensual way, from sensual, erotic massage to a full on shag – you feel better. This is good, improved mental health. Great. Now – what if things are the other way around, such as – what if you’re current mental health is stopping you from accessing sexual services, one night stands, entering into a relationship?
Do we need to get therapeutic here? Okay, just briefly, yes, sometimes you might need to see your doctor and ask to see a counsellor. Your doctor might suggest a variety of treatments so sure, go with what feels right for you. That’s one way to address this.
The other way – which can be used with some medical help if needed – is to hear what I have just shared with you, reminding yourself that we all feel like this sometimes. I call this ‘embracing what-is’. It is so simple and a bit weird but this can give you a tiny bit of relief.
I remember seeing a client for a sexual massage a few years ago and he introduced himself as ‘Hi I’m disabled so I’ve never been touched’. My heart sank with sadness. The gentleman got onto my massage table (with some assistance and a hoist) and as I gently stroked his thigh he burst into tears. I climbed onto the table with him and held him. Then something wonderful happened – he became almost euphoric and said something along the lines of ‘Flipping heck I feel great’.
I’ve slightly changed some details to respect confidentiality but the lesson for us all is plain – physical touch enables happiness. The rest? It’s all an illusion dear friend.
Illusions – fake views of ourselves, putting ourselves down, judging our bodies etc. are simply distractions talking us away from our happiness. Depression is just a label. We might need that label in order to get the right treatment but once this has happened – drop it.
I want you to know that not being held is a part of the problem which means that the solution to the problem is….. being held.
The guy I saw all those years ago thought he couldn’t be touched because he was disabled. Whilst I was rocking underneath the table all those years ago in the suicide prevention unit I thought everything had gone wrong. I felt better when I got treated and got laid (yes, seriously). The client felt better when he was touched sensually by a worker who happened to know what he was doing. It’s all connected, just like our bodies, our moods and our chemistry.
Mental health has many pitfalls and many solutions. Sometimes the solution doesn’t come quickly – pun intended. Often we need someone else to point out the solution, or at the very least, help us to apply a short-term remedy that acts as a crutch until we can holistically heal. This is a controversial view to have within the therapeutic community but I really don’t care. What I care about is – whatever works.
That’s what it’s all about – this website, sex, sexual services, love, relationships…. and hugging.
Fancy a hug? Arms wide open.
This article is not to be taken for replacement for qualified medical advice. If you are currently experiencing a mental health crisis please see your medical practitioner as soon as possible.