A Dom’s Guide to Panic Attacks and BDSM (by a humble hungry sub)

WHAT IS PANIC ATTACK?

The non-profit resource site HelpGuide.org offers this definition:

“A panic attack is a sudden surge of overwhelming anxiety and fear. Your heart pounds and you can’t breathe. You may even feel like you’re dying or going crazy. Left untreated, panic attacks can lead to panic disorder and other problems. They may even cause you to withdraw from normal activities. But panic attacks can be cured and the sooner you seek help, the better. With treatment, you can reduce or eliminate the symptoms of panic and regain control of your life.”

HuffPost article This Is What A Panic Attack Physically Feels Like includes some descriptions by sufferers:

“At their worst, you can be thrown to the ground and totally unable to function. It feels like a terrorist attack or being chased by dinosaurs — yet while you want to run for your life, you can’t.”

“It feels like every wall is closing in towards me; like I can’t see straight and my vision suddenly becomes spotty. Tunnel vision describes it perfectly.”

i don’t suffer from a panic disorder, but i can relate to those descriptions. i have experienced a different kind of trauma attack. When it happened, it was pretty much like you are being smashed across the face with a big heavy wooden plate. my vision started blurring out, and i had buzzing sounds going on in the back of my mind. i knew i needed to hide away and take care of myself, so i went to my room, turned off the lights and dropped down on the floor right away. my mind was just being smashed with my past. i wanted to kill myself immediately, and i sat on the floor, trembling and suffocating from intense negativity/sadness, with no one there to tame me. That feeling of drowning in the cold stormy sea lasted for 30 minutes to an hour.

It’s very similar to WebMD’s description:

“Having intense fear that comes on suddenly could mean you’re having a panic attack. This sudden fear may come without warning or without any obvious reason. Or a panic attack may happen when something reminds you of your trauma.”

A HUMBLE SUB’S ADVICE TO DOMS – PANIC ATTACKS AND HOW THEY CAN ENHANCE BDSM PRACTICES

IF YOUR SUB IS A SURVIVOR OF PANIC ATTACKS IN THE PAST

The element of fear is one of the tools in BDSM practices. Fear allows the sub to give up power. When it is successfully used by a Dom, the sub overcomes the fear during the session and the result is a sense of intimacy, trust and bonding together. The relationship becomes closer.

But, survivors of panic attacks are tough monsters. Doms have a tough time scaring them, and they aren’t easily broken psychologically. For the Dom to generate the same type of power he might get through fear with a more timid sub requires extra effort or other methods. It’s not that a sub who has experienced panic attacks doesn’t feel fear, but there is a certain immunity brought on by past experiences.

IF YOUR SUB IS STILL DEALING WITH PANIC ATTACKS

i personally think that BDSM practices, to some extent, are therapeutic. my rationale is that people who are currently dealing with panic attacks are already facing them by themselves when they happen. As a sub myself, i would say this to a Dom… if a panic attack happens during an intense BDSM scene, grab the chance to enter your sub’s soul. Try to use the vulnerability to enhance the scene and deepen the bonds, by giving your sub strength.

In my opinion, we live in a society where vulnerability is always swept under the carpet, and no one really knows how to handle it. If a panic attack happens during the scene, don’t stop the scene immediately. Try to maintain the panic space that the sub is dealing with, and try to give care and reach out to the soul, without dragging the sub all the way out from the panic space like a withdrawing rocket. Fast withdrawal might easily generate a sense of confusion for the sub, as the panic space might have already merged with sub space. Dragging the sub quickly out of the space could leave them confused and dealing with “i don’t know what is going on now”, on top of all the other emotions they are feeling. Embrace the panic attack. i think it comes from deep in the soul of the sub. If you are brave enough to conquer that land then it will leave a psychological trail that you, the Dom, were there with the sub as it happened, standing beside them and keeping them safe. When you emerge afterwards, the bond that’s formed will be deep and lasting.

SHOULD YOU PUSH THE SCENE FURTHER?

i am not entirely sure if a Dom should go further while the sub is having a panic attack during the scene. This is highly dependent on how confident the Dom is in handling instability during the scene… which is a product of knowledge, maturity and experience.

personally, i am very curious about what lies beyond panic attacks, because it’s in my nature to want to explore ultra-intense experiences. i am curious about where a human mind can go and how strong/weak it is. i am very intrigued by visiting the land beyond a panic attack, being aware that it’s a land where i can only go together with Someone who has the power to open the door.

So, if you asked me if i would like to be pushed further from a panic attack during a scene, my answer would be “Yes, Please Master”. But, that is just me. Not everyone has the strength or desire to go that far, and there’s certainly the potential danger of severe psychological damage.

At the end of the day, it is highly depend on the relationship, understanding, strength and connection of both the Dom and the sub.

SOME FINAL, HUMBLE ADVICE

It’s certainly a great area for negotiation. And it definitely should be pre-negotiated if it has the potential of coming up during play. As a Dom, don’t think of panic attacks as a deal breaker or show stopper. It’s possible that your sub, like me, would welcome you using panic during a scene if you feel you can deal with it.

If your sub is someone you don’t know well, then obviously this is a very dangerous thing to be playing with, and as a responsible Dom you’ll want to make it clear that panic will end a scene. Psychological damage is something that you don’t want.

But if you know and understand your sub, and you’re confident you can care for him/her, then i believe that BDSM practices have the magic to fix the mind and turn vulnerability into something precious. At the end of the day, you and your boy will journey through the experience together, and there is deep strength and bonding in that.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Delusions_End says:

    This is upsetting to me, not because of “past experience,” but out pure human decency, respect and above all care!! As you have clearly stated, a panic attack is a serious psychological trauma that can quickly cause long term damage.
    When a panic attack starts: YOU STOP, IMMEDIATELY. Release , comfort and ground them as quickly as possible.
    To try to go deeper into sub-space is a selfish indulgence on your part and quite irresponsible? Unless you are a fully qualified psychologist, don’t hide behind some notion of a deep spiritual connection with your sub. In a crisis situation, that’s the same as asking someone who just snapped their tibia if they’ve ever done it before and using some special, “Dom” power to push past the pain.
    If you are interested in what happens beyond the trauma you’ve allowed to continue out of some misguided clinical-spiritual self-empowerment, then take a Psychology course.
    Your sub will already be in therapy.

    1. boy denon says:

      Hi Delusions_End

      i am not sure why this is upsetting to you, sorry that my writing have upset you. Humbly, i think there is a huge chunk of the writing that you have missed out.

      “It’s certainly a great area for negotiation. And it definitely should be pre-negotiated if it has the potential of coming up during play. As a Dom, don’t think of panic attacks as a deal breaker or show stopper. It’s possible that your sub, like me, would welcome you using panic during a scene if you feel you can deal with it.

      If your sub is someone you don’t know well, then obviously this is a very dangerous thing to be playing with, and as a responsible Dom you’ll want to make it clear that panic will end a scene. Psychological damage is something that you don’t want”

      i am not sure what psychology is that you studied. In dealing and working with PTSD, the common psychological therapy is cbt (cognitive behavioural therapy), Trauma exposure therapy among others.

      Even narrative counselling involve patients re-engage with previous trauma and working in putting closure, having mechanism in dealing with triggers, etc. In the field of psychology, they don’t “STOP AND GROUND” as you suggested.

      They schedule weekly therapy session, create a safe space to work on the issue.

      I am not neglecting the fact that ptsd is a serious psychological issue,i have spent four years dealing with c-ptsd. As a survival who turned out also to be a submissive/masochist, i humbly find the segregation of both to be challenging. Humbly, i don’t see any constructive discussion on how we can assist those who falls into the overlapping Venn diagram of (kinksters) and (mental illness), but only further separate both of which that contributes to our core being.

      Hence, negotiation, discussion, communication, reflection as to how to have both (BDSM, D/s dynamic) works with (PTSD, mental illness) is crucial for us, for it is both our identities and personalities.

      I agree with you that if the person doesn’t know how to deal with it, it should leave it to the professionals. I only disagree on being label as “misguided clinical-spiritual self-empowerment”. Firstly, this isn’t clinical, nor it is misguided, and the study of psychology isn’t “the truth to life of the mental differencé”. We are currently journeyed on DSM Five, in earlier DSM, Sadomasochism is considered as mental illness.

      1. Delusions_End says:

        Hello Boy Denon,

        I am so humbled and grateful for your enlightening and patient response. Clearly, my regretful reaction was triggered by some issue or another that clouded what I thought to be a healthy open-mindedness.

        Upon re-reading the original article, then your helpful response, I see how I went off the rails, and mostly apologize for the tone and rude remarks.

        Thank you again for getting my feet to walk in the same direction again.

        Respectfully

        D.E.

  2. boy denon says:

    Hi Delusional_End,

    i am happy to talk and discuss these things with anyone who falls in the overlapping ground of being kinkster and also dealing with mental illness. i am glad (if any of the discussion) has helped you gain some better insights or understanding.

    Sincerely,
    boydenon

  3. Delusions_End says:

    I’ve had a lot of time to think about this, and have found plenty of resources to research. For me, I will remain of the opinion that release is the only option. Now however, I have learned that the speed of that release is optional, common sense of course will prevail when it comes to the safety of others, however, in my case, there aren’t “others” around very often. Yes, clear, honest discussion, negotiation, trust, respect and understanding are the foundation of a “good” experience, but it’s the unexpected that I am specifically interested in. Again, this has been a great and helpful resource.
    thanks again
    D-E.
    I appreciate the

    1. boy denon says:

      Hi Delusions_End
      Would You mind explain more about what does “speed” means?

      From my personal experiences of having to been through some rough tides of CPTSD, i have come to embrace the insanity/sanity of human beings. Without insanity, there wouldn’t be sanity, without disorders, there wouldn’t be orders, and i have come to accept the differences and diversities that we all have with our psychic, and our relations with our external world.

      Anyway, i am glad you find it great and helpful.

      boydenon

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