Some of us have achieved peace with ourselves and our life. And, some of us still have esteem issues or other internal conflicts that bother us on a daily basis. Everyday, we push down whatever doubts and uncertainty we are dealing with, so that we can still function normally.
Impact play can be cathartic, not just because it is a physical beating, but because often it is a process of the mind slowly losing its control too. You can let go of a lot of the day-to-day cares that weigh on you, but when you allow your mind to loosen its grip you also free up repressed thoughts.
So, for some people, impact brings on blissful feelings of being high. For others it can be a battle with the things they fear the most.
Jordan Peterson, author of Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, cultural critic and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, calls it “slaying the dragon”. You can find his podcast here.
THE DRAGON THAT STAYS WITH YOU AFTER IMPACT PLAY
There are people who have come to good terms with their inner self. Their dragon is their good pet and they fly with it. There are people who are still learning to control their dragon, so they kept it locked up in the deepest darkest dungeon.
Impact sessions are just a tool, or a door, that unleashes the dragon inside you. Dragons require effort and hard work to tame and train. Certainly you want to make sure that you are in good psychological shape, and bring some shields and swords with you, before visiting your dragon
Even if you are in good shape physically (perhaps a few scratches), psychologically there is often no turning back after BDSM. Your space, along with your dragons, are yours alone to deal with. Your partner may know just what you like for aftercare, but the real repair work comes from you.
If you’ve let down the walls of your daily defense/coping mechanisms during the scene, it takes a while to put them back up again. If your dragons are big, there may be a window of time where you are still in that psychological battlefield frontline.
Something related to mental health that is often talked about is “exposure therapy”. Immediately after an impact session, what you have is “exposure”, without the “therapy”. It is only when the person gets a chance to come to good terms with their own inner conflicts, and resolve these into some sort of closure, that we would consider it to be therapeutic. At that point, the person is able to gain some positive outcome towards the future.
How long it takes to “come down” is entirely individual, which explains why some submissives feel drained (or in the case of mental health issues, possibly even depressed or suicidal) for days, sometimes weeks after a session.
The only way you’ll know, for yourself, is to experience it. Don’t be afraid to draw on all the help you have around you, if you need to.