First things first, I suppose a little introduction is in order. They usually make me uncomfortable but since we don’t have to guess who is going to go first this should be a little easier. Besides, there is nothing in this world I know more about than myself, the hard part will be keeping this short and sweet. I am 30 years old, and I just discovered a few weeks ago that I have Asperger's Syndrome. In the grand scheme of things this doesn’t change anything, I’m still exactly the same person I was before I figured out why I am so different, and yet at the microscopic level at which I examine myself it’s monumental. This has given me something I have searched my whole life for, perspective. I have found my voice. I hope to help others find theirs. Welcome to my world.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Masochism

Although this diagnosis of Asperger’s is new to my life, the self evaluation and discovery that has gone along with it is a story as old as I am. I’ve always been seeking the deeper meanings and hidden answers and this isn’t the first time that the things I have discovered about myself have raised eyebrows and had people thinking that there must be something wrong with me. When I tell people I’m a masochist I get the same reaction.

There is an epidemic in our world that for some reason no one seems to see. Its an epidemic of misinformation and it plays a deciding role in the amount of discrimination and ignorance that people are running up against every day of their lives. Google masochist and see what you find, a startling array of articles and definitions proclaiming masochism to be a mental disorder characterized by a pervasive pattern of self defeating behavior, and while I admit there are those out there like this, its these types of blanket diagnosis that contribute to the misunderstanding I suffer from. Things are rarely black and white in reality the way they are on paper.

No one stops to consider that maybe it’s a combination of mental and/or emotional disorders that contribute to some masochists behaving this way. I am a masochist without self defeating personality disorder.

Saying I like pain is a lousy way to describe it. While I have a high tolerance for it, pain is pain and it hurts. What I do like about it is the rush of endorphins and adrenaline my body produces in response to the physical and emotional trauma I am putting it through. When it comes down to it I’m nothing more than an adrenaline junkie who is too smart to jump out of an airplane and knows that its better to throw it into a cocktail with some yummy endorphins to kick start the effect. No one is out there insisting all snowboarders are in need of psychiatric evaluation, or that bungee jumpers are just trying to cover up emotional pain.

By now some of you are wondering, do I hurt myself? Do I let other people hurt me? The answer is once again not so black and white, it depends on the situation. I went from poking at scrapes as a kid to artistic cutting and wax as a teenager. I prefer, at this stage in my life, to have someone else do the hurting for me. Now, before you jump to conclusions, I am not out roaming the streets at night dressed like a slut hoping someone will attack me. Remember what I said up there about being too smart to jump out of an airplane? I take my personal safety very seriously, and this is no exception. I’m very careful about who I will let hurt me, but what a wonderful surprise to find out that there was another side to this coin. I have a wonderful sadist in my life.

You see, while the amount of pain I can cause myself takes the edge off the desire, satiation is hard to achieve. My bodies natural defence mechanisms kick into full gear way too soon and I have to remain present to continue. Take that power out of my hands and put it into the hands of another and suddenly I can ride the way it makes me feel. Ultimately I am safe, he isn’t going to do anything I can’t get up and function from in very short order, but the uncertainty of not knowing how far he will push this time or what he will do next plays tricks on my mind and floods my body with my drugs of choice. Knowing he gets off on hurting me just adds the emotional twist of lime that finishes it off perfectly.

There is a side of this no one sees, the mutual trust and respect that’s required to engage in these activities, or the communication that takes place about every aspect of this in our lives. This isn’t something that’s entered into lightly, it takes a vast amount of understanding about both yourself and the other person to take things to the level we do, and the risk is as much his as mine. People express their concerns for my safety and, while I understand that they are just worried, it’s insulting because it expresses a lack of confidence in my intelligence and strength.

Just as insulting, in fact, as considering my having Asperger’s a disability.

4 comments:

BoundFaerie said...

Beautifully said, Alei-cat.

Flying Cat said...

Honey...I love you.

xoxo

Sorbetto said...

Wow, you have no idea how much this post helped me. I'm going to print it out and show it to my therapist- see, see, I knew I wasn't crazy!

Best wishes, you've opened a great door for me.

Anonymous said...

You're a poser masochist.