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One thing I would also add, which is implied in your post, is that people need to take their health, mental and physical, seriously. Things don't get better without self awareness and work.

I've suffered from depression most of my life (my parents said they recognized something was wrong beginning in kindergarden), and I've gotten intermittent help, but never took myself seriously. I'd take medication for a little while, get some therapy, but eventually I'd backslide. I also kept most of my problems a secret from everyone.

This past spring I was involuntarily committed to a mental health facility for 3 days because I was this close to committing suicide (friends stepped in). I was in my worst spot ever; it felt like I was completely melted.

Being in the hospital was the best thing that happened to me. I had not only friends and family rally around me, but our health care system, which is often a mess, also rallied around me (I live in Mass. where we've had universal health care for a while now). The hospital stay not only felt like a reset button, but also scared me straight. I learned that I needed to take myself seriously, and that takes time and discipline.

So, thanks for sharing your words. It was affirming to hear some of your similar experiences.

Stacy Blaise

Beautifully written, Arden. I especially agree with taking your meds if needed. I also would like to remind your readers that chronic mental illness does not "go away." If life circumstances get you depressed then that would not qualify for mental illness. But, in cases like mine, I would cry at stupid television commercials. Good luck.

Your twitter nurse friend (stacyinms),

Miss Stacy Blaise


Hi Arden:

Thank you so much for posting this! This is a very courageous post for which I give you a lot of credit!

Mental illness is a huge stigma in our society, one which we are still struggling to come to grips with and understand. The advice you give here is right on target and obviously comes from a deep well of personal experience. “Know that you cannot control how you feel but you can control what you do.” Wow! That is a profound truth I wish more people could wrap their brains around! Also what you said about de-stigmatizing getting help is incredibly important.

As someone who "knew you when" I found reading this post to be very illuminating and personally healing. It filled in some missing pieces for me that were important to understand.

I wish only the best things for you Arden. I sincerely mean that. Good luck to you and kudos for opening up and sharing like this!

If it's OK I would like to post a link to this on my blog. If not that's OK too. Either way it was a great pleasure to read.

Warm Regards,


Arden Leigh

nld - Honestly your comment gives me pause. I appreciate the well wishes and nice words but as for this post being "personally healing" and "filling in missing pieces" for you, to me that feels like a boundary being violated. The only reason I am able to maintain a public blog such as this is precisely because I am no longer a pro-domme. What I provided my clients during those days was a professional relationship based in fantasy -- one that in the best cases, such as yours, was genuinely caring, heartfelt, and enjoyable, but nonetheless professional and therefore necessarily one-sided. It would be no less appropriate to seek out the personal details of your doctor or therapist. The idea that you were ever entitled to my personal history to "illuminate" things for you is an offensive one. When details about my personal life were revealed against my will during my domme career, that was a violation, and one I did not suffer gladly. You and I had what I felt to be a good working relationship, one that was always dictated by the needs and boundaries YOU set, and the idea that you needed to know more about me personally to "heal" from the aftermath, especially considering that everything we did (including ending the relationship) was not only consensual but by YOUR request, is sickening. I don't want you sharing my posts with the same people from the fetish community who outed me and strung me up so that I was forced out of the scene and into hiding, so that you can all sit around and psychoanalyze me. My true friends stayed loyal to me and didn't blame me for their own choices, and I can't say the same for you during that time. If you see anything in my actions that required a personal history steeped in mental illness in order to be justifiable, I'd urge you to start taking responsibility for your own actions in continuing to session with me. Sincerely I say to you: go fuck yourself.


Hi Arden:

I am sorry you feel that way. I removed my post since you found it so offensive. I apologize for upsetting you as that was not at all my intention. I still think this is an illuminating post and I wish you a happy and successful life.



Amanda Herrera

Hello, so I just came across your work and I'm pretty excited to learn more about your craft. I am currently in a crappy place when it comes to relationships... I always find myself coming off too clingy or overbearing. Maybe I'm not even coming off that way, maybe I am just that way. Anyways, I learned about pickup artists today actually because I was reading about body language and I started to find things about seduction and whatnot.(By the way, I don't know the official title for pick up artists because I just don't know, so sorry if I offend you by saying your a pickup artist.)Anyways, I was immediately interested in what the whole craft was about because I think the information can be transforming and beneficial. It also sparked interest because I am convinced that the guy I am currently dealing with is one. He has claimed to be a pickup artist jokingly with a friend of mine but I don't really think it is a joke at this point because it worked on me.. A part of me is bitter that he uses strategic tactics to make women (including me) fall for him but the majority of myself has respect for him because he successfully knows how to really show a woman who he is and why he is great. He is also who I have in mind to seduce.. if I can.... Anyways, after I saw an interview you were in, I found your blog and started skimming through your posts and came across this one. I don't know why but I got kind of emotional when I read the title of this article because I have Bipolar 1. I have respect for you regardless that you have a mental disorder but I found it touching that you understand the struggle of dealing with similar obstacles I face. I always felt that my bipolar was a burden and I would be incredibly lucky to even find someone who could put up with my moods. In my last session with my therapist I was told that people in my condition are hard to love which had only confirmed my belief. I know it sounded harsh but it was always in the back of my mind and when she said it, it hurt and it has stuck with me for the past couple weeks. I think that is why I got emotional when I saw that you have a mental illness as well, because you proved to me that it is not a burden. You showed me that we have the same potential of finding love just as everybody else does. I am planning on keeping up with your blog and purchasing your book soon. I really hope I can learn and grow from what you have offer and I just wanted to say thanks.

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