Mental Health & Sex Work: Part 2

After the last blog I wrote about my struggles with depression & anxiety as a sex worker, a lot of conversations were had with fellow sex workers about finding the motivation to work while struggling with depression & anxiety. A couple people came to me and asked for tips or help to stay motivated, so I thought “well, why don’t I write about follow up blog?!” So here I am! Writing a follow up blog about how to find motivation even on those bleak, cloudy days. Obviously, my methods may not work for everyone, but I encourage you to try. Even if you’re not a sex worker and struggle with mental health, you may find these ideas helpful as well.

  1. Call/Text/Tweet a friend. Reaching out when you’re depressed isn’t easy. Believe me, I know. But having a friend who struggles with the same things you do who can encourage you along makes it easier (for me, at least). One night, I was struggling to find the motivation to shoot videos, so I reached out to a fellow model/producer and we spent the evening texting between clips, pushing each other to do more. Having a buddy who also needs the motivation is awesome, because then you feel good motivating them & they feel good motivating you, and hopefully in the end both of you get shit done.
  2. Have a ritual. Whether it’s listening to Disney music as you do your makeup (I recommend Mulan’s I’ll Make a Man Out of You while contouring) or drinking a glass of wine while sexy music is playing and making yourself feel sexy, having a ritual to help take you from one headspace into the other makes it much easier to focus on your task. It’s like flipping a switch from your day to day persona into your sex work persona/brand. I find that this helps me go from not being in the mood to “I can fucking do this.”
  3. Plan ahead. This one is hard, because it involves keeping a commitment even when you don’t want to or don’t feel like you can get out of bed. Hear me out though. Planning ahead isn’t just knowing exactly what you’re doing, what you’re wearing, etc. I incorporate planning ahead into my ritual too! The evening before a big shoot, I always plan to do a night of calming & self spoiling preparations (a soothing face mask, painting my nails or getting a mani/pedi, taking a bath or nice hot shower, heating pad on my back to loosen up physical tension, etc). This helps me relax a little so that in theory, I don’t feel anxious the next day when it’s shoot time. I do many of the same preparations for shooting on my own as well as when I shoot for other companies. The biggest difference when shooting for myself is that I’ll plan out my videos or photosets down to as much detail as possible. Shoot wardrobe and location, as well as lengthy descriptions to help me stay focused (which also doubles as not having to write the clip description later!).
  4. Know your limits. I tend to get a little foggy headed the later into an evening I shoot, so I try to keep all my shooting to as early as I can muster so that I’m not babbling on or getting off topic in my videos. I also know that sometimes I can knock out 6 clips in an evening whereas other nights, I may only get 2. Knowing & understanding your limits helps you accept that you did what you could and that’s awesome. Work within your limits and if that means only camming for 1 hour instead of 3 or shooting 2 videos instead of 4, that’s OK! Sometimes when you push yourself, you’ll feel fatigued or stressed out, and that doesn’t make for good anything.
  5. Reward yourself. Treat yourself for getting shit done! I try to change up my rewards depending on what I’m doing and what I need. For instance, if I know I need to shoot 5 customs in one day, I’ll reward myself with a longer period of reading time or going to see a movie or picking up a special meal/snack as a means of “hey, I did a good job. fuck yea!” Honestly, there are days when I’m fighting with myself to get anything done and it’s hard. But rewarding myself after I force myself to do something makes me feel proud for accomplishing it, which I try to remember the next time. If it’s hitting a specific goal for one day or for one month, find a way to treat yourself! But don’t punish yourself if you don’t meet the goal, just don’t let yourself have that treat. Remind yourself that to get a reward, you have to work for it.
  6. Don’t beat yourself up. Sometimes, I’ll feel really guilty for not doing something (usually the back end stuff like writing clip descriptions & scheduling or editing enough videos). It’s ok! Planning ahead comes in handy here, because if I’m good and do as much as I can on X day, then when it comes to doing all the things on Y day, there’s less to do (in theory) and then I won’t feel so bad if I can only get 1 or 2 things done.

I know this stuff can come off as maybe a bit watered down or “oh, well all that’s easy to do” but sometimes actually¬†doing these things instead of just talking about them is the hardest part. I’m coming at this from a standpoint of what works for me as self producing model, which is more than likely going to be different from other forms of sex work. Bottom line: Find what works for you. Don’t get down on yourself if you don’t get as much done as you’d like. Physical & mental constraints are valid reasons.

If you’re a sex worker and you need a good “mutual motivation” sess (or even just some encouraging words without returning the favor), please feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or by emailing me.

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