During the Great Depression in 1938 Harvard University began a study on 268 of their sophomores in an effort to discover what leads to long-term happy and healthy lives. This study has since expanded to include the offspring of the original candidates, and as of April 2017 nineteen of the original candidates were still alive (now in their 90s).
Adult babies and diaper lovers all spend some time of their lives in the search for happiness. We all struggle between the shame that our inner voice relays about wearing a diaper, or wanting to have some other kind of transformational object. We worry about the outside world, and it’s judgments but most often (for myself at least) I believe the harshest judgments have been to myself. The conversations and battles that have raged internally throughout my life have often left me feeling hollow, and sad for what I am.
Some of that has changed in the last year, as I have begun opening up to myself and others in a new way. I am working towards accepting this part of myself and how it can be a healthy part of a happy life. I still have my moments, but I feel like the needle (on my happiness gauge) is headed in the right direction.
During these inner struggles, ABDLs are looking for happiness. We want to accept ourselves and learn how to be happy with ourselves. I do not believe we can externalize our desire for diapers before we begin to grasp it ourselves. More and more studies have continued to show that we are social creatures, and do not want to be alone. We want to share what we have and who we are with those whom we love and trust. My happiest moments are not when I’m alone, but when I am present, experiencing life with those around me.
Back to the Harvard Study:
“The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health,” said Robert Waldinger, director of the study, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. That, I think, is the revelation.”
How then, do we bring this part of ourselves into our relationships? I know you just cringed because I did too. For that majority of us the thought of being able to really share this part of who we are with others feels impossible! The “how” will be different for each and everyone of us, as our relationships and life experiences are all different, but there are some commonalities we can all lean to, some of the Baby Steps that we have taken together:
A foundation of integrity – We must show others through our actions who we really are. In my journey with my wife I have often felt inside, and vocalized a few times that “I am the same person, whether I’m wearing a diaper or not.” Internally I think, “see that good thing I just did, I was wearing a diaper when it happened.” Sometimes we are working to convince ourselves as well as those around us. We learn to accept ourselves over our lives. I have learned recently that I feel that my little side wants to help me.
A healthy relationship with your spouse – One of the biggest moments will be when you tell your spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend about your little side. WAY before that happens, you must evaluate the relationship you have with that person, and solidify it before you bring something like this to the table. Diapers can bring turmoil to even the strongest relationships, so you must make sure you have built the proper foundation to be able to set something like this on.
Be a friend, find a friend – The Harvard study talks about social interaction and sharing life with others as the true marker to a happy and healthy life. Before you reach out to your loved ones in real life, I would encourage you to find a friend. We are out there, and there are many ways to find us now. I recently wrote about the Friends I may never know as I pondered how many others like me are walking by me on a daily basis. How much help we could provide each other, if we only knew they were padded like us. The largest progress that I have made in my journey has been through the friends that I have made in the last few months. REAL bonds of friendship that I see reaching into the real world at some point. (obviously be VERY careful as you go down this path, the Internet is a BIG, dangerous, and scary place)
To my friends, to those that have listened and helped me grow. Thank you! You know who you are, and I cannot thank you enough for the support and hand of friendship you have extended to me.
Find an outlet/hobby – There are two things that have become my outlets when I need to figure something out. Running and this blog.
When I run I can leave my worries, my pain, my anguish on the pavement. I can take out whatever frustration I am having on the road or trail that I am on. It has become one of the greatest outlets for me. At times I feel selfish as running takes me away from everything else, but I think that is the point. I need to get away at times, and get myself right so I can present my best self to those around me.
This blog that you are reading now is the other. I tried in the past to journal my thoughts, but would always just rip the pages out after leaving me with a very short-lived feeling of accomplishment. I have found a way that I can externalize something that I am feeling before I communicate it to a friend or my wife. This method of communicating with myself and others has become very therapeutic to me. Like running, I am able to take things out on my keyboard. I often leave this laptop refreshed or at peace.
You might not feel like a runner or a writer (I know I definitely consider myself a runner until I began doing it), but find something. Find your outlet that allows your creative sided-right brain to be able to work something out while the left-side of your brain over analyzes EVERYTHING. I know mine does when I get into that place of shame and self-doubt. Find your thing, so when those moments come you can “go for a run.”
When you do share, Be 100% honest – So many things lead up to this moment. It is a monumental decision to externalize something we have held inside for years (and sometimes decades). When you have your house in order, and the items above are in a good place you have to find the appropriate way to share this with your loved one. How you do that is another post altogether, but I want to convey the importance of honesty when you do share.
I have committed to myself that I will be 100% honest with my wife. If she asks me a question about my little side or diapers I will respond honestly. I have already shared the biggest vulnerability in my life with her, and I want to be able to build upon that experience without additional surprises along the way.
One of my wife’s current concerns is not that I wear diapers, but that I use them. She has asked me a few times when she knows that I’m wearing if I have peed in them. I summon the courage to be honest with her and let her know. This was hard the first time, but has become easier as she continues to ask. This is an example of something that I thought was trivial that she is working on.
Another example is printed diapers. I was worried that upon seeing me in diapers that prints would be a point of conversation or contention. NOPE! My wife knew they existed, called them adult diapers, and we moved on. Something I was very worried about was a non-issue.
Be honest, 100% honest, and if you have prepared the way and are able to communicate with your spouse together you will be able to find common ground to stand on TOGETHER. This may not be where you want to be standing (or necessarily where they want to be standing either), but TOGETHER you are working to understand, accept, embrace, and incorporate your little side into your relationship and marriage.
This common ground will move as you continue to work on your relationship and are honest with them. I have seen where we stand shift in a big way over the last three months. Have faith, and be honest and things will work out. I hope someday to be able to have my wife explain her side of things because I know my outcome is not what everyone else’s has been, but I also don’t know their back story. I don’t know how hard they worked at the points listed above. Without the foundation of faith and family that my wife and I have I know we wouldn’t have gotten to the same place we are now. She truly is an amazing woman, and we work hard to continue to “date” in order to grow our relationship.
TOGETHER we understand, accept, embrace, and incorporate.