Drop (sometimes called sub drop, dom drop and "The Mondays") is an experience with similar characteristics of depression that occurs after an intense SM scene. It is caused by adrenaline and endorphin crashes after the adrenaline and endorphin spikes that may occur during a scene.
Of the two binary roles, bottoms report drop far more frequently. Many tops report never having experienced drop after a scene. As a result, the term sub drop is far more common to hear about, but it is not exclusively the domain of subs, bottoms, slaves or any sort of s-type, nor does experiencing drop make one less of a d-type.
Speculation as to why tops are less frequent to report drop include:
- tops do not often get as high as bottoms do during a scene, and thus are less likely to experience a crash
- d-types are less likely to discuss vulnerability openly
- d-types are less likely to be swayed by their hormones
- d-types experience a more energy based adrenaline high than an emotional, endorphin high due to the nature of the difference in activities, and feeling tired after exertion is less likely to be detected than an emotional imbalance
The symptoms of drop will generally set in within 24-72 hours after an intense scene in which endorphins and adrenaline received a spike commonly associated with sub/top space, and thus will result in a crash with symptoms reminiscent of depression which may include:
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
- Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
- Irritability, restlessness
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
- Overeating or appetite loss
- Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
- Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
Severity of drop and symptoms, if they occur, will vary widely between those that experience them.
If symptoms do not clear up within seven days, consider if there are other psychological and physiological concerns and seek appropriate professional health.
Tips for Treatment
Several known techniques tend to limit, mitigate and even eliminate drop.
- Vitamin B and Fish Oil If you plan on having some heavy play sessions in the near future, start taking some extra vitamin B and Fish Oil supplements a few days before the scene and for a few days after. This will help replace many of the minerals that will be lost from your adrenaline and endorphin highs to decrease the potential for drop, and mitigate its effects.
- Food and Drink Ensure you have eaten and hydrated properly before a scene. Intoxicants will generally work against hydration, best practices indicates to avoid mixing play and intoxicants.
- Gradual Scene Build Up and Decline Drop is far less likely to occur with gradual scene build up, gradual scene decline, and extensive, intimate, aftercare. This creates more of a wave on the beach effect that slowly recedes back to the ocean, rather than a spike and cliff drop.
- Eat Chocolate Eating chocolate during aftercare helps mirror Oxytocin and allows greater long term intimacy bonding potential during aftercare. Oxytocin release can greatly mitigate and ward off the effects of drop.
- Contact reach out to the person you played with or the person who provided you aftercare if you experience drop, knowing they care enough to talk with you on the phone for a bit, meet for coffee or curl up and watch a movie with you can often eliminate or significantly reduce drop as much of drop is an emotional experience due to hormone imbalance. If they are unavailable or it is inappropriate to contact them, spend time with or call a friend or loved one. If you're not sure who to call because you don't have many vanilla friends, make some kinky friends you can call and can call you during experiences of drop where you can each mutually help cheer each other up.
- Antacids if you are also experiencing flu like symptoms it is likely do to a minor build up of lactic acid in your system. While a severe build up of lactic acid (such as from hanging suspension syndrome) can cause lactic acidosis which may cause instant death or slow death due to the blood becoming septic, far more commonly a minor build up from play can be overcome with some rest, water, and TUMS. If you are in doubt, see a doctor, preferably a kink friendly one.
- Pampering a bathrobe, some chocolate, a hot bath with candles, good book and some general relax time can work wonders for curing drop for many people.
- Sunshine a natural vitamin D boost contained within sunlight can be a great aid to help battle drop.
- Mild Excercise such as a light jog, yoga, aerobics and similar can help release endorphins if you have many left in your body which will help mitigate the experience of drop.
- Get Busy move a muscle, change a thought. Do a task to distract yourself, preferably a productive one, something simple and easy like making the bed or doing the dishes. Not only will you distract yourself, but completing a task will help improve your current esteem levels by providing a sense of accomplishment.
- Journaling write your feelings out until you run out of them. Sometimes it can help to organize your thoughts on paper and just getting them out is enough to help you feel better. Once you do you might be able to look at them and assess which feelings are most useful to you.
- It goes away if all of the other techniques aren't working, at least keep in mind the negative feelings will pass, usually within a few hours to a day. This will make it seem like a waiting game, but it's better than focusing on and feeding the misery. If you are experiencing severe emotional issues consider if you aren't experiencing paraphilic drop, or if you might otherwise benefit from counselling or having your hormone levels audited to ensure their normalcy.
There is an additional kind of post-scene drop, sometimes called "the guilts" which is a form of paraphilia. Paraphilia is not consistent with endorphin crashes, but it can be made worse if the two occur at the same time. If you experience paraphilic drop then consider some of the following:
- If you are not harming others (this does not include consensual hurting) then there is no good reason to be ashamed of who you are and what you like.
- Feeling bad afterword is likely to spoil the experience on the whole for you.
- If you are having trouble reconciling ethics, morality, religion and other concerns with your kink practices consider seeking a professional that is kink friendly to help you work through your concerns. It is important to ensure they are kink friendly, if they are not, you may end up getting advice such as to ignore or bury the vary actions that you enjoy, rather than learning to adjust and enjoy the activities without guilt. Ignoring and burying your desires and feelings is likely to make the problem worse in the long run.