Archives for the month of: March, 2014

Things have been pretty much the same as always with me. I’m inching closer to graduation, and cannot wait to have a job that allows me to sleep at night like a real human being. I’ve been working on doing breathing exercises and mindfulness techniques, which are difficult but seem to be helping me to feel more grounded. I’m focusing on trying to truly feel what’s going on with my body. Too often, I am disconnected from my body, so it feels unnatural to me to focus on the sensations that are occurring.

I’m reading a book by Babette Rothschild called “The Body Remembers.” It is about the psychophysiology of trauma and how to integrate the body into safe trauma therapy. It has been a great read for me both personally and professionally. I’ve gotten some better tools to use with my clients who have experienced trauma, and have been able to put them into practice in my own life. My anxiety and dissociation has seemed better recently.

I haven’t done too much work with my dilators yet. I made two attempts to get the smallest one in and got it halfway each time (it is about the size of my pinky finger), which at first seemed like a failure until I realized that that’s the biggest thing that’s been in there since my doctor’s horrific attempt to do a pelvic exam a few years ago. In some ways, the response to trauma is paradoxical: I know based on what happened to me as a child that things can go in there, because they did, but that having happened makes penetration nearly impossible.

My biggest struggle right now in terms of using the dilators is my partner, but not for the reasons you may think. She is my biggest support and has been absolutely amazing in terms of being aware and respectful of my history and boundaries. In fact, she gets so upset and worried that she will accidentally hurt me that we sometimes have to just stop even though nothing bad has happened. The first time I tried a dilator, she was in the room and I hadn’t told her what I was doing. When she realized, she went into a full-blown panic attack because she thought I was hurting myself. I assured her that I wasn’t, but she was still really upset and was sure that there was no way I could use the dilator without experiencing excruciating pain. I explained that when you use dilators, you stop and wait at any sign of pain, because the idea is to teach your body that penetration does not hurt. So, if I’m doing it correctly and responding to my body’s cues, I will not feel any pain while using dilators. I think she’s worried that I’m going to push myself too fast and end up hurting and being retraumatized.

I understand and appreciate her concern for me. She wants me to use the dilators and get better, not for any selfish reason, but because I want to be able to do things like use a tampon, get a pelvic exam, and have penetrative sex. At the same time, she is so worried about me hurting myself that the thought of me using the dilators makes her very anxious, which then makes her feel guilty because it has gotten to the point where I don’t want to use the dilators for fear of making her upset or anxious. How can I help my partner so that she can tolerate what I need to do to help myself? Does anyone have experience with this?

I’ve been trying to be more present in my life and my body recently. I feel numb most of the time, both emotionally and physically. It is very hard to inhabit my own body. It makes me feel vulnerable. If I’m dissociating or numbing out, I don’t have to feel anything and nothing can hurt me. If I am there, well…I have to experience things. This sounds totally basic and even ridiculous, but it’s so much easier to just float through life and not be there. At the same time, I feel like I’m missing out on things when I do that, so I would like to try to increase the amount of time that I am fully present in my body.

One of the things that I have really been struggling with recently is my vaginismus. Although I am not interested in penetrative sex, there are many other reasons that I need to figure out a way to deal with this issue. I can’t use tampons, which makes periods a lot messier and inconvenient. I cannot have a pelvic exam or a pap smear, and being 25 and sexually active, I am long overdue for both. My partner and I have also been discussing trying for a baby within the next year or two, and I would carry. I need to be able to do insemination and have all the necessary prenatal care.

I bought a couple dilators at a sex shop the other day, and I started out with one that is about the size of a finger. I was able to get it partially in, which was kind of exciting. I stopped at that point because I could feel it starting to hurt and the point is to teach your body that penetration will not hurt. I’m really excited about using the dilators but I have to be careful. It is very easy for me to dissociate whenever something is going on down there, and I need to be in my body in order for this to really work.

I also need to work on my sex drive. I have none. I used to, but over the past two years it has gone totally kaput. I think this is a combination of side effects from my antidepressant and my trauma history becoming more of an issue (I got my first memories back about 2 years ago). To be honest, I would be completely fine with never having sex again. It is exhausting to get myself to the point where I want to do anything, and then it isn’t even enjoyable. I just want to keep my clothing on and not let anybody touch me, ever. My body is only for me. I wish I could share it with my partner, but that takes so much effort and I am so TIRED. By the time I get myself comfortable, I have drained all of my emotional energy and can’t deal with any actual physical contact. I am hoping to start seeing a sex therapist once I graduate and to do more trauma work as well. Right now, I am just keeping it at bay because I don’t have the time or energy to open up a flood of memories and emotions. I know I have a lot of work to do, but I keep waiting for the right time.

Oh yeah, and I’m getting married in September.

This post was all over the place. Apologies.