dealing with pain and dysfunction



First Session.

I had an appointment with the campus sexual health therapist today. It wasn’t anything like what I had expected–but I’m not sure what that was. I guess all I was looking for was someone to acknowledge that I’m not crazy and that vulvodynia is really real and really something that real people really have. For real. I have so internalized that message that it’s “all in my head,” after all, doctors are supposed to be very smart and trustworthy, so it’s been very difficult for me to come to terms with this disorder as a real physical condition that afflicts other people too.

I didn’t get any admission that there are people at Cornell that have the same problem (you know, what with patient confidentiality and all that business), but it was good to talk to someone. She turned it mostly toward relationship issues, rather than the self-consciousness I was hoping to address. I’m not very forward with therapists. In any event, there’s a lot I need to say to the person I am dating–I’m going to try to leave him as a person out of this account as much as possible, as he does not yet know it exists. Also, I may eventually put up links in places where real life people could find them, and whoever knows me also knows him. Anyway. There’s quite a bit to be worked out. Most of the relationship advice was pretty commonsense, but thinking that I should start a conversation about my pain and how we should deal with it together and actually doing that are two completely different things. It was great to actually say some of these things out loud–like what boundaries should be set, physically and emotionally. I’m worried that when it comes down to it, I’ll continue to go about business as usual instead of actually trying to start that conversation. We’ll see.

The good part about talking to a sex therapist as opposed to a regular therapist is that the talk of intercourse vs. oral and orgasms and what hurts, exactly is very frank. I also have anxiety/depression issues, but have never been able to find one therapist who’s prepared or who I’m comfortable enough with to bring up all of these issues with. I’m not particularly over the moon for this particular sex therapist, but I feel like I could begin to connect the anxiety to the pain.

For now, I’m going to make more appointments “as needed,” seeing as how I don’t exactly have a ton of free time for my mental health. Which is a problem in and of itself.

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