dealing with pain and dysfunction

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the ~*~feelings~*~ category.

Consent and Vulvodynia

Of the handful of times I’ve had penetrative sex, I’d say the majority were nonconsentual.  I’d now like to qualify this to point out that the vast majority of times I’ve had penetrative sex were with my first boyfriend.  I don’t want to feel like I’m required to protect the feelings of previous sexual partners or prevent someone from feeling uncomfortable about this subject matter.  Because really, you should feel uncomfortable.  I feel uncomfortable.

Naturally, I’m using the more feminist approach to consent, often called “enthusiastic consent” or “yes means yes” (as recently popularized by the 2008 anthology, Yes Means Yes:  Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape).  In the enthusastic consent model, it is assumed that the “neutral state” of sexual partners is nonconsent, and sexual activity should only go forward if both partners are clearly and enthusiastically consenting.  This is opposed to our society’s current model, in which partners are always assumed to be in a state of consent, and sexual activity will go forward until a forceful “no” is heard.  More simply, enthusiastic consent means that consent is not the absence of “no” but the presence of “yes.”

I’d like to discuss my experiences with consent while suffering from vulvodynia and vaginismus.

There have been many times when I had sex because I thought I had to.  Because I hadn’t been diagnosed and thought that saying no would mean I was admitting that the pain was real and that there was something wrong with me.  Because I thought this time maybe it wouldn’t hurt–but when it did, I thought I wasn’t allowed to say no since we had already started.  Because saying no would make me a bad girlfriend.

In our current model of consent, there’s nothing wrong with this.  I didn’t say no, so that makes it okay.  Move along, nothing to see here.  But I was definitely not an enthusiastic participant in these encounters.  Most of the time I would cry.  I was good at hiding it, though, so he wouldn’t notice and feel badly about himself.  Every time I would dig my nails into the palms of my hands until I drew blood, just so I’d have a different pain to focus on.  Every time I would go to the bathroom afterwards I would sit on the toilet to pee and it would just be the most excruciating, searing pain.  I had to do it though, or else I’d have a couple weeks of agony with a UTI.  I’d sit there slumped over, my face at my ankles, and cry and cry and cry.  How could I be so weak?  Why couldn’t I just force out the necessary NO that was required to stop this from happening?

For me, pelvic pain has added a terrible layer of complication to how I think about consent.  How can I be an enthusiastic participant in anything that is hurtful?*  Besides that, my own fear of repercussions from saying no muddle things further.  It can’t be rape if I hide what pain I’m in, if I pretend like I’m okay, if I act like I’m into it, am I right?  Who knows.

The encounters that are most confusing to me are the ones that I instigated.  Where I’d talk them into it, they wouldn’t want to hurt me but I’d insist.  The times that I was enthusiastic, but for the wrong reasons.  What does it mean when I’m the one coercing, I’m the one forcing and rationalizing.  I’ve had doctors tell me that I was making up my pain in my head or that deserved pelvic pain, and I believed them.  On the outside I’d get real indignant about it, but really, I thought they were right.  If I was making it up, I could force myself out of it.  If I deserved it, well, why not have sex?  It’d make me a “real” girlfriend and I’d get what I deserved while I was crying in the bathroom.

I guess I had a lot of different reasons for instigating, now that I think about it.  The fear of hurting me led to a lot of rejection.  The fear of being hurt led to far more, of course.  Sometimes I’d get so furious and angry about having to constantly reject someone I loved or about being rejected by someone I loved.  So I’d force myself to have sex, I’d think that maybe this time it’d be different and if it wasn’t, once again, I deserved it.  Sometimes I’d get so distraught over my disappearing sex drive that I’d instigate in order to prove that I was Clearly Okay and obviously I Still Love You, or else why would I do this?  Typing this up now makes me feel delusional.  Sometimes I’d get so far in denial that I’d think I had magically overcome vulvodynia and this time was it and sex was going to be delightful and so I’d instigate, and once again end up crying in the bathroom.

And what I’ve been up to recently, though I kind of hate myself for it, is just how I’m proving to myself that I’m normal.  Well, normal-ish, at least.  I’ve spent so long feeling completely and utterly fucked up and broken that I’m just trying to make myself believe that I can be just like everyone else.  I guess it’s that and a combination of being crushingly lonely, but even people with totally functional vaginas can be lonely.  I feel like it might be a different kind of lonely though, the kind that we have.  A lonely that is worried about being lonely forever.  There’s a woman in an online support group I’m in who’s worried she might never get married, might never have kids.  It breaks my heart over and over again.  That kind of lonely.

There are millions of reasons why people have sex.  It’s just the more that I think about it, the more I hate my reasons.  I don’t know if that means that I should stop or go to therapy or have sex with someone I’m in love with or just take some sleeping pills and shut the fuck up already.  I don’t know.

Though I believe in enthusiastic consent on a general level, I’m not yet to the point of feeling that I, myself, am deserving of it.  I need to fix this part.  I wrote this earlier and I don’t know what I meant by it.  I think it’s something like this:  I really want to believe in enthusastic consent, I really do.  I like the notion of it, it makes sense, it’s egalitarian, it starts to dismantle the rape culture in which we all live.  But in recounting my experiences and my reasons for having sex, I’m drawing a box around myself that positions my consent as different.  That’s the part I’m uncomfortable with.  How can I do that?  Why would I feel that my enthusiasm isn’t as important?  I just can’t make myself believe that some of the awful reasons why I’ve had sex fit into a new definition of consent.  So, what?  Have I raped myself, then?  That doesn’t make a damn bit of sense.  None of this does.  Once again, I’m going to end up coming back to this.

I’m going to end up adding to or editing this post over time, but I feel the need to get out what I can immediately.

*Use of “hurtful” is an attempt to differentiate from “painful” as pain can be both consentual and welcome


Pain and Detachment

The assholes tag on this one is for me this time.  I’m very uncomfortable writing about this because I’m very uncomfortable with what I’ve been doing.  I mean, kind of.  In a way.  I don’t know.  I’m not doing these things to be hurtful, I’m doing this because I don’t know how to be by myself.  This summer (or whatever timeframe) is supposed to be a time for me to sort out what I’m like when I’m not in a Big Important Relationship, and that’s what I’m trying to do.  I’m not really navigating it very well and the whole thing makes me very upset and weird.

I had sex and it didn’t hurt.  It was with first with someone that I really, honestly hate and later with someone I don’t know.  That is very upsetting to me–I’ve been in two serious relationships (one of them sucked, but it still counts).  And when I was with someone I really love (or loved, as the case may be for ex-boyf #1) I wasn’t capable of having pain-free sex.  There are two reasons I’ve come up with that might be the culprit here.  The first time this happened, I had been drinking a lot–which for me, is a little.  I mean, I hardly ever drink at all.  My first hypothesis, and one that makes a lot of sense, is that alcohol both relaxed my muscles and made me less psychologically tense–i.e. it seemed like a good idea at the time.  My other hypothesis, and one that developed after the second time this happened and I hadn’t been drinking, is that there’s a lot less at stake in a casual encounter.  There’s not a feeling of this could be it! or I’m a bad girlfriend if this hurts *again* and therefore I’m less tense.  Plus I won’t ever have to see this person again, so that lowered the stakes even more.

The good thing is that now I know what that’s like, I guess.  I feel a lot more normal, though it’s been sort of hit-or-miss as to whether or not I’ll have pain.  The times I did have pain, I acted like everything was totally fine, which is one of the worse ideas I’ve had, and probably just made me seem boring.  These encounters haven’t been drawn out or happened more than a couple times, so I don’t have to have a ~*~conversation~*~ about pelvic pain, which is great.  That would make me feel decidedly not normal, anyway.  But I’m really, really disappointed about how this happened.  I wanted this to be an important, meaningful thing, with someone who would understand why it’s a big deal, someone who’s listened to me whine about this and brought milkshakes to the pity parties I throw for myself and my vag, someone who’s worked with me toward this.  We could make a cake to celebrate or go out to dinner or something, I don’t know.  But instead I’m by myself and this happened with someone that I really, literally can’t stand to hear talk–or someone who seemed decent enough but I’ll never talk to again.  I can’t discuss it with either of these people, because 1) embarrassing 2) I don’t want to speak to either of them and 3) what’s the point.  I can’t discuss it with the one person who should have been there and who should be excited with me because it wasn’t him.  It should have been.  I feel so awful about this whole thing, I don’t really know what to do.  This moment was supposed to be the culmination of years of horrible doctors, anti-depressants, painful pelvic exams, steroids, awkward talk therapy, awkward physical therapy, medical bills that have my credit card maxed out, and instead it’s just… sad.  I guess I’m glad this pain-free thing happened at some point, but I’ve detached myself so much from these encounters that it hardly seems like a victory.

So in an amazing twist, I managed to make even this part of this stupid situation suck.  Apparently I can turn anything into something to whine about.

alone v. lonely

I don’t like being by myself, I can’t fall asleep alone, my bed is too big.  I don’t have anyone to tell about the inane details of my day, I want to share my dilator success story with someone who will care, I really need a hug.  A good hug.

When I was three I started raising my sister.  When I was fourteen I started dating a selfish prick.  When I broke up with selfish prick at eighteen, I started dating a nice boy immediately.  But I wanted to know what it was like to be alone.  Not lonely.  I’ve been lonely.  Like when no one thanked me for teaching my sister how to read.  Or when she had more friends than me and she got to go to sleepovers.  Or when the selfish prick threw basement shows with his cool bands and his cool friends and my social anxiety was so bad that I hid in his room and watched his Woody Allen collection over and over.  Or when the nice boy was busy or preoccupied and I’d realize that I didn’t have close friends here.  There was plenty of time to be lonely.  But I’d never been alone.

Now I am alone.  And now I know that I can’t separate it from lonely.  I am so.  crushingly.  lonely.

I still feel like I need to know what it’s like to be alone and to be okay with it.  I’ve gotten glimpses of it before.  Sometime when it was still chilly out in the city, a little before spring, I remember walking down Broadway and listening to good music and feeling really full, like there was a light inside me.  I was alone with my music and my light and I felt good.

But sometimes I was on the phone with the nice boy and I was really pleased with my life.  And I would think, would I still be happy if I weren’t on the phone, connected to someone else via towers and signals?  Can I live in this moment with myself and my music and my light?  And the answer was no.  So I wanted to find out, I wanted to know what the curiosity existed for, was there a reason?  I want to go back to that time and find that niggling curiosity, find it and squash it, put it out and douse it with ice water to make sure it’s gone.  Because it has made me alone and it has made me lonely.

In which I find new and innovative ways to humiliate myself

Firstly, I’ve managed to (kind of) work out the issues that I thought were going to keep me from writing here.  Therefore, I have an awful story to share.  This builds upon an older entry which is now much more relevant to my life.  I guess I’m single?  Or something?  I know it’s a good idea to be by myself for awhile but I’m kind of working through it—and not necessarily in the best or healthiest ways.

So, I had to have the pelvic pain talk.  Well, that’s not true, I did it accidentally.  Either way, it was horrifically embarrassing (mostly because I answered the wrong question—it didn’t have have to come up [keep reading to see why this is a pun!]).

Dude*:  So we’re both on the same page concerning the seriousness of this encounter, right?

given the circumstances, i assume this is a question about ‘we both know where this is going, are you okay with that?’** and answer accordingly.

Me:  Well, I should probably tell you that I have a pain condition that might make things difficult.  If I’m in pain it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be doing this or that I’m not into it, it’s not your fault.  We’ll see where it–

dude looks kind of taken aback

Dude:  No no no, I meant like… there isn’t really any meaning behind this, right?

Me:  Right, of course not.

*is dead of embarrassment*

In an amazing turn of events, however, I was not the dysfunctional one!  Even though this was a totally casual, just for fun situation, I feel infinitely better knowing that he can’t get it up when he’s stressed out.  Because now I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that at least one guy has to understand what it’s like when your body doesn’t cooperate with your mind.  So (luckily?) we were both insanely embarrassed, called a raincheck, and tried to sleep.

Maybe before that, though, the pelvic pain thing was mentioned again.  I don’t have much of a grasp on timeline here, but… it wasn’t in the morning, so it had to have been before sleep.  I’m practically a detective, y’all.  He was apologizing and explaining, and I said, “Oh, don’t worry, I’m probably more embarrassed for having launched into the pelvic pain lecture at the worst possible moment, blah blah blah.”  And rather than making a big deal or demanding an explanation or causing a scene, all I got was a calm, “yeah, I didn’t really know what you were talking about.”  So all in all, slightly awful but nothing as nightmarish as I had imagined.  Regardless, thinking of how I must have sounded is enough to make me physically cringe and turn a little red.  Whatever, if nothing fun happens with this guy I’ll just think of it as taking one for the team in the name of consciousness-raising!

*he’s got an asshole tag now, see below

**this is extra lulz*** in light of this

***and also by lulz i mean what in the actual fuck

Dear Internets,

I’m going to be very awkward about writing here for awhile.  : (

I wish that weren’t the case, but it’s true.  If anything super ultra monumental happens (or the flipside, anything so inane that I wouldn’t mind sharing) I’ll blog it.  But it might take awhile to get back into the real entries.

If you have any questions or want advice or need someone to listen to you while you talk about your hurty vag, I’m all about it:  I just can’t do it publicly for a bit.  Of course I’ll still hang out at everyone else’s comment sections and various support groups though <3

what i really need

is time to mourn all of the experiences i can’t have.

barring that, i need to strip off the insecurity and closemindedness and have some goddamn fun, at least just for one night.

i just left a very fun party because… well… i am not sure why.  i needed to get out of the whole college culture mindfuck for a minute.  the whole atmosphere is all about coyness and flirtation and that is really inappropriate for me to be participating in.  even if i weren’t in a relationship, i am so not equipped to deal with talking to people who are even remotely interested in sleeping with me, possibly, maybe.  the fun of it is sucked out by the feeling that i’m doing something wrong and constantly misleading people into thinking that i’m just another potential prospect.  i’m not trying to do that.  i can’t do that.  but that seems to kind of be the point for most of the people i talk to.  as an interesting aside, the band i just saw was called The Everyone’s Gonna Get Laid Tonight.

i couldn’t handle the feeling that i was not part of the same game as everyone else, so i left.  i came home to one of my roommates having loud sex.

i am, so far, unable to come to terms with my crushing jealousy of everyone around me.

My Dysfunctional Monologue

I finally saw the Vagina Monologues performed live on the Cornell campus.  I think it made me sad.  Or maybe that’s ’cause I lost my job yesterday.  Who the fuck knows?  Whatever, time to shout into the vast tubes of the internet.

For this entry only I am going to ignore the issues of sexual violence that are discussed in the Monologues and that are a big part of V-Day.  I absolutely recognize and appreciate what V-Day does to raise awareness about violence against women, but this entry is solely comprised of my personal reactions to the experience of seeing the Monologues performed by my peers.  Ahem.

Seeing women up on stage talking about vaginas is a pretty powerful thing.  There aren’t many spaces where that is acceptable, really.  It’s fun and happy and gleeful to hear women speaking positively about vaginas.  Unless you hate your vagina, in which case it’s kind of upsetting and confusing.  Okay, so it’s not that I hate my vagina.  At least, not all the time.  It does some cool stuff.  It bleeds, and I can use that to feed my houseplants.  If I try really hard it can make sounds, and that’s amusing sometimes.  And I’ve always thought I’ve had a pretty good-looking vulva, if I do say so myself.  But hearing women who could just as easily be me–hey, a white/tallish/female Cornell student isn’t hard to find–talk about how great sex is and how they’ve come to love their vaginas… well, it kind of pisses me off.

Why can’t I be them?  What’s wrong with me?  Why did I get the shit end of the vagina stick?  Why can’t mine just work properly and have great sex and be loved?  Forget my classmates, why can’t I be a tree or a bird or the sky or an ornamental shrub, perhaps a Hydrangea?  Sure, it’s melodramatic, but then I wouldn’t have to consider these issues at all.

But that’s not the case.  I am me, and my body is dysfunctional.  How am I supposed to love my vagina if it hurts?  Many of the positive parts of the Monologues can’t resonate with me, because I’m not used to discussion of sex beyond heteronormative/penetrative.  I know that “sex” is much more than what our narrow cultural narrative allows, but penis-in-vagina is so deeply ingrained into my schema for “sex” that I can’t separate the two.  I can’t (yet) discard the idea that sexual intercourse is sex, and therefore I am dysfunctional for not being able to engage in it.  Even though I’m luckier than some and can experience pleasure under the right conditions and if I concentrate real hard, I still associate my vagina with pain.  I have primary vaginismus, meaning that I have experienced pain every. single. time. I’ve ever attempted sexual intercourse, from the first time ’til whenever the last time was.  And that’s not fun or happy or gleeful at all.

Beyond all that, what I wouldn’t give right now to be comfortable in skinny jeans.  (I wear them anyway ’cause I’m a hipster.  If only I lived somewhere warm, I’d wear skirts every day.)  Even if I get past all of my sexual hang-ups, I still won’t be able to ride a bike.  I think what the hugely limited discourse about pelvic pain is missing is that vulvodynia affects women in ways that don’t involve a penis at all.  I can’t love my vagina until it’s pain free–whether in cute pants, lacy underwear, on a bicycle, sitting down, walking, or, yeah, filled up with someone fun.

Just because I’m in a pissy mood, I’d like to state for the record (and for any radfems that might stumble across my wee little blog) that “someone fun” could take a lot of different forms or gender expressions in the future.  I’m dealing with pain and dysfunction for myself.  If I take 60 botox shots to the cunt, it’s because I REALLY WANT TO WEAR PANTS AND SIT DOWN.  Not because I’m under duress from the patriarchy, not because uh oh the boyfriend might l-l-l-leave me if I don’t.  Okay?  Got it?

You know, I think what started as sad and whiny just became pretty fierce.  I’m ready to love my vagina.  If that means physical therapy, fine.  If that means shedding old ideals of what does and does not constitute “sex”, all the better.  With any luck, by this time next year I’ll be up on that stage professing it with the best of them.

Huge post, aka Lindsey has no friends in real life.

So here she is, whining to the internet.

Just so you know, this post originally started with “A quick profanity-laced rant, since I wouldn’t want y’all getting too optimistic and hopeful from the last post.”

It turned into 800+ words.  Oops.  Anyway, here goes.

Being back at college fucking sucks, as far as psychologically dealing with pelvic pain goes.  I swear, if I have to hear about one. more. drunken hookup, I am going to lose my fucking shit.  I overhear the same damn conversation a few times a day.  Walking to class.  In line to get lunch.  In an elevator.  Really, in a fucking elevator.

I always tried to avoid feeling envious of “normal” people with “normal” sex lives who can “normally” fuck whoever they’d like.  But you know what?  I absolutely cannot handle it here.  I have never been more crushingly jealous in my entire life.  Well, except maybe when my fuckup of a sister got lots of attention and undeserved presents.  That sucked too.  But really, to have “omg guess who I did this weekend” as constant background noise really just serves as a convenient reminder of how Not Normal I am.  I know that nobody gives a shit and their conversations have nothing to do with me.  I know they aren’t being intentionally hurtful.  I know that they are free to treat their sexuality however they’d like.  But it’s just such a visceral reaction for me to want to just scream at them that they’re taking it for granted!  Not everyone can do what they can do!  Every time, I get that awful help-my-chest-is-caving-in feeling.  I hate it.  Even just thinking about it.  It’s a Friday night.  And pretty much everyone else here can do what they wish with their bodies, and I am incapable and broken.  Fuck.  This quick rant got longer and more depressing than I had intended.  Since you’ve read this far already, I’ll keep going.

The larger problem here, of course, is not the absence of sex, but the absence of a sex drive.  Maybe that’s what I’m really jealous of–sexuality in general.  I dunno exactly what my problem is, but it’s fucked up and I’d like to fix it.  Perhaps I’ve always been like this? I don’t think so.  I’ve certainly felt more sexual in the past than I have for the last couple months.  As much as I hate pop culture’s depiction of vulvodynia, I have always felt that Sex and the City’s misguided and inappropriately lighthearted romp through pelvic pain was unintentionally apt.  In the show, Charlotte is diagnosed with vulvodynia, and the gals call it a “depressed vagina.”  Maybe it was a “sad vagina,” I don’t quite remember.  Of course she was cured within a week after popping some tricyclics.  But the “depressed vagina” part is kinda accurate, I’ll admit it.  It’s depressing to feel abnormal.  It’s depressing to feel like the person you’re in bed with would be having a billion times more fun with someone else.  It’s just… sad.

All the reassurance in the world isn’t going to cure a lifetime of being inundated with the message that a woman’s worth is tied to her sexuality.  Although I logically know that current reassurance is legit, past experiences with “oh, it’s okay I totes love you despite how messed up you are.  just kidding!  i’m fucking our friends!” is still way fresh in my mind, even a couple years later.  Even typing out my belief in the legitimacy of said reassurance is kind of scary, because there’s *always* the miniscule chance that someday it might come back and bite me in the ass.  At least in the last relationship I kept my naivete and trust off the internet.  It would have been a lot more painful if I had a visible reminder of just how much I believed it.  Anyway, that’s diverging from the point, which is this:  I think my sad vagina finally got the best of me and killed my sex drive.  I’m pretty pissed about that, by the way.  Unfortunately, I can’t will it back into existence, so I’m not sure what to do.  The concept of sex seems nice, but my body is just sort of “meh” about the whole thing.  Or maybe it really is all in my head this time and it’s my body that’s fine with it?  I can’t even figure out what the problem is, so I don’t know how to begin fixing it.

Anyway, I have to go to a party soon.  Can’t wait for the early afternoon flurry of texts asking me to “guess who I hooked up with, tee hee hee!!”

God I am such a cynical bitch.  I hope you’re all okay with that.  Just in case the people from the internet were wondering, I’m just as sardonic and mean in real life.

Oh, whatev.

I have no idea why or how this came up, but my four roommates are having a very loud conversation about the use of numbing agents during sex.  Cue a whole lot of really stupid, ignorant shit!  I wish that the living room weren’t between my bed and the door, I’ve gotta get out of here.  At least it isn’t my friends spewing ridiculous nonsense this time, I guess I can take comfort in the fact that these people know absolutely nothing of my sex life (or lack thereof).  Actually, no.  I think that it might piss me off even more that I’m not okay with throwing open my bedroom door and exclaiming:

There are perfectly legitimate uses for numbing agents during sexual activity!!  Here, let me explain to you why it could possibly be useful and not “fucking weird/gross/tingly.”

Goddamnit.  I already feel fucking weird and gross (thankfully, not tingly in any negative sense…).  I don’t really appreciate the people in my house stating it, even if they don’t realize what they’re saying and why it could possibly make the weird new subletter girl uncomfortable and sad.

Let the panic begin!

My phone just alerted me that I have an appointment with Dr. Levey, my pelvic pain specialist tomorrow.  Uhh, totally forgot that I had made that appointment, but I’m glad that I had the foresight to set an alarm a day in advance.  It’s really good that I forgot though, or else the gyno-visit-panic would have stricken me while in Mexico.  Ohhh boy, so now I have less than 24 hours of nerve-wracking anticipation.  At least I’m in the city and would have an easy time of finding some Valium or something if I get to that point.  So I’ve definitely got to spend today and tomorrow morning chilling out and trying not to think about it.  Maybe today I’ll get a pre-emptive “I spend money on frivolous shit in order to feel better and relax” manicure.

The total dread/fear of doctors apparently doesn’t show at the crucial moment though, as I’ve had a few disbelieve the whole “I’ve got pelvic pain” thing because I don’t scream and/or kick them in the face during the actual exam.  Doctors never notice the crying anymore because I’m really really good at crying in complete silence.  It’s a skill that I’ve honed over many years.  It’s kind of a shitty thing to be proud of, considering the kinds of situations that’ll make a kid learn how to do that, but it definitely comes in handy in some situations.  The first few times I saw doctors about pelvic pain, I didn’t hold anything back because I thought it’d help them take me seriously.  Then a few accused me of “faking it” for attention when I did
scream or cry or kick someone.  There really is no winning with this, and unfortunately I have no helpful recommendations of how to behave during a pelvic exam if you’re in pain.  My game plan for the last couple years has been to explain the pain in words, but physically tough it out during the exam.  This is an awful thing to do and I absolutely do not recommend it, as “toughing it out” can make pelvic floor dysfunction (vaginismus, for me) worse, especially if it happens under stress.  My best advice, I suppose, would be to do what makes you feel most comfortable and to not worry about what doctors think, if they’ll take you seriously, or if they’ll think you’re overreacting.  Luckily, Dr. Levey is great and I don’t think I’ll have to worry about this too much, but it’s a conditioned fear after having so many others call me hysterical or a liar.  So tomorrow’s goal for me is to move past that fear and just remember to relax.

Relaxation and distraction are good for anyone with doctor anxiety, but are lifesavers for pelvic pain patients.  I definitely have to remember to bring my ipod this time, hopefully they’ll let me listen to music.  I haven’t tried that yet, but that’s what I did while getting my wisdom teeth out and it made it a little more bearable.  How sad to have to compare something so routine to getting my wisdom teeth removed…  Dr. Levey’s moved to a new office, so I’ll have new things to count.  That’s another good distraction–first count everything in the room that is circular, then count everything that has a handle… it can go on for hours!  For a long time I did this compulsively when under stress, but now I’ve got it down to just the doctor’s office.  One doctor told me to wiggle my toes during the exam, but I have noticed that other doctors think it’s very peculiar, so I stopped doing it.  Hopefully it won’t be too bad, I just need to avoid an anxiety attack and get out with a prescription for that crazy-miracle-aspirin-cream in hand.  If Dr. Levey is still making that stuff, I’ll be supremely careful to not rip the damn label off this time, so I can share with the internets.

So it’s a bit short notice, but does anyone have any other good distraction techniques?