When I was in high school, my mom took me to the gynaecologist to address heavy bleeding and intense cramps.
The doctor tried to perform a pelvic exam on me, and it was horrible. I had never seen a speculum before and the doctor did not offer to use a smaller size on me.
I felt like I was being stabbed as the doctor frustratedly said “just calm down and relax your muscles”.
She tried a smaller speculum, and it still didn’t work. After that, she used her finger. I lay on the table in tears, feeling guilt and shame for something I couldn’t control.
The pain lasted for days, and the doctor told me it was my fault and that I just should have relaxed more. I asked my mom if it was normal for the exam to be that painful, and she said it was since I wasn’t sexually active.
For years after that, I did everything I could to avoid having to endure another pelvic exam.
I lived in fear of what could be causing the extreme bleeding and pain I’d been experiencing, but it seemed better to grin and bear it than to have to relive the trauma of that first pelvic exam. Everyone I talked to said it would be easier once I’d had sex, which didn’t feel like a good solution to me as sex seemed just as scary as getting a pelvic exam.
One day, I was watching Netflix and there was a character in the show who was having issues similar to mine. She sought help, and was told that she had vaginismus. I paused the episode and started to research right away. The more I read, the more I felt seen. I could finally put a name to what I’d been experiencing for years. I finally knew that it wasn’t my fault.
Though it was a relief to finally know what was going on with me, all the information was overwhelming. I needed to find a way to process how I was feeling.
That’s when I started writing about my journey with vaginismus.
Writing helped me to better express myself to the people around me, which helped me to find others like me.
The more I wrote, the better I was able to process my struggles with vaginismus.
Here is one example of what I mean:
Eventually, I found a gynaecologist who understood my situation.
They referred me to pelvic floor physical therapy and suggested that I buy a set of dilators to use when I was ready for them. Before I started using the dilators, I wrote about how I was feeling.
This helped me to work through the emotional healing that I needed in order to approach physical healing.
Any time I’ve faced setbacks in my physical healing journey, writing has helped me through them!
This is why I’ve partnered with Katrin to host the Power of Words writing workshop.
Join me and learn how to use writing as a tool for healing!