December 30, 2016 at 8:17 pm #20351Nicole Tammelleo, MA, LCSWParticipant
As the end of the year is a time to reflect, I began to think about the vaginimus patients I have seen, and I was thinking of my first intake with them and how so many feel relieved to finally tell someone that understand what they are talking about. And I realized they were all living with so much shame. Shame is what keeps us down, from being who we are and living the life we want to live. A patient asked me a great question yesterday, “Where does all this shame come from?” Of course there is no one answer to this question. Society, families, the media, religion, but no one can force you to feel ashamed. Shame is something you carry inside you and often times need help getting it out. Please do not feel Shame if you have vaginismus. It is not your fault, and we are here to help you treat your vaginismus and get rid of tall that shame that does nothing but drag you down.January 6, 2017 at 3:23 pm #20378Heather34Moderator
This is a great post Nicole. I can entirely relate to the feeling of relief in finally talking about vaginismus openly with a group of doctors and providers who understand it. When I first talked to Dr. Pacik, he was the one doctor that got it and made me feel so relieved that he understood what it was and that there was a treatment for it. It is so wonderful that Maze, like Dr. P, understands it so well and are all here to help you overcome. I wanted to share an excellent prior post that describes this topic: //www.mazewomenshealth.com/forums/topic/dilating-question/. In it, Catherine writes:
“Yes — I think, for me, one of the most embarrassing “episodes” surrounding my diagnosis came via the nurses and staff at my OB-GYN’s office. They seemed to look at me with incredulity, as if to say, “really? you can’t have sex?” There was this weird hush associated with “my problem.” There is a fine line, I suppose, between shame and embarrassment. I must admit, I had trouble believing that I was the only person in their practice who struggled in this way. At the time, though, the nurse’s look of shock (well, I’ve never heard of such a thing… look at these pictures of babies hanging on the walls…. you do realize you are at an obstetrician’s office, right?) really made me feel isolated. I also felt a heightened need to get this whole muscle spasm thing (for I still did not feel comfortable with the word Vaginismus) under control, and quick! (Looking back, I’m sure that nurse was just trying to be helpful, kind even. But, at the time, embarrassed was exactly how I felt!”
Also, in the past, Dr. Pacik has written an excellent post commenting on this:
“It is so important to overcome the embarrassment of this condition and to think of vaginismus as a medical problem that needs treatment. The only way we will educate the medical community is if we know more than they do and are willing to teach them one clinician at a time.”January 17, 2017 at 5:43 pm #20438Rachel Hercman, LCSWParticipant
Shame..I feel like we can could have a whole forum on that. Shame can become so internalized that it gets wrapped around one’s entire identity. For many women with vaginismus, this unfortunately happens not just because of the pain of having the condition, but also because of negative experiences with medical providers who didn’t know about the condition, difficult relationship situations, and just a general feeling of “defectiveness” in one’s body. Vaginismus keeps people on the sidelines of life– we see this all the time here– life can be great in many ways but the vaginismus prevents a sense of inner vibrancy from being fully developed. This is why it can be helpful to get emotional support for vaginismus, so that it’s not just the physical symptoms that are resolved by the emotional wounds as well.
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