Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Thursday, May 06, 2010

True Confessions

We're going to ease into this.......The most common comment I get about this blog is about my openness, and that has certainly been what I have worked toward, especially in this last year. I've written more extremely private stuff on here in the last year than I have ever written in a personal journal, and I honestly don't think I could write much of this out in handwriting. Nonetheless, today's post, after the next paragraph is going to get about as personal as possible. I will explain as I go, but be forewarned that if 1)you are the only male friend I have who might be reading this or 2)you are uncomfortable with rather specific sexual information, this isn't for you. You can read the next paragraph (I needed something mundane to transition) and then just leave. (Seriously, male friend? It will not be anything you want or need to know although you've heard worse from me).

Transitional paragraph....I realized recently where my screen name Just Me comes from. Many, many times per day over the last years working in nursing homes I've knocked on doors and announced "it's Just Me" as I returned to the bathroom where they were waiting, or brought a new item into the room, or whatever. I call myself that all the time.

Now, the rest of it. Let's start all this by saying that I made a decision a very long time ago based on faith that I would not have sex outside of marriage. That's a big deal to me, and it's especially important in light of the commitment that a sexual relationship would take from me. At this point I have kind of reached the conclusion over the past few years that it is just not very important to me, not something I cared to try to work on being able to consider, which means that dating also isn't really something I can do unless I'm willing to change my attitude if the dating progresses to a relationship. I already know that early in a relationship I would need to share my illness and the specific results of it, particularly that it would be a childless relationship as I can't have babies on my meds and nobody would ever let me adopt. So I know that first, I am not willing to have sex outside of marriage (and while I cite faith I'll also admit that this is just a safer thing for me as well emotionally), that I would need to go through some specific and difficult counseling to be able to have this be successful, and that a level of honesty about my past that I haven't yet achieved would be necessary.

In the turmoil of the last months I wound up having to abruptly stop talking about the sexual abuse as my extreme onset of PTSD symptoms meant that I needed to stop and deal with that. Which we really only sort of have as things have just been one stressor after another. Before I freaked out I was liking that I was finally able to ask questions I've always wondered, or to have Dr. Mind give me information that helped make memories that were odd make more sense. I am by choice very naive about sex. Some of the ways that I filled in gaps with my childish understanding of what was happening have now been explained with more likely scenarios. Obviously he is guessing, but the guesses make sense, usually more sense than what I've put together in my mind. There also is a level of denial I'm still facing with all of this. There is a level of knowledge I've never wanted to have. I know perfectly well that what happened to me repeatedly is at the more extreme end. I don't remember being raped. Physically there are signs that this didn't occur, although that is not reliable especially as it doesn't mean that rape wasn't attempted or partially completed or whatever. The hanging question for Dr. Mind when I'm back to talking about such things is actually "if so much other stuff happened, why was I NOT raped?" It's actually kind of hard to believe I wasn't, knowing other things that did happen. Except that I now may have an answer.

Another part of all of this that has been challenging has been becoming more aware of what some of the things I deal with mean. Going to the dentist is a challenge for all concerned because I gag horribly. I didn't find out until fairly recently that this is an indicator of sexual abuse, and that this is probably why my dentist goes out of his way to keep things safe for me. In reality that alone tells enough of a tale that when I gave Dr. Mind the list of things I know happened to me oral sex was one thing he said he already was pretty sure of just from context.

It's rather amazing to me how the body protects itself. It's amazing how my memories are protected by this nice wall of something that allows me to be matter of fact about it now, yet realistic and not hiding things from myself. It's just recently that I've decided to let these things from my past just be facts about myself, not my terrible secret.

I also am learning that over time people have kept things from me that would have been nice to know. I have had about 5 pelvic exams in my life. Each was excruciatingly painful. Each, I know now, wasn't because "I wasn't relaxed" as it was presented by each doctor. Each also had to do with why I've never been able to stand to wear a tampon because it always hurt. I have a condition called vaginismus which means that I have involuntary muscles spasms that essentially try to keep anything and everything away from there. This means little now aside from pelvics will be much more comfortable if someone helps show me what to relax because I can control it with cueing. But it is also something I needed to know. Because it means that not only will there be psychological treatment before any sexual relationship, it means there also will be physical treatment to teach my body to relax and not consign me to a life where sex is painful and which I would have automatically just attributed to either "it's just I don't know how to behave because of the abuse" or "stupid psychotropic side effects". And yet nobody has bothered to tell me. I know I've had this forever; as I now know severe pain with tampons and pelvics is a symptom. And rather than tell me this, despite that they must have felt it, the previous doctors let me think it was MY FAULT (I wasn't relaxing). Even the other dr I had that I liked didn't tell me this little thing that could impact so much so easily.

I am so tired of not being told things. My doctors are great, honest as much as they can be, although Dr. Body has not told me a few things that were minor but I'd like to have known before I read my own CT report. But at the same time last winter when I fell and hurt my ankle I went to urgent care. I had x-rays. I also had an extremely painful exam where the doctor asked if I'd previously sprained my ankle due to the ligament laxity. He never bothered to tell me that I had a previous fracture and having seen my x-rays from the podiatrist I seriously doubt it didn't show; it is a very clear healed fracture, not a hairline or anything. Had I known about the healed fracture I might have gotten treatment from a specialist sooner and while Dr. Body is fabulous and did nothing wrong I would have benefitted from orthotics as soon as I was walking ok, and a few things like that. He didn't know my ankle had been broken, so he had no reason to refer me on. Nor did the PT, who never liked how I walked, yet also didn't seem to notice how severely I was inverting.

Anyway, that's a long story. I'm sure it could be shorter but it's not comfortable to tell and I'm trying to distract you. I'm putting this out there because I truly didn't know this could be a sequela of sexual abuse and I can't imagine how angry I would have been had I suffered unnecessary pain because of it (I have already in short bursts during pelvics, but not like it could have been).

Definitely time to sleep now. I have to drive back to the city tomorrow to see Dr. Brain. More hours in the car........ugh...........

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