Fear of the obgyn...

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Elphanigh

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Fear of the obgyn...
« on: March 14, 2018, 03:13:11 AM »
Not at all sure where to put this. (Other mods feel free to move this if it would be better suited elsewhere)


I feel like this is a safe place to talk about this. After my therapy session today, I feel the need to post and ask for advice, or experiences etc.  Also forewarning talking about some female health exams so if that bothers you donít feel like you have to read/respond.

*Trigger warning* for medical exams, csa, Foo issues


I need to go get a cervical exam, as I am over the age I should have started them and really want back on my birth control as my periods are abissmal. Is that a survivor thing? I have heard that from a lot of survivors now that I think about it.

Anyways I have a deep rooted fear of it, which is why I have never gotten one. They completely freak me out and bring out an extreme amount of terror for me. More than I am used to feeling now. I had a female abuser that used to play doctor in this way.... and then a male abuser that used to tell me he was keeping me healthy in that way. Especially with the female, this exam feels so much to me like my own trauma narrative it is almost impossible to separate it.

My therapist and I were going to work on processing that fear. She realized I had never had it explained to me and asked if I was okay with and if I wanted her to explain it to me. In her normal way she was very kind to me. Explaining everything from walking in the door to being done with it. It is a conversation my mom should have had with me, but never did. One I wish that she had, but know better than to wish for things like that.

We spent time processing the fear in form of a shape, trying to do some visualizations that will help calm the terror before going into more of the reasons why I am scared.

I need to find someone I can trust to do this, and figure out a good strategy to do it without just retraumatizing myself. I know this is an odd subject, thank you for reading so far.

Any advice or wise words?

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Dee

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Re: Fear of the obgyn...
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2018, 04:35:30 AM »

I have trouble too.  When I go in it brings up a lot for me.  Once the Dr. touched my leg and I jumped so badly she kept apologizing which only made me feel worse.  Then there was nothing but silence.

Now, I have a release.  For my last exam my T talked to my Dr beforehand.  I had to go because of medical issues from my eating disorder.  Because the Dr was prepared, it was much easier.  I was always in control, I said what could and couldn't be done.  I also didn't have to try to explain my past, my T did that for me.  The Dr. had a normal conversation with me the entire time to keep me present and my mind off of it.  That is what I found works for me.  It still isn't pleasant, but tolerable. 

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DecimalRocket

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Re: Fear of the obgyn...
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2018, 11:23:05 AM »
I hope I'm not minimizing the gravity of the situation by saying this, but it reminds me of an animation that told the story of how a person would try to sing whenever she gets her vaccine to lessen her fear around it. Since you seem to have a certain love of music, maybe something music involved during it whether with your voice, in your mind or anything else can help? Or maybe have a certain song playing during it that will calm you down?

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Elphanigh

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Re: Fear of the obgyn...
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2018, 01:38:41 PM »
Thank you both for responding to this.  :hug:

Dee, I am glad your T could talk to the doctor before hand. I am hoping to be able to inform whoever I find before hand as well so I donít have to tell them day of when I will be kind of a mess anyways. I am definitely just worried my mind will jump immediately to a flashback or trauma response. That would for obvious reasons be a really bad space and time for that. Maybe talking like that could help me not do that. Thank you

Decimal, I donít feel like you were minimizing at all. It is a really good suggestion actually. I can lose myself in music which could really help just to get through the process  :hug:

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Three Roses

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Re: Fear of the obgyn...
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2018, 05:41:50 PM »
This is something I've been thru. I'm working on talking to health care providers and being honest and specific. It's not easy but one of the things I tell myself is that they are not an authority figure, they are there to provide me with a service. Their opinion of me as a person should not be taken into  account (I tell myself repeatedly ;) ).


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Elphanigh

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Re: Fear of the obgyn...
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2018, 06:18:42 PM »
I am glad I am not alone in that struggle. That is a great way to look at it Three Roses, thank you.  :hug:

I have done some online searching and made a few phone calls this morning and gotten no where. It is frustrating how hard it is to advocate for myself with this, and how little resources there are. Putting this on the list of things I would love to see change and possibly help change in this world. I have two decent looking offices I need to call but find that the bit I hav done is hard enough on my system.. wish I was better at handling this stuff. My fear gets the best of me I guess.. just attempting to not be frustrated at myself for it.

I am scared of normal doctors, let alone a gynecologist.... trying to remind myself the fear is not completely irrational, because of what I (and all of us) have experienced. Do just wish I was normal sometimes...  I find that I am afraid to ask a friend for help here too. I used to have one in town that had always offered but she doesnít live here and I donít expect this level of assistance from anyone. Although both of my close friends would probably help. This is just so dang close to some of my own memory narratives... thinking about it instantly sends me back to two set of memories unless I am very very grounded. I am scared I will have a panic attack, or emotional flash back, or a visual flash back at that time and be in a completely wrong space for handling one of those.



*trigger warning* csa


One of my female abusers used to play doctor, mimicking this exam essentially. She did so to inflict pain on me, because she would essentially use her fingers as the speculum.. which when a girl is 5 or 6 is really painful, I mean probably is now too idk.

One of my male abusers played doctor by telling me what he was doing was stopping me from exploding ad getting really sick. Said he was saving my life. I was 5 or 6 around this occurrence too. I didnít believe that forever but for a time that was a very scary thing for younger me.

The last doctor I went to was at an urgent care because I had gotten bug bites that were starting to look like ringworm. Instead of being helpful he pretty openly sexually harassed me, and did nothing to ensure that the spots were not actually dangerous.

*end trigger*


So I have a lot of fear around doctors for good reason, but I need to find away around them. It is frustrating  that I canít and havenít yet :fallingbricks: :fallingbricks:

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DecimalRocket

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Re: Fear of the obgyn...
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2018, 07:05:16 AM »
Hi Elpha. To be afraid of doctors due to traumatizing experiences with the idea of it is tough. I've been wondering though. If there can be negative triggers, can there be positive triggers too? I remember Pete Walker had an outer critic exercise to see the good in different people, and I wonder if you can find some similar affirmations for the outer critic with doctors? Especially to find some reminder of a good memory with them, even the smallest one.

 :hug:

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Elphanigh

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Re: Fear of the obgyn...
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2018, 01:31:09 PM »
Decimal, my therapist did try that when I saw her Thursday. Sadly I have nothing but bad memories with doctors. I saw them so little when I was younger that there are no good memories really.

I will try to look for one

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sanmagic7

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Re: Fear of the obgyn...
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2018, 02:53:51 PM »
sweetie, these exams are awful at the best of times cuz of the invasiveness and vulnerabilty that are a natural part of them.  i do like the idea of having your t talk to the doc beforehand, if that's possible.  if not, i hope you could talk to the doc on the phone beforehand, just say you've been sexually traumatized and are scared to death of the exam.  a compassionate doc will be gentle, explaining everything as it happens, will have a nurse in the room if you want, or maybe you could have a friend go with you.

i just had my daughter holding my hand thru the last ultra sound i had on my breast, and it helped me a lot being able to hold onto someone else.  maybe, if you've found an earth mother talisman, you could take that with you.  i know that, like when i go to the dentist, i just close my eyes and visualize it all being over and i'm on my way out the office door.  that's helped me, too.

best to you with this situation, sweetie.  hopefully the doc will be caring, concerned, and compassionate.  to me it's just something that has just got to be gotten thru.  it doesn't have to be enjoyed.  love and a big hug, el.  i wish i could be there with you and hold your hand thru it.

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Blueberry

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Re: Fear of the obgyn...
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2018, 09:13:38 PM »
Elphanigh, I'm sorry it's so tough for you. It makes sense considering what you write, but I'm sorry nonetheless.  :hug: if safe for you, otherwise it's a nice little symbol.

I do have trouble at obgyn examinations too. Haven't been for over two years now though meant to have an annual cancer screening.

My obgyn, despite being a rather brusque sort of woman, is actually quite good with me. She'll remind me to breathe and once when she noticed I was drifting off somewhere she reminded me to keep eye contact. I guess that could be triggering for somebody else but it helped me not dissociate. I once mentioned that CSA had been an issue.

Other women have told me it's a bit of an uncomfortable procedure but 'you get used to it'. I haven't got used to it. I dread it.

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Gromit

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Re: Fear of the obgyn...
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2018, 09:50:01 PM »
Hi,

I had mine recently (in the UK) & the gadget used was different to previous times. It is a disposable thing (hygiene) & seemed easier.

I do yogic breathing & hope the nurse takes their time, it seems worse if they are nervous & rush it.

I remember once, having read '*, a Declaration of Independence' I asked if the nurse had a mirror so I could see my cervix. There was a thing in the book about looking at your own. I am sure they never had that request before.

I don't think my mother would have been much help to me, all she told me was the doctor (male) we had was very gentle. I never had a doctor do it though, always a nurse.

Sorry it is a problem for you, I hope you find a way

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Elphanigh

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Re: Fear of the obgyn...
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2018, 11:51:54 PM »
Thank you everyone, finally feel like I can properly respond to these.

San, my dear you are always such an encouragement. I made an agreement with younger me to wait until we have processed some more the fears she has. It is an important thing that I am a bit patient here I think, as to not risk retraumatizing myself. My T actually has suggested some of this as I am working so deeply at ego state work right now. Feeling connected and like that little part of me is a bit less freaked out will be important here I think. It needs to happen, and I need to just go through it but I think I deserve the time to properly process some of these memories and fears first. I am used to just pushing myself to do things because I have to, I think this one I am going to allow some time and patience.  Sending lots of love back my dear, I am glad you care enough to be there with me if you could, I will definitely take something that reminds me of mother earth spirit.  :hug:

Blueberry, I adore all of your compassion. Thank you for sharing that with me through all of this. I want to be able to just do it, but I am recognizing my trauma makes my reaction logical so I need to be kind to myself. I am glad that works for you, it might help me as well, not sure. Definitely something to discuss when I find the right doctor to do it. Definitely sending :hug: back to you. They are finally something I really crave again.

Gromit, I am glad you could ask for a mirror. It is something they probably dont hear a lot but it is powerful to be able to ask for what you want. Yogic breathing is wise, I practice yoga regularly so that is something I can definitely bring to this. Thank you for all the well wishes and understanding

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Gromit

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Re: Fear of the obgyn...
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2018, 06:06:18 PM »
Elphanigh

Sorry, the title of the book was controversial, the writer is Inga Muscio and, whilst the title may be triggering it is, I feel, a positive feminist book.

Thanks, I forget I can do powerful things, which other people would shy away from, whilst at the same time being completely floored by anxiety at the thought of doing things 'normal people' do automatically.  It regularly shocks my T.

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Elphanigh

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Re: Fear of the obgyn...
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2018, 07:32:56 PM »
Totally okay, Gromit. I did not even think anything of it. Sounds like an amazing book, I looked at it after you suggested it.

Also you do so many amazing things, no need to be "normal"  :hug:

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sanmagic7

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Re: Fear of the obgyn...
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2018, 10:34:55 PM »
i like your belief that you need to be with your little el, let her process the traumas, give her more time.  it sounds like a visit to the ob-gyn isn't an emergency, so what the heck - sounds like empowerment to me that you'll take the time you need to get ready for this. 

i get messages regularly about 'you still need to do this test' or 'this injection is still something you need to get', that kind of stuff.  whoa nelly!  i'm also taking my time - i need to rest and relax between all these ordeals, pay off some of the bills before i can tackle a new one.

we're the only ones who can determine how to go about taking care of ourselves so that it actually is self-care rather than doing something on someone else's timeline, or dealing with the stress of the pressure to get something done.  good for you, sweetie.  love and a warm hug coming your way.