As a physician, I was able to diagnose myself with vaginismus within days of discovering the problem. Unfortunately, despite this fact and despite my medical background and my connection to various specialists, finding a cure was a prolonged, painful process.
I think my vaginismus stemmed from two sources: the need to always be the “good girl” and my fear of pain. I grew up in a household in which sex was always talked about but the underlying message was that sex is bad. And I had always been the good student, the helpful one around the house – the good girl. And I wanted to continue to be in the situation in which I could honestly look my parents in the eye and still consider myself good. Over time, I ended up equating penetration with being bad – that’s what OTHER people did, not me. Making this distinction and sticking to it was made all the easier by the fact that I had had two pelvic exams in the past and they were uncomfortable. The net result was that I completely shut that part of my body off. I never imagined that it would be so difficult to reclaim it though.
After I realized what my condition was called, I decided that I could muster enough strength to overcome it. So I went to my primary care physician, determined to have a pelvic exam. I figured that if I could accomplish that, then I would be okay. As I lay on the exam table with my feet in stirrups I tried to talk myself into having the exam. As soon as the doctor touched my leg, I slammed my legs shut and jumped up. I picked up my things and went home. I decided that next time would be different. The only thing that was different about next time and the time after that and the time after that, etc. was the irritated, accusing expression on my doctor’s face. She was practically blaming me for being difficult. It’s like I wanted to be unable to have the exam. Like, I wanted to be inadequate – which is what I thought of myself over time. I tried sedatives to have the exam. Although I was sleepy, my anxiety didn’t get any better and I was never able to have the exam.
My next step was to approach the wonderful professor who had taught me about vaginismus in my medical school lecture hall. I went to see her as her patient. At least she understood me and my condition. She was gentle and sweet and kind to me. But unfortunately, the result was the same as with the other doctor. I was referred to psychotherapy – I went around 10 times and the word vaginismus never came up. So I stopped going. I found a hypnotist who promised a cure. Hours later and several hundred dollars poorer, I was still no closer to a cure. I was given large plastic dilators – how could I even think about inserting them when just looking at them invoked all kinds of anxiety in me? I was unable to have a pelvic exam, insert a tampon or a finger or have a normal relationship with anyone. What that made me was abnormal. I felt I couldn’t go into a relationship with anyone knowing that I was inadequate.
I would perform pelvic exams on my patients without a problem – because they were normal. I would see people, young girls, on TV who talked about having sex – but they were normal. I was the problem. It was me!!!!! I felt like a freak – something so natural and normal like sex happens all the time, everywhere. In fact, how much energy is focused on telling teenagers to NOT have sex? It should not be that hard!!! But I wasn’t even able to do that.
As a result, my feelings of abnormality grew and I felt isolated from my friends on a certain level. I envied their normalcy. I know people have health problems and I feel bad for them. But no one I knew was as abnormal as me! I just started to push my problem aside and felt that I’d have to deal at some point. But just the thought scared me!
I performed a Google search on vaginismus several months ago and I came across the homepage of the Women’s Therapy Center. I then remembered hearing about it years ago but I figured that I was beyond hope. But for some reason, I now felt that it was worth a try. Nothing else had worked and time hadn’t just made me better. So I contacted them and things just fell into place and I arrived for my two week treatment program.
I entered my initial meeting with Ross and Ditza with a confidence that it would work – it had to!!!! But I was also incredibly nervous. Like other women who have posted their testimonials, I too felt certain that I had a very good chance of being the first failure. In fact, during one of my pelvic exams, I was told that I am “very small” – I wasn’t sure what that meant, but in my mind that was concerning for possible failure.
But two weeks later, I was as cured as are all the other women. Ditza and Ross guided me and helped me conquer my fears. They exercise a perfect combination of gentleness with a nudge when necessary. Throughout it all though, they are incredibly supportive and caring. They cared about me as a person – not just as a patient or a necessary success case to enhance statistics. They welcomed me into a foreign city, got me settled and took care of me completely. I left my treatment program a new person – cured and whole because now I’m “normal.” But I’m also incredibly grateful that I met two such wonderful human beings. I will never forget them or what they did for me and they will forever hold a special place in my heart. They gave me back my confidence and hope. No one whom I work with was able to offer me what they did. My diagnosis took days but finding my cure took years – the actual cure only took two weeks! I feel like I’ve gotten back my life!*
* Results may vary from person to person