boundaries · pelvic floor pain · physical therapy · unwelcome proselytizing

Pelvic Floor Salvation

It’s been a long time since I’ve suffered with that pelvic pain I can’t completely get out of my mind. That was such a horrible time in my life. Sometimes even now, if something gets me really upset, I’ll feel slight irritation down there and know I have to address what’s bothering me to make it go away. I’m on top of it now. I know exactly what it is, why it is and what it takes to make it better.

 

But also, to this day, there are things that happened to me while I was going through all of that shit that still bother me.

 

I feel like sharing one that I think of more than I wish I did. It really bothers me. That’s why I still think about it from time to time. I also think of how I could have handled it differently when it happened. It makes me wish I could go back in time (minus the pain, of course). Or I wish I could go today and tell the person responsible how it made me feel.

 

I’ll get to the point.

 

When I was in horrific pain, I was so scared. I was genuinely terrified every day. All I wanted were the answers to what was happening to me and why it was happening to me and how I could make it go away.

 

When I finally found a good new gynecologist and she finally really listened to me about what was going on, she got me in with a physical therapist right away who specialized in pelvic floor pain. I was so relieved. I felt like I was finally going to get some real help.

 

The therapist was nice at first. I had such high hopes she was going to heal me. I had no idea how the exercises she taught me would end my pain. I did know that massaging the muscles down there might make it stop. I was ready to do anything and everything just to feel normal again. I was SO SCARED. As in–shaking all day and all night. Panic pretty much all the time. I could not get myself under control.

 

One time at one of my earlier appointments, my therapist asked me when she realized how panicked I was if I was a Christian.

 

My heart sank.

 

Great, I thought. Here we go.

 

I’m not and I told her so. I am pretty sure she had probably never had anyone admit that to her before. Lucky me…the crusade to not only help alleviate my physical pain also became an attempt to save me from eternal damnation.

 

From there, she asked if she could pray for me. I was so uncomfortable with that request, but I was so desperate for her help. I said okay. I figured if I gave in, I could keep the peace and we could work together toward my healing. The ride home from therapy that day, I called my husband and told him about it. My pelvis was on fire.

 

For the rest of the time I went to therapy, she would frequently talk to me about God and Jesus and church and all that. I really liked her as a person and I believed she was doing her best to help me feel better. But I really hated when she pushed her religion on me. She invited me to her church for Christmas. She texted me Bible passages. She talked about angels while she was doing her therapy on me.

 

As time went on and I didn’t get better, I realized this person had no idea how to really help me grasp what was happening to my muscles or why or how to stop it. In fact, she suggested crazy shit like my pelvis was still in “birthing mode” (how? I gave birth decades ago) and that my 25-year-old episiotomy scar was pulling on other muscles. She suggested I never exercise any more than doing the therapy moves she gave me as homework, to sit on a special cushion all of the time (really? for the rest of my life?), she had me sitting on that cushion while driving my car with a towel rolled up in the small of my back (again–really?!) and she also told me not to have sex with my husband till she thought I was well enough to.

 

I figured out despite all of this stuff she was telling me that the real key to my getting better was probably doing all the stuff she told me not to do. I also figured out that I needed to address personal shit that bothered me so much I clenched my pelvic floor.

 

Who knew you could clench your pelvic floor!? I had no idea I was even doing that.

 

Anyway,

 

One night, while I was in my room doing the therapy homework, she texted me a song she loved that she said made her think of me.

 

It was a song called Come to the Table.

 

It’s a song about being a sinner with shame. Come to the table. Hang with the savior and his bunch of human screw ups who need redemption.

 

I listened to it and I got so pissed. I knew she was trying to be nice, but I had reached the end of my patience with the proselytizing. You know, that lady had no idea why I’m not a Christian. She never asked me about that. She wasn’t interested in hearing about the long path I traveled to get to where I am spiritually. All she cared about was that I wasn’t like her.

Do you know how irritating that is?

Physically, I wasn’t feeling better either. In fact, this overstepping of hers and my ignoring my own boundaries made me feel WORSE.

 

Though she was way out of line, looking back on it now, her actions helped me link my pain to not expressing my true feelings.

 

So there was that. I guess she did help heal me in a roundabout way.

 

By this time, my confidence in her was quickly disappearing.

 

Not long after that, I decided Bill and I would give it a go in the bedroom just because I had been so sad for so long and I missed my husband and our old life. I thought one night–fuck that lady’s advice. And you know what happened? Everything worked and everything was just fine.

 

That was the beginning of the end of my depending on that lady for help.

 

I remember when I informed her we successfully had sex. The look on her face was priceless. She acted happy, giving me a high-five. But I could tell she was irritated I disregarded her advice.

 

I was still dealing with pain the best I could. My pain had interestingly shifted to my tailbone (not fun, believe me). I told her I was going to start seeing a chiropractor in addition to coming to her. She didn’t like that either. She said she would rather I didn’t because if I got better, we wouldn’t know if it was because of her or the chiropractor. I was like–I don’t give a shit who gets me better, as long as I get better!

 

It was right then that she and I stopped working together.

 

It was a weird ending. Someone who was previously so concerned for me no longer wanted to help me if I wasn’t going to obey her.

 

Even though I was scared to be without her “help”, I thought–Fuck this.

 

Amazingly, from then on, life took a turn for the better.

 

It was when I took back my power (in so many ways!), found a different therapist who didn’t pray for me but instead told me that my body was not jacked up (I told her it was)–she told me I was just going through a hard time and I could heal myself, that I got BETTER.

I discovered expressing my true feelings is IMPORTANT. I discovered having and keeping boundaries is IMPORTANT.

 

The cherry on top of this story is that my old therapist reached out to me again weeks after we parted ways (I knew she would). She had new crazy-ass ideas how she could help me. Maybe it was my bladder that was messed up?

 

I wrote back and told her I was recovering nicely and no thank you to anymore of her help.

 

Ha. I hope she had to wonder why God would let her down when she tried to save me.

 

All this rehash to say:

 

I wish I could go back in time and say NO when she first asked if she could pray for me or that I could go see her TODAY and tell her that her actions were really inappropriate. But you know she wouldn’t believe it. And really, what would I stand to gain from doing that anyway?

 

Besides personal satisfaction.

 

Happily, I can report that my pelvis no longer painfully blows up at the thought of her or the time I wasted with her. My pelvis never really blows up over anything anymore, really.

 

And that’s thanks to no contribution from her or God.

 

It’s all me, baby.

5 thoughts on “Pelvic Floor Salvation

  1. LOVE this post! OMG, talk about unprofessional! As a veteran, I use the VA exclusively, where such things aren’t allowed, and forgot how things are outside the VA. Although there are some receptionists who are overly religious but, although some presume everyone is a Christian, they don’t push it.

    Your former PT probably would have had a heart attack with me. I’m fine if people want to pray for me but if it goes one iota beyond that, I let them know that I’m an atheist. Without being mean, I say it in a way to end the conversation. I wasn’t always that forthright. I tried practicing zen buddhism for awhile. When I said I was a zen buddhist, religious people found that acceptable. In their minds, as long as I believed “something” then all was right in the world. What they didn’t know was that zen buddhism pairs well for atheists as well as theistic religions.

    These days I’m quite verbal, if the conversation allows it, about happy holiday versus merry christmas. While I was reading this, my first thought was that you could practice hinduism, Buddhism, atheism, or could be agnostic, humanist, one of the huge variety of pagans, or a 1000 of other religious or philosophical practices and it was arrogant and presumptuous of her to assume you believed as she does.

    Aside from that, I’m glad it lead you down a path of self empowerment. I’m trying to find some level of self acceptance, maybe empowerment, with regard to my tailbone and other chronic pain. When I read that people figured out how to move past it, it makes me so happy that someone escaped, for lack of a better word. Good for you!

    This post was written 6 months ago. I hope your life has improved for the better. 🙂

    Ps. The reason I say okay when people offer to pray is because most of my problems are devastatingly permanent with no relief of help options. It’s very hard for people who know that, so offering to pray gives them a sense of being able to at least do “something”. For me, I’m giving them the gift of helping (according to them). For good people, I’m grateful for their care and concern. For all the rest, like your former PT, they deserve the reality check of people like me.

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    1. Shared Thoughts! thank you so much for this comment. 🙂 I appreciate what you’ve said here.
      I’m still sometimes a little traumatized from my experience with pelvic pain and honestly from the experience I had with that holy roller PT. I wish I could go back and tell her that perhaps she should cut the shit when spreading her religious beliefs with clients. It would do my heart some good to tell her how I really felt the whole time we worked together.
      But I will probably never have that satisfaction. Honestly, I’m just glad I got better.
      I can tell you how I “escaped”….and that is such a proper way to think of it for I was in hell the whole time I was in pain. It sounds as if you might know what I mean. Have you ever heard of Dr. John Sarno and Tension Myositis Syndrome? My pelvic pain was (is. I still experience it at times, but not nearly as bad since I know what’s going on now) TMS. Caused by repressed feelings. Honest to god. (there is no god, but you know what I mean. 🙂 ) I did the hard-ass work recommended by Sarno and his mentor Nicole Sachs and I am better. I know it sounds unbelievable, but it’s true. From one who has been there, I share this info with you.

      Again–thank you for reading my post and commenting. I haven’t checked on my blog in awhile and I’ve missed writing it. I’m newly-inspired by your reply to revisit this forum.

      I hope you are doing well and would like to thank you for your service and wish you a Happy New Year 🙂

      Susanne

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      1. Sadly my chronic pain is from fibromyalgia. However, I’m managed it well by using a combination of exercise, rest, minimizing anxiety and yes, dealing with therapy issues. Mine isn’t psychosomatic, sadly. I say sadly because it’s be nice if there was an answer. Nope. There are some correlations between people who had the liver treatment I did years ago and fibro. Also, there’s a high percentage of people with eating disorders that have fibro. Having said all that, I and my therapist agree that some of the pain I have is probably made worse because of the impact of deep seated trauma.
        I had to laugh as I read your post because, although I’ve gotten lots of relief through EMDR, we have just recently started on a somatic based therapy which, I suspect, is near to what you are talking about. Years ago I wouldn’t have given what you said a single thought but now? Yeah, I agree, I get it and I’m hoping for perhaps a wee bit of relief. Pain associated with fibro won’t change BUT my tailbone pain suddenly was made acute this past summer. I was at camp where I was (trauma) triggered a lot. Fingers crossed, you give me hope!

        Ha, escaping – you bet I get it. I was trapped in a religious cult for 5 years. Escape is the exact right word!

        I do hope you continue to blog. I, for one, would like to hear what you have to say and share.

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      2. Let me just say I sympathize for that pain. My tailbone still gives me shit now and then and it freaks me out every time. This is a whole other story and maybe one I should blog about, but when I was in horrific pain, I had a dream about a rattlesnake going after people who were stressing me out. My friend still asks me when my tailbone hurts, –what is my rattlesnake trying to tell me?

        rattle, tailbone–get it? 🙂

        I hope you find total relief from your pain soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Rattle – tailbone, lol.

        Thank you. If that happens great! Till then I’ve accepted it as just another fun addition and is probably here to stay. Good news though is I went to a pro bike shop and found a saddle for my indoor bike that works. It’s the little things, lol.

        When I have my quarterly surgery, I just have to prep myself for god awful pain afterward till the meloxicam (anti-inflammatory similar to ibuprofen) kicks in. I have to stop it a week prior to surgery. When I don’t know why the pain suddenly becomes a level 10, ongoing, the fear kicks in which makes it worse. Now that I know, my head will be in the game and I’ll go into management mode.

        It sucks you still have it too. No one understands how awful it is who hasn’t experienced it. I can handle pain all over the rest of my body far easier. I don’t know what it is about the tailbone that makes it so bad.

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