Saturday, 26 October 2013
First Visit with Sexual Psychologist - Oct. 17
First visit with my new sexual psychologist (cognitive behavioural therapist). Unfortunately, I was ten minutes late to a fifty minute appointment, so it went pretty quickly! Mostly an introduction, did we think we’d be a good fit for each other, and a new explanation to vulvodynia no one has been able to offer me before!
She explained it by comparing my neural pathways to fire alarms, a normal fire alarm is there to tell us when there is a major fire in our house that is dangerous. Sometimes you get a really sensitive fire alarm that goes off every time you use the toaster, for women with vulvodynia it’s like they have five of these sensitive alarms above their toasters, there’s no real danger even though they sense there is.
Another thing she explained to me was how bad white knuckling through the pain could be (as I’m sure many of you and I used to do). When something is painful, that’s our body and brains way of saying so not do that. Our bodies and brains start off by telling us not to stimulate our vulvas or vaginas (for whatever reason – there is a theory I’ll discuss next) by making it painful, but if we continue to push through the pain and stimulate on multiple occasions, our brain kind of says “she’s not listening, let’s make some more neural pathways,” which unfortunately for us, makes stimulation even MORE painful. Ugh. So my therapist has suggested not to do anything that causes more than a 3/10 on the pain scale (0 being no pain at all and 10 being like hospitalized pain).
Why does our brain make us think something that shouldn’t be painful, painful!? The theory (only a theory, no experimental proof, or significant studies yet) involves stress (surprise!). It’s been noticed that a lot of women with provoked vulvodynia (PVD) have a lot of internal stress (internal stress wasn’t explained to me too well, but I believe it has less to do with life stresses and more about how you think about them and internalize your life stresses… I think), and the body’s way of trying to relieve some stress in by trying to prevent you from stressing certain parts of your body, and it starts with your vagina and can sometimes even spread to other parts of your body. The theory falls through for women like me, who have been diagnosed with primary vestibulodynia (vulvodynia), or women who were born with the condition.
She did assign me a bit of homework in the end too, mostly just making a quick write up about my life, things I would do if I had no pain and things I avoid because of my pain. So all in all, a very informative session, and I will definitely be returning to see her in a couple weeks!
Money spent today on psychologist: $150.00
Travel Expenses today: $165.00
Total expenses today: $315.00
Total Psychologist fees up until today (not including travel expenses): $150.00