I started this blog anonymously two years ago and have been very careful to avoid sharing personal information about who I am. I set up separate email and social media accounts. I didn’t create an “About Me” page or share any photos of myself. I could say it was due paranoia about the internet, but really it was because I wasn’t ready to be honest with the world. In truth I have been living two lives; hiding my pain issue from most people who know me. I put as much effort into trying to appear normal as I do in actually preventing my pelvic pain.
But sharing on this blog has helped me heal—not so much in the physical sense, but rather healing from the psychological and emotional damage that painful sex has caused me. Slowly I’ve started sharing my pain story with more friends. It was difficult at first, awkward and uncomfortable, but it got easier with each new person I told. No one I shared with ever reacted negatively. In fact, my being so open with them seemed to deepen our relationship. Often as I shared something so intimate with them, they would open up to me about something personal they had faced (sometimes even a similar pain issue). And it was great to have them “in the know” about my pain. I didn’t have to hide it or feel self-conscious about needing to stand or bringing my seat cushion. Over time I found it sort of liberating to share this other part of me. I started feeling like I was becoming more of who I am. Continue reading
I don’t like to admit it, but there are some times when I wish I wasn’t alone. I occasionally have those moments when I wish things were a little different. Most of the time I don’t think about it, or when I do I can’t get past the fact that relationships are hard and, frankly, not always worth it. When I do long for someone to love me I don’t think about my previous relationships. That is not the love that I want. I want someone to love me for me—for who I truly am, for who God sees me as. I try to believe in my heart that it’s possible, that maybe one day someone will love me like that.
I can see how I’m healing. I can feel it. Continue reading
I recently had the privilege of joining an amazing group of practitioners at the International Pelvic Pain Society’s 2015 Annual Meeting in San Diego. There is so much I want to share about the great information I heard and the remarkable people I met, but mostly I want to share about the hope that I was filled with. If you knew all that was being done to bring healing for chronic pelvic pain, you would be filled with hope too.
IPPS stands for the International Pelvic Pain Society (and #IPPS15 was the hashtag used during the conference if you want to catch some of the commentary that was posted on social media), but I’m going to use those same letters in my attempt to share some of why you should be encouraged to have this group of people fighting for your wellbeing.
Probably the first thing that struck me at the conference was the level of intelligence being represented. The presenters were astounding. I couldn’t count their degrees or the number of initials after their names (MD, PhD, DPT, and a bunch of others that I don’t know what they mean). As they discussed their research and other topics I was truly in awe. One example was experts in the neurological aspects of pain discussing how the brain interprets pain signals, including how chronic pain is processed very differently (even using different parts of the brain compared to acute pain).
And it was not just the speakers exhibiting this intelligence, but also the attendees. As I looked around the room I saw so many of the pelvic pain greats—people like Dr. Irwin Goldstein and Dr. Echenberg, physical therapists like Amy Stein and Stephanie Prendergast, just to name a few. At least half of the attendees were physical therapists, and they were joined by doctors, nurse practitioners, researchers (and one blogger I might add). Those participating in the sessions not only understood what was being presented, but also had their own experiences, theories, and proven methods. Continue reading
I love that we have a day set aside just for gratitude—for thanksgiving. It’s a great time of year to consider how far you’ve come and how full your life is. Sadly, we tend to view Thanksgiving more as the first day of the busy holiday season. Stores now open on Thanksgiving Day to start the Black Friday shopping rush. And what a consumer driven world we live in. Be honest with yourself for a moment. How much time do you spend thinking about what you do not have—what you want or maybe what someone else has? And how much time do you spend actually being grateful for what you do have? I’ve seen many articles about how gratitude is good for your health. It is sad to think that we do it so infrequently that we need to be reminded that it’s a healthy habit (like eating your vegetables or exercising). Gratitude should be more like breathing or laughing. It should be part of our everyday, part of our perspective in how we view the world around us, part of who we are. We are human beings after all, and we have so much to be grateful for.
Maybe try gratitude, at least for a day. Think about all of the people that you are thankful for—maybe even tell them that you are grateful to have them in your life. You might be surprised at how it makes you feel—like a deep breath of fresh air. Even if you’re in pain—especially if you’re in pain—take some time for gratitude. It might take you longer to push past the negative thoughts. But clear away those dark clouds and you will find a bright sun shining down on you. What are you thankful for? Maybe it’s the smell of cinnamon and pumpkin in the air. Maybe it’s the changing leaves on the trees or the chill of a fall night. Maybe it’s your favorite blanket or an excuse to listen to Christmas carols. Or, maybe it’s the sense of pride and accomplishment of another year well-lived, the thought of new friendships formed and new dreams envisioned. Whatever it is that you are thankful for, show some gratitude. Most of all, show yourself some gratitude—you are more than worth it!
I am thankful for you—close friends who support me in reading this blog and far away friends whom I haven’t yet met. Perhaps you stumbled upon this blog looking for hope. You are who I write this for. You are part of my year well-lived and my new dreams envisioned. I am grateful for you!
See, that wasn’t so bad (it’s much easier than getting in your 10,000 steps). Now it’s your turn to practice being grateful. I would love to hear some of the things you are grateful for. Please post a comment (and you can use an alias if you prefer to remain anonymous). May you have a blessed and gratitude-ful Thanksgiving!
I started this year with an intention of being more intentional about being grateful. But several months later I have to admit that gratitude is harder than it looks. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty to be grateful for. God has continued to bless my life in amazing ways. It’s that “state of being” part that is a constant struggle for me. Continue reading
Have you recognized the power of your perspective? Do you realize the difference that your outlook on life or your perception of a particular situation can make? I have heard this concept discussed many times, and I have believed it on a general level for most of my life. But, it hasn’t been until more recently that I’ve begun to realize just how powerful our perspective can be.
Let me share a very recent example of my own experience of perspective. I have been feeling very overwhelmed these past few weeks, inundated with life stuff, both good and bad. I feel exhausted, wondering why I always seem to end up in the middle of everything, and just wanting a nice long break. Without even realizing it, I have let negative thoughts take over my mind. And not necessarily the obviously negative self-criticism or ‘doom and gloom’ thoughts, just generally negative. Concerns about a friend’s difficult situation and what specific steps she needs to take to get back on track, if only she could see it. Worries about this year’s goals at work and how big and overwhelming they seem. So many constant thoughts that are unconstructive and discouraging, filling my mind so there is no room left for the positive. No wonder I have been feeling so tired and overwhelmed!
Once I realized what I had been doing, I was able to make a conscious effort to flip those negative thoughts through a positive perspective. Continue reading
This month marks one year since the start of this blog. Even though it was just an introductory post, it signified the beginning of a vision. And so I couldn’t let this month pass without taking a moment to consider—to consider all that has been accomplished, all that has been shared, and all that is still to come.
An entire website exists—full of lessons learned and messages of hope—that did not exist just over a year ago. And when I consider that, I am amazed—amazed at what is possible. If I can recover from a divorce, deal with chronic pain, work a full-time job, live a full life, and still find time to create a blog, what else can I accomplish? And what can you accomplish? I would venture to say that you can accomplish a lot more than you think or even allow yourself to dream. Continue reading