This is very vulnerable for me. Me, of all people. The person who has spent the past two years urging youth to be vulnerable. Yearning to foster a world of more openness, oneness, and empathy. Me, the person who will virtually tell any person our struggle if asked. Me, the person who has learned that in vulnerability there is strength.
And still, I struggle.
I struggle with how people will perceive me. Broken. Damaged. I struggle with how people will react. Internet trolls. Taking things out of context. I struggle with anxiety — am I going to say the wrong thing? Come off as insensitive? Get my facts and information wrong? Do I need to cite sources or just go based on my general knowledge from doctor’s visits over the years? Do I write for my friends and family or for the general masses? Who will even read this? Is this going to be TMI or just what someone, somewhere needs to hear?
All I know is that I have had a consistent, nagging feeling in my heart. Write it out. I have been dragging my feet for over a year, letting anxiety take control. But I feel deep in my bones that this will help women find words for their pain. I hope that men will learn to sympathize. I hope that couples will learn to communicate together and grow stronger for their trial. I know that regardless of the outcome, if I follow this guiding prompting… I will feel peace.
Here is my anxiety again– am I using too many commas? Breathe, let it go. You’re not a professional writer. No one cares about the commas.
So here I go. I don’t know if I will write ten or a hundred times… for a month or for a year. I don’t know how long I will go in-between posts. I don’t know a lot of things… but I do know my experience. I know that we are still in the thick of it. And I know that I am ready to share.
I have a condition called vulvodynia.
*Information quoted from the Mayo Clinic Website*
Vulvodynia: “(vul-voe-DIN-e-uh) is chronic pain or discomfort around the opening of your vagina (vulva) for which there’s no identifiable cause and which lasts at least three months. The pain, burning or irritation associated with vulvodynia can make you so uncomfortable that sitting for long periods or having sex becomes unthinkable. The condition can last for months to years.
The main vulvodynia symptom is pain in your genital area, which can be characterized as:
- Painful intercourse (dyspareunia)
Your pain might be constant or occasional. It might occur only when the sensitive area is touched (provoked). You might feel the pain in your entire vulvar area (generalized), or the pain might be localized to a certain area, such as the opening of your vagina (vestibule).
Vulvar tissue might look slightly inflamed or swollen. More often, your vulva appears normal.
Because it can be painful and frustrating and can keep you from wanting sex, vulvodynia can cause emotional problems. For example, fear of having sex can cause spasms in the muscles around your vagina (vaginismus). Other complications might include:
- Sleep disturbances
- Sexual dysfunction
- Altered body image
- Relationship problems
- Decreased quality of life”