A few days ago, I mentioned that it can be difficult to find ways to distract yourself when you become extremely depressed with vaginismus. I mentioned that blogging has helped me, but I also don’t want to forget to explain how important it is to reward yourself from time to time, especially when things become physically and emotionally draining or demanding.
My therapist was the one who brought this idea to me, because I was constantly feeling guilty about not using my dilators daily. She asked me what sounds more realistic for me to accomplish in a day or a week.
At first, I thought using the dilators at least twice a week was possible, as long as I made a schedule to use them. She said that I need to make sure I reward myself after using them.
It doesn’t have to be extravagant or expensive. It can be as simple as watching your favorite movie in bed, lighting a candle, having time to yourself or even going out and buying a new candle (she knows I have an obsession with candles.)
For about three weeks, I was able to stay on course with using the dilators twice a week. Then, I dwindled down to one time a week and eventually I realized two weeks had passed and I hadn’t used them at all.
I felt terribly guilty and depressed that I let myself down. Her and I talked about it and I expressed that the dilators just don’t feel right. They make me more depressed every time I use them. Instead of feeling like I have accomplished something, I just cry during or after inserting them.
Obviously, that isn’t going to help the healing process, so she recommended trying the physical therapy stretches a few days a week. That was successful, until I lacked motivation thanks to my good friend depression.
This is when she brought up exposure therapy, which I gave some insight into in a previous blog. This form of therapy has been extremely helpful for me with feeling more affectionate and comfortable in my own skin.
My therapist also gently said to not worry myself into thinking that I’m not doing enough because, even though I’m not regularly using the dilators or performing the stretches, I am still working towards positive results with vaginismus.
She explained that I’ve spent so many years diligently working daily with the dilators and stretches, that it’s normal to feel strange when you don’t. However, vaginismus is a catalyst for anxiety and depression and vice versa. Why engage in things that bring me more stress and depression when I’m supposed to be healing myself? That doesn’t make much sense. If it’s all about learning to relax, then I should be doing just that; relaxing.
Even having been told that I need to focus more on relaxing, I still struggle with it.
Once, my fiance had asked me if I ever feel relaxed, I started to cry because I realized I never have.
Despite the feelings of guilt that I’m working through, I’m still doing the exposure therapy and writing in my blog, both of which are fun, easy and less demanding. Even though I’m taking a step back from using the dilators, that doesnt mean I’m taking a step back from working on my vaginismus.
Regardless of how you work on vaginismis, it’s still important to reward yourself every week. You need to remind yourself that you are doing something productive and good for your body, even if it’s not as obvious as inserting the dilators. You are still doing a lot of hard work and you deserve to reward yourself for that.
For myself, a reward might just be lighting a candle, drinking some hot tea in my snuggie and watching a few YouTube videos in bed. It’s simple, but it makes me feel happy afterwards and, at the end of the day, that’s really all that matters.; making yourself smile.
Removing the dilators from the equation and focusing on less demanding techniques have slowly been teaching me how to relax. It’s a wonderful and new feeling ❤
How would you or do you reward yourself when you are having a bad day or accomplishing something that is physically or emotionally draining?
Featured photo credit: Jill Wellington