Back appointment, bad dreams, difficult things and dissociation.

Trigger warning- first part is pretty safe, a few medical doctors dotted here and there. Second part involves a bad dream with my ex, a triggering ultrasound scan, and more sex stuff. Please stay safe and only read what you feel able to.

Yesterday I travelled two hours away to the nearest place that would offer me specialist back care for the injury I’ve had no treatment for since last March- the 11th to be exact. I knew that I would be frightened about going on the train again- I had to pass those triangular boards in the station where I saw my ex standing, larger than life, waiting for his train. I knew I would have to overcome the nerves I now feel when I’m in any sort of medical situation, as a direct result of the other doctor who dismissed me so callously last March with an obvious dig at my mental health.

What I didn’t know was how well I managed to handle most of it.

Although I was nervous and frightened, I took my panic and I looked at it. I remembered that I was feeling anxiety and that I have managed to overcome anxiety before. I did crosswords and wordsearches, and I breathed deeply. The appointment itself actually went well- a woman consultant, a woman physiotherapist and a woman clinic worker, all very nice and all very professional. Apparently my initial injury was healed, according to physical tests they had done on me, but I now had something new to contend with which was sacro-iliac and pelvis related. That felt good to hear because it meant that Dr Pratface was wrong and that I was right, and that I was still in pain and I was NOT making it up. I see them again in April, so I have to do that journey again, but I don’t care, it was worth it. The examination took an hour, they asked me specific questions about my pain, and they listened and asked me what I thought. I finally felt respected and understood.

OK, TRIGGER WARNING here, stay safe. My dream got graphic. 😦

That morning though, I’d woken up with another bad dream behind me. I had been dreaming that I was at my ex’s house, and he’d invited me round when I was walking the dog. He then managed to get me in bed with him, and I knew I wasn’t supposed to but I let it happen. As it happened, he didn’t even want to get inside me- he finished on my stomach and jeans, and where it touched them the jeans stained bright yellow immediately. I got up and got Juno, who had been curled on the bed watching me with a disparaging look… almost as if she knew we weren’t supposed to be there…

The atmosphere was like the early days of our relationship, where I was slowly being manipulated into things I was not comfortable with. I knew I was supposed to love him and I was supposed to care about him, but I just felt desperate and guilty and denied my own release. I told my ex I was supposed to be leaving, and he kept trying to persuade me to stay. When I told him I really had to get back because of the dog, he wished me his snidest, ‘good luck, you’re going to need it,’ clearly referencing my mum and how angry she would be that I went to see him.

The awful shocker was that suddenly, I realised I was supposed to be with Josh all along and I jerked awake, feeling all kinds of sick and guilty and ashamed.

I hate these nightmares so much. I hate them. I hate that I keep dreaming about him when he has no place in my life any more. I wanted to scrub the dirt out of my skin and hide in bed all day, but I had the appointment to get to and a class to teach. My friends supported me after I posted a status about it, dropping me public and private messages of support. I really appreciated that. As the messages flooded in, my spirits lifted.

On Saturday, though, I had another scare.

I had been sent to the local clinic for an ultrasound (non-obstetric adult ultrasound, the letter read), and I assumed that the scan was for my back. After all, when I’d asked my surgery’s receptionist about the letter when it had first arrived, she had assumed that the doctor had wanted to cover all bases as regards my back injury and its treatment.

As I’ve explained before, I get nervous about medical things, and I was really hoping that they wouldn’t need me to take off too many clothes. I didn’t want to be exposed to strangers without good cause.

The nurse was lovely and chatty, and the doctor was calm and friendly. I didn’t mind the cold of the gel on my stomach and continued to breathe, ignoring my full bladder that they’d requested for the scan.

The problem was, I was in pain again. Period pain type stuff but with no bleeding, which is something I get a lot, and as the scanner glided over my upper stomach and my kidneys, I tried to concentrate on the cold gel and the nice nurse, who was asking me questions to try and put me at ease.

Then the doctor started to scan my uterus and I started to panic, because this took a longer time and they started to take a lot of notes. The scanner pressed into something on the inside of my left hip and it hurt, and I lay there trying not to panic and wondering what I was really here for.

I hope it’s just paranoia, and like my friend R explained, they could be scanning my L5/S1 area and that’s opposite my uterus, so it would make sense that they would scan there. What I’m actually wondering is what if I was referred to the clinic because of the abuse, and they’re checking to see if everything is ok because I was raped? I told the doctor I saw to get referred for my back what had happened with my ex. She asked about it because Dr Pratface, my original back doctor, had been so obnoxious about it and kept asking unwarranted questions about it.

Maybe it is paranoia, I don’t know. I will get my results this week at some point, I hope. I have to ring my GP surgery to find out.

Today has been a weird day again. I’m not feeling too bad but I am feeling very tired, and very dissociative. I have started my fifty hours of practical massage work, which is good, but I’m still worrying about the scan and my dream.

What has been pretty good has been the response to the therapy work I’ve been doing with Dr K. I wanted to tell J how I felt about sex properly, but I felt like I couldn’t tell him… but instead of telling him, I decided to send him the last post I wrote about it. He’s read it and he understands it! He’s also recommended me to email the post to a friend of his who is a social worker, so she understands this sort of conflicted stuff. I think I will- I’ve met this friend of his and she is lovely, and I trust her even though we haven’t known each other long. She deals with this sort of stuff day in, day out. I hope she doesn’t mind me emailing her.

Also, I’ve been being very brave and trying to reconnect with myself. I wrote before that I get so upset sometimes over masturbation, and it’s still really hard to write about it or talk about it. I know it is healing for you to finally be in your own body and give yourself pleasure, but the nineteen-year old inside who is still scared doesn’t understand that it’s not a big deal, that lots of women do it and take pride in it. I’m nurturing that split-off fragment of my past self, telling her that what we are doing is ok, that we need it to heal, that we deserve fun and pleasure. J would probably agree with me there- one of his little mottos is ‘If it feels good, do it!’ His one proviso is that whatever you do has to not impact negatively on other people, but that certainly wouldn’t apply where self-pleasure is concerned.

All in all, I think I have a lot to talk about and a lot to ask Dr K. Maybe the pains in that scan were body memories? Maybe it’s my poor beleaguered body’s way of telling me it was hurt too, and it needs some sympathy?

I’m going to try and stay positive over it, as much as I can, and just wait to see what the scan results are. Dr K will help quell some of my anxiety.