How Good/Bad Do I Feel?

10-16-15

It’s hard to accurately quantify the severity of my prolapse symptoms.  I guess it’s kind of like trying to quantify pain symptoms.  For example, “mild” to one person might be “moderate” to someone else.

The fact that we have a brain attached to our body and the fact that the brain is actually where we ultimately perceive all kinds of pleasant and unpleasant sensations means that what we THINK about what we FEEL creates a situation where the sensation isn’t simply “what it is,” but it instead takes on a lot of other baggage.  Does that make sense?

I can describe my prolapse symptoms with qualitative descriptors like pressure, throbbing, fullness, pulling, dropping, gaping, uncomfortable, irritating, persistent, unrelenting and more.  These are fairly objective terms.

But it doesn’t stop there.  The natural next step is for my brain to categorize the sensation (“good” vs “bad” or “no problem vs “problem”) and then to attach an associated emotional energy to it…

Therefore, “uncomfortable pressure” doesn’t just remain as uncomfortable pressure.  Pressure (and all the other descriptors) quickly becomes BAD.  The sensation fuels a wide assortment of emotions:  fear, anxiety, optimism, worry, distress, annoyance, hope, despair, and lots more.

In my line of work as an Occupational Therapist (OTR/L), my job has a lot to do with patients’ FUNCTIONAL LIMITATIONS.  I’ll use myself as an example patient…

I have pressure in my perineum…SO WHAT?  The therapist in me asks these questions:

  1. How do my prolapse symptoms affect my ability to complete my functional activities?
  2. Am I limited in my ability to complete my BADL (basic activities of daily living = self care activities like dressing, toileting and bathing)?
  3. Am I limited in my ability to complete my IADL (instrumental activities of daily living = all other activities like housekeeping, childcare, work, and recreational pursuits)?

The answer is no to #2 and yes to #3.  My prolapse symptoms definitely make me avoid or modify certain movements and activities, in part because I fear getting worse and I want to save myself further distress.

(In reality, I modify how I move my body as I go about my life because past experience has shown that I do objectively feel worse if I “push myself” or “test my limits” too much.  So the fear seems to be rational, at least over the short term.)

So the title of this post is “How Good/Bad Do I Feel?”  HOW good do I feel?  HOW bad do I feel?

There was a time several months ago, when I tried to track the severity of my prolapse symptoms daily for about a month (May 2015).  Apparently this was the best I could do when I wrote down little notes.

  • “one of best”
  • “quite good”
  • “pretty good”
  • “okay, not great”
  • “not so good”
  • “not good”
  • “crying”

Sometimes it’d be a combo:

  • “started okay but not good after”
  • “quite good until after walk”**
  • “not great, but better after sex”

(**Note that in May 2015 I hadn’t discovered the Whole Woman Inc approach, so I very likely felt worse after walking because I was sucking in my abs and tucking my tailbone.)

Hahaha!  My above “Prolapse Severity Scale” from May 2015 seems like kind of a joke to me.  It’s not too helpful, right?  Only I know how good “one of the best” is, compared to how bad “not good” is.  It’s only relative to me and me alone.

Well that’s all I’ve got today, and I spent too long on this post!  What gives me peace today is knowing that in the “grand scheme” of things, I think most people would agree that my case can only be considered “mild.”  (To use another relative term!!)

I’m trying to feel the sensations (with as little attention to them as possible!) without getting caught up in the categorizing or the emotional response.  Equanimity!

I am healed.

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