Navigation of treatment is one of the many obstacles that an individual faces when dealing with trauma. In both physical and emotional trauma, the simple confession, if you will, to oneself of one’s situation needs to be the very first step. Admitting to yourself the need for help is one thing, but sharing your problem with another is often extremely difficult. Unfortunately, when dealing with stigmatized trauma, such as mental illness and incontinence, the essential step of sharing one’s difficulty is often never mastered. It may not be achieved for years. However, once you are able to discuss your physical and emotional traumas with another human being, you have made a great leap into treatment. Talking about your worries is crucial to treatment. My treatment model followed the following path over the course of 3 + years:
1. Admit to myself that something was not “right” with my incontinence. Talk with my husband, Talk with my mother. See my OBGYN.-Unsatisfied with results. See a new OBGYN-Unsatisfied with results. See another new OBGYN. Diagnosed with fecal incontinence. See a Gastroenterologist. Begin Physical Therapy. See a Rectal Surgeon. Have extensive testing on the sphincter. Discover exact defect. Enter specialized Physical Therapy. Admit to myself that something was not “right” with my brain. Talk with my husband. See my OBGYN. Get prescribed medication. See Cognitive Behavior Psychologist.-Unsatisfied with results. See EMDR specialist. Diagnosed with PTSD with related anxiety disorder. See a Psychiatrist for medicine management in conjunction with EMDR psychotherapy. Leave work due to PTSD, anxiety and incontinence. Rectal Surgeon prescribes new treatment for fecal incontinence. Have Interstim therapy implanted. Discharged from Physical Therapy. Discharged from Psychotherapy. Titrate off of medication. Cleared to go back to work.
As you can see, for me, admitting WAS the first step on a journey that would take over three years to travel to wellness. However, I continue on my wellness journey daily and to date it looks like this:
Start a blog, continue blogging, become a patient ambassador for Medtronic Interstim, become pregnant with second child, turn off Interstim implant, experience setbacks with incontinence and pelvic floor weakness, attend Physical Therapy, have second child, experience wellness with incontinence once Interstim turned back on, facilitate a local support group for bowel disorders, get a part time job.….be engaged daily with a life that seemed unimaginable in the immediate aftermath of trauma….
You can do it too.
Thanks for reading,