Medical procedure and a little girl

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Whispermae
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Medical procedure and a little girl

Unread post by Whispermae »

So I had to have an ECG recently, which is where they stick suction devices onto various parts of the body including the chest. As the nurse pulled and prodded at my breasts, I started crying and saying no, no, no like a very young child.
When I had to have a breast ultrasound it was administered by a very unsympathetic doctor who scolded me for dissociating and told my mother I was 'urimadhiri' (strange/abnormal).
I don't understand why I'm reacting this way. I have been touched a bunch of times but it never hurt - in fact one perpetrator in particular was very careful not to hurt me. This doesn't even feel like me being hurt - like there's this little kid who's actually the one protesting.
Recently when I masturbate I can feel certain orgasmic sensations, but as soon as they pass, I'm furious and disgusted with myself. I feel like I'm abusing a little girl, even though it's my body. I know this isn't logical, but it is what's happening, and I'm so terribly confused.
Carly
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Re: Medical procedure and a little girl

Unread post by Carly »

Hey Whispermae -- I'm seeing two separate but related issues here, and I'm going to try to address them one at a time.

In the incident recently with the ECG, it sounds like you were experiencing the state people often describe has "being triggered." I'm not sure how this term is used in India, but in the US it means to have a negative reaction to something or someone that's based in a past experience/memory/etc. When I experience a trigger, sometimes it comes out of nowhere. Sometimes it's around people I trust. It's just something your brain associates with something else and it reacts the way it did then. When you say "hurt" are you talking about physical pain? Because abuse or assault doesn't have to be physically painful to cause damage to you emotionally or create a trigger, or be called abuse or assault for that matter. It sounds like someone has touched your breasts without your full consent before, do I have that right?

As for what happens after you masturbate, I think that could be connected to something similar. Did experience sexual abuse as a child, or a situation you think might have been?
Whispermae
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Re: Medical procedure and a little girl

Unread post by Whispermae »

Hi Carly,
Yes, I understand what you mean by triggered - we use it the same way here too. But I was fifteen and over when I was repeatedly assaulted, nowhere as young as I felt on that examination table. If I had to guess, I'd say I felt around five years old. I was never abused that young, so I don't know why I feel that age so strongly.

A couple of incidents did occur around that age - once when a didi (I'm not sure what the right word for this is in English - here it refers to a lady who works in childcare and cleans the toilets and stuff) was angry with me. I hadn't been taught how to wash myself yet, and I was scolded by my teachers. For someone who'd only recently been potty trained, sitting on an unfamiliar toilet was very scary to me. Worse was I had a stomach issue made even worse by the didi who scrubbed me in the anal region so hard that it hurt horribly, yelling at me for being shameful. I don't know if she put her finger in, and I honestly doubt she did, but since then I've had this overwhelming fear and disgust around my anus.

Also, I was taken to a doctor at that age and she examined my vulva and vagina (externally) without my consent. Maybe you can't get consent from a child so young, but I feel like she should have at least told me what she was going to do.

I have been hurt psychologically by being forced to strip naked as a young teenager. And later, at the age of 17, I was sexually abused by a woman for a year.
But none of it feels like it's anything to whine about, certainly nothing to cause such an extreme reaction.

I'm confused and super mad. I also feel utterly sickened by my sexuality (only when masturbating, not kissing my ex and lying down with him). I can almost hear this little girl screaming that it's her body. "Don't touch me, don't touch me, it's my body."
I don't know what to do. I don't know where she came from, since I wasn't abused so young. I feel like I'm stealing others' suffering. I feel fake and invalid and wrong.
Advice and help would be greatly appreciated :)
Elise
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Re: Medical procedure and a little girl

Unread post by Elise »

Hi there Whispermae, firstly I'd like to acknowledge your bravery in being vulnerable with us in sharing these traumatic experiences from your past, we are very privileged to be trusted by you in this way. How does it feel for you when you share these experiences and/or type them out? If you feel comfortable sharing how it makes you feel, and if you'd like anything that could help you feel more safe after disclosing an experience of assault, or more safe during/before/after, please let us know.

I am so sorry to hear about the ways that your body autonomy has been violated by people in positions of authority who should have been providing care to you in the past, and how this has lead to you feeling about yourself now. These events should not have happened, and you are valid in identifying as someone who has survived assault and abuse.

In this most recent experience of being triggered by an ECG and thinking of your early memory with the Didi violating your bodily autonomy and then the doctor, seems like quite an insightful connection that you might find benefit in chatting to your psychiatrist about if you've not done so already. Is that something you would be comfortable speaking to them about? (I understand from your other threads that you see someone for your CPTSD, which I'm glad to hear you have this kind of support).

To touch on the framing of your memory with the Didi, her touching you in an intimate place roughly and without consent and with words of shame is a kind of assault: assault doesn't require insertion of an item into an anus or vagina, and also not about sexual desire/sex as motivation at all, and rather is about power, and control. In the example you gave here, the power/control dynamic by bodily boundary/trust violation (touching you in an intimate place/at all without consent), is really clear, and they acted against what a care giver should give, that you as a child inherently deserved. This person should have been someone you could trust, trust and helped overcome a fear of an unfamiliar place by empowering you, and instead assaulted you.

For this to be followed by an intrusive non-consensual medical examination at a similar age (it is possible to get consent from a child at that age, and also you are 100% right that the doctor should have told you what they planned to do, and why, in a child appropriate way), I can see how it would make total sense to be triggered by a situation in which someone with power (a medical professional) touching you in an area private to you, and your brain to connect it to these childhood experiences of intense distress. Distress is a kind of pain too, just because something didn't cause what we might think of as physical injury, the way that the brain processes all pain is well documented as being all part of the same system.

I am of course not a psychologist or therapist, so this is best unpacked with a trained professional who can provide a safe, caring space in which they have the training to help keep you safe, however I hope that this helps you feel more valid in your experience, because you are so valid in deserving support and the opportunity to heal from these experiences. Whilst everyone who has experienced abuse and assault has their own individual journey and experiences, this doesn't mean that anyone is less deserving than anyone else/being in spaces for healing, because everyone deserves access to what they need to heal.

I hope this post helps you, it can be really confronting and/or difficult to hear/read your experiences described/validated as abuse, even if it is also validating (or may only feel validating later). I hope you have good tools available for you for self-soothing and self-care when you are interacting with these memories and feelings.

Just in case you would like some more of these, I am going to leave some articles and lists here, however it is entirely up to you if you'd like to interact with them or use them!
Whispermae
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Re: Medical procedure and a little girl

Unread post by Whispermae »

Thank you Elise for that very thoughtful answer. So, a few things come to mind - I have a psychiatrist, but she's not really the talking kind, more of a 'take your meds and go' sort. I'm not in therapy, though that's hopefully going to start soon. There is no one to tell.
As for my C-PTSD, it's super hard as my family doesn't believe I have it ("you don't have any childhood trauma") and say that the psychiatrist only diagnosed me for the sake of it. I have had anxiety since I was four, and their denial makes me feel even worse ("you didn't look anxious").
You asked me how I feel writing about this. I'm relieved. Thank you so much for this space to write about what happened to me, for I have nowhere else. What would really help is if you could maybe share some trusted sites about trauma? I want to talk to people about my mental health, and I understand that's not what this site is for.
Thanks again!
Sam W
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Re: Medical procedure and a little girl

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi Whispermae,

I'm so glad being able to write here is offering you that sense of relief. I do want to add that, unfortunately, what you're experiencing with your family is a common thing for survivors; people tend to dismiss trauma that doesn't fit their personal conception of it, or the assumption that something has to be the most violent thing imaginable in order to cause it. But we know that's not true, and that trauma can emerge from a wide variety of experiences in which we feel helpless, afraid, or violated.

As far as spaces to talk about your mental health, and in particular the way that's interlinked with your trauma, I found a few different places you could look into:
This one is specifically for those with C-PTSD: https://cptsdfoundation.org/safe-support-groups/
This one is for survivors: http://www.aftersilence.org/index.php
7 Cups offers chats with volunteers who are trained to offer some degree of support around mental health: https://www.7cups.com/?correlationId=f9 ... d11e8e631e

You may also want to check out this page from an LGBT organization based in India, as it offers a lot of information on both online and in-person spaces: http://orinam.net/resources-for/lgbt/he ... -violence/
Whispermae
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Re: Medical procedure and a little girl

Unread post by Whispermae »

Dear Sam,
Thank you very much for these resources. If it's no trouble, would you mind brainstorming with me ways to bring up these issues with my psychiatrist, who I'm seeing tomorrow?
Thanks!
Latha
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Re: Medical procedure and a little girl

Unread post by Latha »

Hi there- jumping in because I'm on shift! I wonder if it seems like it will be difficult to explain these issues in person to your pychiatrist. If so, you could bring something you've written beforehand to your session for them to read- something like what you've sent to us here.
Whispermae
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Re: Medical procedure and a little girl

Unread post by Whispermae »

Hi Hypatia,
You have a pretty name - it sounds like a story name! I don't know how to go into my issues - I wouldn't even know where to begin. I've tried both writing and talking, but nothing seems to work!
So far I've spoken about my symptoms and a few incidents of (nonsexual) abuse. Every time I get somewhere important in the conversation, she randomly says time's up (she doesn't keep a set time so it's really hard to know when she's going to say that) and abruptly leaves the room. Last time I was in tears after recounting stripping as a teenager, and she simply handed me my prescription and told me to 'calm down in the waiting room'. Writing this I'm realising it isn't okay. It's far from okay! I held my head up, left the clinic, and proceeded to have an episode of burning-hot dry-heaving-choking against a nearby car. (It was gross for all involved.)
She really doesn't seem like a very understanding person, but I'm not switching doctors now (as she is my fourth.)
I'm at a total loss here!
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Re: Medical procedure and a little girl

Unread post by Logan W »

Hi Whispermae,

I hope it's okay that I'm jumping in. I first wanted to offer some validation for how you're feeling - how your psychiatrist handled the situation was not okay. And I also know how hard it is to find a new doctor so I can understand why you might not want to switch doctors again. You had mentioned that you might start seeing a therapist soon - it might be beneficial to focus on talking with the therapist and just focus on receiving meds from the psychiatrist. That way you don't have to switch doctors and you won't have to rely on your psychiatrist so much for the talking part, if that makes sense!
Latha
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Re: Medical procedure and a little girl

Unread post by Latha »

Aw, thank you for the compliment Whispermae!

You're right, that isn't a great relationship to have with your therapist. I agree with Logan- you deserve to see someone who will communicate well with you and be understanding. I promise, counselors who understand trauma do exist in this country!

Also, how do you feel about the way you've explained your experiences here? For my part, I think I was able to understand what you've written. If you want, you could just show them these posts, or parts of them.

I want to mention that your explanation of these issues to a therapist does not have to be very polished. A good therapist will be able to work with you to understand them.
Whispermae
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Re: Medical procedure and a little girl

Unread post by Whispermae »

Hi Latha and Logan,
Thanks for your replies. To be honest, the therapist makes me feel uncomfortable - I had one session with her and she was constantly checking her phone and people were coming into her office without knocking while I was speaking about personal matters. She even went out to deal with an emergency and then came back some time later asking me where we were. It's all I can do not to scream while talking about my experiences, and having to constantly remind her where I stopped makes me angry. She is the only therapist willing to work with complex trauma though, so I don't have another option. The psychiatrist is my best bet. It isn't a great situation, but I've learnt to take care of myself 99 percent of the time.
In my country, we've come a long way, but we have a long way to go, too.
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Re: Medical procedure and a little girl

Unread post by Nicole »

Hi Whispermae,

I hope it's okay that I'm jumping in here. I want to start by saying that I am really sorry for what you have endured throughout all of this. We are here for you and we will try our best to connect you with the proper resources so you can start feeling better. You're a very strong person, please don't forget that!

So, I'm planning on attending school to become a therapist this year, and to be completely honest, your therapist is acting very inappropriately toward her client (you). I truly don't think being around this therapist is the best environment for you or your healing process. Your therapist should not be making you feel uncomfortable whatsoever. I know you said that you've gone through many doctors (I'm assuming psychiatrists?) and this is the only therapist near you that specializes in complex trauma, so for now my best recommendation is to look into the resources that Sam shared earlier. Also, I'm not sure if you have met with your psychiatrist yet (our time zones are different!), but I would ask them if they can refer you to a therapist that they believe could work best with you and your background. Sometimes medical professionals have good connections when it comes to specialties in certain areas.

Before I go, you mentioned that your psychiatrist tends to rush you and isn't the most comforting--this is unfortunately common for psychiatrists as they're mainly there to get the gist of your conditions and then prescribe you medication. This is why I think it might be beneficial to just ask if your psychiatrist could refer you to a therapist that may work better with you, that way you can speak more thoroughly about your experiences and work together to heal. How does that sound?
Whispermae
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Re: Medical procedure and a little girl

Unread post by Whispermae »

Hi Nicole,
Thanks for your reply! My psychiatrist says she doesn't know any therapists except one who lives really far away. I'm going to start master's this year to be a therapist too - specialising in children.
At this point I'm looking for a diagnosis, which my psychiatrist is taking many sessions to decide. I've been passed around through 35 therapists all of whom said they could not work with such a complex case, and the few who could terrified me. I'm wondering if there's anyone good I can see online, even if it's international? However, that tends to be super expensive.
It's been an insanely long road, but I promised myself I'm going to have a good attitude. Sometimes, though, it really sucks :(
Sam W
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Re: Medical procedure and a little girl

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi Whispermae,

It absolutely sucks to be bounced around to so many therapists on top of trying to navigate complex trauma. I'm glad the psychiatrist is taking your need for a diagnosis seriously, even if it's taking her awhile to decide on one, and that it sounds like this has encouraged you to become a therapist yourself!

With the therapists your psychiatrist knows who live far away, does she know if they have any ability to take remote clients?
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