You Are Enough: Victoria’s Vaginismus Story

“…you shouldn’t be scared to seek help.

We all need a little help sometimes and finding support for vaginismus is a crucial step to overcoming it.

Don’t worry about what people might think of you or what society is telling you. They don’t matter anyways.

Instead, focus on you.

Focus on relaxing and helping yourself conquer this condition that I bet many people wouldn’t even be able to deal with.

You are enough, and you are stronger than you think.”​ – ​Living with Vaginismus: Dealing with the World’s Most Painful Pleasure

We all have unique stories to tell, and sometimes telling our story can be quite difficult.

From my own experience, I have dealt with a strict Catholic upbringing, emotionally abusive relationships, and I’ve been in numerous sexually abusive situations.

I’ve had vaginismus now for nine years and I’m still working on overcoming it. It’s a process, and sometimes that treatment process is not a simple straight line.

Have YOU either been advised by one of these “enlightening” thoughts or told to do at least one of these as a form of “treatment” for vaginismus?

  1. “Have you tried relaxing?”
  2. “It’s all in your head.”
  3. “I just thought you hated gynaecologist exams…”
  4. “Just take a hot bath.”
  5. “There is absolutely nothing wrong with you.”
  6. “I can’t help you.”

Or my personal favourite: “Try drinking some wine beforehand.”

Well, clearly none of those healthcare professionals were very helpful…

But I’ll happily drink some wine for science regardless!

I’ve been to a chiropractor, multiple physical therapists, therapists, acupuncturists, hypnotherapists, a variety of gynaecologists and other doctors.

I’ve been prescribed lidocaine, estrogen creams, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication. I’ve tried herbal medication and western healing. I’ve used dilators, worn TENS machines, tried yoga, exercises, stretches and have used LENS for neurofeedback.

Still, I’m not there yet.

In fact, with no libido, my fiancé and I barely get intimate at all.

I don’t mean sex, because that hasn’t even been in our relationship for over two years now, but cuddling, kissing, outercourse, etc.

It’s a real loss when you used to be a deeply affectionate person but are no longer able to even kiss without getting nervous or feeling awkward around your life partner.

My next goal is to try botox.

I have heard a variety of things about the use of botox for vaginismus, both good and bad, but I’m willing to take a chance if there is even the slightest possibility it might work for me.

Because my anxiety and depression only grew worse after each treatment option failed, I knew I needed to find a creative outlook that would not only help myself to heal but would hopefully heal others. I opened the dialogue pertaining to vaginismus in 2016.

Before then, only a handful of people even knew I silently suffered from this condition.

I wanted to start a conversation and spread awareness about the condition, so that other women did not feel alone. I knew that when I was silent, that feeling of loneliness and isolation with vaginismus was debilitating.

Having felt it first hand, I opened myself up to the world about my pain, so that other women didn’t have to feel the same seclusion. Our society isn’t always kind or fair when it comes to topics that are so personal, especially if they have been considered taboo for so long.

The backlash I received from trolls or insensitive people was upsetting. However…

For as many people who tactlessly left cutting words in my inbox, there were twice as many women who came forward to tell me they too had been suffering in silence.

It was a great feeling to know I was helping these women in some way. The trolls could no longer bring me down because I realized I was finally accomplishing what I set out to do.

In 2016, I began my blog on WordPress called ​Girl with the Paw Print Tattoo. My blog is still very much active, even if I do not post on it as much as I used to.

I had always known that I wanted to write a book about vaginismus, but I really didn’t know how I was going to do that. However, one day, I was feeling extremely motivated and decided to just write.

I began to tell my story, open up about my experience and even interviewed women so that they could share their personal experience as well.

One unique thing about my book is that I even interviewed men, who had partners that suffered from vaginismus. It was an interesting perspective to see how they viewed their relationship when their partner had vaginismus.

In July 2018, I self-published my book on Amazon, ​Living with Vaginismus: Dealing with the World’s Most Painful Pleasure​.

I was surprised at how quickly word spread about this book and was soon finding myself being interviewed with ​The Sun​ and ​The Daily Mail​. I even had a television producer from Germany reach out to me, wondering if I would be interested in sharing my story on a news segment!

RTL Television flew a cameraman and interviewer out from New York to talk to me and my fiancé about vaginismus and the book. I was even so lucky as to be a part of a healing workshop called ​Pelvic Floor Tune-Up​, where they now utilize my book as a resource. You can find the news segment on my Facebook Page: Living with Vaginismus​.

Just this year, I also had the amazing opportunity to be interviewed with a new Podcast called ​Tight Lipped​. These two girls are truly helping to make a difference within the vaginismus community, and I know they are going to do great things.

All of these experiences have been beyond wonderful and exciting, and I feel extremely lucky to have been a part of so many projects.

Sure, I slip up and let depression get the best of me. There are many days where I think I’m not good enough or I’m not doing enough to help myself heal…

But I have to remember to re-center and know that I’m doing plenty. I’m only human after all.

One thing I always like to tell people is that “you are enough.” You may be dealing with something painful or difficult, but our struggles and experiences teach us new things and help to define us. For many of us reading this blog post, vaginismus is our struggle. We show courage and strength every day by simply being here and not giving up.

Never think for one second that you are not doing enough or that you don’t deserve happiness.

Don’t be so hard on yourself because you have lived a hard life. Many people would not be able to walk a day in your shoes with the feelings of depression you face daily.

However, you were given these struggles because you have the strength to overcome them.

Be kind to your body and be kind to your soul. Oh, and…

If you are interested in joining a Facebook group relating to vaginismus and mental health, considering popping over to my new group, ​Living with Vaginismus​.

It is designed to spread awareness, but also give individuals a platform to discuss their experiences, ask questions and share stories. Since many other vaginismus groups do not allow self-promotion, I’m making my group entirely different.

Self-promotion is allowed and encouraged! I want you to share anything that you have made or written to help individuals, whether this is a book, a poem, a drawing or even a quote you found online.

I’m hoping this group embodies a place where people feel comfortable to express themselves.

Thanks so much for reading and, if you do decide to join, I’ll see you there! ​

– Victoria Johnston (27 years old, Mishawka, USA)