PAP smears and flashbacks

I’m having a hard time.  I’m having lots of flashbacks related to abuse that happened to me that my PAP smear gone wrong triggered in me.   And I’m back in an old pattern of not going to bed at night because the nightmares and waking up in flashback scare me so much.  I’m staying up much later than I should and struggling to get up in the morning to take care of my kids.  And I’m finding myself sitting in the dark at night just sobbing. …partly about the PAP smear,  partly about the abuse, partly about the fact that I can’t get myself out of this place I really thought I would not be visiting again. 

I’m still feeling the effects of that PAP smear in my body, but now I’m not sure if it is body memories or truly physical.

I’m really mad too.  This is the 2nd time in the last two years that a medical provider of mine has caused me severe mental anguish.  First was my last therapist who confused me, retraumatized me, emotionally and verbally abused me.  And now this freaking nurse practitioner.  Why do people do this stuff?  And really, it brings me to the bigger question, why did my parents do the stuff that these medical providers are replicating?

So I’m hurt and mad.   And I’m struggling to not eat these feelings away.   And I’m struggling not to hurt myself.  I tried the drawing on myself where I’d like to cut myself method today, and it might have been a little helpful,  but then I had to go take a shower and scrub it off, because it’s 80 degrees here today.   I’m wearing shorts and a tank top.  I can’t go out with scribbling all over me.

I feel like I’ve been derailed, and I’m not sure how I’m going to get on the tracks again.  I’m not even sure I’m anywhere near the tracks anymore.  I have spent 6 therapy sessions crying about that PAP smear gone wrong,  and I’m not done.  I’m working on soothing myself and the hurt parts of me, but it’s not doing much.  I’m also mad that I’m spending so much therapy time on this stuff.  I have other stuff to work on.  I want to be done with this stuff.  I want to just deal with my adult stuff and be done with the stuff that happened 30 and 40 years ago.  I’m frustrated with the healing process…I’m frustrated that it’s taking so long.  But MT points out to me, that really, the last 16 months is the first truly intensive healing work I’ve done.  I felt like the 2.5 years with my last therapist were intense, and they were, but it was about my relationship with her and not about my relationship with myself as a child. 

Once again, I feel like this post just went around in circles and did not have one solid subject.  Oh, well.  I guess that’s how my mind is working these days.

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6 thoughts on “PAP smears and flashbacks

  1. The tears from the PAP may be tears from the past too. My view is let them flow, there’s probably a lot in there. That botched PAP should not have happened.
    You could still write a letter to the office and hang on it. Use it to let out your pain, express your anguish and anger. Then send it if you want, or re-write it few times just to get it out.
    I have shot off letters and wished I hadn’t. And very many times just wrote them, let them sit in a drawer, then threw them out.
    Medical incompetence— that gets my blood boiling. I feel angry about what happened to you. That nurse needs a desk job.

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  2. Patricia, I’ve written lots of letters in my journal. The nurse needed more training and not practice on a woman with a gigantic trauma history and lots of scarring due to that trauma. I actually talked to an administrator at the practice and was told that training needs to happen and that stuff like that does happen from time to time. No good resolution from that conversation. I got the impression that the woman administrator thought I was being overly dramatic. She kept saying that she understood the procedure could be uncomfortable and did not seem to understand it was actually severely painful….like an 8 out of 10. And I have a really high pain tolerance.

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  3. I”m so sorry you are in such pain. I understand your frustration with the crying & grieving and feeling like it should be ending..I’ve been there too and felt impatient with myself and feeling like it should be over..There is no time limit on how long it takes each person to grieve..You were also deeply triggered with the pap test and need to be kind to yourself and practice as much self-care as possible. It was not your fault, it is still not your fault..There are so many layers of healing to get through and you are brave enough to be doing all this hard work..Sometimes it’s 1 step forward, 3 steps back. you will get back on track though….
    Take care of yourself and sending you hugs to get through the pain.

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