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Feeling broken, dirty and ashamed
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Feeling broken, dirty and ashamed

Hi I am a 29yr old female and in 2001 something happened to me whilst holidaying in Turkey.

I was 15 at the time and my mum and I decided to go on a girls' only holiday. Mother-daughter bonding I presume, looking back. So we booked to go for a week to a hotel we went to 5 years before as we both enjoyed our stay and found the staff really friendly.

A few days into our stay my mum flirted with a male guest - she was quite drunk and she was kissing him. She knew he had a girlfriend staying with him but she seemed to overlook this when under the influence. The bartender who was 7 years older than me (he was 22, I was 15) came out from behind the bar and kissed me. He then put his hand down the front of my skirt and touched me. After doing that he took his hand away and took his **** out of his shorts. He got hold of my hand and put it on top of his ****, telling me to stroke it and that I would like it. I did not like it at all.

Before long my mum, the guy she was flirting with, the bartender and I were all sitting in the outside dining area watching the cable TV. At the time I just saw what we were watching as a man and two women hugging and kissing each other. The bartender then slipped his hand under me and rubbed the underside of my pants. I told him it hurt and he said to me "wait, you'll like it" and he inserted his finger up inside. He asked me if I had done it and I said "no" and he then asked me if I would like him to take my virginity away. I didn't answer but he kept telling me to come to bed with him. I did not do that.

When my mum decided it was time we went to bed I kept saying to her that I thought the bartender was really nice and I really liked him (that I cannot work out, thinking back) and she said "I think he's nice, too."

The next day the bartender saw me in the pool in my bikini and he gestured for me to come over to him. He asked me "where did you go last night? You did not come to bed with me." I said "no, I had to make sure my mum got back to her room safely." He then said, "well, I have the key to one of the hotel rooms. Meet me there in ten minutes. Room ###." I went over to my mum and said "Umm, mum...? What would you say if ***** asked me to come to a hotel room to see him?"
Her response was "I'll f'ing deck him one."
I then went back on what I said as I was afraid of us being thrown out of the hotel (since the guy worked there) and told her that nothing of the sort was said. She was skeptical but left things at that.

I see a counselor at the moment about what had happened back in 2001 and as I thought about that I then remembered something intimate that had gone on between my younger female cousin and I and I think it has messed up my sexuality.

I was 13 and she was 6. She was around my grandparents' house whilst her mum and dad (my auntie and uncle) were away. She asked if we could play doctor. I said ok and she wanted to play doctor and have me as the patient.

She asked me to take my clothes off and lie down on my back on the floor. So I had my trousers pulled down and my top pulled up. She put her hand on my tummy and moved her hand down towards my ***** but did not touch it. We then heard my grandfather outside and I quickly got up and tried to zip up my trousers before he noticed they were down. He looked at me (I can't remember how he was looking at me as I don't think I gave him any eye contact due to feeling so uncomfortable) and he said to me "put your trousers back on, what will your mother say when she sees you like that?" I felt incredibly guilty and awkward about the whole thing and my cousin gave me this innocent look too. I mean, she was only 6 at the time. I found out a few months ago that she had come out of the closet and was seeing other girls. Which I thought was fine but my grandparents don't like to mention her very much in our conversations.

As I got older I noticed that my grandfather was looking at certain "parts" of me when I lived with them or went to certain places with them. When we were in Benidorm in 2005 I was in a changing room and he casually mentioned I had well-formed t**s when I was changing into a top I wanted. I've also caught him looking down my top/front of my dress/front of my bath towel. And I don't have a great pair of t**s at all, small like an 11 year old's. He's even found some of my sex toys and asked me how they feel/how they work. I felt very uncomfortable when he asked me to show him.

This is all what I feel has really impacted on my emotional/sexual/intimate life and I haven't yet told my counselor about the situation with my cousin or grandfather. I don't feel as though I can now as he wants me to work towards expressing my hidden feelings with the assault in 2001. This has put me off internal exams/cervical screening tests with the doctors (which I am not sure if I need to go through with or not as I am not sexually active but have used sex toys and have problems with my cycles) and I have been intimate with my boyfriend of 11 years.

I feel so mixed up with how I feel as I feel so dirty and out of control. And that the things my grandfather did (looking at me with no bra/top on and commenting on it and also the stuff going on with the sex toys) makes me feel a bit...I don't know...on edge with him, I guess.

Am I wrong to be feeling like this? This feels incredibly weird and strange for me to talk about but I guess what I am trying to say is that I feel safer and more emotionally/physically closer with another woman. I believe that what has gone on has made me distrust men (although I completely trust my boyfriend as he knows when no from me means no and will only touch me when I am relaxed and I say so.)

Thank you :)
13 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_m_tn
Well there is no two ways about it.: your grandfather comments are totally inappropriate and wrong. The Turkey incident is unfortunately very common, I hear similar stories all the time, especially in Turkey for some reason. As for the thing that happened with your cousin...that is just normal curiosity when growing up. Playing doctor often leads to exploring. I had a similar experience when I was 9. To be honest I have had similar experiences all around. I was abused on several occasions as a child by an older family member and as a separate incident I was raped as a teenager by a stranger. Like you I felt dirty and wrong but with therapy I learnt that it was out of my control. I didn't ask for any of those things to happen to me. I can't control what is in the past and I can't control what other people say or do. What I CAN do is not allow it to take over my life. I don't want my unfortunate experiences to be who I am. I am not a rape victim...I'm a woman and I want to live my life. Why should I allow this scum of the earth rule my life? and that is the best advice I could give anyone in your shoes.  

If you tell your doctor that you are uncomfortable having internal examinations they might be able to help you with that. They can talk to you whilst they do it so you know what is going to happen. Plus very important is to ask for a woman to do it as that might be less uncomfortable. As you are not sexually active you are less likely to have cervical cancer but it doesn't completely exclude it.

Can I ask you why you are not sexually active? Are you waiting till you get married or are you just too scared to get intimate with your partner?

Part of the therapy I had was to get comfortable with sexual intercourse. Sex is a lovely thing if done with right person, with someone you love and as long as you go slowly and take your time (as in take as many weeks or months as you need) you should be able to eventually not associate it with the horrible experience you had.
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8256587_tn?1399901106
Hi there, I see a counselor at present and he is helping me mainly with the assault stuff.

To answer your question I am not sexually active as my boyfriend wants to wait until we are married. And I am too scared to get intimate with my partner too, yes. So it's a combination of the two.

I have spoken to my previous doctor about me being uncomfortable having internal examinations when I was first made eligible for them and all they did was put me on a list for counseling which I never heard back about.

If they talk to me whilst they do it I wouldn't mind that as long as I'm not lying there in complete silence. And yes I would like a woman to do it, too.

Thank you for your advice.
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Avatar_m_tn
It's good that you are having therapy for it, try to not hold back. Use the sessions to get everything out so that the therapist can help you work through it. The most important thing is that you acknowledge that you are NOT responsible for other people's actions or words. You did nothing wrong. The fact that you haven't had full intercourse yet might also be causing problems...it's the unknown.I'm not saying you should be having sex now, I think it's great that you've decided to wait.  Just make sure you carry on being intimate with your boyfriend when you are comfortable to do so and never rush anything. Let those moments when you are with him tell you that the bad experiences from the past are nothing to do with what is happening between you. You are giving each other pleasure.  Pain and shame and embarrassment are not part of any of it!

As for being talked to whilst having an internal...most nurses have talked me throught it anyway so I don't foresee there being a problem especially if you warn them that you are scared. The more tense you are the more uncomfortable it will be so try to relax as much as you can.... I know easier said than done!

On a separate note, I noticed another post you made a while ago about urine. You mentioned short cycles and heavy thick dark bleeding as well as pelvic pain. Has anyone ever mentioned endometriosis ? One of my best friends had those identical symptoms and an ultrasound didn't show anything. They did a laparoscopy and low and behold she had endometriosis. Lots of women apparently don't have symptoms or have very little symptoms so it can go undiagnosed. Just my 2 cents...
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8256587_tn?1399901106
Hi there thanks for reply.

Endometriosis has only ever been mentioned once and my nurse practitioner at my last practice suggested it. But since I had 2 normal ultrasounds in 2005 and 2011 on my uterus a menstrual cycle problem was then ruled out. Unless endometriosis does not show up on an ultrasound... But when both scans came back normal the doctor said something like "your ultrasound came back fine so there are no menstrual problems...We'll leave it at that."
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Avatar_m_tn
As I mentioned in my previous post my friend had ultrasounds that completely missed her endometriosis. Apparently it is quite common for it to be missed by u/s.

Are your periods regular? Are they painful? If you are bleeding heavily then iron problems often go hand in hand with it. It's the thick dark blood that made me think of my friend. She also suffers with bad constipation, constant low ferritin levels and pain during intercourse or masturbation especially when having an orgasm. She also said that the thick dark blood would be the first day or so and then it would start getting brighter.

I'm not saying that you definititely have endometriosis but it might be a possibility with your bleeding issue. If you google endometriosis uk symptoms your first link is for a fairly good page with clear explanation of possible symptoms.
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8256587_tn?1399901106
Hi there,

thanks for replying. My periods come every 21-25 days but they used to be every 27 days without fail. Yes they are always painful and I get pain in my pelvis/tummy in between periods.

My period blood doesn't get brighter throughout my period, it's the same colour. But they have been getting brighter since my thyroid hormone levels are better.
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Avatar_m_tn
You have Hashi isn't that right? Women with autoimmune disease are far more likely to suffer with endometriosis so that is something you might want to bear in mind.

Found this "...42% of women with endometriosis had an under-active thyroid gland. ... It also appears that thyroid antibodies are higher in women with endometriosis, which is an indication of hypothyroidism. "

and

from Mary Shomon
"ith debilitating and frequently misdiagnosed symptoms, endometriosis can be a difficult disease to diagnose and treat.

Symptoms include:

    General pelvic pain
    Pain before and during periods
    Heavy menstrual cramps in the abdomen and lower back
    Infertility
    Tenderness in abdomen
    Nausea, vomiting
    Diarrhea
    Constipation
    Pain during and after sexual intercourse
    Fatigue
    Painful urination during periods
    Painful bowel movements during periods

Recent research has found that 42% of the women with endometriosis have underactive thyroid glands, and women face an increased risk of having endometriosis if they are hypothyroid. "

and finally about having it diagnosed:

"How Is Endometriosis Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of endometriosis begins with a gynecologist evaluating the patient's medical history. A complete physical exam, including a pelvic examination, is also necessary. However, diagnosis of endometriosis is only complete when proven by a laparoscopy, a minor surgical procedure in which a laparoscope (a tube with a light in it) is inserted into a small incision in the abdomen"

so them telling you through u/s that you don't have problems is not good enough. There are women who have loads of symptoms and others that hardly have any and have no clue they have it. They only find out when they want to have children and find they can't because of the damage it causes.

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8256587_tn?1399901106
Yes, I have hashi's.

I've never been referred to a gynaecologist as I always assumed that a gynaecologist deals with women who have had sex or are pregnant.

Also I'm worried that if I go to a gynaecologist they'll want to start off with an internal.

The nurse practitioner who suggested I had endometriosis mentioned the laparoscopy but I thought that seemed a bit extreme if there are no other ways to diagnose endometriosis. So now there are not?

Most of those symptoms you've kindly provided are ones I have but come and go. So thank you for letting me know about them.

I have an appointment with my doctor tomorrow where I'd like to mention my menstrual problems but I have trouble being my own advocate and that's probably very noticeable as I have always believed the doctors are right and are always right. To me saying something like "I believe my periods are still causing me problems and I would like this looked into" would prompt them to see that I've had 2 ultrasound scans on my uterus that were normal and they would leave it at that. I could suggest a laparoscopy to them but then I would feel as though I'd be doing their job.

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8256587_tn?1399901106
Sorry I meant the laparoscopy being extreme if there were other ways to diagnose endometriosis. My bad.
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Avatar_m_tn
Which symptoms are you experiencing exactly?

How did your appointment go today? I know it's hard with doctors sometimes...well actually probably more than sometimes. Been there done that and still am sometimes. I'm a very anxious and nervous person and I will be awful about seeing the doctor for days before going for my appointment. I rehearse what to say over and over and end up drenched in sweat when waiting in the waiting room.

I don't think you need to suggest a laparoscopy but perhaps saying that these symptoms are interfering with your life might help.If you show them that you have done your research and go in armed with a print outs will highlight the fact that you are obviously affected by these various symptoms.

Laparoscopy is the only way to confirm it but it can be diagnosed without having it done.

The thing with endometriosis is that it can cause a lot of pain and it also can be symptomless but the damage it could be doing could be pretty extreme...especially if you then at some stage want to have children.

I do understand being scared of going to the gyno if you are worried about internal exams. I know it's easy for me to say but they aren't as bad as you think. Especially if you choose to see a woman and you make sure to make them completely aware of what you are feeling they will go slowly and guide you through. Hope you don't mind me saying this and please dont take it as if I am bossing you around but If you are experiecing lots of symptoms you really shouldn't be ignoring them for fear of an internal. They might not even do one! Take care of yourself.x
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8256587_tn?1399901106
Hi there, thanks for your reply.

Symptoms I experience (which I have put down to period/thyroid are:

- Heavy periods
- Fatigue
- Vague pains in hip/pelvic area
- Constipation
- Trapped wind
- Bloating
- Nausea (not all the time)
- Pain during orgasm/after orgasm
- Pain in vagina/vulva
- Blood in stools when on period
- Blood in urine when on period
- Bladder incontinence/retention/frequent urine infections
- Anal incontinence (only when I pass gas that comes out wet - sorry if too graphic but can't describe it any cleaner than that!)

As far as the appointment went it went ok...not bad.

The doctor has put me on a laxative called Lactulose as I did not get on well with the Fibogel or Movicol when prescribed these in the past. I am worried that since I am lactose intolerant the Lactulose is something I should not be taking as it is a sugar of some sort that is associated with lactose/milk, I believe.

He also seems to think that blood in stools during a period is normal. I'm not entirely sure about that.

He thinks I am also under medicated thyroid-wise and increased my medication from 100mcg to 125mcg. This will be difficult for me to split as I take half my dose in the morning and the other half in the evening before bed. I was doing very well for a few days until last night where I had constipation 3 times and was really gassy.

Again the doctors are treating me on TSH not FT4 which I am concerned about since my FT4 level is now in the top range. I am worried about becoming hyperthyroid!

And the Vitamin D level is "normal" but no number given. Still waiting on a copy of my blood tests from the endo but I have been waiting 2 weeks for this to come through.

I told the doctor that my symptoms are interfering with my life and I told him the symptoms as above. He prescribed the laxative and told me to eat more fruit and veg - which I have been doing and so cannot explain why the increased constipation after drinking a pretty healthy smoothie containing avocado, banana, peaches and orange juice! Unless...it was too much for my system and it thought "what the heck is this?" My body is so hard to work out at times.

I will have to go in armed with print outs as you suggested, thanks for that.

The next time I see a doctor I would like to tell them I would like to see a gynaecologist. Today was mainly about the thyroid stuff and the constipation issues since they got worse last night and had been bothering me.
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Avatar_m_tn
Ok by looking at those symptoms the ones that I think are of some concern:

- pain when you have an orgasm . That shouldn't be the case. I am not saying it never happens to me but it shouldn't be triggering pain. So that is a good indication that something might not be right. The contractions that your body experiences when you climax is obviously "angering" something down there.

- blood in stools and urine when on your period. Ok now it's my turn to be graphic. Are you sure that it is actually in the stool and urine. What I mean is this...could the blood be just coming from the vagina? Are you just looking in the toilet bowl after going for a bowel movement and noticing blood as well as stools and urine or is it that when you wipe your backside you notice there is blood? If the blood is actually in your stools that is also a very strong endometriosis symptom. BUT it could also be tied to the fact that you have constipation which often causes internal hemorroids (hemorrhoids) which rupture and bleed when you are having to strain. Either way it should be looked into...the fact that this doctor didn't seem to be concerned in anyway despite you telling him makes me wonder whether it's worth seeing him again. Is there a different doctor you could be seeing at this practice?

Also you say your constipation has gotten worse. If you didn't used to eat a lot fibre (ie fruit and veg etc) your body can take a little while to adjust to the novelty and weirdly enough it causes constipation instead of loosening of the stools which is what you would expect! Just keep at it, make sure you have at least 5 portions of fruit and veg x day (more if you can) When eating fruits like apples make sure you eat the skin too because that is the bit that is needed for constipation.

Another symptom to note is the bladder incontinence. You're young, this shouldn't be an issue at your age. The thing with endometriosis is that a lot of people just think it's to do with your uterus and fallopian tubes. That couldn't be further from the truth. Your bladder and bowels can be affected by it. The blood in stools and urine during your period is a classic symptom due to these cysts that form and during your time of the month rupture just like the unfertilized egg does. Also the initial symptom that made me think of my friend....the dark blood. She told me that the cysts you get with endometriosis are called chocolate cysts and when the burst is more dark/almost brown and that is where the name comes from.

re: your tsh,ft4 and ft3. As you said you have Hashimoto I know that tsh is totally unreliable. It will constactly fluctuate with Hashi and so I wouldn't worry too much about it unless it really goes high or low. With Hashimoto your thyroid is under attack, with each attack a bit of the thyroid is destroyed and when that happens the body responds by creating more antibodies and making the TSH swing wildly. What you need to really paying attention to is the FT4 and FT3 and most importantly how you are feeling. So I don't agree with the doctor's decision of treating you based on tsh alone. He obviously doesn't know much about autoimmune disease.

Once again I am not a doctor and I am not saying "you have endometriosis" ...what I am saying is that you seem to an awful lot of symptoms that could be tied with that. You shouldn't have to put up with all these symptoms and although it's not curable it can be managed in different ways.
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8256587_tn?1399901106
Thanks for your reply and your advice. It's helped a lot. :)

I saw the doctor I saw Friday as I just needed to get an extension of my medical certificate really. But as the constipation worsened I decided to talk about that anyway and see what he suggested.

There are other doctors I can see, yes, but it's hard to get appointments with them. I have only just moved there and my records have still not come through from my previous practice which is frustrating. I may need to move doctors again if there is so much hassle over seeing a doctor sooner. I have no usual doctor either.

When I wipe my backside I see blood, yes.

I do have a urology referral (which I am still waiting on a letter for) so would they refer me to a gynaecologist if they suspected endometriosis?

The TSH was at 5.01 (0.2-4.2) last time so not much but the FT4 was in the top end of the range at 19.6 (10-22) and my FT3 at 5.2 (3.1-6.8) so I don't know what's going on. The doctor increased my medication based on this which I am worried about since I am very slim and don't want to go hyper! But, I have put on a little bit more weight - which to me is a good thing as I was underweight before and I am now a normal weight. :)

Re with how I'm feeling - I've been getting more moody, depressed, itchy, aches in my body, fatigued and my right breast is getting sore again (it was sore a month or so ago which made me get my breast examined and scanned) which is a sign that I'm on a period soon. I just think it's my cycle coming up but who knows? All I've been doing is eat healthier than I used to, rest and take my thyroid medication as instructed.
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