Tuesday 26th October was the very first Pelvic Pain Matters webinar for patients and therapists interested in pelvic pain. We were delighted to have Tim Parks, author of “Teach us to sit still” and former sufferer of pelvic pain as the guest speaker. Tim was joined by Jacob, a former Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome (CPPS) and Hard Flaccid patient and Mr Christian Brown, consultant Urologist.
This is a reflection of some of the key themes that came up from the webinar:
Tim’s experience confirmed that for many sufferers, CPPS is a series of unsettling unknowns…When did it all start? What is the cause? What treatment will stop the pain? Where can I turn if conventional medicine doesn’t work? It’s life under a question-marked shaped cloud.
The unspeakable nature of Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome
CPPS requires sufferers to step outside the confines of polite conversation. Penis. Vagina. Prostate. Rectum. Pelvic floor. Such words trigger a response – and usually not a positive one. Before the publication of Teach Us To Sit Still, a publisher told Tim the word ‘prostate’ made him queasy. Yet the taboo of CPPS and other conditions can only be broken if we’re open and honest.
The typical CPPS sufferer
A blunt doctor told Tim that CPPS patients were typically over-worked over-achievers who were full of their own importance. On reflection, Tim could see a grain of truth in this in relation to his own personality. Panellist and consultant urologist, Christian Brown, agreed many of his patients had common personality traits, including a tendency to worry and internalise feelings. Likewise Pelvic PainMatters founder, Karl Monahan, noticed a pattern of people pleasing and over-analysing: all evidence of CPPS inherently complex nature.
Get over the embarrassment
CPPS creates embarrassing symptoms. Tim’s most embarrassing moment was being unable to sit through a conference at which he was the guest speaker. Panellist Jacob encouraged attendees to follow his example and, if necessary, tell friends and colleagues when something’s up down below – perhaps even executing a joyful downward dog on the way to the loo!
Mindfulness is key
While he searched for a resolution, Tim became fascinated with breathing and meditation. This provided the respite he needed from a racing mind that, in hindsight, he realises was burdened with worry and catastrophic thinking. Tim’s recovery was closely linked to positively changing the way he lived his life. Panellist Jacob also spoke of the benefit of carving out time in the day for mindfulness.
I want to thanks Tim, Jacob and Christian once more for their insights and expertise. I also want to give a shout out to Tim Beames, Jo Taylor and David Lowe who made this event possible
Read the article “Tim Parks Revisited” here
NEXT PELVIC PAIN MATTERS WEBINAR
Join us on 5th December at 9am GMT for the next Pelvic pain matters webinar with Clinical Psychologist Nick Wood