Animation tends to distill ideas and the best animation helps us focus on the real emotions behind a subject. Such is the case with Shelby Hadden and Sebastian Bisbal’s "Tightly Wound," the story of a woman with vaginismus, a pelvic floor disorder in which the vaginal muscles involuntarily contract. The flim uses the visual of a train attempting to plow through a closed mountain tunnel. Having treated many women with this condition, I found this a marvelous explanation.
As I watched the short film, I found it striking how Shelby never smiled. Even though I treat people with this problem, it brought home to me how pervasively it affects their mood, even if they are not constantly in pain. Additonally, if you had professional after professional tell you to “just relax,” or to try alcohol when you want to have sex, it could make you kind of grumpy.
After spending her adolescent years wondering what was wrong with her and wondering if she’d ever be able to use a tampon, date, have sex, get married, or have children, Shelby finds a physical therapist who specializes in treating pelvic floor dysfunction. And hey, any story where the physical therapist is the hero is all right by me.
Barely ten minutes long, “Tightly Wound” is actually quite funny. Think “Daria,” the 90s MTV cartoon. Not only could she have been someone who experienced vaginismus, but she would have gone through a number of options – in glorious 2-D – before finding the one that works. And that’s important to me, that it is often a journey to find the right combination that works for each patient.
As therapists, we want to support every patient find answers to questions about their health. We are interested in using manual therapy to normalize and balance tissue tensions and provide each person with tools to continue on their personal journey to health.
Take the time to find this short piece. You’ll be glad you did.
Kathleen and Kerida O'Reilly
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