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self portrait

Permission granted and now it’s back to reality!

Boxing Day Self Portrait For Theo

Or is it possible I never really left my reality? As if anyone can leave chronic pain behind and really have time off!

Sensing the cynical? I best write this post two ways. Technically, the permission ends on Thursday night when we head back to Melbourne so I’m going to post my brain’s two conflicting versions:

1. Crap thinking out-of-the-way first version

Pulling yourself out of life isn’t easy and especially if you’re forced to do it. I was forced and that force keeps on damn well forcing. It brought Theo and I to Tasmania for a four-month ‘sabbatical’ with the topic of research being chronic pain and how to live with it. Truth is, the topic has more likely been what the hell do we do now? It was also meant to somehow help me rid some more pain and pace up my driving, exercise and some daily chores. I was unsuccessful. Continue Reading

Cathartic collage, my self portraits for sale


For sale… well, all except for one… actually, two.

Collage has been a little more therapeutic for me than my usual art forms. I think it must have been finding a technique that I could manage and one that didn’t add to the fatigue and pain. Cutting small pieces of paper and glueing, drawing, attaching was just so light and easy. The painting of small pieces of paper and the careful ripping and tearing was like rocking. So gentle, so calming and at the same time feeling like I was handling my pain, expressing it and getting it out of my body and onto the art piece.

It must have worked, my progress continues and even though it’s very slow I’m ecstatic to know I can plan more artwork. I am creating again, I am my self.

One of the two pieces not for sale (and that is not shown here), is the original piece that I used on the cover of my book. Each of the 500 dust cover jackets comes with four strings attached by hand and is my offering as an original hand touched piece of art by me (well actually Theo had to attach them all!). The book is $39 plus postage.

Contact me if you want to purchase my artwork, these are the original pieces, no printouts will be sold. Paypal or Direct deposit available. Will post safely and securely free within Australia (plus postage outside of Australia).

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The book: Art & Chronic Pain – A Self Portrait


SelfPortraitBookDustJacketYes, I’ve found another medium to express my pain and you can own your own copy of it!

I didn’t see the point of creating a long description of my living with pain, sharing my tips, turning journal entries into a pain story. Afterall, first and foremost, before the person in pain, I am an artist… so my book had to contain many pictures and few words, just 32 pages in fact, but I believe it’s a complete story. It doesn’t hold the solution for PN but it’ll allow you to explain it to someone else, leave it on the coffee table, and it will be light enough to carry around.

Art Chronic Pain Soula Mantalvanos-01

Above all I created it to express my experience so far and so that it is a bit of a companion to another PN family member. The idea was for the reader to feel empathy in a world where no one seems to understand, and to ease the pain as you look through it.

Continue Reading

First stop: About this website



My name is Soula Mantalvanos (“Soula”), welcome to my website, although its hardly welcoming for anyone having to research pelvic chronic pain.


This website is an account of my personal experience of pelvic chronic pain resulting from an injury/trauma, as I have since March 2007.  I hope that my website will be a useful resource and guide for anyone who is living with chronic pain and in particular Pudendal Neuralgia. My intention is to help create an Australian resource for sufferers of this issue by telling my story and explaining my treatment and therapy of this unrecognised medical condition. Understanding and empathy is rare for this medical condition and research, it appears, has a long way to go, in fact it took 4.5 years for me to be diagnosed accurately.

I also openly comment on my frustrating experiences with the WorkCover system in dealing with my condition under circumstances where I genuinely wanted to return to work as soon as possible.

I hope you enjoy reading my story.



Please read the Terms and Conditions below before using this website. By continuing to browse or view content on this website, you are deemed to have fully and unconditionally accepted and agreed to the following Terms and Conditions:

I. You agree to the disclaimer specified below under the heading “Disclaimer”.

2. All articles and blogs posted by Soula are, to the best of her knowledge, true, accurate and complete.

3. All comments posted by persons on this website other than Soula are the opinions of the person or persons posting those comments and Soula does not condone or endorse any of those comments.

4. Soula does not guarantee the security or privacy of the information posted by any person on this website. It is recommended that to maintain your own privacy, you only include your first name or an alias when entering any comments on this website.

5. You acknowledge and agree that Soula is not authorised to, nor is she providing any medical advice and that this website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

6. The entire content included in this website including, but not limited to text, images, logos, graphics, audio, video or code is copyrighted as a collective work pursuant to Australian and International copyright laws and is owned by Soula. You must not transmit, broadcast, edit, adapt or make use of any content on this website without first obtaining the express written consent of Soula.

7. Where content on this website is provided by persons other than Soul a then that content is deemed to be owned by the person providing it and is protected by Australian and International copyright laws.

8. Soula does not endorse any product, service or treatment notwithstanding that it may be contained in this website. Any reference to a specific product, service or treatment is for information purposes only.

9. These Terms and Conditions are governed by the laws of the State of Victoria and all Federal laws of Australia.


You agree:

I. That no legal or fiduciary relationship is created between you and Soula as a result of you browsing and viewing content on this website; and

2. To release and indemnify and keep Soula released and indemnified from and against any loss, damage, cost or expense suffered or incurred by you as a direct or indirect result of any information contained in this website.

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Definitions of pain

What is Pudendal Neuralgia (PN)?
Most simply put PN is Carpal Tunnel in the pelvis/buttocks. Compression of the Pudendal Nerve occurs after trauma to the pelvis and is aggravated with pressure. The pain is often described as a toothache like pain, with spasms, sensations of tingling, numbness, or burning. It can be very debilitating.

What is Neuropathic pain?
Neuropathic pain is the result of an injury or malfunction in the peripheral or central nervous system. The pain is often triggered by an injury, but this injury may or may not involve actual damage to the nervous system. More…

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