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Gretchen Molannen shares sex disorder story and then commits suicide

7:25 PM, Dec 5, 2012   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- Gretchen Molannen told her intensely personal story to the Tampa Bay Times, through both a video and in print.

The article detailing Molannen's 16-year struggle with Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD) was both captivating and heartbreaking. 

"I had no idea that other people were going through this. I wish I could have told my mom," Molannen says tearfully in a video posted on the paper's website.

PGAD causes near constant sexual arousal. Molannen found it debilitating. She couldn't work or sustain relationships. The 39-year-old's despair was so deep that she told the newspaper that she'd considered taking her own life. 

"I think about suicide all the time," she said.

On Saturday, those words proved hauntingly prophetic as Molannen was found dead in her home. She'd taken her own life. The Hernando County Sheriff's Office has not yet provided details about the case.

At the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, more than a thousand times a year, counselors take calls from people considering suicide and they can help. 

"Here at the Crisis Center, actually, our mission statement is to provide individuals with help, hope and healing," says the center's Sylvia Acevedo. "So hopelessness is something she was dealing with I imagine."

If you are in crisis and considering suicide call 911 or 211 for help.

During her struggle, Molannen had contacted a PGAD support group. Reached by phone today, Founder Jeannie Allen says most everyone in the group has at one time or another considered suicide. So Allen says they understand, but that doesn't lessen the pain of this young woman's choice.

"Everybody's just devastated and can't believe this has happened," said Allen, her voice breaking with emotion.

And if anything good can come from this tragic chain of events, Allen says it would be more awareness about this disorder and more research to cure it.

And Molannen's story is already sparking calls for change. An online petition drive has been started asking the Social Security Administration to recognize PGAD as a disability.

Friends have also started an online fundraiser to pay for Molannen's burial. She wanted to be laid to rest in Wisconsin next to her father's grave.

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