Oh boy. Tomorrow I have to go to a terrible appointment. A dental cleaning. I know, sounds silly, huh? Unfortunately, it's not silly to me. I have a massive dental phobia that has only grown worse as the years have gone on. The irony is that my psychologist once told me that dental phobia is one of the easiest phobias to treat. Of course, the treatment sure isn't fun. She suggested that I go online and watch any video I could of people in the dentist's chair, or pictures and videos of dental drills, etc. She also suggested that I drive to my dentist's office and hang out in the parking lot, then maybe after a few days of that, go into the building, then a few days later maybe just hang out in the waiting room for a while. Essentially, she wanted me to expose myself to all of these scary things for a while each day until I felt the anxiety go down. You know, good old fashioned Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).
Do you think I've done that? Nope. So my anxiety has increased (like it always does when I don't purposefully confront it). Because of that I have been putting off my cleaning for a long time. I'm too embarrassed to tell you how long! I now suspect that I have a cavity. I have very soft enamel and I've always had gum problems, so this turn of events is not exactly shocking. I have to deal with this, but I'm so s-s-s-scared. I finally had to ask my husband to call the office for me and set up an appointment. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. He did call this morning and managed to get me an appointment for tomorrow. I can't believe it, because my dentist's office is always booked for weeks.
So early tomorrow morning (I'm not a morning person, so this should be doubly fun) my husband will accompany me to the appointment. And he will sit in the room with me. Yep, I'm 45 years old and I need my husband to sit in the dentist's office with me. Sigh. Living with anxiety/OCD is certainly a humbling experience. You're in a grown-up's body, but it feels like you have the mind of a frightened child.