Why "71º & Sunny?"

I consider 71º to be the perfect temperature. Not too cold and not too hot. I also love perfect sunny days. The vast majority of days are not 71º & Sunny and yet, all days were created by God's hand and they are still gifts, even if they don't fit my ridiculous definition of perfection. My struggle with OCD has at times imprisoned me in an impossible attempt to achieve perfection. I'm now learning to love all kinds of days that don't even come close to 71º & Sunny.

Please leave me a comment below. I really want to know what you are thinking!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Date With The Dentist

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.

12 comments:

  1. Oh, I'm sorry you have this fear! I am not a big fan of going to the dentist, but I have to go faithfully every 6 months because of really thin enamel. I've had so much dental work done. I used to get really nervous and scared, too. Oddly, I wanted to get the appointment over with as soon as possible, so I would stress more if I couldn't get an appointment right away.

    I recently had my regular checkup and I was still a little nervous. My teeth are very sensitive, so some of the dental instruments hurt. But I try to remember to breath and actually focus on what is going on, even the discomfort. That seems to help me.

    I'll be thinking of you--you'll get through this! And how kind of your hubs to go with you. :-)

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    1. Yes, he was very sweet to go with me. I'm glad you are able to get through your appointments. It's probably very wise that you schedule your appointments quickly. Less chance for anticipatory anxiety to take hold. Thanks for thinking of me!

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  2. You are not alone in your fear, Monique, I have had this fear for years. The good thing is that with the advanced technology the pain is less and things go more smoothly today than they did say 30 years ago. Sending you a hug.

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    1. Thanks for the hug, Linda! Sorry you struggle with this too. You make a really good point though, things are definitely less painful than they used to be.

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  3. Not my last appointment, but the one before that I was anxious about going as well. I had a cavity that I'd had for a looong time and was worried about that especially. But it was fine and I got my teeth cleaned and made an appointment for the cavity and got it filled. And "dental anxiety" is a thing too if that makes you feel any better.

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    1. I suspect that dental anxiety is pretty common, considering that now "sedation dentistry" is pretty common. I actually like my dentist, which is why I stay with him. I'm glad things worked out for you! I worry that if I have cavities, they will turn really bad and I'll need a root canal. Talk about catastrophizing!

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  4. Oh honey, I'm sorry! I am praying for you tonight!

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  5. Sorry, Sunny. Here's to hoping the anticipation is way worse than the actual visit and that you wake up feeling peaceful about it tomorrow. I avoided the dentist for another OCD reason...for two years...so I understand. Will be praying for you tonight...keep us updated!

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    1. Oh I'm sorry, C! There can be all kinds of different reasons why we might avoid the same thing! Thank you so much for the prayers!

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  6. Oh, Sunny, I think we all feel like frightened children in certain situations. You're allowed! I hope the anticipation was worse than the appointment. I'm guessing that's the case. I'm thinking of you!

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    1. Really? Other grown-ups feel like that too, sometimes? How bout that. Interesting.

      Thanks for the thoughts, Janet!

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