Monday, October 15, 2007

What am I afraid of?

The question makes me weary. It makes me know that he person asking has no clue what I go through some days. It makes me crawl in a nice private hole, preferably a warm and dark hole with plenty of chocolate nearby!

Anxiety disorder isn't so much about fear. Doesn't everybody get a little nervous when they are scheduled for a dentist exam? Not me! There's no "little" about it. My body goes into overdrive. I have sleepless nights filled with meaningless obsessive thoughts, perpetually clenched jaw, grumpiness, jumpiness, impulse control issues.

I know the dentist. He is a kind, gentle soft-spoken man. I know that he will not intentionally harm me even a little bit. I know that he will find lots of damage because I have not had a regular dentist since I was in high school, twenty years ago. He might scold me, but I'll survive the embarassment of that. He will undoubtedly schedule follow-up visits: a hassle, to be sure! I realize that none of this is worth the energy my body and mind put into it. It will happen, it is the best thing for me, and life will go on. Unfortunately I don't know what I'm scared of - why I "freak out" at the thought of the dentist. Why do I dread it so much that physical and emotional reactions have me practically immobilized? Why can't I find a shred of normalcy in my brain this morning?

I have worked very hard to hide my anxiety attacks from my daughter, but surely they do not go unnoticed. The last thing I want her to think is that this is normal or rational behavior. She enjoys doctor visits just as she would any other outing. I hope for her sake, this "disorder" is not in any way genetic.


wfg said...

was the appointment today? How did it go? Are you ok?

Topher said...

I know I get more worked up than I should over dentistry... though, with 18 teeth having been pulled, two root canals, three crowns, and countless cavities having been filled, I like to think for me that it's a rational Pavlovian response. Though the more I think about it, having had the regular interaction I have had may be why I don't go further in my apprehension; I've gotten to know dentistry a little too well, but it's lost it's mystique just the same. Then again, that could also have something to do with the fact that I save whatever painkillers I can after I've gotten a prescription for them, to be used at a dental appointment down the road... heh.

Otherwise, what wfg said... when was/is it, and how did it go if it's in the past tense now....