Biting Down On Anxiety

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I suddenly had a mild spell of anxiety tonight. My “big thing” this week is something out of the ordinary, so my anxiety is automatically raised to a higher level.

I have a dentist’s appointment.

I have never liked the dentist. Who does? I had braces for about ten months when I was in middle school, and one time one of the assistants made a mistake and ended up slicing up into my gum with a sharp tool. Ow. Another time the Novocaine made me feel super sick and I ended up throwing up into a plastic bag on the drive home. If I even thought about the taste of the cleaning paste, my stomach would turn. My most recent toothy adventure was probably my wisdom tooth surgery, which in itself was fine, since I was passed out. I did however have some continuing pain and kept bleeding, so I went back in to get it checked out. The dentist, who I was not familiar with, poked and prodded around, and ended up jamming an instrument directly into my socket, causing me to literally gasp with pain. When my mouth was freed, I asked what the deal was, and he chirped, “Oh, you have dry socket.” Thanks for the head’s up.

So the dentist isn’t something I look forward to. I’m always paranoid that something is horribly wrong with my teeth, and since I’ve recently been discovering all these things I’m allergic to (artificial sweeteners, sodium nitrates in processed meats), my gums have been suffering the consequences, since apparently the manifestation of any allergy is horrendous gum itching. I have had one cavity in my life. I’ve got to be due for another one soon, and it has been like two years since my last cleaning.

I’m anxious about driving there, even though it’s extremely easy. I’m worried that there will be ice on the road and since our car is not made for Minnesota winter, I’m worried it will skid off into oblivion the second I tap the brake (that has happened, though I obviously came back from oblivion). I’m anxious about finding a parking spot, even though the lot is quite large and there probably won’t be that many cars there at 10am on a Wednesday. I’m anxious about the paperwork. Did it go through? Do they accept our insurance, since I technically gave them the wrong one when I made the appointment? How much will it end up costing? What if there isn’t enough money on the card? I even get anxious about leaving the appointment. I don’t feel relieved until I am in the apartment. There is the time I got nervous driving and made it successfully to the bus stop where I dropped off two friends, I was relieved then, and moments later, got into the car accident that shattered my nerves for months to come. That experience taught me to never relax, even after the anxiety-producing situation is over and home is on the horizon.

Writing down my anxiety is supposed to help. It puts things unto paper and I’m supposed to be able to see how each negative thought is not based in reality and it then loses its power. We’ll see. I’ve still got some days to struggle with this beast.

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One thought on “Biting Down On Anxiety

  1. All the best for your appointment. Going to the dentist is really scary. I hate lying/sitting in that chair with all of the focus on me. I managed to avoid going to the dentist last year by just putting it off again and again but I worry about my teeth so I will go this year! I just have to walk about 5 minutes down the road to my dentist so I really have no excuse!

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