I know I talk a lot about my journey in terms of body positivity, but my experience today is technically unrelated. I hope you’ll bear with me while I go down a totally different, maybe even weird, path.
I have a horrific Dental Phobia. Every one asks if I had some horrible experience, and I can emphatically say, no. (If you don’t count some interesting experiences with having braces in High School.) For some reason, I am thoroughly convinced that during a dental procedure someone is going to drop something into my throat. I am going to be unable to breath and die.
Yes, I have consulted a mental health professional.
Well, today I had my first root canal. I’ve been crying the last couple days, and in general terror. Even though the rational part of me knew I was going to be okay, the anxiety-girl in me was 85% sure I was going to die.
I even wrote one of those “in case I die letters” yesterday. It took some of the edge off. I also took some sick pleasure in some of the contents. I give you the first paragraph:
“If you are finding this, then you are discovering I wasn’t crazy. This is the only time in this whole thing I’m going to gloat about that. Congratulations world, you ignored my fear of dying in a dentist chair. And that’s how I went. Thanks.”
Please tell me that’s funny. I’m laughing about it right now. #darkhumor
I’m sure you’ve figured how it turned out. I’m typing with a mouth that kinda aches, and a heart that is still beating. So, why am I bothering you with this startling confession of my own out-of-control anxiety?
We all have fears. Some of them are completely rational, some of them are absolutely fucking insane. Sometimes facing our fears is as much about the build up to the event as it is about the event itself. Finding the courage and strength to step past that point of no return and to do something incredibly scary is a wonderful thing. Okay, for me maybe not incredible in the actual sense. I spent an hour and a half in a dentist chair. I did get to listen to a podcast. It was about politics. I’d say that’s ironic, but I think the two go together really well.
But, I’m on the other side, and I feel incredibly empowered. I realize now that all the tears, and sleepless nights, and general anxiety were worse than the actual process itself. And, maybe, I can take on some other things that absolutely scare me. My list is long, and not very distinguished. But, the one that has been popping in my head this afternoon is my new years resolution to do stand-up comedy. People say I can be pretty funny, but, I’m scared. Not as scared as choking on a dental drill, but nonetheless.
I faced my fears today. I pushed through the hyperventilation, tears, and inability to sleep. It wasn’t easy. But, boy was it worth it. Of course, my mouth is going to feel better. This has given me a sense of strength I didn’t quite feel before. I have officially lived past my self-imposed expiration date. It’s empowering to think of all the other things I can survive.
So, from one scared girl to another, you got this. Let’s face our next fear!