Fight, flight or freeze?

  • Thread starter krlovesherkids777
  • Start date

Which anxiety or trauma response is your go to at the dentist?

  • Fight

    Votes: 5 14.7%
  • Flight

    Votes: 12 35.3%
  • Freeze

    Votes: 24 70.6%

  • Total voters
    34
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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For myself and whoever else out there that has been through trauma dental and otherwise, many times in the chair a trauma response kicks in .

Fight , flight or Freeze?

For me, I either freeze, which could be stay quiet, dissociate , just be compliant.. or I flight.. I will take off to the bathroom, and depending how bad it is.. I may not come back. Its been a long time for that one though. Thankfully no flights for a while. If I feel in a safe place with safe people I don't feel the need to take off so much so I'm thankful for that recently.

I also heard one interesting fact at shame group I went to , that shame is a trauma , so we react to shame , and dental shame as a trauma triggering these responses as well.

Of course I'm not a therapist or anything like this just going off experience , reading, and going to groups and such in my learnings.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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Could we delete this thread and start it again as a poll? It would be an interesting one :)!
 
krlovesherkids777

krlovesherkids777

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I was trying to figure out how to do that :p.. yes.. if you canhelp..:hug4:
 
S

SallyUK

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Oh my, trauma response is exactly what I have done and currently trying to break that (outside of dentistry as well) my current dental issues have triggered me badly and I’m not only upset at the dental issues it’s more about living with and managing trauma responses. My go to response has been freeze, currently it isn’t and I’m feeling every range of emotions, maybe for the first time. This might be good in some ways, dealing and processing differently but it’s horrible.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

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When you start a new thread, it should give you an option (right at the bottom) to "Post a Poll" :) (just above the green "Post thread" and blue "Preview" buttons). Can you see that :unsure:? (if not, I'll have to check the settings).

I did manage to add a poll to your existing thread (usually you can only create a poll when you first post a new thread) by creating a new poll and then merging the two threads (the joys of being an Administrator :grin:)
 
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kitkat

kitkat

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I freeze. It has actually been an area of disappointment for me. I have told myself over and over again that when I feel nervous, I will verbalize it to my dentist but I CAN’T! I go silent and I just cannot say the words. Luckily, I don’t really NEED to say it (she can already tell) but I feel weak not being able to say it out loud. The best I’ve done is admit to being scared when asked directly about it or put it in writing. I always thought that after being with her so long and not feeling ridiculed or judged would help me be more open about it but it doesn’t. It’s a real conflict for me because I actually want her to know and most of the time, I know that she already knows but I cannot and will not say it! I think embarrassment about my fear holds me back more than anything. I don’t freeze as much as I used to (I did during my last appointment because I had not needed any work for some time but my dentist broke through that with me in the first 5 or 10 minutes and had me at least chatting with her about non-dental things). The big difference is I will stop treatment if I need to now and I would not have done that at the beginning of my journey. In the beginning, my dentist actually had to tell me that it was okay to stop her because I wouldn’t, even if I was in obvious pain. It honestly did not occur to me that I could or should which is crazy to me when I look back at it but I was about 15 at that time and I think I perceived her as an “authority figure.” Also, I was used to painful treatment and thought that was just a part of it which is kinda sad (no wonder I’m phobic! :rolleyes:).
 
Enarete

Enarete

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I can see myself in all of them.

Thinking back of my first visits I was hardly able to talk or to move or to react, once being in the chair I would just zone out and take whatever comes, so that was my freeze.

At the same time, during my initial visits and sadly still I regularly jump out of the chair and run to the normal chair. During the first about five visits this happened any time my dentist tried to have a chat with me while I was sitting in the chair. I later figured out it was because of the proximity, I just couldn't bear a dentist sitting right to my side while being in the chair. Once we agreed for him to roll more to my feet rather than sitting right next to me, I was able to stay seated. Currently this jumping our only happens when I get triggered by something discussed - it can be a word or right after a treatment if my anxiety gets too high. I once even run out of the surgery and out of the practice in the middle of our chat (I told my dentist I would come back though) as he mentioned a procedure that I couldn't even bear hearing. So that's my flight.

I also see myself fighting sometimes.. verbally. When I get really worried and hopeless, my voice gets faster and higher and I feel like arguing to some degree. Doesn't happen often fortunately and I can stop it very quickly, but I see the pattern there. So that would be my fight.
 
T

Thephilsblogbar

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I suffer from anxiety and been told about the flight fright mode my therapist and group sessions lots of time.

I am due to go the dentist in a couple of weeks time for my appointments, I hate my teeth, but got my mum going next time as she got an appointment on the same day
 
S

Scared all the time

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For me I’ve done both recently. When they first mentioned extraction I just want out of the chair. Then I started fighting for save it then I just froze due to fear of more issues due to the infection I just complied. I’m a complicated person lol
 
kitkat

kitkat

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Early on in my younger/teen years, I think I would have been a flight but my mother was guarding the exits so that wasn't a viable option :whistle::innocent:.
 
thedogdemon

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As a kid during my very first dentist experience? It was freeze! I was crying I remember not cause of a mean dentist or mean people at all. I was scared of the stuff I heard from people at school and such. Eye doctor with the eye drops? Fight! I remember being physically restrained to get those pesky drops! As an adult for both? I don't do any of it anymore, but do feel like I wanna give a freeze response with the extraction news possibly. :(
 
Sol

Sol

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Freeze is the primary one. Have a hard time articulating what I want to say or just get stuck nodding "yes" to everything. At it's worse, I physically freeze and can't signal at all.

Only remember the flight feeling once. It was the first time I went to the dentist after not having been in about a decade. The second I crossed the threshold for the office, the butterfly feeling in my stomach started and the thought crossed my mind to turn around at leave. Instead of leaving, I stood at the entry. Must have waited a moment too long. One of the ladies at the front desk saw me and walked over to get my paperwork then showed me to the waiting area. :innocent:
 
C

carelessly_pessimistic

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Another freezer here. Unfortunately I appear calm and in control, and even have a normal heart rate. I finally started confessing my anxiety to my clinic staff. Unfortunately it seems to have elicited no change in their behavior, and certainly no willingness to work with me around it. It has been incredibly frustrating and stressful.
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Another freezer here. Unfortunately I appear calm and in control, and even have a normal heart rate. I finally started confessing my anxiety to my clinic staff. Unfortunately it seems to have elicited no change in their behavior, and certainly no willingness to work with me around it. It has been incredibly frustrating and stressful.

This sounds really frustrating. I realized that in social situations people often react to what they see instead of what information they have so if you appear calm (I’m the same), it will be difficult for the person to calm you down or reassure you, because they literally see a calm person. From what you write, however, it sounds like they are somewhat stubborn generally, not because of your not displaying fear?
 
Catie McBain

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I'm actually a combination of all three. And although I'm hesitant to admit it, one of the reasons why people don't want to treat me is because I panic so badly that I become violent if I can't escape.

I have gone into flight mode, screaming, crying and running from the building. I even did this a couple months ago when a friend of mine took me to the emergency room and they wanted to do blood tests. I just flat out ran, made it into the parking lot then started screaming, collapsed and started crying on the ground.

Sometimes I freeze up and can't move, speak or breathe. This is awful because it makes me feel like I'm suffocating. Then I hyperventilate when I can finally breathe again, and then I just start wailing and crying hysterically until they back off and leave me alone.

If someone touches me or tries to do anything while I'm frozen or trying to run, this activates fight mode. This is why it took five people trying to hold me down for a blood test, because I will fight, I will hit, kick and scream in order to escape. My fear is so intense that it's like I lose all control. Which is why I've been known to vomit in these situations. Panic overwhelms everything and I just have a complete breakdown.

Obviously I'm not proud of these moments. There isn't much I can do about it at this point, so I've just stopped trying. I've gone into complete avoidance mode, and that works for me, it works for them. I just remove myself from the situation and everyone is happy.
 
Enarete

Enarete

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Obviously I'm not proud of these moments. There isn't much I can do about it at this point, so I've just stopped trying. I've gone into complete avoidance mode, and that works for me, it works for them. I just remove myself from the situation and everyone is happy.

I'm so sorry to read this, Catie. It doesn't sound like everyone is happy in this situation - you certainly are not, but I see how it looks like there is no other option than avoidance. The thing that makes me the most sad is that you seem to feel responsible for how you react, it sounds like it's something that you have done wrong. But looking at this closer, it looks like a trigger that sets this off. It seems to me that it's a symptom rather than a behavior that comes from you. I see how severe this looks like and not sure what you tried in the past, but still believe that with a proper plan and a good cooperation with professionals there may be options to tackle it, if you ever felt like doing so.
 
B

buffgirl23

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Well, I'm 62 years old.. bad dental visits as a child...
Unfortunately, I tend to go off on the dentist, especially when not enough novacaine is used.. told him it was worse than "marathon Man" because he would... not... stop... drilling
 
A

anxious teen

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I'm mainly a flight person but will freeze if it's not an option
 
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