• Dental Phobia Support

    Welcome! This is an online support group for anyone who is very afraid of dentistry or who suffers with dental phobia. Please note that this is NOT a general dental forum! You can find a list of them here.

    Register now to access all the features of the forum.

Here goes. Wish me luck, I'll need it.

T

Thisishard

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
42
Here I sit. At night, tired and scared. I suffer anxiety and depression and frankly I am sick of it. 50 years old and most of that time, 30 years, has been spent with an unrelenting feeling of dread. Doctors, elevators, vacations, air travel, and (of course) dentists. You name it and I break into a cold sweat. Not much of a way to live really. The fear of doctors and dentists is the worst. I know I should go, and when I don't, I feel guilty and fearful.


I set a goal to break thru this veil of fear and at least try, to see if I could live normally. Funny thing, "normal", I do not have much experience with it, but it seems like a reasonable goal. The path to normal, has seen me make a doctors appointment, first in 10 years. That actually went fine. I found out, I am in pretty decent shape for middle aged, stressed out, hypertensive male. I took an on line course for air travel, and successfully completed a couple of trips. Now I have a dental appointment for Monday morning. I have not been for many years. I brush, floss and rinse several times a day, and presently do not have much pain. The occasional twinge. I am totally freaked out. Frankly, I would rather ride an elevator, in a plane, over the ocean to a medical convention.


Over the course of the last 9 months I have made and canceled 5 different appointments. I do pay for them if I wait to long to cancel. That gets expensive. I think I have found a good dentist. Since I made the appointment I have visited the office several times, just to get used to it. They are always welcoming and the dentist has actually come out to talk to me twice. They specialize in patients like me. Just needed to tell someone and I need a little support to get me through that door on Monday morning.


Thanks!
 
C

carriss

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 23, 2014
Messages
253
Location
Scotland
Hello and well done for making the appointment. Just concentrate on how you're going to feel after the appointment, the sense of achievement at taking control and feelings of relief. Good luck with it and let us know how you get on.
 
B

BioMan

Member
Joined
May 20, 2014
Messages
40
Location
UK
Well done for making that appointment :). It's really good that you have found a dentist who ''understands'' the way you feel - this will make everything easier tomorrow, when you venture into his office. I'm sure he will take things slowly until you feel as comfortable as you can. Best of Luck - you can do it - and will feel so much better when you have :).
 
carole

carole

Well-known member
Forum Buddy
Joined
Jan 5, 2012
Messages
7,629
Location
UK
C

CollegeBound

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 18, 2014
Messages
482
Location
Indiana, USA
One, I LOVE your writing style! You are very detailed and vivid. I like that!

Two, you are super brave for tackling all of your fears one at a time! That takes guts, and you probably have noticed a positive change in yourself mentally.

Three, you are going to be fine tomorrow. It sounds like you are on your way to a great start with your doctor-patient relationship. Something that helps me is to make a list of everything that I want/need to talk about, and then either email the dentist himself or talk about the list when I come for my appointment.

You can read my thread from September titled "Telling My Mom". You can also message me if you want to talk further. We are all pulling for you! :)
 
T

Thisishard

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
42
Good morning,

I knew I could count on this group. Thank you for your kind and encouraging replies. I am still freaked, but somehow feel that this appointment will work out. The office manager described this appointment as a meet and greet. They may take a quick look at the teeth to see how things are, maybe take X-rays. I suppose baby steps are better than no steps.

Anxiety is a difficult foe. One that simply refuses to quit, even when, or especially when, you are ready to throw in the towel. I had a friend say something that changed my out look on this. It seems trivial, almost silly, and I fear that writing it down well somehow diminish it; "So now you know what this feels like". In other words, he told me that I can not change anything, even the feelings of anxiety. But, I can learn from them, accept them for what they are, and move on. What choice?

Hopefully tomorrow I well make it to that appointment, and once again learn what it feels like to be fearful, sweaty, unable to talk. Hopefully, I well also get to experience a little relief.

Thanks again.
 
B

Betty77

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 28, 2010
Messages
157
Good Luck and well done for making that appointment.
I know exactly how you feel, fellow anxiety and depression sufferer and dental phobic here.
 
FearfulInMA

FearfulInMA

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 14, 2012
Messages
2,166
Location
Massachusetts, USA
Good luck tomorrow. Your friend's words are wise ones. My guess is that you will feel a huge amount of relief after your appointment even if the news is not all puppies and roses. You will have a plan and know what you need to do next.

Best of luck to you!
 
M

Mugz

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 21, 2014
Messages
1,039
Location
Anywhere but "The Chair"
Wishing you luck, Thisis!

WOW. I think you are already a lot further down the road of progress than maybe you realize. Perhaps if you could see yourself how others see you. I am in awe of your courage and determination. I sincerely am. For several reasons. Despite this overwhelming anxiety, you have managed to see beyond it and acknowledge that there is a physical need to change for multiple reasons, your oral health and your emotional well being. Knowing that and actually doing something about it are two different things. You've taken physical steps, made actual PROGRESS, by choosing a doctor, driving there multiple times, not just drive-bys or stalking-lot visits, you've actually gotten out of the car, gone in and talked to people INCLUDING THE DENTIST....TWICE??!! All of this before your actual appointment??? WOW. You WILL conquer this....I kinda think you're more than half-way there. Yes, there are certainly barriers and triggers when it comes to receiving treatment but YOUR determination and sheer will have already gotten you through the door (which is HUGE) and hopefully tomorrow into the chair and the right hands specifically trained to help guide you with the next steps in the most positive, peaceful and painless way possible.

Jasmine and I are also going to appointments tomorrow, Spike will be on Tuesday so you have good company and some "appointment buddies" and cyberhands to hold if you find that comforting. I know it helps me to know there are others sending strength and good thoughts to me at the time I need it the most....and we will all be doing the same for you tomorrow....and looking for your success story and sigh of relief that the first appointment is OVER!!! Hang in there....you've got this!!!
 
T

Thisishard

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
42
Good Morning,

Well I woke up this morning with just a tad bit of anxiety, well maybe just a bit more than a tad. Seeing as I woke up at 12:30 am, 2:00 am, 2:30 am........ You get the picture. By 6:30 am I figured it was time to get up and get ready. I thought I was pretty calm as I went about the morning routine. I realized that my calm feeling was something of a facade, when I tried to plug my iPad into the charger. I could not get my hands steady enough to actually plug the blessed thing in.

Well I guess it just came down this; I can skip this appointment and spend the rest of my life surrounded by fear and anxiety, and have it kick my butt forever, or I could just fight my way out and hope for the best. I choose the latter. I got in the car, turned on some Grateful Dead, loudly, and went. That was a long 2 mile drive. I sat in the car for just a second to collect my thoughts and The Dead, as they so often do, offered up this little bit of wisdom, just as I turned off the car:

"I ain't often right
but I've never been wrong

It seldom turns out the way
it does in the song
Once in a while
you get shown the light
in the strangest of places
if you look at it right"

So with that nugget running around in my head, I went in. I met the hygienist and doctor. They talked about how the appointments proceed and what the X-rays are like, etc. They are so calm and friendly that I felt badly about my feelings of fear. So I have an appointment, on the 8th, with a prescription for anti-anxiety meds and just a little bit of hope, and sometimes, in order to continue the fight, a little bit of hope is all you need.

I want to thank all of you for your words of support. I am not totally sure I would have gone without them. I hope that Jasmine, Mugz, and Spike all have successful appointments today. Best of luck.

Thanks.
 
carole

carole

Well-known member
Forum Buddy
Joined
Jan 5, 2012
Messages
7,629
Location
UK
WhooooooooooooHoooooooooooooooo way to go :superman::superman::superman::butterfly:

Glad it went well for you :jump::jump::jump:
 
M

Mugz

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 21, 2014
Messages
1,039
Location
Anywhere but "The Chair"
Well, look at you!!! You accomplished another goal!! You're rackin' 'em up, aren't you???? On Wednesday you're going to hit some Trifecta, I feel sure of it :)! I can't help but admire your optimism and how courageous you are.

If you don't mind me asking, how do you channel that courage or willpower you have? Specifically, how do you teach yourself to FEEL what you THINK? I can rationalize why I should act a certain way or do a certain thing all day long but if I can't make myself feel it in my heart, am emotionally not engaged or "behind it", the fear wins every time. That may make no sense...sorry if I'm babbling. I am very tired and have a tendency to overthink (and overbabble). Maybe that is just a difference in how people operate. I don't know. I'm an artist, definitely more emotional, creative, feeling less concrete, black and white, mathematic...not that that has a thing to do with teaching yourself to be brave. I'm just curious. I think we can learn lots from the success of others on the site.
 
T

Thisishard

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
42
Hello,

Thank you for the kind words. Thing is, I don't see the events of the last few days as much of an accomplishment. I have made strides forward, to be sure. I used to change lanes when driving by a dental office, just to get further away. I am not kidding. Now I can walk in. I have actually passed out in a doctors office before, not because of some ailment. I quite literally got so tense I forgot to breathe. Kind of funny in retrospect, but a bit scary, at the time. The reality is, I have yet to actually sit in the chair and have an exam/ cleaning. I have worked up to this point over the course of years. Therapy, medications, lots of research have helped me get to a point where I feel I might have half a chance of success. I have spent yet another virtually sleepless night awake with anxiety. You see, it is not courage or some rational process that got me here. It is fear. Fear of the future. I guess at some point I decided that I might as well try to do these things, such as family vacations, doctors, dentists. If the future is going to happen anyway, I might as well try to do things that well make it better. Sorry if my answer does not make sense, I am really tired. I guess, all any of us can do, is try.

Thanks.
 
C

carriss

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 23, 2014
Messages
253
Location
Scotland
Well done! Good luck on 8th. You can do it - you've already proven you can.
 
S

ScaredyCat22

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 14, 2014
Messages
1,326
Congratulations on making the appointment and showing up for it. Good luck to you on the 8th.
 
T

Thisishard

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
42
Hello,

I just went back and visited the office again. The staff was great as ever. Talked to me about tooth brushes, holidays, etc. Anything to keep me talking. The dentist swung by and gave me a big thumbs up. I am still wound up like a top, but I am keeping the cadence up. I guess this game is won, just one step at a time. It is really great to have this group to talk to. Few people understand that the anxiety is real. I do have a prescription for anti-anxiety meds, so that should help with the actual appointment. My question is how do you deal with the aftermath. I am not so naive, that I think everything is going to turn out roses and puppies. I do not have anything specific I am worried about. The occasional twinge here and there, but nothing constant. When I look at my teeth they seem OK. I guess I just have a bad case of the "What Ifs". After a life time of chronic "treatment resistant depression/anxiety", I know that you can only run with the anxiety meter in the red for so long. I suppose I should have seen my regular doctor before hand to talk about options. Oh well, thanks for listening.

Thanks.
 
FearfulInMA

FearfulInMA

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jun 14, 2012
Messages
2,166
Location
Massachusetts, USA
Can you say more about what you mean by 'the aftermath'? Are you worried about what you will hear about the condition of your teeth and what needs to be done?

You've done amazingly well by making a plan and sticking to it! Whatever treatment you've had for anxiety/depression is serving you very well now as you seem to have a remarkable ability to 'fake it 'till you make it'. Even though you don't feel like you've made so much progress, you really have... You're just going to need to trust all of us on that one.

If it's the 'not knowing' and 'what-ifs' that are making you anxious, please trust that this is the most difficult part. Once you know, you can make a plan to deal with it... And you've already shown that you are very good at making plans and following through even when things get difficult.

Hang in there!
 
M

Mugz

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 21, 2014
Messages
1,039
Location
Anywhere but "The Chair"
Fearful is right-you're very good at making plans and following thru even when things get difficult. I think the fact that you've found a practice well versed in dealing with patients "reluctant" to be there, shall we say, and "concerned" about what - if anything - lies ahead and are willing to go slowly, work at your pace is a huge key to immediate and continued future success.

It is so strange how this kind of situation can trigger such heightened anxiety in so many and such variety in what we can and cannot get thru or tolerate before, during and even after as well as behavior and demeanor etc. For example you have to force yourself to go in to the office a few days and while I can get there, I can't sit in the chair. Cant handle any noise, mostly drills. I've stood in the exam room the last 2 times I was seen. I do not have any other phobias or anxiety issues or didn't...till my daughter was suddenly hospitalized for 2+ weeks and my mom right afer my daughter was discharged. Facing my worst fear (only child very ill) and getting a parent's "affairs in order" is awful then add the first visit to the dentist in a decade and my "anxiety meter" is way in the red...and MAXED OUT! I really connected to your analogy. Thanks for sharing your story and solutions or what you're trying... It is inspiring, even if you can't imagine how.
 
B

Betty77

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 28, 2010
Messages
157
You are doing great.
 
T

Thisishard

Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
42
Hello,

First off, Mugz, I pray that everything is ok with your kid. Sounds like you were going thru a rough patch. I also have children and I having one of them sick is really a nightmare. Again, I will be sending good thoughts.

FearfulinMA, you asked what I meant about the "aftermath". Without going into details regarding the cocktail of chemical reactions that constitute the brains normal reaction to stress. The majority of which I do not understand anyway. The normal bio-chemical feed back loop, that allows us to react to physically dangerous situations, usually works really well. You sense a threat, a group of structures (part of the endocrine system)in the base of the brain release a series of chemicals that start a cascade of reactions, culminating in the the ability to "run like hell", or fight like heck. When the threat is gone you are either return to normal biological function or you are aiding someone else's (ie. Your some someone's lunch). There are well substantiated hypothesis that conclude that folks with Anxiety disorders have endocrine systems that react to external events even when there is no real threat. Furthermore, it seems that some suffers have systems that do not self regulate back to normal in a timely manner, or sometimes, ever. In short, a long term, high intensity panic attack. It appears, I fall into this group. And I'll do anything to stay out of that state. I have spent years finding methods to reduce the effects of this situation. I have done fairly well, I just do not want to push so hard, that I end up back in that damn hole. I know I can make it, just stay positive, have a plan, and adjust the plan as needed.

Thanks.
 

Similar threads

K
Replies
3
Views
2K
angel123
A
P
Replies
5
Views
3K
McHobbit
M
J
Replies
25
Views
6K
Saveme
S
Top