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Hit the panic button and there's still a week to go

The1701

The1701

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Well I have had 2 sessions of cleaning and so far so good, third one coming up in a week from now and I am already hitting the panic button. The problem with this next session is that work will be done on an area I am very sensitive about (psychologically sensitive that is - not worried about physical pain), the dentist knows this and knows why but I am still REALLY worried I am going to make an eejit of myself by having a panic attack and I will undo all the good work to date. I know I am being daft as I trust this dentist, they know the reason for my phobia they know what happened the last time I was at a dentist 20 years ago and they know why but still I am having nightmares, bad thoughts and generally getting myself seriously wound up and with another week to go I am going to be a mess by the time I get there and a greater risk of flipping out.

I'm trying to keep busy with work, walking to calm down (despite the dodgy British weather) and have even taken up crochet to keep my mind off things but I keep drifting and I don't know how to hold on for another week.
 
The1701

The1701

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Just had a text reminder for my appointment, feel very scared now. :cry:
 
A

Afaridnomore

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Apr 3, 2015
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Just had a text reminder for my appointment, feel very scared now. :cry:

I know how you feel I hate that message! Good Luck the thought is a lot worse! Just take deep breaths. Treat yourself to something nice after.

Best Wishes.
 
The1701

The1701

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Thank you Afraidnomore, I am driving myself mad with the worry that I am going to make a fool of myself on the day by having a panic attack. I know I am just being paranoid about it as the first 2 appointments have been fine so there's no reason why this should be any different but this did happen before - I had lots of work done between the ages of 16 and 19 and then one day I freaked out before any treatment had even started, I left the surgery and never went back. I really can't let that happen again!
 
Sevena

Sevena

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I used to suffer badly from a panic disorder, and that circular fear of panic attacks is something I'm familiar with. You get so worried over the idea of having a panic attack that you make yourself panic. It's not fun.

Just remember, even if you actually do have one at the dentist, it's not a big deal. It won't last forever, and the dentist will have seen people in every state of distress you can imagine, crying, wailing, hyperventilating, gibbering nonsensically at them...all of it. In fact, one time when I had a panic attack at a dental hospital, and assistant said to me, "don't worry, I've had panic attacks too", which reminded me that oh yeah, the staff are human too.

Just let the dentist know you are feeling a bit extra nervous this time around, and ask for a little break if you feel yourself getting panicky. But like you said, it will probably be fine!

It's nice to meet a fellow Scot. The weather has been awful recently, hasn't it?
 
The1701

The1701

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Edinburgh
Thank you Sevena, you are right in that the worry of having a panic attack is now causing panic.

I'm sure you are right that the dentist will have seen it all before but my parents were always telling me not to cry - my Mum said only babies cry and my Dad always told me that showing you are scared gave people power over you so you should always put on a brave face. I've always tried my best not to let anyone know I'm scare but I am struggling now and don't think I can keep it up.

I did tell the dentist that I was sensitive about these particular teeth at my last appointment and he suggested we leave them until next time which was a relief but next time will be here in a few days time and I was hoping I would be calmer by now.

The weather has been a nightmare these last few days but the Fringe Festival is starting soon so that will be fun and the weather will not spoil it :)
 
Sevena

Sevena

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Your parents are wrong. :p I'm sure they're lovely and I'm not trying to insult them, it's just that that way of thinking is very old fashioned and it harms people when they feel shamed like they have to repress everything. It's the same kind of thinking that feeds the mental health stigma we're trying to dismantle nowadays. That's not to say you can just get over it. Hearing that from your parents ingrains it pretty deeply, and you can't change the way your mind works overnight, so I'm not trying to shame you for feeling that way. It's totally understandable. I just don't want you to feel ashamed if you do show your fear at the dentist. Besides, having a panic attack doesn't make you a coward - in fact, going to the dentist when you have a phobia makes you pretty damn brave, and crying in the dentist chair doesn't change that at all.

How are you feeling about the appointment now?

And you're lucky to live in Edinburgh. I've never been to the Fringe, but I've always wanted to go. It seems such fun. :)
 
The1701

The1701

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You are right, bottling up feelings doesn't help any but nor is it easy to change what I've been tought. In fairness to my folks it was better to not show fear where I used to live when a kid as it was a rough place and the weak were targeted as easy pickings as I was. Things are different now and I'm in a lovely neighbourhood which is far safer than where I was but I still act on old instincts, I just can't help it.

I do believe you are right though, it wouldn't be the end of the world if I did end up crying, I think I have got myself worked up into thinking it would be so embarrassing that I couldn't ever go back and it shouldn't be as you are right they've probably seen it before.

I guess I just need to be honest and not say everything is fine when it's not but that in itself is no easy task!

Thanks for your words of wisdom though, it is helping me see sense. I just need to act on the good advice.
 
The1701

The1701

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P.S. the Fringe is awesome, if you ever get a chance you should spend a day in Edinburgh during the Fringe, I love it!
 
Angeldove

Angeldove

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I do believe you are right though, it wouldn't be the end of the world if I did end up crying, I think I have got myself worked up into thinking it would be so embarrassing that I couldn't ever go back and it shouldn't be as you are right they've probably seen it before.
I was/am a first visit crier - I did so the very first time I ever went to a dentist as a kid (I knew I had a cavity and just BAWLED my eyes out - the poor dentist and my Mom had no clue what to do with me) and during my first visit back in March (poor hubby had to sit there wiping tears out of my eyes I was so tense). Neither time was the dentist a jerk to me - they were both really sweet and caring about it.

You will not be the first patient that cries in front of them if it happens. And if they are a jerk to you about it (which I highly doubt they would be) then find a new dentist - you don't need to give them your business. ;)
 
T

Tink

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I do believe you are right though, it wouldn't be the end of the world if I did end up crying, I think I have got myself worked up into thinking it would be so embarrassing that I couldn't ever go back and it shouldn't be as you are right they've probably seen it before.

I guess I just need to be honest and not say everything is fine when it's not but that in itself is no easy task!
Yep, you're definitely right - just let it happen if it needs to! Your dentist will definitely have seen it before and I'm certain it won't bother them.

It may help you to keep in mind that it actually helps them if you are honest, and tell them when something is wrong. They want to know what's going on, otherwise they're having to guess what it is you need and how best to help you.

I have these sorts of problems too - I cry loads, but almost never in front of the dentist or any sort of medical person who is treating me (I've only properly cried on a professional like that twice in my life). It always makes me seem like I'm coping better than I am.



Something else that might help if you find that you can't express yourself:

A while ago I read something in a blog post that I found really helpful - it was talking about good questions for doctors to ask their patients, and one of them was "Is there anything you don't feel able to tell me?"

I have real trouble speaking up sometimes, so that really resonated with me - I told my dentist, and he put it in his notes…now when I go in, something pops up on his screen reminding him to ask me that question if he ever suspects that I'm not as ok as I seem. He says it's even ok if the answer is just "yes!!" and that's as far as I can get, at least he'll know that I'm not comfortable. Sometimes it works, sometimes I still can't say anything, but yeah, it's been really helpful.

For what it's worth, as my dentist has got to know me better, he's got more able to tell for himself when I'm not OK (I tend to go very quiet and withdrawn, which is not like me at all!) - so over time you will probably find that these sorts of problems get less, as you build up a relationship with your dentist. You will start to understand each other.
 
The1701

The1701

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Thank you Angeldove & Tink, I actually feel a little bit easier. I'm still nervous but starting to see sense now and realising that I have to own up to not being made of steel and that I just might cry but that's ok.

I know the dentist won't behave inappropriately as he reacted really when I explained how I ended up with a phobia so that's not an issue, I think it is merely foolish pride that's my problem now. Everyone thinks I'm a really strong and independent but I'm really not and I'd hate to let people down if they found out I'm a nervous wreck at times. I'm not very good at admitting when I'm struggling but I'm going to need to try to be honest as you are right they won't know how best to help me if I don't tell them.
 
Sevena

Sevena

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EVERYONE in the entire world is a nervous wreck sometimes! It doesn't mean you're not strong. There isn't a single person anywhere who never gets upset or nervous. The fact that you face your phobia and go to the dentist makes you strong. You need to give yourself some credit! :p
 
T

Tink

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The fact that you face your phobia and go to the dentist makes you strong. You need to give yourself some credit! :p
Yes! I've often said this - it's only brave to do a thing if you're afraid. Otherwise, it's just...doing stuff.
 
The1701

The1701

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Thank you both, you are quite right I am not giving myself credit for finally getting to the dentist. I think I am beating myself up over how long it's taken and I know I shouldn't as I'm here now but I can't help feeling I let Grandad down, he worked so hard to help me get back to the dentist after the assault and I let him down by not dealing so well with the panic attack 20 years ago. What's worse is that I wrecked our last chance to get a family portrait done together, my Mum wanted to book us in for a photo shoot but I was none too keen as I hated having my picture taken on account of the fact I had broken a tooth so I kept making excuses but in the end Grandad twigged what was wrong. He wrongly presumed I hadn't been to the dentist because of money problems so he gave me money to go and I really was going to get to it sorted but kept putting it off until it was too late (he passed away 3 months after giving me the money). I know I can't change this and there's no use in regretting it but I'm still angry at myself and I know my Mum and Nan were really upset not to have a picture of us all and that is my fault. I did however keep the money, no matter how broke I've been I promised I would only spend it on dental work and I still have it now as it will go towards fixing the broken tooth when I get round to finally dealing with it as I will, eventually.
 
T

Tink

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You know, I think your Grandad would be proud of you now x
 
The1701

The1701

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Thank you Tink x I know that no matter how often or how badly I've made a mess of things over the years he never gave up on me so I guess I need to follow his example and not get too annoyed when I don't get where I want to be fast enough.
 
L

littlething

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Thank you Angeldove & Tink, I actually feel a little bit easier. I'm still nervous but starting to see sense now and realising that I have to own up to not being made of steel and that I just might cry but that's ok.

I know the dentist won't behave inappropriately as he reacted really when I explained how I ended up with a phobia so that's not an issue, I think it is merely foolish pride that's my problem now. Everyone thinks I'm a really strong and independent but I'm really not and I'd hate to let people down if they found out I'm a nervous wreck at times. I'm not very good at admitting when I'm struggling but I'm going to need to try to be honest as you are right they won't know how best to help me if I don't tell them.
I know what you mean here...I am generally a strong, independent, and happy person and I don't like people to see my weaknesses. This is why I struggle to talk about my feelings or show my emotions. Even when I'm struggling inside, I tend to put on a happy face to everyone else and deal with my emotions on my own. This is why I couldn't talk about my fear with my boyfriend, who picked up on the fear, and wanted me to talk about it with him, but also knew it was hard so he left me space to deal with it on my own until I was ready to talk about it - which I finally started to, a little bit. I knew I was going to struggle to talk about it with my dentist, but managed to be able to let out that I was REALLY nervous, and left it at that - and he was really wonderful about it.
 
The1701

The1701

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Thank you littlething, that's exactly my problem - I want so badly to live up to people's expectations of me and feel bad when I can't.
 
The1701

The1701

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Edinburgh
Well it's the eve of D-day and I've dropped an email to the dentist to ask him if he can go over options/prices for fixing the broken tooth when done with the cleaning tomorrow. A bit nervous but I know he won't try any hard sell so no pressure to do anything but I am finding that I look at it as a mark of shame now, especially as it stands out so much against the others.

A bit nervous about what can be done, I know I couldn't cope with an extraction yet so just hope it doesn't come to that. Think I would rather spend a full day in the chair than have a tooth pulled. Anyway I can't worry about what I don't know yet - not that it'll stop me!

Don't think I'll sleep much tonight now :(
 
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