• 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 dental problems forum! You can find a list of them here.

    Register now to access all the features of the forum.

horrible anxiety and depression

L

lemonsqueezy

Junior member
Joined
Sep 19, 2022
Messages
9
Location
Pakistan
i'll start this by saying i have never ever been to a dentist before.

i'm 21 now. have been living with super abusive parents, can't move out because that's not a thing here (especially because i am a woman). i have always had a lot of health issues, still do, but refuse to see any kind of doctor. when i was a kid, i had horrible, horrible experiences with doctors and being misdiagnosed far too many times that i learned to keep things to myself. it didn't help that my parents would shame, insult, and make fun of me for at least a week before taking me to see a professional. i think they deliberately took me to "cheaper" doctors so they wouldn't have to spend money, and healthcare is terrible in my country. if you manage to find a good doctor, they are either way too expensive or have moved out of country to practice. so, i learned to live with whatever issues i had. to sum it up, i have had bartholin's cyst (i believe) twice, always struggling with constipation and hemorrhoids, have digestion problems, suspect ibs, lactose intolerance, and many more that might be me just overreacting. i even have a weak eyesight when no one in my family does.

i knew my teeth were bad, but i never dared to look at them. i would brush my teeth but not regularly, at least once every other day maybe. sometimes i would have dull toothaches which made me stick to brushing twice a day for a few days. even after all of this, i never looked at my teeth. except the parts that were visible when i talked; i would just make sure they were clean. i did not laugh, covered my mouth if i did, and was super conscious while still trying to ignore the problem (if that makes sense?). i don't know. when my other health issues started bothering me, i completely forgot about my horrible dental hygiene. in the end, i decided the best course of action to take was to end my life. i stopped caring. about my teeth, my health, my appearance, about everything.

two years ago, i was ready to commit suicide but didn't for some reason i can't remember. next year, when i turned 20, i had enough. i had taken a look at my teeth from afar. they were horrible. i knew i had horrible breath. that's why i always wore face masks even before the pandemic. but it didn't worry me. i wasn't scared or upset or stressed because it didn't matter anymore. it was my birthday and i was finally going to do it. so why didn't i? at the last minute, i stepped out of the house, and my friend (i only had one online friend) texted me happy birthday. just that. i cried and cried for god knows how long. i didn't tell my friend anything, instead they shared how they were so happy to have known me and that there was one time when they were seriously considering suicide but stopped because of me. because i just randomly decided to check up on them. they told me how grateful they felt to have known me, and i started crying even harder. i didn't know that. the same thing was happening to me. and then i went back inside and said, ok lets give this one more shot.

so, i picked myself up. tried to get my life together. got a job which was paying me very, very low but it was something. i got a haircut. i bought myself new clothes. i ordered food to eat. i made some friends. when i fell sick one day, i found a good doctor and booked an appointment. then my anxiety kicked in. i had terrible panic attacks. i did not go. then i was ok. forgot about it. found another doctor some time later, went to him and explained my situation. i was sick with fever and cough. he agreed not to take out any injections, checked my mouth, and gave me some meds. if the meds didnt help, i would have to go back and do some tests. the meds worked, the doctor left the country.

i was at a relatively good place now. or at least, i liked to think so. mental health is not taken seriously here, so i never managed to find someone for that. even if i did, i hardly had enough money because i was paying for my studies now. i felt better but in reality, i was just ignoring everything. i would still have horrible nightmares. i would still get anxiety attacks at night. i was still being abused by my family. things did not really work out for me still. the most ridiculous thing that drove me to the edge was when i finally got my earlobe pierced despite the extreme fear of needles i had, and my piercing got infected three times. i still woke up in the middle of the night, choking back tears. but in the morning, everything was fine. i would act like nothing happened. i was good to my parents. still, i was ignoring my teeth...

more than a week has passed now when i got some kind of swelling in my lower gums. at first, i thought it was an abscess but the pain was minimal. the swelling spread to the molars on the right. it increased. i had a hard time eating. everything came crashing down. no one could save my teeth now. i had neglected them enough. i got some kind of oral gel to apply on my gums and the swelling is now controlled but not going away. i can talk, eat, sleep, and there is only a slight discomfort. i looked up dentists near me, had a panic attack, stopped and decided to wait for this to heal by itself.

for the past week, i have been browsing reddit, googling, and checking all kinds of websites and cannot sleep anymore. i cry all day, unable to stop, and don't feel like eating. this is the second day of me getting yet another dental problem. i woke up at night with throbbing pain in my upper left tooth. it was bearable so i went back to sleep. woke up and the pain is up to my nose. i keep taking ibuprofen whenever the toothache comes back, but my nose keeps feeling irritated. i can't stop crying. i contacted a dentist nearby but couldn't speak. i have been getting anxiety attacks nonstop. i am this close to killing myself. i don't see any other way out. i don't have money. my teeth look so, so horrible that i feel sick. i have been taking a close look at them, and it just keeps making me feel even more suicidal.

i finally managed to take a picture today but couldn't upload it for people to see. i have huge, huge amounts of tartar on my teeth, over my gums. i don't know if it's over my gums or if my gums have receded all the way back. probably the latter. whatever you're imagining, it looks worse than that. i don't think my teeth can be fixed. if they remove and clean the dirty stuff, they will come loose and fall. if they don't, i will probably have to have major surgeries which i not only can't afford but am absolutely terrified of. my teeth are already loose. they don't hurt when i eat and don't feel sensitive to hot or cold, but that could be because of all the plaque/tartar covering the gumline. my bottom front teeth are the worst. so much tartar and plaque, especially at the back. the gums have receded so much, and the gaps between each tooth are covered with the dirty plaque. i have read so many stories, looked at pictures of people worried about their teeth, and all of them look better than me (except maybe the decayed teeth ones). i don't see black spots on my molars but something's definitely wrong. all of my teeth have yellow plaque and the gumline has black hard stuff on it. i want to share pictures but scared that what i am thinking is right. i sometimes think maybe it wouldn't have been that bad if i lived somewhere else.

i am so, so sorry about this insanely long rant. i just want to get this off my chest and have been trying to post on reddit but it keeps getting deleted. i don't know why but i wanted to share this with someone. this is the only place i found where i could. i'm sorry. i still can't stop crying.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,729
Hello @lemonsqueezy and a very warm welcome!

Thanks so much for sharing your story here. It sounds as if you've come an awful long way with getting your life on track, against all the odds. You're clearly a very strong person, and it would be a shame if your oral health were to hold you back from continuing along this path.

While reading your post, I had to think of a couple of things that have been posted here over the last year which I thought you might find helpful:


As Gordon says in that thread, dentists and dental hygienists find it very satisfying to remove heavy calculus build-up, as it makes such a huge difference and the before and after can be pretty amazing. You can see a recent example here:


I don't know how the dental system works in Pakistan, but maybe if you have a phobia of doctors/dentists, could you see a dental hygienist first? In some countries this is possible.

Importantly, if you feel like you want to die, please do tell someone! You don't have to struggle with difficult feelings alone. There is a new (free) mental health hotline in Pakistan called Umang. You can find contact details here:


Sending you lots of hugs :XXLhug:
 
L

lemonsqueezy

Junior member
Joined
Sep 19, 2022
Messages
9
Location
Pakistan
@letsconnect hello!! thank you so, so much for replying and sharing similar stories!

i just talked to a dentist who works with nervous/anxious patients and he was really nice and polite but i'm still scared to share my story and actually go to him. i'm only comfortable talking over text and he was very understanding. he is expensive but offers payment plans so i might be able to afford it. that's all i talked about yet, and he even works with sedation! i looked at his reviews on google and testimonials, and everyone seems to love how gentle he is. i think i might be able to force myself to go, but still need some time...

people are urging me to just go right now and not wait anymore because my teeth will get worse. so i deleted my post and account on the other site where i asked for advice. it was giving me a lot of anxiety. i know i shouldn't ignore it any longer, but i can't just get up and go for something i have always dreaded! even the sight of a hospital/dental/medical setting triggers my attacks! it's horrible, i know. but i will and am trying to work on it. this site is really helpful, i have been reading the content here and i feel less stressed. i just need time.

about the umang hotline, i did reach out to them last night when i couldn't stop thinking about killing myself. but they refused to talk on text, saying they only provide service on call (or video call with some charges). they also said that they prefer not talking to actively suicidal people since they don't want to take responsibility or something like that. i felt horrible when they said those things. not surprising considering this is how mental health is viewed in my country, but it still felt really harsh. i will not contact them again or recommend anyone else to.

thank you again. i feel a bit better after sharing everything.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,729
Great to hear you're feeling a little better after getting things off your chest :). So sorry to hear that you found the Umang hotline useless, it kind of defeats the purpose if they don't want to talk to people who are suicidal...

But really great news about making contact with a dentist. That's a huge step forward and must have taken a lot of courage. It all sounds very positive (both the reviews and your contact with him). Congratulations!!
 
L

lemonsqueezy

Junior member
Joined
Sep 19, 2022
Messages
9
Location
Pakistan
update: i talked to the same dentist a bit more and he really is super understanding. when i asked if we could talk more, he called me(!!!) so i had to tell him that i am only comfortable over text for now, and he didn't make me feel weird at all! the only thing that scares me is the actual check up, especially the results... but he said we won't proceed with any procedures until i feel ready! when i told him i was scared of losing my teeth, he said we can work on saving the better ones first. "i'll make your teeth look even better than mine," is what he said to me! it made me cry because i thought i wouldn't ever find any dentist/doctor who would actually take my anxiety and fear seriously!

i feel so much calmer but in so much more pain now too. my front tooth is giving me sharp, stabbing pain every now and then, and developing a noticeable gap between the two upper front teeth. but i managed to eat today! is it weird that i feel a bit better if i bite down on something, even my finger, with the painful tooth? the pain seems to go away a bit. i also have a very bad habit of clenching my jaw, especially when i am sleeping, so i have been trying to stop doing that as much as i can.

i'm super low on money right now so i don't know if i'll be able to get anything done, but i can go for the consultation at least, right?

even though i didn't get many responses here, the available content and other users' posts really helped. oh, and thank you so very much @letsconnect. it feels so good to know that someone actually read what i wanted to share, and also for the help. it means a lot, really. if you have any more advice (sorry for being such a bother), please share!
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,729
Hi again @lemonsqueezy, that's great news about the dentist you've been talking to, he sounds like a really nice guy. As you said, there's no harm in going for a consultation, presuming you have enough money for a consultation?

Clenching your teeth could result in the sore tooth symptoms you've been describing, and a nightguard may bring relief and prevent damage. It would certainly be helpful to get his help with this, as it could save you a lot of money in the long term!

Please let us know what you decide to do :XXLhug:
 
L

lemonsqueezy

Junior member
Joined
Sep 19, 2022
Messages
9
Location
Pakistan
another update... i had actually managed to book an appt with the dentist i was talking to, but on my way there, i had such a terrible anxiety attack that i passed out! a really kind lady noticed and helped me. she got me some water to drink, light snack, and called my home so someone could get me to see a doctor.

well, my parents then took me to their doctor and he prescribed me some meds. said that i was taking excessive stress which was also affecting my blood pressure. i had to stay home for a few days because i was feeling very weak and sick. missed work, classes, and also the dentist appt... now i feel horrible because things just keep getting worse. i'm trying to get my teeth fixed. i even managed to not only look for but talk to a dentist for the first time. was even going to see them.

i woke up yesterday with slightly swollen lips that later turned into a mild toothache. swollen gums on top front teeth, and last night one of the two front ones started hurting really bad. i was having a hard time talking and eating. called the dentist but they couldn't see me that late, and today is sunday so i'll have to visit tomorrow...

i took some ibuprofen for the pain last night before sleeping, and woke up today with even more swollen lips! but the pain is almost gone. it comes back if i try to bite with that tooth, but not sensitive to hot or cold. i'm hoping it's nothing too serious and that i can get it fixed quickly, though it doesn't seem to be the case.

just a few days ago, i was feeling somewhat hopeful even though i was scared, but now i feel like my teeth are even worse than i think they are...

hopefully, i won't get sick again tomorrow!
 
N

NervousUSA

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 9, 2022
Messages
108
Location
USA
@lemonsqueezy Don't know if this idea would be of any use to you, but could you perhaps go with a support person next time you go over there? Maybe it would be easier if a friend or relative could travel there with you? For me I can go to visits that I couldn't face alone if I have a good support person with me.
 
L

lemonsqueezy

Junior member
Joined
Sep 19, 2022
Messages
9
Location
Pakistan
@NervousUSA thank you for the suggestion! i feel so stupid for not thinking of this before, but i did ask my sister to go with me and she agreed!

i'm finally going to see the dentist on wednesday morning now because he had to go somewhere (he informed me yesterday). he asked me to send pictures which i didn't really feel comfortable with at first, but i managed to take one of my front teeth and gums, and he didn't say anything about how bad they look. only prescribed some meds (antibiotics, i think) for the meantime and told me not to worry because it can be fixed!

sometimes i think i worry too much, but then i look at my teeth and think i worry less than i should... in any case, i feel a lot better now, especially after the dentist kept reassuring me!
 
N

NervousUSA

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 9, 2022
Messages
108
Location
USA
@lemonsqueezy Hey I am so glad you are feeling better! You shouldn't feel silly, it takes a while to work out how to go about dealing with this type of situation, or any new situation really, especially a stressful one. I didn't think of bringing a support person right away either. I am glad your sister will be available for you, I think that will make it a lot better. It sounds like this dentist will be really nice and understanding from your descriptions, I feel like that is a good sign!
 
Enarete

Enarete

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
3,220
Hey lemonsqueezy,

you have done such a great job so far! Can you see how you managed to move from barely being able to write about your situation to actually scheduling an appointment with a dentist? This is super impressive. And a journey like this is not linear but has its ups and downs and taking it one step at a time is all this is about.

A few thoughts I wanted to share..

Please don't allow your layman's judgment about your teeth to cause you more anxiety. Your teeth are solvable and tartar removal won't make them worse and they are not the worse the dentist has seen. You mentioned comparing yourself to the photos you've seen here but not everyone feels comfortable posting pictures and the worse the situation is the less likely they’ll be to post. So you've been comparing yourself to the easier cases so to say.

I am glad you haven't listened to your friend's advice and pushed yourself to go when you don't feel like it. With this level of anxiety, putting your comfort lever first and 100% only doing what you feel comfortable is the only approach. Any pushing would only make things worse.

It sounds like you've found a dentist that really wants to help and that's an amazing thing. I believe sending him the pictures was a wise thing to do: now he had seen so you won't be feeling like you would shock him at the first appointment. Also glad your sister is coming with you. May the appointment tomorrow go well!

By the way, it's normal to get all kinds of symptoms and the impression that your teeth are getting worse. You are occupied with your anxiety 24/7 which makes you overaware of every twing and sensation in your mouth. When I am due to an exam, I get tooth-pain and puffy gums on some places - without any explainable reason.

I may be late with some of these thoughts as there seems to be a huge shift in where you were at your first post and where you are here, but I couldn't help myself

All the best wishes, take care and keep us posted, remember that we are your cheerleaders
:grouphug:
 
L

lemonsqueezy

Junior member
Joined
Sep 19, 2022
Messages
9
Location
Pakistan
thank you so much @NervousUSA and @Enarete! i finally had my first appointment with the dentist. in fact, i'm writing this on my way home.

i loved the dentist more than i thought i would. he was very calm, understanding, and a very, very good listener. he said it's not my fault that my teeth are in this state and that he's proud of me for making the decision to seek treatment. he asked me three times before taking a look inside my mouth just to be sure i was comfortable or if i wanted to come again later when i would feel comfortable enough to do so. i told him i didn't want anyone else in the room and he said, "you'll have to be my assistant then!" and i laughed. i actually did. without my face mask. with my teeth.

it was nice doing the things his assistant would be helping him with. i handed him the small camera(?) whenever he asked. i think that was all i did though, haha. i wasn't scared as much as i thought i would be (i did cry while waiting for him). it felt like i had complete control over what was happening. he started with the back of my bottom teeth, the ones i'm the most insecure about, and assured me that it's just calcified plaque that can be cleaned. looked at my top front and said they look better but still need cleaning. did not say anything about my back teeth both sides except that they had a little bit of plaque too (they did look better than my front teeth in pictures). no cavities so far!

my favorite part of the whole appt was when someone entered the room without knocking first and he immediately got up and turned the monitor screen off. i had told him that i didn't want anyone else to see my teeth. (and he also put his tools(?) away without me asking! i had only told him earlier that i find them kind of scary and prefer not looking at them, just like injections, if they're going to be used on me.)

overall, he was very gentle with me. did not do anything without asking first. kept saying that he'd seen far worse teeth and mine weren't nearly that bad. when i didn't believe him, he offered to show me before and after pictures of teeth he has worked on, but i refused... so, i was diagnosed with severe gum disease (might be periodontal disease; he didn't say that, but he did say there could be bone loss). he said he might have to extract some teeth if they're too loose after cleaning or if there's too much bone loss. i fear extractions the most but he's been doing extractions and implants for 13 years. he's an oral surgeon; i was wondering if i have to see a periodontist too? he also said that i shouldn't wait any more years or i'll lose all my teeth...

we did not do any xrays today, only took pictures and he told me to come again three days later. in the meantime, i have to take some meds and was prescribed a mouthwash as well. i cried a lot today and, for the first time ever, did not feel embarrassed for crying. we made a treatment plan but it's not finalized until i get xrays. it was mostly for knowing the costs of every procedure i might or might not need, including implants and splinting. i'm feeling a little scared because i don't really want him to extract any teeth, but it's nowhere near panicked that i felt before visiting him.

now i'm going to enjoy some food my sister got for me! she did not act surprised or shocked even though i have never shared how horrible i feel about my teeth with her. i'm happy i took her with me. she said she was happy too that i found a way to fix my teeth. i feel so good today after so many years, even though i'm a little scared of the results too. i feel lucky to have such a supportive sister and for the nicest dentist i could find. oh, and for this community too! everyone is so nice here. i don't think i would have gone otherwise. thank you!!!
 
N

NervousUSA

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 9, 2022
Messages
108
Location
USA
@lemonsqueezy Hey that sounds so great! I have never heard of such a nice dentist, you are so lucky! Sounds like he is very competent too. I am so impressed you went through with the appointment and have made such huge progress! And you are getting some treatment too that will make your situation better, I am really happy for you!

With regards to extractions and implants, I have had both, and they are painless procedures and not a big deal. I thought they would be horrible but they turned out to be almost nothing at all.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,729
@lemonsqueezy I'm coming late to this - so good to read that everything went so well! He sounds like a real gem :cloud9:. Congratulations on finding him, and on working up the courage to actually meet him!

he's an oral surgeon; i was wondering if i have to see a periodontist too?

That might not be a bad idea - periodontal disease at a young age is relatively rare and there's a huge genetic component to it, so being under the care of a specialist periodontist (as well as your regular dentist) could be useful... maybe you could ask him next time you see him what he thinks?

Anyway, congratulations and well done you :claps:!! Have a lovely meal (and celebration) with your sister!
 
L

lemonsqueezy

Junior member
Joined
Sep 19, 2022
Messages
9
Location
Pakistan
@NervousUSA thank you! knowing that you have personally experienced extractions + implants does put my mind at ease. my sister said she can come along with me for xrays too, even though i didn't ask this time! i don't even feel that scared now!

@letsconnect yes, after my xrays, i'll ask him about that! hoping there's not too much bone loss but i do feel that some of my teeth are very loose. thank you very much for encouraging me from the beginning. you've helped me immensely; i really don't think i would've actually gone to a dentist if it weren't for that.
 
letsconnect

letsconnect

Administrator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Messages
5,729
@lemonsqueezy - I can't take any credit for encouraging you, you always seemed to be one step ahead of the game :p! Great to hear though that you've found the forum helpful :) - please keep us updated!
 
M

mariyam

Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2022
Messages
98
Location
California
Hi there, I hope your journey is going well. Thank you for sharing your story. Please keep us updated! You are so brave.
 
Top