Challenges, challenges, challenges

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Over the past year or so I have been consciously facing and fighting things that previously I might have avoided. DBT has really helped equip with strategies for doing this and I am so grateful for having been introduced to the therapy and enabled to attend it by others.

My sessions and the pace of change is dictated by me. I do have a tendency to try and run before I can walk- so sometimes Penelope has had to slow me down- but on the whole I have tried to address issues at the right time.

I have been considers trying to get on top of my fear of going on the London Underground. When I lived in London thankfully I was fine, but for the last 13 years I have not. Most times to be honest I just drive… But recently I have been thinking that to have the option of the tube would be great. I am planning a trip to Moscow in October- by train. The only thing I feel overwhelmed is- is getting the tube to St. prancras! Like other things I have conquered- I know the way forward is to de-sensitise myself, plan distraction skills, use encouraging statements and have a plan of action in case it goes wrong. It was on my imminent radar.

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But on Saturday- something awful happened. I broke a tooth. My back bottom molar. Eating a roll, and it crumbled. I haven’t been to the dentist for 20 years. 20 years 5 months actually. The reasons are not necessary to share… Suffice to say, for me, it has been a conscious decision not to put myself in that position. And though no fear is justifiable- there are reasons i am like i am. And almost unbelievably I have not had any toothache. I do not think for one moment my teeth and gums are ok- obviously they are not- but as long as I wasn’t in acute pain I had absolutely no intention of going any way near a dentist chair.

I am feeling a bit of a weakling confessing my fears of the tube and dentist- but I’m just being honest. Other things that others are fearful of, I am not, these two just happen to be biggy’s for me.

Mercifully, I am not in pain with my broken tooth- how ever, I do know that unless I get it looked at I run the risk of getting into some trouble with it.

The previous dental visit 20 years ago was actually to have a tooth removed under general anaesthetic. The hospital had tried sedating me but apparently I hit the dentist, so they did it under full anaesthetic. Wonderful.

But since that time I have had quite of lot of surgery and anaesthetics and after my most recent surgery I realise that my mood and body really struggle to recover from being put to sleep and I am loathe to have to have another anaesthetic for dental treatment.

Yesterday I made an appointment. Even speaking to the receptionist (I had to ring more than 1, as some surgeries were not taking new NHS patients). I was sweating, my heart was pounding and I could feel the tears welling up. I will go to the appointment. I have agreed to sit in the chair, open my mouth and let them look- that is as far as I can go at the moment.

But I want to change. And i will change. I want to be able to have clean white teeth, checked regularly and looked after to the best of my ability. I do not want my behaviour dictated by fear. It looks like the dentist will take precedence over the tube- needs must… I just hope beyond hope the dentist is kind.

Challenges… Challenges.. Challenges!!!

Thanks for listening.

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One response »

  1. Ok So I have a couple of comments here.

    1) Your fear of the dentist is so common, why do you think there are dedicated dentists who do procedures under sedation? You are totally not alone. I hate the dentist and put it off for years. Then my tooth broke – like yours – and I didn’t hurt – so I still left it. That was, until an infection got into the gum and the root and I was in unbelievable agony. So much that they could have put a chainsaw in my mouth and I wouldn’t have cared. My main fear about the dentist is lying there with someone in my mouth, and experiencing pain in my mouth. I have a phobia and I struggled with it for so long. Every time I managed to get myself to the dentist, I had taken so much valium I could barely walk, so wasn’t really aware of what was going on anyway.

    The only way I have found to deal with it, is using the DBT skill imagery. I go to my safe place, and keep myself firmly there until the experience is over. It isn’t nice, it never will be, but it facilitates by teeth being looked after.

    The tube, perhaps planning the trip in extensive detail will help. What is your concern? Getting lost? Being underground and not being able to get out? The crowds? Terrorism? The tube was fine for me when I realised that no matter where I went accidentaly, I could get off the train and get back on and return in the opposite direction.

    Good luck, it will be horrible for you to not be able to achieve your dreams because you have let your fears hold you back. xx

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