If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you probably heard about my dental ordeal last week. I’ve known since November I needed to have a root canal, but I kept putting it off. Even though I suspected the “bad” tooth was causing the excessive headaches and the occasional ear ache, I still refused to call and schedule the appointment. In my defense, I did have it scheduled for January 10th, but that was the only day my son could have his wisdom teeth removed, and being the loving, giving parent that I am, I sacrificed my appointment for the sake of his. :-D
What surprised me was how many of my friends also have a fear of going to the dentist.
According to Dictionary.com, a phobia is “a persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.”
I’m not sure I have an actual phobia of the dentist. I don’t have an irrational fear, I have a very specific reason that I’m afraid to go. As a child, I spent a lot of time in the dentist’s chair. He always gave me the “goofy gas” (nitrous), so it wasn’t usually too bad. But one time, he had a rubber dam in my mouth and refused to take it out or believe me when I told him I was going to get sick.
I clearly remember him saying, “Oh, no you’re not.”
I also clearly remember starting to throw up, but with a rubber dam in my mouth it had no where to go except stuck in my throat... which was nasty, but also resulted in me choking.
Since then, I’ve been terrified to go. The lady at the endodontist put it into words that finally made sense for me. She said, “You trusted them to take care of you. When they didn’t, you know no longer have a trust for him, or anyone in that profession.”
That’s very true and the reason I didn’t go for years... which is how this tooth ended up getting into the condition it did. I knew I needed a filling, but I didn’t go. I let it go for so long, that when they did try to fill it, the tooth cracked. Then I needed a crown. The crown loosened and started coming off (which we didn’t know), which allowed bacteria to get down into the tooth, which caused the infection in the gum, which made it need a root canal.
Now, let me say, my current dentist is wonderful. He also had a phobia of the dentist, which is why he went into the profession. He wanted to help people like us. He’s a sweet, gentle man, who always goes out of his way to be as kind and gentle as he can. So that fear and distrust has eased over the years, but I also have a very strong aversion to pain. :-D
My teeth are sensitive, so even cleanings are uncomfortable for me. But again, I have an amazing hygienist that is cautious and goes slow, especially around the sensitive gum areas, and I’m usually able to get through a cleaning without squealing even once. LOL
The reason for this long dissertation was to defend my position and show that I’ve ruled my fear of the dentist out as a phobia. I’m afraid, but I have good reason. However, I do have several other phobias, which are true irrational fears that can leave me nearly paralyzed when confronted with them.
Heights is one of them. I know a lot of other people share this same fear. In fact, my step-dad is also afraid of heights, something I find extremely amusing... I guess as a fighter pilot, he just never looked down?! :D
I’m also afraid of tight spaces. When I was little, my mom used to make me crawl under my bed to vacuum. I remember being terrified that the bed was going to fall on me and I would be crushed; I couldn’t breathe and my arms and fingers would get numb and tingly. I would vacuum like crazy to get it done so I could get out from under there and grab a good, deep breath.
That phobia isn’t quite as bad now, but I still don’t like tight spaces – like small bathroom stalls, and even elevators. If they’re rickety and I’m riding for a long time, I find myself sweating and having to force myself to breathe normally.
So what about you? Do you have any phobias... or any fears that aren’t phobias, because you have a reasonable explanation for avoiding them like your life depended on it? The rafflecopter is extended through next week, but you can still keep adding chances to win by commenting here and Tweeting/Facebooking to encourage others to come over and check out my blog. I love making new friends!
Have a beautiful week everyone!
Peace and Love,
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