Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Good Story Among the Bad

The next few weeks are going to be tough for me, OCD-wise. I know I'll get through it, because I always do.

But rather than fret about that, I will share my story of the dentist appointment. It's not an exciting story, but it does represent for me how I can learn to face things I've been unwilling to in the past.

I've long hated the dentist. I think most people do, but I'm pretty sure my phobia is on the higher end of the spectrum. Growing up I had a lot of cavities and a dentist who didn't use enough novacaine, which I did not learn until I was an adult and got a new dentist and found that fillings were a much less terrifying experience.

But then I got to add on OCD fears as well. Sure, you can't get HIV at the dentist. Except those (very very) few unfortunate people who have. When I'm there I pretty much just have to not pay attention to anything around me, or I completely freak myself out.

My dentist these days is part of a huge-huge HMO. The care is good, but access is terrible. Cleaning/exam appointments are usually about 3-4 months out. But I learned early on that I can call to check on cancellations and generally can get an appointment within a few days. For years that's what I've been doing, since I've been unwilling to handle the stress of knowing for 3 months that I've got that appointment on my calendar. Back in June I needed to make an appointment in order to get a prescription. Sure enough, the appointment was in late September. I fully intended to call back the next week and cancel it. I've done that before.

But then I decided not to. It was time to face the dreaded anticipatory anxiety. So I stuck a giant post it note in my calendar and spent the last three months knowing it was out there. Last week I finally had my appointment. It was uneventful, but I was still pretty excited about how it all worked out.


  1. Wow - Ann - that is INCREDIBLE! So proud of you. I have a horrific dental phobia as well. I spent a LOT of time in a dentist's chair around the age of 3 and I have always had a terrible fear since then. I am currently 5 months late for my cleaning, because I keep canceling the appointment because I am too scared to go. Ugh. Some OCD issues are harder to get over than others I think.

  2. Good for you Ann. My husband just emailed me my new dental cleaning appointment for Dec. 4 (I am out of town) and I have to say that it just seeing it in print gave me the willies.

  3. Good for you, Ann! Very impressive. Even without OCD, I have always hated the dentist, and remember my parents taking me from dentist to dentist because they all said they couldn't treat me (I refused to open my mouth :) ). I'm much better now, but it's still not my idea of a good time!