The majority of people have something they are avoiding or are procrastinating doing. I am no exception. I promised to use this blog to help others learn from my life experiences…so here we go.
I am not proud to admit this to you all because by trade I am a wellness professional and make a living helping guide people on how to best take care of themselves and live a full, healthy and happy life. But I am human and I too have things that I don’t do as well as I should, even when I know better. My main avoidance for many years (we are talking 10-15 years) has been the dentist. That’s right…I have not been to the dentist in over a decade.
The truth is that I have very high anxiety when it comes to going to the dentist, which made it very easy for me to completely avoid it! Once it was my responsibility to schedule appointments, I just didn’t schedule them. I started off with just procrastinating and putting it off. Then I started using excuses to rationalize why I hadn’t gone yet…I moved away for college, then it was I don’t have dental insurance, then it was I am pregnant (not a good excuse, by the way), then it was I am pregnant again, and again and again and again (yep 5 pregnancies), and then it was that we moved to a new part of town and I didn’t have a dentist in that area. When in reality I just really, really, really, really, really, really didn’t want to go!
I am happy to say, however, that I finally made an appointment with a local dentist and had my first appointment yesterday! The hygienist and the dentist were both amazing and made me feel very comfortable. They talked me through everything without scolding me or making me feel bad (or worse than I already was making myself feel) for not seeing a dentist all these years. They completely changed my perception of going to the dentist and eased my anxiety that surrounded it. For all you locals…check out Paragon Dental in Papillion. Dr. Carter is awesome! And best of all…no cavities or major dental work needed for me! Woohoo! One old cavity needs to be refilled (boo) and I need to have at least one wisdom tooth pulled (double boo), but nothing else! I was convinced I was going to need to have crowns or root canals or other terrifying things done because I had waited so long.
We all have that one (or maybe more) thing(s) that we would just rather not do. When we put it off and avoid it, it gets bigger and bigger in our minds until we feel guilt and stress every time we think about it. Soon we start to feel shame for putting it off for so long and that just adds to the guilt and stress and eventually it gets to a point where you feel as if you can’t do it now because you have put it off for too long.
I am here to tell you that it is ok to feel anxious, nervous, stressed, etc. about these things. But you need to own those feelings and still move forward and confront the task at hand. And it is never too late to start now. The thing that helped me most was that I was upfront and honest about it, both with myself and with others. When I called to make the appointment, I let the person I was speaking with know that I was in search of a new dentist because I hadn’t been in a very long time due to anxiety and fear. She assured me that I was coming to the right place then because they don’t judge and are happy to help me any way they can. I let the dentist and the hygienist know as soon as I met them that I was very nervous and they walked me through everything step by step with no judgment. Not that they wouldn’t have been that way anyway, but I am sure that it helped for them to know that right away so they could take extra care of what they were saying and how they were saying it to keep my nerves at ease. Life always works out better when we openly communicate with each other. Others can’t read our minds so we shouldn’t expect them to. It is difficult for anybody to live up to our expectations if we don’t tell them what we are expecting of them. So be honest with yourself and be honest with others and face that thing you have been avoiding. You can do it!
Until next time,
Be kind to yourself and others!