A year ago, I found out I had a cavity. I was cavity-free for twenty-two years. All of a sudden, the horrors of having to get a filling were all too real. During my last check-up/cleaning in January, my dentist (who also happens to be a family friend) informed me that it was time to fill the cavity. The horror.
I was actually terrified. A needle goes INTO YOUR MOUTH when you get a filling. I don’t even mind needles, but for some reason, I have associated needles with fainting. So every single time I know one’s coming, I get super lightheaded. And that makes me nauseous. And THAT makes me anxious.
But I did it anyway. And yeah, I almost passed out. And yeah, maybe I had to have my dad in there with me, even though I have known my dentist my entire life (like for real, he’s actually my dad’s best friend) and even though my dentist’s daughter (who is only two years older than me and I grew up with) was the hygienist…I still needed my dad.
I know that getting a filling is like nothing to most people. I know it’s not a big deal. But to me, it was terrifying. It was the unknown. It was the thought of half my face being frozen for hours. It was the thought of almost passing out. It was the thought of my dentist shoving his hands in my mouth for almost half an hour. But I didn’t freak out this time. I didn’t cry (and yes, that’s an accomplishment) and I didn’t complain (too much). My anxiety has been a lot better for the most part, and I din’t want to take a step backwards. “This isn’t a big deal,” I kept telling myself. And I was right.
After it was all over, however, I felt like a balloon-faced freak. When I looked in the mirror my face actually looked totally normal, it just FELT super swollen. I drew a picture to show you what I mean.
So now, the day after, my mouth still hurts a little. And yeah, it wasn’t the most pleasant experience of my life. But hey – I actually DID it. And I did it with minimal freaking out! Yes, the struggles I face seem silly and small to most people. But that’s what it’s like having anxiety. And I’m not going to stop feeling accomplished when I overcome the little things. Neither should you.