me, the dentist and pts(d)

I really do wonder sometimes, how much a person can tolerate; how much can an individual endure; endure as far as shit storms go I mean. And when one compares to another, there is no comparison really. I couldn’t do what some peeps do…my mates who have severely disabled kids; my gay mates; mates that have had their parents, partners or kids die; mates that are sick…deathly sick…I know I couldn’t do that…but I guess if it was mine to bear then I’d have too. And what I do have in common with these mates of mine, is we are made of the same stubbornness, determination and will to be different…better…whole.

And they have all at one time or another looked at me and said the same thing …  ‘don’t know how you do it; i’d be dead by now; I couldn’t handle it; how do you keep going’ … so yeah, that’s our common ground … fucked up circumstances that make us staunch beyond belief.

It was in one of these recent staunch moments, that I had somewhat of a realisation. As I was sitting in the dentists chair, shaking and crying…gripping the sides of the chair, hyperventilating and having a slight panic attack…yes, very staunch moment…I realised I was petrified…yes, of the obvious, pain…and it hurt like fuck by the way; I don’t care what those assholes say, it is not painless! … but in my petrified-ness I was able to ask myself what I was so scared of?

And I answered myself honestly; or so I thought, (and the nurse…cos she was asking the same thing! Actually she looked more scared, or possibly, sympathetically scared, than I was!). I was scared of the noise of that drilling and buzzing, it was fucking up my head…I was scared of the wobbly chair cos it made me feel unsteady…I was scared of those big plier things in my mouth…I was scared of being vulnerable…

But I survived it…and as a ptsd peep, these are all normal reactions…well that’s what the ptsd experts say anyway.

And as the days after wore on, and I started healing up, I got to wondering abit more. Was I really scared of all those things that I had rattled off? Yes … but it wasn’t quite just that. I understood that I wasn’t in any immediate danger, that this wasn’t an abusive situation, that the noises were temporary, the invasion was temporary…but necessary. I understood all that perfectly. It wasn’t really that, that was scaring me.

It was having to hold all that fear in.

Bear with me.

It wasn’t the fear of it all that got me; it was realizing that I had never been able to express that fear, or any other fear…ever.

When your choice or freedom to chose is taken away, violently; every choice thereafter is made tentatively and with great consideration to the possible ongoing or impending violent outcomes your choices may have.

For example:

I can not breath with this big person on top of me  … do I comply … or not … if  I scream I may get hit … or someone may hear … but probably not because they never do … I can hold out without air for about 2 to 3 minutes … if I try to talk that may bide more time … if I cry that may bide more time … but its going to hurt … but I need to breath more than not hurting … to breath … ask for a drink … drink … yes that will work …

And there in lies the thought process or pattern of thinking, that happens every time I am faced with something that I am afraid of. That I don’t even know I am afraid of. It all happens so quickly that I am in a panic before I know it…because all that is going on underneath all that internal conversation is … GET ME THE FUCK OUT OF HERE.

The last is the reaction that SHOULD be going on … that was going on … that I had to swallow and think about how to survive … get out .. in one piece…with the least amount of damage.

But I am not little anymore.

And as I sat in that dentist chair with those pliers all up in my grill .. I figured out that I hated being at the dentist, and it scared me and I cried like a bitch and shook and freaked out .. and that’s ok. Once I knew it was ok and I was ok reacting like that .. reacting to my fear .. I was ok. I knew I would be ok, and the panic subsided.

So, in the longest, slightly fucked up way that self realization happens … going to the dentist was a catalyst for a realization that I may not have had otherwise.

Geez I’m neat alright ;) … and I’m looking forward to telling the shrink .. I think she’ll dig this Aha moment just about as much as me. No matter how fucked up it is :)



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