Recently, I faced my fears and went to the dentist after about 8 years of avoidance. I tried to plan every single movement leading up to the appointment so I would have no time for second thoughts.
When the hygienist walked me back to the room, I felt like I was going to throw up. She obviously had read my chart because she calmly talked to me about how she was going to go very slow and we made a hand signal for when I needed a break.
They always start with those x-rays, which I think are one of the most uncomfortable parts. As she started, doing the second set of x-ray the room got very fuzzy and one of my younger parts started crying. The hygienist let us take a break because she clearly saw why we avoided the dentist for 8 years.
We took our break, continued listening to our iPod, and tried to watch the TV on the ceiling. Which I have to say was the coolest thing I have ever seen. Finding Nemo was playing and it helps the younger parts to calm down.
A person standing over me always triggers me. I constantly had to look around the room in order to avoid going into a flashback. I could feel the thickness of the dissociation as the hygienist tried to engage in conversation. She had to repeat herself a lot because we were switching and the parts all wanted to know what was going on.
By the time the dentist came in we were had a headache from all that switching. He talked to us about Disney movies, which helped us to separate that he was not one of them. He was very calm and explained everything. We talked to him on the phone the week before and told him that we have “abuse issues” so he made sure he had lots of time. We were weary of having a male dentist but he was very gentle and understanding of our situation.
Afterwards we went for a very long run because we need to be outside and feel the cold air on our skin.