Tag Archives: panic

Time For Dental Work (or Maybe My MRIs Prepared Me For This)

When I went to the dentist recently, I found out that one of my fillings needs to be replaced. The filling has been in there for a long time and I knew that fillings (or crowns) aren’t forever and do need to be replaced over a lifetime. I’ve been pretty lucky the past few years. My teeth have always been a bit bad (it’s genetic) but I haven’t needed major work in a while. I’ve had lots of work done, but I’ve had a nice break and I guess that streak is over now.

As soon as I found out I needed work, my panic started. Part of that panic is because this time while they are hoping that this is just going to be a filling replacement there is a chance I will need a crown. It’s one of those situations where they weren’t going to know until they started the work and I had having unknowns in my life. But there was no way to find out what it was going to be until I had my next appointment so I tried to just deal with the sense of panic I had.

Fortunately for me, the panic wasn’t too horrible between my cleaning and the appointment to have the work done. I was panicking the day of my cleaning when I found out that there was work I needed done because that’s not what I was expecting. But I didn’t really feel panic again until the day before my appointment (and then it got pretty bad the day of my appointment). I know how bad things have been for me in the past and I just didn’t want that to happen again.

But I was trying to think about all the changes that have happened in my life since my last appointment for major dental work. I’ve been meditating for over a year now and that has been helping me stay calm in the moment (although it doesn’t seem to help the panic from building up before). That has seemed to help before with my MRIs.

And speaking of MRIs, I’ve had so many MRIs since my last dentist appointment and each of those have involved 2 needles (the blood work and then the IV for the contrast). I have been hoping that with all of those needles over the past few months that maybe my issues with needles has become less of a thing. I know that I’ve still been having blackout moments with needles in my recent blood work and IVs, but it has gotten significantly better. And since my incidents at the dentist were usually less than what I dealt with at the hospital, I was hopeful that this appointment and the needle would go a lot smoother than I feared it would go.

The day of my appointment was pretty tough. My appointment was right after I was done with work and I spent my entire shift in a panic and feeling sick. It was a sense of impending doom that I used to feel before a regular cleaning. I hadn’t had to deal with this feeling for a while, so it threw me off a bit. Fortunately, right now is the slower season for my day job so I didn’t have to help too many customers. I was still able to work, but I know that I wasn’t at my best while worrying about my dental appointment.

Once I got to the dentist, the panic was feeling pretty unbearable. I didn’t take my panic meds since they don’t really work that well when I take my eating disorder medication. And to me, right now it’s more important to manage my eating disorder than it was to stop some temporary panic. And I knew that as soon as the work started, the panic was going to go away and I would be fine.

The staff there tried to keep me distracted and calm while we waited for the dentist. They were asking me about what was happening in my life (I was telling them some of my crazy online dating stories), but I was still just anxious that the shots were coming and I wanted to get it over with. Everything in the dentist office looks so scary even though I know most things there aren’t anything that could hurt me.

Once the dentist came back, we got to the shots quickly. He does numb my cheek up with some gel before the shots so it does help a lot. And with the first shot I didn’t totally black out. But with the second shot (which I couldn’t actually feel because I was already pretty numb), I did black out like I have with my recent IVs. But it’s still a huge improvement over the last time I had to get shots at the dentist.

The last few times I’ve needed shots like this, it was for major dental work. Those appointments last quite a while and you have the option to watch a movie while they work. I should have known this would be easy when I wasn’t given the option to watch a movie but instead just had to wear protective eyewear. And this appointment ended up taking no time at all!

The drilling of the part of the old filling that had to come out took less than 5 minutes. Then they filled it back it and had to use the tools to dry it. Then it was only some checking of my bite and before I knew it I was sitting back up and rinsing my mouth out with mouthwash. The entire procedure (not counting waiting to get numb) was under 10 minutes.

I felt so silly when it was done for freaking out as much as I did. Then again, I had no clue it was going to be this simple since it seems like whenever I have more than just a cleaning it is pretty extreme. And I’m lucky that I have a dentist that is super on top of things since this could have been much worse if we didn’t catch it as soon as we did.

I still think I’m going to always have my panic issues at the dentist, but I’m glad that they are getting better. I’ve proven to myself for a while that I am doing much better with the cleanings. Now I’ve proven to myself that I can do ok with shots and bigger dental work. Hopefully I won’t need more major dental work for a while, but I know that there will be more in the future and I feel more prepared for it after this successful appointment.

Surgery Shopping (or How To Prep For The Unexpected)

I know I’ve posted a lot about my liver surgery lately (and I will be posting more about it over the next few weeks). I’m now 2 weeks away from surgery and there is so much that I’ve been trying to get done or need to do. I’m still trying to have a lot of fun, but surgery stuff is taking up a lot of my time.

I have the stuff I expected like various doctor appointments and tests. I’ve already done some blood work and today is my MRI. I’ve got my official pre-op appointment next week and that will consist of multiple doctor appointments at one time so I can meet with the surgeon, the anesthesia team, and possibly the inpatient team. I’ve also been working more than normal because I’m banking hours at work. I can’t afford to take time off (I don’t get paid time off at any of my jobs), so I’ve been working extra hours unpaid to cover the time I won’t be working coming up. I’ve got all the hours banked that I think I’ll need, but that has taken a lot of time in the mornings that I usually do other work.

I’ve also been trying to get things ready to be in the hospital for a while. I’ve been getting ideas of things to have with me from friends who have been in the hospital for a while before. I’m hoping the hospital has decent wifi because I have a feeling I’ll be watching a lot of Netflix or Hulu there (also, if I feel up for it then I could even work from the hospital). I’ve also gotten some dresses that are easy to put on and are cheap to wear after surgery. There’s a chance that things with waistbands won’t work for a little bit for me so dresses seemed to be the easiest solution. I also know I might have surgical drains when I go home, so I found these awesome sticky pockets to put in my clothes if I need them.

I still have a pretty decent list of things I still need to get for my time in the hospital and while I’m recovering with my parents. Some things I expected to be easy, like getting some slippers to have with me, but somehow they haven’t been easy to find in stores. I’m guessing I’ll be doing a big Amazon order soon. I might wait until after my pre-op appointment so I know what else I might need. Thank goodness for fast shipping with Amazon Prime! I’ve been told I might get a list when I go in for the pre-op appointment, but if any of you have been through any type of abdominal surgery and have suggestions for things I should have please let me know!

And then of course there is getting my house ready for this all. I will be doing some big cleaning because I don’t want things cluttered when my parents are here and I don’t want things to feel dirty when I am back home. After I’m out of the hospital, I will be recovering with my parents so they can help me out with things or buy things I forgot about. But I still want to try to get as much done now as I can. One thing I was trying to do but have been slacking on is getting some food made and frozen so it’s easy for me to eat at home even if I’m tired. I don’t want to go back to ordering delivery food (plus I’m guessing I’ll be on a restricted diet so I want to have food that I made and know what’s in it).

I know it sounds like I’ve got a handle on things and seem really prepared, but I don’t feel that way at all. There are still so many unknowns with this entire thing and a lot of the answers won’t be things I can really know in advance. I have no idea how my body will react to this all and I can’t prepare for what I don’t know will happen. It has been giving me a pretty steady level of anxiety lately, but nothing as bad as a regular panic attack. And I have had a few minor attacks but fortunately my friends and family have been able to calm me down.

When things were 2 months away or even 1 month away it seemed like I had unlimited time to get ready and that it wasn’t going to be soon. I think it really hit me when I had 3 weeks left how soon this was all going to be. I’m very lucky that I’ve had time to prep for this and it wasn’t an emergency surgery where nothing could be done ahead of time. But sometimes having prep time is the worst because I can analyze things to death. I’m trying to stay as calm as I can be which is why I set my monthly challenge to be being calm and taking more deep breaths.

Over the next 2 weeks, there will be posts about preparing for surgery but I will also have some fun posts in there too. And I am hoping to keep this blog going regularly while I’m recovering, but of course I don’t know how I’ll feel. But I do promise that if there are some days I can’t blog I will get back to writing regularly. I’ve been doing this every weekday for so long, and the idea that I might miss a day does stress me out a bit. But I hope that you all will stick with me while I get through all of this and hopefully I can find some fun things to write about while I’m recovering!

MRI Again (or Hoping For Some Answers)

When I did my breast MRI to check for breast cancer, I assumed that the next MRI that I would need would be whenever I get another one on my hips. Since I’ve had very limited MRIs (just my original hip one and the breast one), there was no reason I would think I’d be getting another one soon. But after my stomach issues, I was told I needed an MRI to figure out what was going on.

I ended up getting one scheduled earlier this week. I wanted to do it on a day that I didn’t have to work because I knew they would need to put an IV in me for contrast. I had the IV and contrast in the breast MRI and didn’t enjoy it too much, so I was prepared for the worst but hoped for the best. When I arrived at Kaiser, they were running about 45 minutes behind, so I sat in the waiting area reading a book and trying not to think too much about what was coming up.

When I was taken back to the MRI area, I was expecting to be led into a changing area where I would have to take off any clothing that had metal and I assumed I would also need to be either nude or down to underwear only under a hospital gown (that’s what the other MRIs were like). But to my surprise, the only thing required was to remove any clothing that had metal in it! If I had known that, I would have worn a sports bra so I wouldn’t have had to change. I didn’t get a fun hospital gown selfie, but I did take a quick photo of my MRI outfit before going into the machine.

mri

Once I was brought into the room, I laid down on the table that goes into the machine. The techs tried to get me comfortable with pillows and settled before putting the IV in me. I had warned them about my needle issues but said that since I was laying down that if I fainted it wouldn’t be a big deal. I didn’t faint (yay me!) but I did have a brief moment where I blacked out but could still hear everything around me. It wasn’t too bad and I was glad the IV was in and done.

I didn’t really do any research about abdominal MRIs before going in, but I assumed I’d be laying on my back and just be put into the machine. But they actually had to put this plastic and foam cage type thing around my stomach first and then I was strapped down to the table (I’ve never been strapped down for an MRI before). I wasn’t able to move at all, and it really sucked when they pushed me into the machine and all of a sudden my nose was itching like crazy and I couldn’t scratch!

I’ve got some issues with claustrophobia and this really tested me. I was completely in the machine and my nose was pretty close to touching the top of the tube. My arms were pressed against the sides and I did feel a bit trapped between the closeness of the machine and the straps holding me down. Fortunately, I could tilt my head back a bit and see a bit of the room behind me. So whenever I felt like I was going to panic I did that and tried to focus on my breathing.

The contrast in my IV hurt like it did last time, but it hurt much less than it did before. I’m thinking that is because my IV was placed in a better spot this time where my body wasn’t as crunched up. But they still removed the IV from me once the contrast was done so I didn’t have to deal with it anymore.

The entire MRI time was under 30 minutes and while I had moments of panic in the machine it did go by quickly. I tried to talk to myself in my head and recite lines from scripts I know or plots from books to distract me and help pass the time. Once it was done, I was finally able to relax and only then did I realize that I was pretty tensed up the entire time inside the machine. It’s wasn’t too bad, but some of my muscles felt sore like I had done a workout.

While I’m not happy I’m going through this medical unknown right now, I’m working on thinking of the positives. I’ve had more opportunities to work on my issues with needles and I feel like it is getting better. I’m hopeful that maybe in a few years I won’t have even the little blackouts with needles. I also was able to test my claustrophobia and panic disorder and had to force myself to settle those issues without medication or any distractions.

I haven’t heard anything about the MRI since going in, but that’s a good sign. I have an appointment to discuss what’s happening and what the plan is with a surgeon next week, and if I heard something sooner that would only mean something really bad and urgent is wrong with me. I’m very hopeful that this is going be a situation that will just be something that needs to be monitored from time to time and not something that will require surgery soon. But no matter what the plan and situation is, I know that it will be fine and I will be ok.

Another Dentist Visit (or Panicking About Panicking)

I’ve written a bit about my issues with going to the dentist in the past. It still bugs me that I used to be completely fine with the dentist and now it’s become a huge ordeal for me. I know I need to go 3 times a year and I don’t avoid the appointments because that can lead to more issues than I want to deal with. But it doesn’t make it easier to get through each appointment.

I’ve also written about how taking Vyvanse was supposed to make my panic attacks worse. But for some reason it’s had the opposite effect for the dentist. I’m so grateful that is the case for me, but it doesn’t eliminate all the panic I feel and it’s still a bit of an ordeal for me to go.

I had my cleaning this Monday and I tried my best to be ready for it. I had plenty of teeth nightmares (thinking my teeth are falling out, have massive cavities in them, need them to be pulled out) in the month leading up to the appointment. And when I was brushing my teeth the week before the appointment I seriously thought I saw something that looked like a cavity so I was freaking out. I was dreading the bad news I was expecting to get at the appointment and just tried to get to Monday so I could get it over with.

I had my usual workout in the morning (which was a nice distraction for an hour) and several errands scheduled between the workout and the appointment. But when I was driving over to the dentist I was starting to have a panic attack. But this panic attack wasn’t about being at the dentist. This was about worrying that I would have a panic attack while I was in the middle of the appointment. I literally was panicking about potentially panicking. It wasn’t fun.

As soon as the dental hygienist came to get me, I really felt like I was about to burst into tears. I wasn’t shaking and my breathing was normal, so that was an improvement. And I let her know my concerns so she could try to get me reassured as quickly as possible.

The first thing the hygienist did was check my teeth for any damage. She takes her time doing this because she wants to give me an answer immediately if there are any issues that I should be worried. While she was looking I was pinching my arm as hard as possible to distract me from when felt like impending doom. And once she was done looking she said that everything looked fine (not even something that looks like it could turn into a cavity anytime soon) and got on with the rest of the appointment.

As soon as I got that news, all the fear and panic melted away from my body. I felt completely normal and made it through the rest of the appointment with no issues at all. Even all the stuff I hate (like the scraping stuff) was fine and I felt relaxed.

I keep joking with the hygienist that I’m ready for this panic about the dentist to end. I’m doing significantly better but I’m not back to how I was before the panic attacks started. I feel like the panic attacks are now a fear about potential panic attacks which is a bit better than panicking about the appointment itself. These are baby steps to getting over this issue and while the progress is annoyingly slow for me it’s progress.

Hopefully within the next few years dentist appointments will bring the same lack of panic as any doctor appointment for me (I only panic when I know my blood has to be drawn). Once I can treat these appointments as just a normal part of life, the better.

There is one other thing that may have made this a better appointment than in the past, but that is a story for tomorrow’s post!

Trip Planning (or Keeping Panic To A Minimum)

This past weekend, I went to Maryland for a family reunion. I just got back last night so I’ll recap the trip tomorrow, but I wanted to share with you how my trip planning went.

I’m a pretty good traveler, but I get so nervous and panicky about things. I always want to make sure I remember everything and I know I overpack because I’m scared I’ll forget something that isn’t easy to find (like clothing). For years, I’ve taken panic meds before traveling (for a day or so before flying and then right before my flight to be ok with flying). But since I’ve been doing better with my panic attacks and my Vyvanse makes the panic meds not as effective, I’ve been trying to get through traveling without the meds. I’ve been doing ok with doing that at the dentist (which is a miracle), so it should be the same for traveling.

I tried to do all of the other things I do to prepare for traveling to keep myself calm. I made all of my usual checklists, I did all of my usual prep work (checking all my travel toiletries and supplies), and tried to plan for some fun things to do on the flights there and back. I flew there with my brother and sister-in-law, but I flew home by myself so I wanted to make sure I had plenty of new library books on my Kindle to read and other things to keep my mind off of flying.

I was doing pretty great with my prep stuff, until I started planning out my clothes. While I am used to occasionally having hot days in LA, we don’t have humidity like they do in Maryland. I wanted to make sure I had clothes that would do their best to keep me cool in 90 degree heat and 90% humidity. Most of what I packed were workout clothes since those wick away sweat (I know that’s gross, but it’s true). And my outfit for the reunion was a tank top and a skirt so I figured it should keep me a bit cooler than other things. But just knowing that I might be sweaty for the entire weekend stressed me out.

I don’t know why that got to me so much, but I really was stressing a lot about the clothes and what would and wouldn’t show sweat if I was gross. I know that everyone else might be just as gross and sweaty, but I still didn’t want to look that way. I think part of it is knowing that I don’t want to look like I’m sweating because of my weight. I don’t want to be that stereotype and while I’ve been making good strides in my fitness and weight loss, others don’t know that and I don’t want to be judged.

I was talking to my mom about this a bit last week before leaving and she helped to calm me down a bit. I said that I just wanted to make sure I was impressing everyone since outside of my immediate family I haven’t seen any of the people at the reunion for 5 or 16 years (or ever in some cases). My mom was telling me how it doesn’t matter whether or not I impress people. I’m living my life the way I want to and as long as I’m happy it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. I know I’ve known this, but having someone else tell me it made it finally register in my brain.

I really tried to focus on how awesome it’s going to be to be going on a trip and to see family that I haven’t seen in years. I’m so lucky that I had the opportunity to do this and I’m grateful that I got to go. These family reunions are held each year, but since everyone pretty much lives on the east coast they are always held there. And I usually don’t get to go so this time was really special. Focusing on those things did help me relax a bit and not feel like I really need to take my panic meds. I’d rather not have to take them anymore so testing myself is good for me. I’m so used to taking them, and trying to get off them is a good idea since I pretty much have to choose to take them or my Vyvanse (and I would rather be taking Vyvanse).

A full recap of my weekend in Maryland is coming and I can’t wait to share with you everyone that I got to finally see again!

“BLUE” (or Supporting A Friend’s Film)

This past weekend, I got to attend the premiere of my friend Robert’s film. This was something that I know he had been working really hard on, and I was so excited to see the finished product. So I had been counting down the days to the screening!

Robert worked with Marie and Chris (the epic party throwers) on this project, so a lot of people attending the screening were the same people who I see at lots of parties throughout the year. That made the event even more fun and I think everyone shared my excitement about it!

The film that Robert and Chris did is called “BLUE” and it is a very personal story for Robert. It shows people what it is like living with depression and how it can rule your life even if you are doing something fun or that you love. Depression in the film was represented by Blue, a puppet, and I think it was a really great way to show people what mental illness is like.

Blue

Technically, I was diagnosed with depression when I was younger, but the more I’ve learned about mental illness and depression I believe that I was actually misdiagnosed. I think my depression was a side effect of my panic/anxiety disorder. The panic attacks made me sad and I didn’t know how to make things better. That depression is very different from when people are diagnosed with depression, but I can still relate to the concept of the film.

While I don’t deal with my panic/anxiety on a daily basis, I do live in fear for when the next attack will be. Fortunately, they are getting better now so I’m not in as much fear as I was before. But I’m still wondering when the bubble will burst and I’ll have a horrible panic attack that causes me to not be able to do anything for a day or so. That feeling is similar to what some people with depression feels when they wonder when their next down time will hit them.

I loved this movie! It’s short, but the message is very effective and clear. I think it’s a great way to show others what mental illness can feel like and how we can feel crazy when we can’t just forget about it. And I think that everyone else who viewed it felt the same way because everyone was just so touched after the end credits were done.

And because my friends Robert and Chris are so amazing, they have posted the movie on YouTube for everyone to see and share.

(if you can’t see the video above, click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rk_D9x5BeRI)

I hope that you all take a few minutes to watch this movie and to share with everyone you know. Let your friends who have a mental illness know that you are trying to understand them. And let your friends without mental illness know that they should watch this so that they can try to understand their friends who battle this every day.

After the screening, Robert had arranged for a photographer (Adam, who did my last headshots!) to take photos of us with the puppet who was in the movie. I love photo booth set ups and this one was so much fun! And of course, taking photos with a puppet is a pretty awesome thing too.

Me and Blue

Adam also took some fun candid shots before and after the screening. Most of them haven’t been posted yet, but I love this one of a bunch of us in the backyard before the screening started.

Party

After the screening and photos, most of us hung out in the backyard just chatting like normal. But it wasn’t like normal because everyone was more open than I think we’ve ever been before. We were discussing some more serious things than we normally do and there was no shame in what anyone had to say. This movie really did bring us all closer together even though we were already pretty close to begin with. I think anything that helps to remove the shame from any mental illness is such a gift and I’m so glad that Robert and Chris did this so we could feel more open with each other.

If you deal with depression or mental illness, please know that you aren’t alone. There are so many of us out there who know exactly what you are going through and maybe not everyone is ready to share that with the world. By being willing to share, you might inspire others to share and be open too (I experienced that with this blog).

And if you are dealing with mental illness and want help, please get it. There is no shame in needing someone to talk to or medication to make things better in your life. You may find a way to live a fuller life by getting help, and that is something you don’t want to miss out on.

Replacing My Scale (or Somehow It Wasn’t A Big Deal To Me This Time)

I’ve seriously had a love/hate relationship with the scale. I refuse to look at any scale other than my own because I know that the scale might not be calibrated correctly and I’m not being weighed in the condition that I always weigh myself in (which is first thing in the morning after going to the bathroom and before I eat or drink anything). If I have to get weighed in somewhere (like at the doctor or for an Orangetheory challenge), I do blind weight where I step on the scale backwards and don’t find out what it says.

I’ve had panic attacks related to my scale. If I have to replace it, I feel like all the effort I had previously put into my weight loss is worthless because the new scale might weigh me differently than the old one. I’m aware how crazy that sounds, but panic attacks aren’t rational and that’s really what my crazy brain thinks. So I’ve gone months in the past without a working scale (which doesn’t help my panic attacks either because I’m terrified I’ve gained a ton of weight and don’t know it), or I search high and low for the exact same scale I previously owned thinking that somehow that would make a difference.

I don’t know when this issue with the scale started, but it’s been like this for a very long time. So when my scale was acting weird I got really nervous. I would step on the scale and a variety of error messages came up. But since it would eventually zero out I thought I could weigh myself. But I would get such an extreme range of weights from the scale. It could start at 375 pounds and then go down to 17 pounds and everything in between. So I knew that something wasn’t right and it needed to be fixed.

First, I changed out the batteries thinking that it would fix the issue. But even with the new batteries I had the exact same error messages (mainly it was an overload message which shouldn’t have happened because the scale is good up to 400 pounds and I’m not near that weight at all). So since the new batteries didn’t work, I immediately went on the search for a new scale and was scared that it would take a long time to be ok with a new one.

I’m shocked that I went onto Amazon, found a scale with decent ratings, and felt totally ok ordering it right then and there. Because of Amazon Prime the new scale was at my doorstep early the next morning and the old scale went immediately into the trash.

New Scale

As soon as the new scale was set up (I’m happy that it came with batteries so I didn’t have to buy them), I stepped on it. I weighed 4 pounds more than I did on my old scale, but that’s ok. That is my new current weight and as long as this scale keeps working that will be the weight that I will be working with.

It was as simple as that. No panic attacks (although I was mad that my scale broke and the company had gone out of business so I couldn’t get a replacement or any help) and I’m fine with the new scale. I don’t know what changed in my life to make this so much easier than all the other times I’ve had to do it in the past. I still plan on doing blind weights when I’m not at home, but I know that doing that will keep me from worrying what the scale says at other places or under other conditions. I wish that so many other things that cause me panic attacks or anxiety could go away for no reason like this did. So many things would be so much easier if that happened, but I know that it’s a bit of an unrealistic dream.

I’ve got a few other things coming up that have always caused me panic that I haven’t had to deal with recently (more on that in another post) and I’m cautiously optimistic that somehow they will be easier for me now. I had that experience at the dentist recently and there really is no reason for it. I’m wondering if it has anything to do with the Vyvanse dose I’m taking. It’s supposed to make my panic/anxiety disorder worse, but maybe it’s making it better?

I can only hope that that’s true.

Less Panic At The Dentist (or Am I Finally Over This?)

I had to go in for one of my regular cleanings at the dentist on Monday. I’ve talked about my issues with the dentist before and I hate that I’ve had this problem for so many years. I wish I could be someone who doesn’t think twice about going to the dentist and just shows up and gets the cleaning done with.

But instead, I get horrible nightmares relating to my teeth for the week or so leading up to the appointment (usually they are about my teeth falling out or having massive holes in them). And the morning of the appointment my stomach is horribly upset and my heart is racing. I feel sick until after the hygienist (who is awesome and knows how to deal with my panic attacks) tells me that there is nothing that concerns her. Then I just deal with minor stress through the rest of the appointment (she could always change her mind and see something bad with my teeth) and don’t feel stress free until I’m paying the bill (which I think is what most people get stressed about).

This appointment had to be rescheduled from earlier this month and the only time they could fit me in was in the afternoon. I usually like morning appointments so I can get it over with, but it wasn’t going to work that way for me. So I did my best to get through my day (including a morning workout at Orangetheory) and tried to not freak out too much.

Because I’m on Vyvanse (which is a stimulant), my panic medication (which is a depressant) isn’t as effective as it could be. If I was smart that day, I would have used that day as a day off of Vyvanse and just taken my panic meds. But I didn’t think things through. I took both my morning and lunchtime Vyvanse before my appointment and made sure that I was properly panic medication medicated before going to the dentist.

On a random note, I found out that one of the dental assistants at my dentist’s office isn’t there anymore. She was the one who would always call me before an appointment and remind me to take my medication. She saw me before I started taking it and she joked that she never wanted to see that crazy side of me again. I was pretty out of control at one major appointment and I know it isn’t fair for anyone there to have to deal with me when I’m in the middle of a horrible attack. But I’ve always properly medicated myself since then so I saw her reminders as just something funny and a joke between us.

When I got to the office, my heart was racing and I was shaking and sweating. It wasn’t pretty. And I had to wait a bit for my appointment which seemed to make things worse. Thankfully, when I sat in the chair I was able to relax a bit.

It does help that the hygienist changed the order of the cleaning so that it’s easier on me and my panic attacks. It’s all minor stuff she did, but it’s made a major difference for me.

And I’m shocked to report that even with the higher dosage of Vyvanse plus having taken both pill prior to my appointment that this was the easiest appointment I’ve had in years! I don’t know what changed, but I stopped panicking within a few minutes of the cleaning starting. I usually have bruises on my wrists or arms from where I pinch myself to not focus on the cleaning, but I’m bruise-free! And I’ve had appointments where after I’m done my body aches from shaking through the entire appointment. But this time I don’t know if I was shaking at all!

I don’t get why things are easier on me now. It really should be the opposite. And I’m not over my issues with the dentist because my morning was just as bad as it’s ever been. I just was able to feel normal again much sooner than I usually can.

I really hope that this is a new trend for me. If I can get to the point where I’m only panicking before arriving at the appointment, that would be a huge victory for me! I know that if I need major dental work again in the future that the panic attacks may come back stronger than ever (it was a major dental work appointment that started the attacks). And because genetically I have bad teeth it is very unlikely that I won’t need major work in the future.

But for now, I’m thrilled with the progress I’ve made so far and I’m glad that I don’t have to be back at the dentist for 4 months!

Another Year Another Dentist Panic (or One Medications Overriding Another)

I had my big dentist appointment this week. The big appointment is when I not only have a cleaning with the hygienist, but I also have to do x-rays and see the dentist as well. I hate these big appointments because I always think that something is going to be horribly wrong and I’ll be told that if I don’t fix something ASAP my teeth will fall out.

I know it seems crazy to think that, but so many of these appointments have ended in the past with me scheduling more appointments for major dental work. I’ve had more fillings, crowns, and shots than anybody would ever want in their life. And I know that there will eventually be more major dental work in my future because all the work that was done previously won’t last forever. Many things will need to be repaired or replaced one day. I’ve already had to have one crown cemented down again. And while that wasn’t that extreme of an appointment, it was still pretty painful for me.

The panic meds I’ve been taking for years have helped a bit. And even when I had my last cleaning and was dealing with Vyvanse plus my panic meds wasn’t too bad. But the combination of the double appointment plus the Vyvanse was not that great.

The night before the appointment, I couldn’t sleep. I have had tooth nightmares for several nights leading up to the appointment and knew that I would have another nightmare that night as well. I woke up exhausted and tried my best to time out my medications. I took my morning Vyvanse plus a painkiller (I figured that some pain relief couldn’t hurt). I’m lucky that my increased dosage of Vyvanse is split so I only had one dose prior to my dentist appointment. But I still had more panic than before.

Whenever I have these double appointments, I always try to schedule my cleaning first. That way, the hygienist can give me a heads up if something looks suspicious to her. She didn’t see anything so I moved on to the next chair for the x-rays.

X-rays aren’t painful, but they aren’t that fun for me either. I always look at the screen when the x-rays come up and try to see what they might show (I have no clue how to read dental x-rays so looking at them doesn’t do me any good). Once the dentist took a look at my x-rays, he gave me a clean bill of tooth health. Nothing is looking like a cavity (or pre-cavity), all my fillings look good and don’t need to be crowns yet, and all my crowns are secure and aren’t causing me any extra tooth sensitivity.

As soon as I was done paying, I got out of the office. I don’t like being there because I still have memories of bad appointments in the past. Even after I have a good appointment, I start thinking about the next one and get scared that in 4 months I will have something wrong.

I wish I could just outgrow this fear. I’m aware that it’s silly and I haven’t had a bad appointment in a while. But I don’t want to be comfortable either because I know that my panic makes me take better care of my teeth than many people do.

I’m just glad that I survived another dentist appointment and had nothing wrong. And I was able to schedule a couple of things to be right after the dentist appointment so I didn’t have to think about it too long after the appointment ended. I was too busy focusing on everything else (and all the good stuff) happening in my life.

A New Alarm Clock (or Letting Go Of A Little OCD)

I’ve blogged about my alarm clock before. I know that some of you must think that I’m crazy, but that alarm clock meant so much to me.

That alarm clock was a gift for my high school graduation from one of my dad’s coworkers. That means that I got it over 14 years ago (I’m shocked it lasted so long). When I was in high school, I was horrible getting up in the morning for school. I would have multiple alarm clock is going off, and I would still sleep through them. My mom or dad would always have to come and get me up for the day. When I graduated high school, I was worried about how I would get up for class every morning. And that alarm clock saved my butt.

I never unintentionally overslept for a class the entire time I was in college (sorry Mom and Dad that there was a class or two that I intentionally slept through). That alarm clock was so annoying that I had to get up every morning just to turn it off. I continue to use that alarm clock after college. With the exception of one time, I never missed a morning.

This alarm clock has been dying on me the past couple of years. I’ve managed to revive it multiple times, and every time I get it back I’m glad that I don’t have to look for a new alarm clock. For some reason in my head, I feel like no other alarm clock will be good enough for me.

But the other day, the alarm clock died. There was no saving it. It’s totally dead. I think that the speaker inside the alarm clock died. That’s not something that can be fixed by changing the batteries, and I’m sure however much it would be to fix is too much money. This alarm clock was made by Sharper Image, and it’s not for sale anywhere anymore. I even checked eBay with no luck. I did find a friend who has the exact same alarm clock at her parents’ home and promised to sell it to me the next time she traveled home and got it.

Since I can’t wait for forever for a new alarm clock, I finally had to suck it up and get a new one. I managed to find one with similar features on Amazon, and it was shipped to my house the other day.

New Alarm Clock

I also use my phone and my Fitbit as alarm clocks, so I wasn’t just relying on the new untested alarm clock. But this new alarm clock works just fine. I woke up in the morning without oversleeping, and I was able to start my day just like I was with the old alarm clock.

So why am I writing about this?

Because I think my fear of getting a new alarm clock has a lot to do with other things in my life. Maybe it’s related to my panic anxiety disorder or maybe it’s part of my OCD. I know that I did have OCD related to the alarm clock. I had to test it every night by pressing the snooze button (which would make a noise) and I needed it to sound “perfect” twice in a row before I could go to bed. I’m aware how that is obviously OCD, but since it wasn’t really harming anyone I never felt like I needed treatment for it.

But whatever issue was holding me back from getting a new alarm clock is gone now that I have a new one in my home. I was forced into this change and it was a good thing for me. I feel a sense of relief now that I’m not scared about my old alarm clock dying anymore. It’s very strange sensation.

The new alarm clock is still relatively new in my life, so I don’t know how this relief will relate to other things in my life. I do feel a sense of calm and lack of anxiety that I didn’t have before.

It’s strange how something as basic as an alarm clock can cause so much fear in so many parts of your life. I’m hoping that this letting go can be a new trend my life and perhaps lead me to other positive things.