Today I visited the dentist for the first time in over three years.
I’m not particularly scared of going to the dentist, but my inability to walk easily and bouts of agoraphobia meant that I just never got around to going. Plus, although I qualify for free dental care on the NHS due to my low income, I was having to pay for it, because trying to get an NHS dentist is nearly impossible. (I waited for 6 years in Inverness before I got wind of a practise that had an availability.) This time it was my sister who tripped over the NHS slots and grabbed one for me.
I very nearly didn’t get there. Mentally during the last few days I’ve been in the doldrums. Not feeling really bad, but not quite right either. I’m always amazed at how being in a poor mental state can make everything physically more difficult too. My legs ache more, my body just niggles at me. And that was what it was like today: I virtually crawled out of the door to walk to the bus stop.
But, I did get to the dentist. And it was a relatively pain free experience.
I had a bit of a panic attack trying to get into the building as I’d never been before. But having scouted it all out beforehand using Street View on Google Earth I knew exactly where I was going and which door I had to enter. On the first pass, as I said, I lucked out. I didn’t have quite enough “bravery” momentum to get me through the door and I carried on walking instead. But I got in on the second try.
One of the worst things for me is that dentists invariably will tell you off for your poor dental hygiene. This is especially bad for someone dealing with my mental health issues because I’m paranoid that if I don’t do things correctly then someone will come along and kill me. Don’t ask me who, I’ve no idea. My brain is totally bonkers. Actually, I’m glad that it’s never formulated a massive conspiracy theory as to the precise nature of the people that are going to come and kill me, because then it would be far harder for me to dismiss it.
Normally I don’t have to put up with that little voice screaming at me to “be good”. Normally… unless I get stressed. And dentists stress everybody out, right?
But this dentist was lovely. I mentioned that I had mental health issues and his posture changed, ever so slightly. I thought “uh oh, here we go. He’s either going to talk to me as if I’m an imbecile, or his eyes are going to flit warily between myself and the door the whole time.” But I was pleasantly surprised. He told me clearly what he was going to do and why and not once did he castigate me for not brushing often enough.
Upon emerging I was very happy. I have a tooth that needs filling. But more importantly I wasn’t scared of returning.
I was unfortunately worn out from the whole encounter. So why I then decided to walk home is a bit of a mystery. Because it’s good for me I suppose.
I enjoyed the walk. But it took aeons because my legs felt like lead and my brain had gone just a little bit off kilter from the whole “dentist” thing.
In the dunes
I even took a short detour into the dunes. I haven’t been along this little boardwalk before.
Looking over to Mumbles
Swansea’s tallest building
It took me a little while to work out why there were loudspeakers strung along the beach. At first I thought that they may have been left over from last week’s half marathon. And then I remembered that it’s the Airshow on Saturday and Sunday. If all goes well with the weather we’ll be treated with displays by the Red Arrows and a variety of other magnificent flying machines. For today though, we’ve got a line of speakers on the sand playing tinny music.
Not a bad day at all 🙂
Dentist Day: 3 mile walk home
Steps Taken: 11,210
Difficulty Level: Moderate