How to emerge from a negative downwards spiral.

Learn from my pain…

Today I had the necessary evil of going to the dentist. I should mention that I am not a dentist evader, in fact, I go to the dentist religiously. It just so happened that I’d skipped a few months because I was in the midst of moving and it was one of those things that fell through the cracks. Not even 2 full months after moving, I promptly scheduled a dentist appointment in my new location.

Having been me all my life and dealing with the wretched excuse for teeth that I own, I knew something was bound to come up. What I wasn’t prepared for was the myriad of problems that the dentist laid on me. Things that I never expected, such as, having to go to a root canal specialists to make sure my root canals were done properly, or having to get braces (yet again!).

I sat paralyzed as the (very nice) dentist patiently broke down everything that was wrong with me. It reminded me of that time my hygienist said I had the soft teeth of an elderly man. It was brutal. In that moment, so many traumatic memories of similar conversations resurfaced.

I felt hopeless and defeated like I was in some twisted horror movie where the same scene repeats on a loop. Would I ever improve my dental health? Could I even improve my dental health? Most importantly, why me?!

The doctor went so far as to prescribe me a special toothpaste with extra strength fluoride it in. Discouraged and deflated, I drove to the nearest pharmacy to get my overpriced toothpaste before returning home to wallow in my self pity. I had 15 minutes to kill before the pharmacist gave me what I came for — just enough time to cool off.

I sat in my car and starred at the toothpaste, it looked like my regular toothpaste just with my name on it. Suddenly I thought, it could be worse. And it was true, it could be absolutely worse. I could have a life threatening disease, or a permanent and painful illness, like IBS. Just knowing that it could be worse made it somehow better than it was.

On my way home I thought of a few things;

1. Life is truly about perspective— it’s easy to get caught up in our strongest emotions and yet every coin has 2 sides.

2. Time really does heal all — taking the time and space to understand what is in front of you and how you will move forward can help you respond to difficult situations with a deeper self awareness.

3. It’s OKAY to not be OKAY! It’s not okay to use that as an excuse to give up. I wallowed and I felt bad for myself in the moment, but at some point I knew it was time to accept what is done and move forward.

In the end the whole ordeal lasted about 3 hours, but the lesson learned feel eternal.

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