Anyone who follows me on social media will know that I’ve been having lots of dental issues, which caused much anxiety which, in turn, stopped me from writing. When I finally plucked up the courage to see a dentist (who was lovely), it led to a LOT of appointments with fear! I’m genuinely grateful to him because a lot of things, that I’ve since achieved, hung on that visit, unbeknownst to him.
Let’s get to the root (pardon the dental pun) of the issue.
When I was younger (and occasionally since), I was teased about my teeth. Now, that stuff, even though you laugh it off, stays with you. Even when you’re my age (older and wiser). Add to that a dodgy dentist and a bad experience with a hygienist, and it mounts up. You might notice that I have no author photos on my books and very few pics on social media (unless I’m dressed up for Halloween or Christmas). Well, before my first novel was published, our local paper did an article on me. I thought it would just be a little column somewhere near the back but it must have been a slow news week and they did a HUGE four-page pull out thingy and there were photos….BIG photos. They’d been taken from a jaunty (artistic?) angle and I looked terrible. I cried as I was so embarrassed.
I rarely look in the mirror so being confronted by photos of my teeth (even x-rays – I know, right?) is difficult. I’ve just had a video appointment with an orthodontist and they were very lovely but it’s SO daunting to face your phobias and actually get work done (and it goes without saying that it costs a small fortune).
I’m trying to deal with my anxiety in my own way but not discussing it internalises things and makes every tiny issue worse. So, I’m telling you about some of mine. And I’m writing about it in a book. Coming up, I have two further dental appointments, this month alone. I have a driving test in the summer. I am going to do a couple of things that other people class as fun but they scare the hell out of me. Maybe there will be photos (because I sure as hell won’t be smiling). Tomorrow, it’s a Mental Health Awareness Day, so do talk about your issues/anxieties/phobias/glitches/fears – whatever you call them. Being embarrassed about things gives them power.
I’m going to need to sell a lot of books to get this particular journey to its destination!