Thursday, March 29, 2007

Triggers - Puberty and Dentists (graphic)

*Warning - graphic - and males might want to think twice about reading this*

First, thank you to all who were sending me calming vibes, prayers and good wishes this afternoon. I survived my oral surgeon appointment. Everything looks good and the loose part I was concerned about is no problem. Best of all I don't need to go back until the orthodontist is completed with his part and I'm ready to have the screws removed (more about that trigger later)

I talked with other survivors and turns out that the "odd" triggers (well, I thought they were odd) aren't all that uncommon.

First was a trigger I connected with earlier this week. I never connected the dots. When I finally did, it was a "duh" moment. Someone on another forum mentioned suffering from panic attacks during her period - sharp pains as well. I've always had vicious cycles. I've not been on birth control in a few years and just chalked the worsening symptoms up to that. But I never thought that some of what I was feeling was panic related or that my panic could be making things (especially the nausea) worse.

First, I remember getting my period in 6th grade - the year my parents separated and we moved to an apartment with Mom and her then-boyfriend (later husband/abuser/Toilet). The cramps were really bad. My mom would dole out the medicine - 2 pills every 4 hours. This was before my ibuprofen overdose attempt, so I am not sure why she was so controlling with the medication then. Mom was not sympathetic. She had always had cramps and just told me it was normal and to "learn to deal with it." She did let me have a heating pad. On the other hand, he ("Toilet") was very understanding and sympathetic. He would rub my feet. He would also rub my stomach/abdominal area. It actually helped. I had forgotten this until recently. Had a flashback when I used one of those thermocare wrap things earlier this week. Now I know why the cramps cause flashbacks and nausea.

The one trigger I didn't connect with until I read it on an online forum. I'm not sure how far I'll get in writing this because even thinking about it is triggering. But I'm hoping that getting it out there can help. My mom was very controlling with certain things -- odd because she was so uncaring/laid back about other things. When I was in 6th grade, I wanted to start shaving my legs. I remember asking my mom and she was very reluctant. But she finally consented after I tried to "teach myself" (not a good idea - LOL). I was given a lesson - very awkward - and handed a pink disposable razor and soap. Mom didn't believe in wasting money on shaving cream. I was only allowed to shave 1x a week. I have no idea why - she never did have a good answer for that rule. When I got my period, my mom never mentioned tampons at first. Just pads. I was told to take newspaper to wrap them up with and put them in the trashcan. I hated it. Felt like I was wearing a diaper - felt dirty. My mom is not a person who is overly concerned with hygiene. Money is a concern though. I'm not sure if it was a "you're wasting things" issue or what - but Mom would examine the trash can and tell me I was changing pads too often. When my sister and I were old enough to babysit and earn our own money, we would buy our own supplies - brand name shampoo, good razors, shaving cream, deodorant that worked, pads and tampons. It's funny now, because we are both ones that cut coupons and try to save money but neither of us skimp in these areas. Not one little bit.

When I was a bit older - after the physical touching part of the abuse - my dad wanted to go to the beach on one of his visitation weekends. I mentioned not being able to swim and Dad, in a very embarrassed voice, told me that there were ways to "deal with that" and to talk to Mom. So I asked mom, and for the first time, was told about tampons. Have used them ever since.

Earlier this week, I started my period. It was after my wonderful weekend and I thought maybe the panicky feeling was just a natural result of coming down off that spiritual high. I started getting triggery but never connected it to my period -- until I read some of these comments on another board today --- "I can't use tampons because I become too tense when putting them in and taking them out, it is physical agony for me, so pads/towels are my only option, which means the issue of blood between my legs remains there for the week." "i cant wear tampons, i tried once and spent half an hour throwing up and having flashbacks before i realised what was causing it." " Yes, I am triggered by my period as well.And I definitely can't use tampons, I can't even stand to try them."

That is it - it's not the blood, except for the fact that I hate using pads and feeling unclean/dirty. But it's the tampons - putting them in and taking them out to be blunt and exact about it. I remember my grandmother buying the non-applicator type for my sister and I one summer. That totally freaked me out - now I know why. I now understand why I always seem to cut my nails and file them short right before my period. That explains the sharp pains I get.

Enough about that................can't take any more right now.

About the dentist trigger - My mom didn't take me to the doctor or dentist growing up unless we were just dying. She was fearful of doctors/dentists and projected those fears onto us as well. Dentists are really tough for me. I've not ever found a female dentist, and certainly not one in my area who can handle my jaw issues. Having to sit in a chair reclined totally back in that helpless, turtle on my back feeling - and then to have a male hovering over my face ...... This jaw doctor tends to be more triggery than some others. First, they stick me in a room where my back is to the door. Nice view of the outdoors - but I still don't like having the door to my back. Then his assistant doesn't stand nearby where I can catch her out of the corner of my eye. So as far as I can see, there's just me on my back with this guy hovering over me. I took my xanax on the drive over. Then picked up my DD. She thinks it is fun to go with Mommy and ride the chair back and forth. Having her there is a distraction. The assistants spoil her - today they took her to the break room and plied her with cookies. I let her sit on my lap and then I can hold on to her while the Dr. looks at me. It keeps me grounded. So anyway, today was okay - I survived.

When I came home, I had a headache from the jaw stuff and from being slightly panicky so I decided to lie down until DH needed to leave to go play basketball with the guys. I slept HARD for about an hour. Very groggy when I woke up and am hoping I can sleep tonight.


Jewellybeano said...

I know what you mean about having someone in your face like that. And when they put their hands in your mouth it is even more restricting. I used to wear braces as a teen, and it never bothered me. Now, as an adult though, it would be very hard for me.

I'm glad your kiddo could e a distraction though. What kind of dentist gives kids cookies though. Most I know won't give kids anything sweet like that.

Tina said...

I am so glad you were able to get all of this out - you have come such a looong way, to be able to write it without having to stop...despite the panic it causes. Great for you! And, more power to you!

I am glad you were able to make that connection - it is very, very important you could make it. And, although it is very unfortunate that other have to feel the same way you do around period time, at least you know that you are not the only one who feels this way.

Thank you for sharing this. I am sure it was not the easiest thing to write out.

And, glad the dentist appointment went well! Despite the panic, of course.