What, Me Anxious?

My brain has been messing with me again – in more ways than one. I would not have considered myself an anxious person by a long stretch. I realize now that I’ve probably been wrong about this for a very long time. I have thought about anxiety as the sort of thing that makes a person whiny and not able to do things instead of thinking about how a person might feel while doing them.

It took a recent trip to the dentist to make me realize I might be better served looking at these matters differently – and I’m becoming convinced that it would be helpful to work at finding ways to better communicate to others how I’m feeling so that they don’t misunderstand me or my motivations. 

This is particularly important where it concerns being around other people. I like people, I really do. But I’ve known for a long time that I’m introverted in a way that makes me really uncomfortable around most of them, particularly when they are in groups. I’m not really as misanthropic as it seems sometimes; it’s just hard work and anxiety-producing. 

There, I used the word in a sentence that applies to me! Take that, brain!

For some perspective on my anxieties and how I function, I captured the following live while taking a Lyft ride back to work after tackling a pretty significant dental procedure… 

My cracked tooth – prior to repair

As a highly analytical person with weird pain tolerance and (self-diagnosed) high functioning anxiety, who has finally undergone dental treatment with the help of nitrous for the first time, I have observations. 

  • Regular, daily life dealing with people, particularly in groups, is like getting your teeth cleaned. 
  • Being late for anything – or frankly, just thinking about what it will take to be on time, is like anticipating a difficult dental procedure.
  • Getting my teeth cleaned is like getting a procedure done without anesthesia.
  • You know when there is a fight next door that is so loud, so passionate, that you swear it’s in the same room with you? That’s the equivalent to getting a procedure done WITH anesthetic. 
  • Ever been somewhere so painfully bright that it’s a relief to put on sunglasses? That’s a procedure with anesthesia AND nitrous. Occasionally it’s a bit like adding earplugs while at a construction site too.
  • Coming down off of this level of anxiety-inducing trauma is as debilitating as having the flu or a hangover; I used to think it was the anesthesia but it’s not, it’s the effects of the adrenaline. 
  • I thought of all this while having a major procedure done AND carrying on a conversation with the dentist and his assistant. I like nitrous.

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