Today really challenged my OCD. I had to visit the dentist for what I thought would be a filling, but ended up requiring an expensive new veneer. In turn, that meant a lot of fucking about in my mouth, and both the dentist and dental assistants hands on my lower face. Now, I know that most people cringe at the thought of dental work, but this was a special kind of hell. There was no physical pain, but the mental torment of having to sit with my obsessive thoughts and anxiety for over an hour as both women worked on me was overwhelming.
You might have read in an earlier post that I worry about contamination on my face. Mostly, because once a year or so, I get a cold sore on my bottom lip. Now, I know it wouldn’t be a big deal to a lot of people. So what, right? More people on Earth carry the HSV 1 virus than those without. I know rationally it’s no biggie. Unfortunately, my brain obsesses about it. I think about it constantly. My fear is based on the fact that outside of the time you have an active cold sore, your body actually sheds the Herpes virus asymptomatically at it’s own will. Not very often, but that doesn’t matter to my brain. Just knowing it could be happening at any time, without any symptoms terrifies me. My fear is that somehow the virus will spread to other parts of my face, which I know is statistically extremely unlikely after your first outbreak. But my OCD thrives on ‘What if?’ thoughts that can’t be negated by statistics on risk. So I intentionally avoid touching my lip all the time, or if I do, I wash my hands straight away. I especially wouldn’t use that hand to then go on and touch the rest of my face. So as the woman is wiping my mouth all over, and using the same wipe to remove the putty stuff they used to take an imprint of my tooth, from my chin, my anxiety was sky rocketing. Add to my fears, the fact that dental work like extraction and root canal and veneers, are actually triggers for a cold sore outbreak and I’m literally sweating with fear. I could feel myself growing agitated and my eyes welling with tears as I lay in the chair under her gaze. It was all I could think about the whole time she was working on me. Sixty plus minutes of sheer mental exhaustion. I got home and washed my face with antibacterial soap for ten minutes. I’m still thinking about it now, over and over, just waiting for the worst case scenario to play out.
I know that my obsessions, no doubt, sound ridiculous to most people, and that they’ll wonder why I just can’t deal with them the way everybody does. Why can’t I just accept that shit like cold sores happen, you whack a bit of Zovirax on it for a few days and you’re done. I wish I knew why my brain reacted the way it does to specific scenarios like this. I have often wondered if my obsessions are tied to deeper issues, like the fear of abandonment or ending up alone. Is that why I freak out about things like disease? Because it might make me less appealing to some people and in turn I’ll end up alone? If that’s it, it’s a shitty way for my brain to deal with it…because OCD does a great job at keeping people away from me and making me feel like a pariah. Who knows why my brain operates the way it does. If only there were a brain veneer, that would just fit right over my cracked and broken existing one, all shiney and new and working as it should.