August 27, 2015


Earlier this week I had a visit with the dentist. If you're my mom, you've already watched the numb face video fifty times and I'm okay with that. But before that creation, before the drilling, before the small talk, before the "bite down on this"... it was just me in the chair. I had been given the numbing gel. You know, the numbing before the numbing. They'd handed me the remote to this tiny tv sitting five inches from my face and I was debating whether or not it was appropriate to watch Law & Order: SVU in a dental office. I decided it was not. So I flipped to some home remodeling show and I started to have this feeling. A strange feeling. A feeling I thought I should be able to name but couldn't. My body started shaking like it was cold when it wasn't. My heart was beating faster than normal but nothing terrible. What is happening? What am I feeling?

Oh my gosh, I'm nervous.

I have been dealing with anxiety for a few years. That is a feeling I know. It sinks down in my stomach and it makes me physically ill. It makes it impossible to do normal things. It keeps me in my comfort zone. It is crippling and vicious and selfish. This had become my normal. This was how my body handled stress. It was how it processed fear and uncertainty. 

The last few months I have opened myself up to a new approach. I've taken help so my mind can find new outlets for that stress and fear. With time and practice, my anxiety is lesser and calmer. It is not such a frequent visitor. I've found as my anxiety subsides I have more room to be genuinely nervous at appropriate moments in my life. I had forgotten what it felt like to be healthily nervous. It was the first time in too long that my body had responded correctly. Whether or not I had a reason to be nervous about this specific procedure was beside the point. I wanted to jump up and happily tell everyone in that office: "I'm nervous! I'm remembering what it feels like to be nervous and it feels normal and okay and good. It feels like my body knows what it's doing!" I wanted to hug into myself and say thank you. Thank you for working with me. Thank you for coming back to what we know how to do, what we're meant to do. For letting me feel things, comfortable or not, to the correct degree.

I know it is normal to feel a little nervous at the dentist. I know it is normal to feel nervous before speaking in front of a large group of people. It is not normal for it to take over your life and make you physically ill. And me and my body are figuring it out. We're getting back to that good place again. We're doing it.


  1. I love this, it makes me happy. It gives me hope.
    You're radical Bri. Keep on.

  2. "For letting me feel things, comfortable or not, to the correct degree." Yes. What a breakthrough! Congratulations!

  3. This makes me feel so happy. That's so great, Bri! I have no more words, I'm just so happy.

    xx, rn

  4. How did you get to that point? What helped you get control of your anxiety? It sounds wonderful, and, though I do not know you, I am genuinely thrilled for you.

  5. My heart, Bri, just grew. For you.

  6. "It is crippling and vicious and selfish.

    perfect description. im so happy for you!