I have never been one to use visualization techniques to calm anxiety. I can remember as far back as elementary school, many times when teachers would make us visualize things like peaceful meadows, beaches and forests, or sometimes our own “happy place”.
I would do this but it never helped me personally with whatever lesson they were teaching. Obviously, because I vaguely remember the lessons that followed.
When I was pregnant, I read and heard so much about visualizing your happy place, or imagining what your baby will look like in order to calm your nerves and help through labor. Well, in my opinion, that was a joke! I knew that this would not work for me, but I told my self I would try it anyway. SPOILER ALERT: I tried it and it didn’t help me during labor.
They’ve never worked, or maybe I’ve never had a true “happy place” to go to. That is, until last Monday.
I’m not scared of much. Few things actually, and I like to think they are totally normal things to be scared of.
- The 91 (if you live in California, you know!)
And last but certainly not least…….
- The Dentist
Yes…..yes, I know. “But there’s nothing to be scared of at the dentist.” I’ve told myself this every time I’ve ever gone to the dentist, but every time, I get the worst anxiety and I become a shaky, sweaty mess.
I didn’t go to the dentist often growing up, but in high school I had braces and spent more time at the dentist and orthodontist than I’d ever like to again. So I should be ok right? WRONG! I had horribly mean, arrogant dentists who made me hate going even more. Once those braces were off, and my mom stopped making my appointments (because I was 18) I just stopped going. But, being a Mom, and the responsible adult I am today (wow, thats a weird thing to call myself), I decided that I needed to get over my fear and get back to the dentist. Mostly to set a good influence for Jackalynn, in hopes that she won’t have the same fear that I do.
I mean, if I could make it through 19 hours of labor, I could make it through 1 hour at the dentist, right?
So, last Monday I was scheduled for a deep cleaning. My first deep cleaning ever and my first dental anything, in about 6 years. My anxiety was high for days leading up to the appointment. The moment I walked in the office, I kept telling myself the trick I had learned in high school,
“Breath through your nose, and wiggle your toes!”
The Dentist came in and assessed me, I explained my anxiety and he was very understanding and made sure to make me as comfortable and possible. He even stopped to numb my gums even more and make sure I was comfortable. I was still a shaking, sweaty mess.
I was lying there, breathing through my nose and wiggling my toes for a good 20 minutes, tense as my body could be and trying not to shake the chair too much. My anxiety at this point is telling me that I’m going to shake the chair too much, he’s going to cut me with this drill and I’m gonna die…….totally irrational, I know right?
All of a sudden, Jackalynn’s favorite song pops into my head. I start singing it to myself, silently.
“I love you, I love you. You make the world so bright. Morning, Noon and Night.”
Then I start singing her other favorite songs, The Barney Song, Sesame Street and Somewhere over the Rainbow. Then I’m seeing her face laughing at me and playing peek-a-boo……and all of a sudden I realized I was totally relaxed. I wasn’t shaking anymore, and my heart wasn’t racing…….
And then the dentist stops and asks if I’m ok……..I was humming out loud and he thought I was in pain!!
I almost died laughing and told him what was going on. He laughed and said “Whatever works for you!”
And it did work for me. Like nothing has ever worked to calm my nerves before.
I could see her smile, and hear her laugh so vividly that it made me laugh and smile, even tho I had a drill and hoses in my mouth. In the blink of an eye, I went from being terrified, to feeling like I could handle anything. All because of Jackalynn.
I went in scared, but I finished that appointment with a smile on my face and the realization that I have found my happy place, and her name is Jackalynn Lee.
Do you have a special happy place that helps you through hard times? Leave a comment and tell me your stories! I’d love to read them!
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