Today was emotionally draining for me.
I woke up early for an appointment at the dentist. I’m getting all my old filling replaced (bye yucky silver fillings from childhood!) so I went in to get one side of my mouth done. Since I’ve had bad experiences in the past my dentist made sure to give me lots of medicine to numb my teeth.
My awesome dentist understood my fear and didn’t want me to have any pain. She gave me so many shots half my face went numb, up to my eye.
After my appointment this was my best attempt at a smile. Not so good.
My face was halfway frozen for most of the work day. It wasn’t so bad since I mostly work at my own computer, but in the afternoon I had a client meeting scheduled. I thought the numbness would wear off before l but 30 minutes before my meeting I still had a crooked smile and was talk out of the side of my mouth.
My anxiety got the best of me.
I wanted to cancel my meeting and go home to cry.
It was an uncomfortable situation in my mind because it brought back a lot of fear from previous experiences.
When I was in 8th grade I had Bells palsy. That is a facial paralysis that makes one side of your face frozen/paralyzed. It happened to me almost instantly, during band, where I was playing my trumpet one minute then have trouble the next. It was an uncomfortable experience that took days to figure out and then I was told it might never go away. Luckily it did go away after a few months but the experience was awful. I was a shy 13 year old who suddenly had a funny frozen face and couldn’t speak properly. I avoided people and public speaking for months, and it’s one of the main reasons why I fear public speaking.
Today reminded me of that experience when I was faced with speaking in front of coworkers and clients. I felt like I was 13 years old again. I wanted to avoid and run away.
As an adult, I didn’t get the choice. Someone had to lead a meeting and that person had to be me. I told myself I had to do it and I could go home later and cry if I wanted to still do so. I went to the meeting, explained the situation, and made my way through it. It wasn’t bad because once I got started the fear dissipated and I focused on the work.
In a way, today was a major victory for me. I basically faced down one of my biggest fears and nothing bad happened.
Small steps, small steps.