A number of years ago I had a severe sinus infection. The details are unimportant except that I went to a quick care facility at 5:00 a.m. when I realized I needed medical intervention. The doctor prescribed an antibiotic for the short term and an over-the-counter for the long term. It took about three months to clear the infection. I was on the OTC for six months due to allergy season.
Over time I began to notice that I could often feel my heart beating. If I went to the doctor or dentist, it felt like I was on the verge of an anxiety attack. This had not been my pattern before – even with going to the dentist, which is one of my least favorite things. As it turned out, the allergy/sinus medication that was recommended was over-stimulating my adrenal glands so any added stress caused them to fire as though I were in danger. It was the most intense when I was sitting in a dentist’s chair. I liked my dentist and I would feel fine until someone started working on me….then the heart pounding would start.
I tried everything I knew to do – yoga, meditation, listening to relaxing music while they worked on me. Nothing worked. My dentist prescribed Valium to take the night before so I would sleep. I slept but nothing changed once in that chair. I was so discouraged. I was teaching yoga and meditation! I was practicing and meditating in the chair! I did begin to sleep the night before an appointment without medication and I felt good about that, but I found myself reminding them every visit that I had white coat syndrome and each time my judgment of myself grew.
After years of this, I talked with my best friend about how weary I was of what I experienced during every dental appointment and she said, “Well, you know there is a stimulant in the numbing shot they give you, right?!” She went on to tell me that her husband isn’t allowed to have those injections because of his pacemaker so they use the old-fashioned one. I understand on an intellectual level that this was done to speed up the time it takes to numb the gums so they can work on me/us. I do not understand not being told about this when I shared my struggles with hygienists and dentists over the years. As soon as she said that, I remembered that I used to sit for some time and that dentists would work on other patients until they could work on me. We all did because the medication took a while to work.
I judged myself harshly because I did not have the information I needed to assess my own experience correctly. I had to work through frustration and anger because their expediency was more important to them than my well-being and peace of mind. Now I am forgiving myself for still being nervous and afraid to go. I live in a new city and will have to explain yet again, defend my right to choose yet again, and in the process be gentle with myself. It didn’t have to be this hard; someone could have helped me when I was searching for answers.
I forgive myself for judging myself so harshly and I forgive those who didn’t offer me more information. Perhaps even they didn’t fully realize the connection between the medications in the injection and my situation and, even if they did, I forgive them for my sake. I forgive and I intend to build new experiences by choosing to speak my truth and take care of myself. My adrenals will always trigger too easily because of all these things but now my practices calm them down and I am easier in my body and my mind. I have also learned to trust myself more rather than embracing labels too quickly. I ask more questions, talk to more people, and listen well.
If you are quick to judge yourself, to assume you are doing something inadequately, I hope this helps you look at some things differently. I hope you have the information you need before you think you are falling short in some way.
I love you and may you know peace in this moment.