WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT ANXIETY TODAY, FROM A 16 YEAR-OLD.

I didn't struggle with anxiety until last year and I look to find ways to cope on certain days.
  1. I've known her since she was 12.
    I know from her mother (and her medical history) that she has OCD, among other things.
  2. She used to barely speak to me while I cleaned her teeth..
    That adolescent thing coupled with her personal issues, I assumed.
  3. I later learned (from her mother) that when she was 14, she was suicidal. As a mother who has lost a child this is gut-wrenching and heartbreaking.
  4. She has warmed up to me over the last year or so..
    And I think they've managed her symptoms with the correct meds. This is hard to do when you're a growing child, from what I understand.
  5. I have been off work for 10 days, just some vacation time, and went back to work this morning.
    My anxiety comes and goes but was in full swing today. That's another li.st entirely.
  6. She was my last patient of the day.
    She's a little difficult to work on from a physical standpoint. Her mouth is small, she has oral hygiene issues so she's usually uncomfortable..
  7. When she sat down today, she asked if I could "be careful with her lip"..I noticed that it looked to be healing from what appeared to be a large cut.
    I asked her if it was from a sunburn.
  8. She said, "no, it's from my anxiety issues. I tear at my lip with my fingernails sometimes."
    Then she went back to watching Anerican Dad on the ceiling television.
  9. I don't know if I should credit society because we talk about it more, her parents for letting her know it's OK or give her credit for just being a brave 16 year-old.
    I'm going to guess all of the above.
  10. So, the answer to what I learned today from a 16 year-old with anxiety?
  11. IS TO FUCKING OWN IT.
  12. Thanks for the lesson💞
  13. UPDATE: So, today was her 6 month recall, which is dental speak for getting your teeth cleaned twice a year😉
  14. While taking her films, I said, "your skin looks really great"
    She asked what I meant..
  15. "You're not wearing as much makeup so I can see it better, I like it"
    Honestly, she went through a Goth phase, and we're talking A LOT of makeup.
  16. "Oh", she says. "I really don't wear it anymore"
    I ask why she stopped..
  17. "Because it took a really long time"
    "Yeah, as if school isn't early enough, right"
  18. "Well, my OCD doesn't allow me to just do a little, 'cause I had to get it perfect"
    "So, it's all or nothing"
  19. "Yeah"
    I wish we could all be this open, I say to myself.