I had no idea Invisalign would trigger PTSD

I’ve had a very unpleasant week to put it lightly. I went to the dentist last week due to pain in my jaw to find out it was due to muscle spasms with my muscle disease. Also there was atrophy in my face causing my cheeks to get torn up. So, we proceeded with invisalign. This would straighten my teeth, make sure they don’t get damaged with seizures, and make room for the atrophy. All sounding perfect.

Then the orthodontist put these anchor type things on each tooth ( if you have MCS DON”T DO IT!). After that we put the trays in top and bottom. After leaving the office I realized a LOT too late. Normally, I got home take a shower, wash all smells off. Wash off the triggers of the day. Well guess what you can’t take off, invisalign trays!!!! Or the anchors on your teeth! They are there for the long haul. So my logical mind tell me that this is something I must do to protect my teeth and cheeks from the atrophy and the seizures. PTSD has no room for logic.

I came home and showered and had one of my biggest triggering days ever. There was unexpected things with the orthodontist and the invisalign I was not prepared for. The chemical smells from putting the anchors on and more. I have been on overload.

On Tuesday I had an all out panic attack because I could not get the trays out of my mouth and my jaw was locked shut. I worked as hard as I could to get them out but I don’t have the strength in my fingers and when you first get these they are very tight until your teeth shift.

My sweet daughter finally wakes up and I toss her a pair of gloves to put on and say GET THIS OUT OF MY MOUTH. God love this child who put the gloves on and took these bastards out of my mouth after I massaged my jaw enough to even open it. I completely flipped. She calmly told me that even if I did not have PTSD that I would feel trapped by these trays being in my mouth and that many people feel this way. All of this was very calming and kind. But I knew I had to put them back in.

They hurt like a bitch. Mean truly. My lips and cheeks are full of sores and my teeth feel like they are being yanked and smashed.

NOT GOOD FOR PTSD. Just not good!!

Today I had to go back to be reassured by the orthodontist that everything is as it should be and she assured me that it was. She gave me some options for dragging this out in a doable way like wearing them only at night for a few weeks. I cannot prolong this though.

The orthodontist asked me if I’d had braces before. And the words just flowed right out. “I had them at a time I was sexually assaulted and I’ve blocked out a lot of those years out so I don’t remember having them.” I can’t stand up for myself, freeze, can’t speak when triggered, but if I go in prepared then I can just speak my truth right in the moment and I love that I can do that.

I have no recollection of braces but I am told I did have them.

This week has been difficult. I’ve barely eaten or had anything to drink. My husband bought me a lot of mush food, because he is thoughtful and loving, but just taking these trays out has been too much, knowing I had to put them back in. So I have boycotted eating. Which you’d think with a past history of anorexia, I’d be thinking ok great, lets fall back into old ways. But I don’t WANT to fall back into old ways and I’m increasingly distressed over the muscle atrophy and weight loss. I’ve been feeling frail and HUNGRY. So great. I’m hungry, wanting to eat, and yet cannot.

I’m sharing my week with invisalign and PTSD because this is all a learning process for me. I want to share my learning with others. I’m not sure if someone else with trauma would feel the same as I did with the feeling trapped and confined and in pain with these trays being triggering. But I want someone with PTSD to be able to make an informed decision on putting something on their body that will be stuck on them.

I’m just praying I can overcome. It’s day 5 now and I still want to cry and scream. I feel violated by TRAYS!! I mean seriously. Who would have thought! But I do.

Hence my red flag days this week.

I went to an appointment with my daughter that was a four hour appointment and the entire time I kept thinking, “ I can go home and shower and get in bed and rest my muscle pain but I still have to have these stupid trays in my mouth.” I kept trying to turn it around to positive self talk but the triggers are too strong and the pain is overcoming my ability. Had we not paid the 5500 dollars (which I kept reminding myself of) day two I would have taken a hammer to them. Knowing that I need to fix my bite to protect my teeth from seizure and atrophy damaging is my only positive keeping me from bashing these things.

In the mean time I tore off all of my cuticles down my fingers. My husband asked me if it was like cutting and before even thinking of the answer I said yes. So I guess yes is the answer. Yes. Yes is the answer. I tore off all of my nails and my cuticles and my hands are a stabbed bloody mess. So as not to continue this I have decided to write on my blog. It’s prime self harm time at midnight. I’m not going there though. Meds are not helping, distraction not helping, so I am tossing this out to my blogging tribe in hopes of some love and understanding.

Mrs. Chenille

Stream of consciousness writing from me. No prompt. Just me:

My mother kept a plant in a pot called a Chenille plant. I always loved it. It was at the lake then at her house where she moved in with her husband. When I moved into this house she gave me the plant along with a native geranium in the pots they stayed in for probably 30 years unless she had put them in larger pots along the way.

Mrs. Chenille froze one winter probably 10 years ago. I tried to bring her back but she didn’t make it. I dumped the remains on the side of the deck and tossed the molded pot it came in. I loved that plant. It had these long soft fluffy red puffs on them. They were like a fluffy cat’s tail, but red. I haven’t thought about that plant in forever.

Yesterday I was walking out to see the hawk and I saw Mrs. Chenille’s little red fluff growing in the side of our yard, far away from where it had originally died 10 years prior. Just one little red puff growing there. I couldn’t believe it. TEN YEARS! How long had that seed waited for the right conditions to grow. What were those conditions? Rain? Sun? Why now? Why Did Mrs. Chenille come back now? HOW did she come back now.

Last night I could not sleep. I thought about how planting a seed can take years to grow. I thought about applying that seed and that flower to our thoughts and our words and how one little seed or thought of kindness could take 10 years to take root. How the ripple affect of love can appear years from when we plant them. One nice comment can save a life a week later or years later. I still think of a boy that cradled my head in his lap 25 years ago some nights and it gives me hope.

So I lay in bed, lie in bed, I don’t know the correct grammar for that these days but anyway I was in my bed thinking all of these lovely thoughts at 3 am. I would get up and ask my husband to buy a new pot and potting soil and put Mrs. Chenille back on the deck. Dig her up and give her a healthy new spot to grow. I could look at her and think about how she persevered and how my mother’s love may still be there and finally grew 10 years later from a plant that sat on a deck on a lake originally that had caused so much pain. I thought of Mrs. Chenille as hope.

I woke up this morning and wanted to go dig up Mrs. Chenille and throw her in the ditch.

I wanted to go out and stomp her out with my shoe. Fuck perseverance. I’m so sick of perseverance and trying and hoping.

I went out and felt the softness of Mrs. Chenille. Why hurt her when she had done nothing wrong but bloom! So I decided to not stomp on her or dig her up and put her on my deck in a pretty pot. I decided to leave her right where she decided would work for her.

Mrs. Chenille, on her own, grew in the sandy soil, on the side of the yard, right next to where I walk to the car every single day. She didn’t need a pretty pot or perfect soil. She just needed to be left be so that she could grow on her own terms in her own way in her own time under her own perfect conditions. I looked her up online and she is supposed to have PERFECT conditions to grow. She doesn’t have them. She’s just out in the sand doing her own thing.

The lesson in Mrs. Chenille is this : sometimes you just have to let things be! I will walk by Mrs. Chenille every day and acknowledge her beauty and leave her to do as she pleases, where she chose to flourish, in her own way.

A visit with my owl

The last few days have been exceptionally hard for me. My legs stopped working. They occasionally do this. They feel disconnected from my body and I cannot lift them. If I can move them they have stabbing extreme pain. I knew it was coming and so  I took a quick shower. I thought the warm water would help. It caused extreme cramping. I actually started yelling at my leg to “be strong! Stop this! Come on! Buck up! Work already!!!!” Yelling at my leg did not work. As soon as I got out of the shower I could not lift my leg to even get dressed so my husband helped me.  For 14 hours I could not move them. I tried about 5 hours in  because I had to pee and the extreme pain caused screaming in agony. So I had to pee in a cup. Yep. The truth of living with a disease is not always pretty! But we do what we have to do. I was unable to move after I fell on the futon that is in my room. I had to sleep there for 2 days. My bed is to high to get in and out of. 

That, right there, in and of itself, petrified me. It scaresd me to death. The vulnerability. The helplessness. The pain an agony. The, what will happen next. It is very very scary. My shoulder is so fragile that I cannot be lifted by my arms because my shoulder would just pop right out. I can’t use my arms to push up. It is just a lose lose. I cannot get into my scooter because then I cannot get out of my scooter. 

So that has been my last few days. 

I got up today and my legs started working again. The pain is there but it is less. I got in my scooter this evening determined to go out and find something good. I found a feather. It was the fluffy undercoat feather of an owl. It was softer than cotton. Then I found another feather that had some owl markings on the end. As I went around the block another, then another then another, and then, my owl. There she was. In all of her glory. She did not speak to me. I heard two owls hooting in the distance. She just looked at me. Her big eyes seem smaller now that she is so big. She was so beautiful. I told her about my last few bad days. I mean this owl has been listening to me for going on 6 months now. She just looked into my eyes and listened. I took a few pictures of her but this time I really didn’t want to photograph. I wanted to just be. So I sat in her presence and just let us be together. I said to her with a flick of my hand, ” Alright I know you want to hung just go on.” Sure enough she flew away. 

After I left her I turned around and there was a rainbow in the sky. I took a quick picture and my ipad died. Battery dead. When I came home and charged it I looked at the pictures. The owl had these sparkling colors all around her. She was way above my head so she is not so clear. But the colors. I have never seen that before. Purple, green pink blue. Is this just a camera thing? Whatever it was it was really spectacular to look at. Maybe just something the camera did. And the rainbow. There was not a cloud in the sky. No rain. Just a rainbow. A beautiful rainbow. 

Something good was found.

Poetry


Enough.

“Was I supposed to be looking for a pedophile around ever tree?” 

Yes mother, you were. 

“Should I have not shaken his hand?”

No father, you shouldn’t have. He is a pedophile.

“What could we have done? You didn’t tell us enough.”

I told you both enough.

Enough.

I lay here.

The sticks thrown,

Laying at my feet.

Lashes felt through out me.

I lay here,

As the green algae envelops me.

They won’t notice.

They scoff at my defeat.

“She’s just mentally ill.”

They say to disregard me.

To deflect my persistent screams. 

They mock and minimize the anxiety.

My spine is crooked from their feet. 

I said enough.

I shouted to the world. 

But enough is not what they ever need.

“Silence!” The continue to plead.

I will never concede. 

They want me down with the sticks

And the stones.

They want me covered in the mold.

I’ve had enough of that life.

Look at me

Here,

Now.

Look in my eyes. 

“ENOUGH!!”

I say.

I claim this life

Without you

As finally

Mine.

*photographs by Riley Kays

This body.

I was looking at this body today:


I thought as I looked at it about how it has changed. I then looked down at myself. I ran my hand over my stomach and felt the obvious pooch that was there from my added weight and today, I loved my body. 

My body has brought me through abuse. It has endured a lot. It has endured being forced upon. It has endured being molested. It has survived. My body is kick ass!

My body has gone through eating disorders and come through to the other side. It has been treated unkindly and yet has still not failed me. It has been through Lyme disease, a muscle disease, bone disease, and STILL it pushes on. Yeah, my body kicks ass. 

This body has been through hell. But this body has also brought life:


This body held a child inside it! This body also nourished a child for years:


And look at how this child grew:





My body created this life. Her life. A miracle. 

So, today, I am not thinking of my body so much as something that can be physically touched or even looked at.  It isn’t about the difference in my muscle tone, or the fat distribution. I am thinking of my body as simply being incredibly strong and resilient. I am thankful for my body. The focus should never have been on my weight or how it looks. The focus is on the sheer fact that this body, my  body, is something to be incredibly proud of. It has carried me through this life and I will not be ashamed of it any longer.