Monday, 25 February 2013

Novacaine for the soul

My teeth are in really bad shape
This is due to a number of reasons
Years of not looking after them when I was in active addiction
12 years of bulimia
And also methadone
Methadone is a green syrup, full of sugar and over time it has taken it's toll
Smoking has also caused significant damage
I started the big job of getting my teeth fixed last year
I found a lovely dentist and over time he has done a lot of work on them
5 extractions and numerous fillings
I visited him again last week
I probably would have avoided it for as long as possible but my father talked me in to going
I would have done anything to get out of it
I would have happily eaten my foot rather than go

We drove in to town and parked the car in a car park I don't usually use
I thought it would be quicker to walk back out through the car park rather than going through the shopping centre
All of a sudden I had no idea where I was
An icy wind was blowing as we tried to make our way through the maze of narrow streets
I don't know how but we actually managed to get lost in my own town
I know I have a bad sense of direction but this was ridiculous
My father wanted to ask someone for directions but my pride wouldn't allow it
Eventually I saw a street I recognized and we headed for the dentist

The waiting room was full of men
I felt a little bit silly being there with my father like I was a child but he insisted on coming with me
I sat patiently reading about Harry from One Direction's love life
(He has split from Taylor Swift if you're interested.  Does anyone actually care about that stuff?)
'Come straight in' said the dentist
He's a tall man with a shock of white hair and kind eyes
'Are you still off the.........?'
It's always the first question he asks me
He means am I still off drugs
For some reason he doesn't seem to be able to say the word drugs
Is drugs a bad word?
Maybe he's just being polite
I took my jacket off and for some stupid reason I draped it over the back of the dentist's chair
'No no, hang it up' he said
I walked over to the hanger nearly knocking over his tray instruments on my way
I settled in to the chair
Just then the receptionist stuck her head in the door and said
'Remember Ruby, if he's hurting you raise your hand and he'll stop'
What the....?
The way she said it was as if she was expecting him to hurt me
And you can bet your ass of he's hurting me I'll be doing a lot more than raising my hand

'What can I do for you?' he asked
I explained that I needed a couple  of fillings
'Ok let's get started'
He lowered the chair so much that the top of my head was resting against his chest
I wasn't comfortable being so close so I tried to pull myself down
'Open wide'
I tried to open my mouth as wide as I could but I have a cut at the corner of my mouth (from purging)
I could feel the skin crack and split as the skin was stretched apart
I tasted fresh blood on my lips
He examined my teeth and decided which ones to fill
He then produced an obscenely large needle and injected anaesthetic in to my gum
I hate this part
I'm not afraid of needles, I just hate the sensation
He injected in 3 different places and just when I thought I couldn't stand the pain any longer, my gums started to go numb
I liked the feeling
How I wish there was something this effective for the mind
Novocaine for the soul

I went back to the waiting room to wait for the lovely numbness to spread around my gums
I was worried he's leave me to long and it would wear off but a couple of minutes later he called me back in
Back in the chair he got to work
I keep my eyes firmly closed because I don't want to see any of the torturous looking instruments
He begins to drill
It's sounds horrific as it grinds against my teeth
It doesn't hurt but it sounds like it should hurt
I feel a lot of pressure
So much so that it feels like my jaw might dislocate
He alternates between drilling and scraping
The noise is so loud in my ears
Like nails on a chalkboard amplified
My body is completely tensed
My knees pulled up
My eyes are squeezed shut
I can only imagine what this would feel like without anaesthetic
He moves on to my front teeth
Inching ever closer away from the numb area
All of a sudden I feel a lighting bolt of pain
Like he hit a raw nerve
'No!' I shouted as best I could
'Sorry' he said 'Nearly finished'
More drilling
More pressure
And then he said the magic words 'All done'
My body immediately relaxed and I opened my eyes
I collected my composure and thanked him
The dentist then went out to my father and told him what work he had done
He actually spoke to my father instead of me
I felt like a 10 year old child there with my parent
I felt like saying 'Hello! I am here you know, they're my teeth, surely you should be talking to me'
My father really didn't need to come with me but as ever he won't take no for an answer
I'm planning to have a serious talk with him this week about not being involved in every little bit of my life but I'll save that for another post

My teeth look and feel a lot better now
They're far from perfect but at least they're not is the desperate state they were in
This is just another thing in the long list of things I have lost to my eating disorder
Years of purging, washing my teeth in stomach acid up to 10 times a day have all but ruined them
Purging is the bane of my life at the moment
A few days ago I was in the middle of a binge when my father asked me 'Ruby, when are you going to do something about this?'
I was a bit taken aback because I didn't think he had noticed my binging
I may think that I am hiding a binge but in reality of course people know
Listening to my mother give her speech last week, I realise that she notices everything
She sees my constant march from the kitchen to the bathroom
She's aware of how many times a day I purge
Even though I may think it's not, it's blatantly obvious
I think when someone gets ill with an eating disorder the whole family becomes ill
It infects everyone within a certain radius
Like a stone in a pond it has a ripple effect

Bulimia I am so very tired if you
Go away
Please just go away
And take your friend ana with you
You're not welcome here anymore

If you are bulimic, has it effected your teeth?


  1. I am male and completely beat my anorexia. My starvation almost cost me my life. I now run my own counselling service in Derbyshire and I specialise in working with eating disorders. In the UK the level and quality of support and treatment for eating disorders is shockingly low. Please check out my website at and to anyone out there with an ED please get in touch if you would like to talk. I sincerely believe that as a counsellor and as a sufferer of an ED that i can help understand, empathise and help others in a way that few other professionals are able to.
    I need all the help i can to get my counselling service of the ground. So any publicity would be appreciated. There is absolutely no specialised help in this part of the country for eating disorders. The NHS are not allowed as yet to directly hire counsellors from the private sector. Consequently it is difficult to make yourself known to the ED community.
    All the best.

    1. You might want to contact 'first steps' in derbyshire if you haven't already, I've had a few friends that used it and although they offer counselling it is limited so you never know they might be willing to help you out.

  2. Hey Mark,

    Thanks for your comment
    I'm so happy to read about someone who has beaten anorexia
    It truly gives me hope
    And being a man I'm sure it was all the more difficult
    And wow, that's amazing that you are now helping others
    It's a similar situation here in Ireland, support and treatment are seriously lacking
    It makes it so difficult to get a handle on recovery
    I've seen umpteen doctor and therapists over the years and made precious little progress
    But about eighteen months I started seeing a therapist called Mary
    I don't exaggerate when I say that she is better than all the counsellors I have ever seen put together
    She has done amazing things for the eating disorder community here including trying to set up a support group for sufferers and carers
    I think you will be a valuable asset to sufferers as you have been there, done it and bought the extra small t-shirt
    Having looked at your website I will definitely pass on your name if I hear of anyone in your area

    I wish you every success x

  3. Hey darling.. I really am proud of you for sorting your teeth out.. I find when we suffer an addiction or ed we neglect ourselves far too much. Everything else pales in importance to anorexia/bulimia/addiction. The dentist visit sounds painful, I hate needles so I am pretty sure they would need to restrain me in order to inject me. My teeth are bad from sugar and diet coke, and the bad nutrition has make my teeth weak, you can see through them and I'll wake up one morning sometimes to find parts of my teeth have magically chipped off :/ It's what we do to ourselves that people find hard to understand. And I don't understand it myself.

    Please stay well my dearest Ruby.
    Love you xx

    1. This is true Rayya
      Even though I have all this trouble with my teeth, it's still not enough for me to do something about my eating disorder
      Will we ever learn?

      I know you are going through a tough time sweetie
      Hang in there
      Things will start to get better for you
      In the mean time take it easy
      Be kind and gentle to you
      You are so very precious

      Love you too x

  4. That whole process sounds really daunting so I think you are incredibly brave. It's funny that I don't mind inflicting pain onto myself, but the idea of a drill in my mouth... no ta. Tattoos however, I love that sensation.

    Whenare you seeing Mary next? maybe you could talk to her about wanting to beat this but finding it basically impossible and see what she suggests. you have the power to stop this if you want to, it is very hard and there are slips and blips and avalanches but i have no doubt that anybody with the focus to self-desruct can also have a huge strength to fight back. saying this you really have to want to, and i know while i can fight the bulimia, the restriction is something i will not part with. is that the same for you?


    1. I'm seeing Mary tomorrow
      I'm supposed to have kept a food log but I just can't face writing down how many times I purge
      Yes I'm the same
      I want to be free of bulimia but I'm not sure if I want to let anorexia go
      As strange as that sounds
      I can't imagine life without it x

  5. I HATE the dentist. I think that they are cruel because they have the option of giving a person gas then novicane but some do not. Why would you not let me float on fluffy clouds before you gab a needle in my gums! I bit my last dentist (by accident) and he started gassing me first. Smart guy.

    1. I'm so glad I won't have to go again for a long time
      He he, you bit your dentist, well I'm sure he deserved it x

  6. I've been gping to my dentist since my very first appointment and one of the assistants is actually my grandma's neighbor, reallu cool lady. I've had drinks at her house with her and watched her daughter when she and her husband went out for a date a few times. I think it makes it really comfy knowing they've see me grow up and make jokes with me. I'm pretty outgoing anyway so it's hard not to get to know me I suppose haha. The novacaine makes me nervous because it hurts and I hate the taste so it definitely helps knowing I've seen pretty much every staff member since I was a kid.
    I know the teeth angst. Tony is obsessed with his from all the years of abuse.

    1. It makes a big difference if the dentist is nice
      Last year mine gave me 2 fillings for the price of 2

      Yes drugs really can damage your teeth, hence why you see addicts with none at all
      I was heading that way but thank God I got them done in time x

  7. I purge. I don't know if I am bulimic. Not sure if I am anything really. But that aside, I do purge occasionally, some days more than others. I'd say on average 2-5 times a week. I always rinse and wipe my teeth immediatly and chew antacids. I thought I was avoiding any future trouble by doing these things until my dentist pointed out that I had some "obvious acid erosion". It was a kick in the face.

    1. I can relate to that Penny
      Sometimes I think I'm not sick at all but in reality I know that it's my eating disorder telling me that

      Yea, Mary tells my to use bicarbonate of soda to help with acid ruining my teeth but I rarely do that x

  8. i get around two bigger (three-sided) fillings every half a year or so and i am allergic to the injection.
    trust me it is painful, last time the drilling took an hour and a half (for two teeth). i had sore muscles in my legs, arms and back the next day from the tension i built up during the treatment to distract me from the pain. also the corners of my mouth were infected for another two weeks after.

    1. Wow, no anaesthetic?
      Girl you are so brave to endure that for and hour and a half
      How did you stand it? x

    2. I wish I had a clue as to why my body completely overreacts to the anaestetic, I faint every time, even from half the normal dose and the effects last for over 30 hours, that is no feeling in my whole face, even my ears turn numb (I got two of my piercings done that way) for more than a day. I like to tell myself I'm good at dealing with pain and I really do take every visit at the dentist as a challenge, otherwise I don't think I could handle it either... it's definitely doable! x

  9. Wow, so far I have never read a post about teeth. Sometimes I forget that purging has such detrimental effects, and this post hit it home for me. I just didn't expect it to happen to someone I knew, if only in a blog world.
    So far my teeth are fine, although my front teeth have been pushed forward a bit by my index and middle fingers when I purge. I don't have any cavities though and they're not rotten. I really don't want to get to that point. Maybe I'm just lucky, or more like I just haven't been purging long enough for it to happen.
    I also think it's interesting that your dentist didn't use the word "drug." I was like that too in fifth grade with "underpants." It was just so embarrassing to say that I couldn't say it.
    Ruby I always have too much to say about your posts!

  10. You are blessed Emily, that your teeth are ok
    As well as being painful and expensive, it's knocks your confidence when your teeth look that bad
    I hope they stay that way for you x

  11. I should go to the dentist one day, but no I doubt I will haha even though I'm sure my teeth have issues. Anyways, aw your father just cares about you. But you're right there are things they don't need to be involved in.
    It always surprises me when someone notices a behavior (not that they know exactly what it is) because I think I'm so secretive and sneaky.
    Take care my dear, much love xx

    1. I know, it's his way of showing he cares, I just need him to stand back a little bit so I can have some independence
      I'm going to talk to him this week

      Love to you sweetie x

  12. Ouch! Sounds like some rough stuff! I'm sure the effects on your teeth have been very difficult to deal with. Sometimes the stuff like my hair falling out, peeling nails, and terribly dry/cracked/bleeding skin everywhere really get to me because there's just no denying why they're happening. I have to say, though, that although this was a nasty dentist appointment, you wrote about it so vividly and were very expressive about tying your emotions into it. You really have a gift for writing!

    1. Yes who ever said eating disorders were glamorous should come walk a day in our shoes

      Thank you for your kind words x

  13. I'm glad he dragged you there. Lol if he hadn't waited you would have chickened out, right?

    It's probably a subject the doctor feels awkward broaching with you. You never know how people will react to things, especially when you're not from the in-group. You get really uncomfortable and don't know what to say.

    How I numb my mind:, Minecraft and tumblr. MASSIVE timesink, but great distraction.

    Time to start seeing how much responsibility you can start to take on? It's hard to find the balance between growing and staying stuck. Little rips, not one big tear. Having the conversation will be a good thing. You both need to listen and not knee-jerk react. It is hard but will be worth it. He may be waiting for some concrete demonstration of 'I'm ready to grow up now, kthnx. I'm sick of you feeling like you need to treat me like I'm utterly helpless' before he starts reciprocating with adult treatment.(Ok imma stop lecturing you now, I feel like an asshole -.-;)

    Fully going to take you up on that adoptive family thing, ok? You're a bit older than me, right? Nee-Chan! (Cute-form of big sister)

    Aww thank you! She is totally adorkable. There will be more Dralion videos now that I know how to use the video function on my camera!

    Stopping the Mirtazapine... I tapered off on doctors orders. I had the withdrawal effects then it left my system and my mood went down the toilet. (It was working a wee bit, just not well) It was increasing my appetite a bit but I was also in a binge-rut at the time so I didn't notice it very much. Physical hunger goes unnoticed when you're eating your emotions. I use food as emotional anaesthetic, eat to numb the bad feelings.

    Take care of yourself, Ruby. Best of luck in evicting your unwanted brainmonsters *huggles*

    1. You're so right
      I guess I need to show that I am capable of responsibility
      It's not like I can't do these things

      Yay, more Dralion videos please!

      My weight has dropped a little since stopping the mirtazapine
      Although I'm not aware of it if I am eating less
      I haven't told my doctor that I've stopped
      I should really tell him
      It's also a waste of good medication
      And I'm paying for it so it is a bit ridiculous

      Take care of you too Peri


Thank you for leaving some love x