Fear. Causing. Sensations.

Yes folks, another piece of dental surgery inspires yet another post. For those that are interested, this was written while the anesthetic (he called it Novacaine, but it was probably Lidocaine) has all but worn off from 2 hours ago, and the post surgery pain relief is in full effect. I feel like I have taken a good punch to the jaw, and since the dental surgeon was removing a small chunk of jaw bone (crown lengthening), I guess I’m meant to feel that way regardless.

Anyway, back to the small matter of Fear Causing Sensations. I’ve been visiting the dentist a lot in the past six months, and have gone from dreading the idea of going, to looking forward to a chat with the friendly dental team who are out to save my smile. However, today I came across a sensation that filled me with dread. It was the light touch of thread touching my lips, meaning that I was getting stitches. Due to a couple of childhood experiences which involved surgical sewing, just the knowledge of what was being done triggered a strong fear reaction. I was totally numbed so could not feel the stitches themselves, but the drag of the thread across my lips was a moment of grim reality where I was trapped in my mind with a sensation of deep rooted fear.

Now this set me thinking, what was driving my “Fear”? In this instance it was memories of previous unpleasant experiences, and that implies that fear is a learnt response. I have learned in my childhood to be afraid of hypodermic needles, surgical cross-stitch, and most things medical. As life goes on I’ve become more rational (some people will argue that point) and learned not to fear the dentist, and that the prick of a hypodermic is not normally a cause of death… Lack of renewed exposure to medical sutures had not removed that initial childhood fear, but given time and stitches I’m sure it could be.

So if as children we feared the irrational (the dark, ghosts, dentists, etc) and as adults we approach most of these things more rationally. Are some of our fear causing sensations instilled in us genetically, direct to the subconscious, or are they all caused by nurture? And why is it after all these years do I still have a terrible fear of bloodloss, and an irrational fear of looking up at tall objects?

One of these days I might just figure my mind out, but I wouldn’t hold your breath if I were you.


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