Bipolar Disorder can be a debilitating disease but one unpleasant side effect I have discovered is the havoc it reaped on my teeth. Now I know you’re thinking well how and the hell are those related? A common occurrence with major depressive episodes found in bipolar disorder is a lack of hygiene. My episodes were so bad I could rarely even leave my bed let alone brush my teeth. I was also guzzling coca cola like it was going out of style and devouring large Iced Caps because I thought the sugar rush would make me feel better – if at least temporarily. Combine excessive amounts of sugar with not brushing your teeth and guess what you get – cavities!
I also have an irrational fear of dentists and avoided going to one for about five years until two days ago when I had my first appointment with a new dentist (because my previous dentist was extremely insensitive to my panic attacks). He did an extremely thorough exam which included x-rays. He confirmed what I had already feared that my teeth were in an absolute fucking horrible state. He told me that all four wisdom teeth need to come out and have started to decay already (please comment below your experiences with having your wisdom teeth out cause I am fucking petrified) He also told me I have like a bazillion cavities and that in order to simply clean my teeth he will have to freeze my mouth because my teeth are in such a bad way that it would be too painful to endure.
I hope you guys can learn from my mistake and A. fight your hardest to maintain good hygiene even when it feels impossible because there are some serious real consequences if you do not, my teeth being a prime example and B. to despite your fear of the dentist ensure that you are going often enough to avoid my problem of terrible teeth. I am extremely embarrassed by my teeth and feel as though my past self has let my present self down by not trying hard enough to get out of bed and face life sooner. I am also convinced that getting sober led to my decision to see a dentist despite my irrational fears because I am thinking more clearly now and more about the future and longevity of life.
Bipolar disorder can be extremely difficult at times but it’s important to push through. It’s important to get up each day and show up for yourself even if that that means simply brushing your teeth. Just know it does get better and behind every rainy cloud, there’s a sun waiting to poke through.