What would you say, if I asked you what this picture meant to you? What do you think of the young lady in the photo? When I look at this photo, I see a beautiful young lady who looks confident and happy. I see someone who takes pride in herself and cares about her outer appearance. I see a young lady that is proud of who she is. I see someone out going and active.
But what if I added in another photo of this young lady
Has your opinion changed of her yet? I ask you the same questions... What do you get from this photo? I would say a young lady who seems to be lost in deep thought. Maybe. she's thinking about something that troubles her or maybe stresses her. Then, I think maybe she just made the photo look like this on purpose.
But what if I was to tell you that the young lady in the photo is myself. I'm nothing as the above stated. I suffer from depression. I suffer from anxiety. I have low self- esteem. I care about how others see me. (Even though deep inside I know what other's think shouldn't bother me). I am a perfectionist. I lack a smile in the second picture for a reason. Most of my teeth are gone. Not by the lack of taking care of them or the lack of wanting to take care of them. I have suffered from dental problems since I was a child. The dentist I saw most of my childhood assured my parents that by the time I was 25, I would need to have all my teeth extracted and dentures put into place. Well, he was right.
I am a person. I have feelings. People tend to forget this when I'm out in public. They stare. They whisper and this is after I have given them a friendly smile. A smile that one whispered as I walked by: nasty and un-needed. She should have done something about them. Who in their right mind would let their teeth get that bad?
I would like you to stop all thinking at this very moment. Take in every word from here within and feel it. Don't just read it. But actually feel it. Try to put yourself in my position: I brushed my teeth like I was supposed to as I grew. I got regular dental appointment when I could. I used mouth wash. I used floss. None of that worked. My teeth weren't too bad until I got pregnant at 18 years old. That's when things really changed for me. It all started with the chipping of my front tooth on the right. Most would call that the "fang" tooth. I was eating a candy bar when it broke in half. I called the dentist right away and asked if I could get this fixed. He replied to me that I would need my OBGYN to approve of the procedure that needed to be done. My OB said that he didn't think at that time would be the best... because I was considered high risk. I was considered a teen mom. I didn't have a choice but to wait until the arrival of my daughter. Time had passed by and more teeth had broken. Then, the time for my daughter's arrival came.
After the stay in the hospital from giving birth and finally being discharged.. I went home. I have all the hope in the world of getting the few teeth fixed that had fallen apart during my pregnancy. I called to make an appointment.
When I went in for my appointment to see what the dentist wanted to do, the secretary of the office came in and brought to my attention that I no longer had health insurance. She asked me if I was willing to pay. I took that last of the money I had to cover the appointment that far and left. I was so embarrassed. I went directly home and called the insurance company. They informed me that seeing how I was over the age of 18 and no longer pregnant, my insurance had run out and they would be picking up my daughter instead. This really bummed me. My fiance and I weren't married.. therefore, I could not be added to his health plan and the state no longer accepted me. On a low budget, I could not afford to purchase health insurance on my own.
Everything went downhill from there. I felt over-whelmed but didn't let that bother me seeing how I have a daughter. She needed me anyway. I wanted to focus on the breast feeding so I could "master" it and try to give my daughter the best start possible.
As time went on, my teeth continued to "disappear." One day I had a major tooth ache and needed a tooth pulled. My step-dad said that it didn't matter to him how much the cost.. he would cover the cost of the visit and extraction... to get it taken care of. So, I did. This is when I found out just where I stood when it came to my teeth. I went to West Virginia's Dental School at West Virginia University in Morgantown, WV. This was one of the worst experiences in my life. The tooth they extracted turned out to be very brittle and came out in pieces.
Over time, I tried to get state medical but my condition wasn't bad enough. At the time, I resided in West Virginia where I was approved for Adult Basic- Medically Needy Only. All this means is that nothing is covered unless it's life threatening. In short terms, this wasn't and didn't help me to get my teeth fixed. Now, by this time I lived all day, every day in pain. I still do.
I have tried repeatedly to get my teeth fixed. All I got was "road blocks" each way I turned. Things happened and I move back to my home state, PA. I am to the point of where I can't really eat. When I do eat, it's mainly soups or things I very carefully eat. The decay of my teeth have caused other health problems. I now suffer from bell's palsy in the right side of my face. My eyes have gotten worse and my ear's hurt all the time. My eyes have even gotten to the point of being very sensitive to sun light. (Creating the problem of taking my daughter outside.)
I write this blog because I want other's to understand. The next time you look at some one who seems a little different to you or not up to the "standards". I ask you not to judge but offer a helping hand. Everyone has a story. Some are more difficult then others. But when it comes down to it, we are all the same. We are all humans with feelings. Remember, before you judge another... ask yourself.. what's their story.