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temporomandibular joint disorder, aka it hurts to have a mouth

I’m not a very talkative person, but I still find it difficult to live with self-diagnosed temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). Having looked up the symptoms online (hence the ‘self-diagnosed’), I’ve concluded that I only have an acute case of this particular joint disorder. People with TMJ commonly experience mild or chronic inflammation and pain in their jaw, usually characterized by a clicking or popping sound when opening and closing their mouths.  That symptom is one I do not carry; however, Wikipedia tells me that I do, otherwise, suffer from this joint disorder.

Yawning, chewing, sometimes talking, sometimes GOING TO SLEEP hurts. I’m not too hard to please, but I am a girl who very much enjoys her cereal in the morning and at all other times of the day. And when I can’t open wide enough to fit a spoonful of Cap’n Crunch in my mouth, I become very upset.

My last cleaning at the dentist was lots of fun, too. “Open wide,” was the catchphrase of the day, and I had to sell my soul just to acquire the ability to unhinge my jaw for the hygienist. And of course I had to take those annual x-rays where they stick that huge bar in your mouth and have you bite down on it until they take the picture (and of course something was wrong with the machine where I was left biting down for longer than necessary while she fixed the problem).

I withhold my pain from these people though because I fear surgery more than dealing with a joint disorder.

Thus, I find myself complaining a lot (like right now) with no intention of fixing the problem. Others tell me I don’t actually have TMJ, but I have almost all of the Wiki-symptoms. It’s either TMJ or Hypochondriasis, where one is preoccupied with fear of having a serious illness or disease and misinterprets bodily symptoms.

But I’m not preoccupied. I just want to eat cereal in peace.

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