Day 1 – The Introduction

I am not 100% housebound. On average, I leave the house about 3 times per week. I do not fear open spaces, at least I don’t think I do. And when I have someone I know with me, I can pretty much go anywhere for normal amounts of time. So maybe that’s why I’ve been so dense for so long realizing that this could be an actual problem instead of some major character flaw.

Yesterday:

After attempting to take a walk around the apartment grounds with my almost 2 year old son, I had yet another pretty serious freak out. As it is the case every time this happens (which is every time I leave the house) I didn’t know why I was freaking out. I just knew I had to get back home. I told myself it was too cold. It was too windy. It was too bright. People were staring at us. I don’t know if any of those were actually true. It was chilly and a bit windy, but I wasn’t exactly in a bikini trying to weather the harsh winter weather of Texas. It wasn’t terribly bright. In fact, it was actually more grey. People may have been staring at us, but my son is super cute. There were only a few people out, mostly going to and from their cars. Someone acknowledging my presence with a look shouldn’t make for an immediate flip out. I’m sure there was a time when I wouldn’t have flipped out because it was cold outside or someone may or may not have been looking at me, but I can’t remember the time with any detail.

After retreating into the safety and familiarity of my home, I quickly quit freaking out. I felt like I had narrowly escaped yet another close call. I sat down, fired up google, and after a bunch of useless wiki articles, finally found a few pages that had detailed descriptions of agoraphobia. It seemed like the authors had written the sites about me.

Today:

I felt a great sense of relief when I had read up a bit yesterday, but felt the subject required further research on my part. I’ve spent the majority of the day reading everything I can about panic disorders, agoraphobia, and their treatments.

I still feel some relief knowing that there’s a chance I’m not as lazy and crazy as I’ve thought for so long. I can still feel myself trying to fight the idea that it’s something as real and tangible and even as easy as an agoraphobia diagnosis from a doctor. Each time I start unclenching a bit and letting myself off the hook for things I haven’t done because of my fears, I’m immediately hit with like this mental slideshow of everything I’ve ever done and seen in my 27 years that may cause shame, fear/panic, or guilt. To combat this, for every memory that comes up on the mental slideshow, I simply say “I forgive myself” over and over in my head. Even if it’s something I’m not at fault for, or couldn’t have forseen consequences to. Forgiveness and letting go feel pretty similar to me, so it works. Mostly.

Tomorrow:

I hope to call the doctors I found in my area who deal with agoraphobia. There seems to be some major flaws, if you ask me, in the way some professionals deal with it. Like group therapy? Seriously? You want me, who’s afraid of driving, and hates leaving home, to go downtown to sit in a group therapy session? And you don’t see any reason that may not work out?

As far as medications go, I’m pretty reluctant to go on antidepressants. After having a good row with an eating disorder during my teenage years, I’ve been prescribed pretty much every single one under the sun. After I left my parents’ home, I quit taking everything I was on. I was still bummed out on the meds. I was still having panic attacks. And I felt like a zombie the rest of the time – so much so that I would actually just sit and stare at the TV while it was off. Seriously, who does that? And until I got pregnant with my son, I was pretty much dealing with all of it well enough. At least I was still functioning. Since then, it’s been a much more rapid decline.

But I know what it is now. Because I know what it is, I can figure out a plan to fix it. Wish me luck.

One Response

  1. Hi,

    I just want to say that could relate to so many things on this blog! I also wanted to mention an incredible resource for agoraphobia–

    Free Telephone Conference Call Support Groups for overcoming Agoraphobia (and other social anxiety problems)– they are provided by “Social Anxiety Anonymous” (a nonprofit)– http://www.healsocialanxiety.com

    I personally have been helped greatly by those groups!

    Best, Phil

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