Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Housebound


(Above - Me and My Nephew Luke, He's more like my little brother)



So i was living at my mums and by now i was scared to leave the house at all. I live in a small cul-de-sac but i couldn't even walk to the end of my street. I often wondered if i was the only agoraphobic who actually felt claustrophobic too? My whole existance was living in this small house and i was feeling very trapped.




When things are at a low point for me i try to remind myself that i am still lucky and life isn't so bad. Thing's could be so much worse. At least i have a roof over my head and food on the table. I am surrounded my family and friends that i love and unfortunately not everyone has that. So i think reminding myself of what i DO have instead of what i don't is what keeps me feeling positive.




I knew that i couldn't just give into the agoraphobia. I was in my early 20s and this was no way to live my life so i needed to push the boundaries. I started doing small things like just spending time in the garden. From there i decided to try walking to the bottom of the street. I remembered Donna telling me that when i was out, if i was feeling anxious i should distract myself by focusing on something else. So as crazy as it sounds i used to walk to the bottom of my street and count the lampposts that i passed. Eventually i made it.




I was lucky in that i had my mum with me on these walks and so i had support incase i did panic. Eventually over the course of a few weeks i had managed to make it to the local shops which i felt made a huge difference to my life. Before i was able to get the the shops i relied on family and friends to do pretty much everything for me.



  • Get me essentials like, deoderant, razors etc

  • Do my clothes shopping

  • Pick up my medication

  • Pay my bills

  • Go to the bank

Now that i could get to the shops i could at least do some things for myself and this increased my confidence. I live in a small village with only a few small shops like a chemist, post office and grocery store so i was still limited in what i could buy but i felt great not having to rely on other people quite so much. I was able to get out a little more than i had for a while but i was still living inside a comfort zone. My agoraphobia doesn't seem to be about the fear of open spaces, or crowds. For me it seems i am just happier in my safe place, my home, and when i go out i don't like to travel far from there. In my head i want to know that if i panic i can get home as quickly as possible. If i was to take a panic attack out side my instant reaction would be to run for home.


I am always interested in hearing how other people with agoraphobia cope with day to day things such as shopping or doctors appointments. All i can say is i am so glad i found the internet! That became my new source for clothes shopping, before then i had other people picking clothes for me and it's not really the same. Also i was lucky in that my doctor would visit me at home but there was also a lot i was missing...


My brother got married and there was no way i was going to be able to make it and if i'm completely honest i didn't even want to try. I'd rather stay at home and avoid putting myself though such an ordeal as i would have had to travel quite some distance to attend.


I have a nephew Luke who is in hospital quite a lot as he has spina bifida. He is the best thing in my life. My family was blessed the day Luke was born. I love him more than words can describe. He is such a character with a heart of gold and he is more like a little brother to me. When Luke was in hospital i didn't visit. Again this was way outside of my comfort zone. This hurt. Luke understood, he's a bright boy, so he didn't expect to see me at the hospital and he didn't hold it against me but i feel the guilt.


Then there's my mum. My mum is my best friend. I know most girls would say the same thing but she genuinley means everything to me. She is one of those people who spends her life putting other people first, always helping people in need. I have such a close relationship with my mum that i sometimes wonder if that's what caused my agoraphobia in the first place. Ever since i was a little girl i didn't like to be away from her for long and it seems this has continued into adulthood. But there is guilt in this relationship too. Guilt that i am her only daughter but she doesn't get to do the mum and daughter type things i know she misses. Going shopping, going for lunch etc. She doesn't have the best health so has to attend the doctors or hospital regularly and i feel i should be there to support her but these places are so far out of my comfort zone that it seems impossible.


Time to seek more help... Push the boundaries even further.



4 comments:

SarahC♥ said...

Hi..

My mother is my only real support. Friends deserted me, my husband, no help at all and my family just do not get it.

Lynn said...

Sarah i'd love to talk to you more. Can you email me on lynn_jackson@hotmail.com x

sweetmonster said...

You have just put into words what I am going through right now. Yes, the internet is great but maybe a hindrance too to my efforts to get out. It's strange because I still buy clothes that I think about wearing some place special.

I was able to travel abroad to attend my grandfather's funeral, but I wasn't able to get myself out for the second day of the two-day funeral. I instead stayed in bed while everyone else went. I still feel horrible about it.

My mom means everything to me. I can't imagine my life without her. I also feel guilty that I am not able to go out shopping or out to eat with her anymore. I guess I feel like I have disappointed her.

Tori Bissell said...

I have often wondered if my strong relationship with my mom caused my agoraphobia... I love her and she is my safe place.