Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Its that time of year again....

(Random picture of Luke, Nothing to do with this blog entry but he looked so smart in his kilt i wanted to include it)

(My Gothic Makeover recieved by mu cousin. Seems fitting in this gloomy weather)

Yip, it's that time of year again. The time of year that i dread the most. Its the beginning of a long, cold and dark winter. With all the progress i have been making i decided that it would be ideal to fight my battle in the winter season. If i can keep on improving through this season that i hate the most, then by the time summer comes i will have a head start to really kick this agoraphobias ass!!!

Why do i hate the winter?? Well there are things i like about winter. I like when it snows through the night and you wake up to a perfect blanket that no one has walked on. I like to play with the kids and make snowmen, have snowball fights etc. I like to walk when it's cold and crisp and BRIGHT. What i don't like is the dark nights. The rain, the general miserable weather that we have here in Scotland on a daily basis. Our clocks went back on Sunday meaning it now gets dark even earlier, soon it will only be 4 in the afternoon and nightfall comes... Boo hoo. Give me summer nights where the kids are out playing till 10pm and i can sit in the garden for hour after hour anyday.

Ok i digress.... but you get my jist. Winter ain't my favourite. I sometimes wonder if i would be as agoraphobic if i lived in Spain, or Australia, or the Caribbean. Surrounded by beaches and beatiful waters, would i realy want to stay at home? From where i sit now, in Scotland, i look out my window and see another house on either side. I have no beautiful view, nothing to make me want to go out there. However, i know that my life doesnt need to revolve around these dull streets and that there is so much more out there. I want to go out there. I want to see beautiful scenery with my own eyes again. Not through looking at books, using my memory or by watching television.

So back to my progress. I have been keeping it up. Each day is pretty much the same. I wake up as early as i can, trying to stick to my routine. I wake, i eat breakfast, i get dressed...and when my body catches up with my mind and actually starts to function, i go a small walk. Then i will clean the house, listen to my Paul McKenna download, cook dinner and then sit infront of the tv at night. Or read. Or go online. Whatever i fancy. I myself am quite happy with this. I see an improvement from they way i was a year ago. In the past i could basically sit in my bed all day. Laptop on my knee, id go downstairs for my meals which were cooked for me, then back to bed. That would be a typical day unless my boyfriend was coming over. When he was due my routine was pretty much the same accept i would have a bath and spend an hour making myself presentable.

The boyfriend - He's still here. Relationships for agoraphobics are tough. I guess it all depends on your partner and how understanding and patient they are. My boyfriend Gerry, is a hard nut to crack. Now we have only been together for 4 months but already i hear him say to me 'i thought we would have done more by now'. He is scared of nothing. He has no fear that i can compare my phobia too when trying to explain why i can't do certain things. He is of the opinion that i need to just 'get over it'. Don't get me wrong, he can be very understanding and EXTREMLY patient, but sometimes his patience wears thin, like it did today.

Today was a good day for me. I got up nice and early. It wasn't raining for once and went out a walk with my support worker Liz (who i still see once a week). We went further than i usually do and then when i came home i spent sometime with my friend Laura and her new little boy Korrie.... and then Gerry arrived. He was full of enthusiasm about wanting to go out. He wanted us to go out driving but my negative head was on. I didn't want to go. I was imagining all sorts of senarios where i would panic and tried making excuses. He wasn't impressed with me at all. Infact when he realised that i wasnt up for the drive he said he was just going to leave. He didnt want to be 'stuck in all day again'. I can understand his frustration but i don't think he realises that it is JUST as frustrating for me... probably even more so! I am very aware that my progress has a time limit. If i don't start to show major improvements soon, then our relationship will be over. I feel like i am so used to seeing my future as being agoraphobic that the thought of living a 'normal' life is totally impossible. I would love to spend the day not thinking about panic attacks. I would love to wake up and just go out shopping if thats what i fancied, or just going out to lunch with friends at the last minute, but in all honesty i don't see that happening. Maybe thats where i am going wrong. Maybe if i believed in myself and believed that i can actually have that life, i would do much better???

Anyway, the whole thing with the boyfriend got me uptight and i knew that there was no point in me even attempting the drive after all that, i was not in the right frame of mind. I started to think of new things i could try... what could give me the push i need. I have said before in my blogs that i dont believe in any quick fix, or any therapy that will cure you. I really do believe it is down to the individual to put the work in. So i was suprised to find myself looking online at Homeopathic Medicines. I just done a simple search to find which homeopathic remedies there were for anxiety. I found a few names listed but wasnt sure where to go from there. Eventually i found the name of a Homeopathic specialist who works near by. Basically the women advised me that since i have had agoraphobia for many years the medicines i had found wouldnt really help me. Instead i need something stronger, but would be able to use them along with my regular medication from the doctor. She explained that differences in using homeopathic remedies as apposed to the chemicals the doctor would prescribe. She said something like... obviously something inside you isnt working properly and the homeopathic medicine will give your body a kick start to heal those areas (dont quote me on that ha). Anyway she actually made me think i have nothing to lose, so i will give it a try. Have any of you tried this? Id be interested to hear some peoples opinions. I now have a home visit with this women at 2.00 on Thursday. She told me that she will spend an hour and a half with me discussing my issues, and then she will leave and after looking at my personal needs, she will let me know which medicine she recommends. Ah well... i will try anything! Even a little pick me up would be handy at this time of year.

The pressure is most certainly on when it comes to my relationship with Gerry. I love him very much and know i would be heartbroken should it not work. Maybe some people would say i am not trying hard enough. But standing looking out of the window today i just couldnt find it within myself to get into the car and drive. I do find i get on better when i am on my own and just do things at my own pace. When someone is with me telling me their expectations i struggle and usually just plain dont want to do it. But thats not really realistic is it?

Well its been a looong update but i do feel fantastic when i get everything off my chest. This blog is great medicine in itself i would recommend it to anyone who is thinking of writing one themselves. Finally i would like to mention an email i recieved from a girl who told me she had chosen my blog as the subject of an essay she was writing in University. I was totally flattered by this and have decided to show you her writing which was to be an online blog and 200 words long...

My blog is called Living with Agoraphobia and can be accessed at:
http://livingwithagoraphobia.blogspot.com/ and I happened on this when I was searching for something I might know about as my gran had agoraphobia, never leaving the house all her life even to go to the shops (though she occasionally went for 'runs' in the car with grandad).The blog is written in diary style by Lynn Jackson, a young woman of 27 who has had agoraphobia and panic attacks for 8 years, and, because agoraphobia sufferers are by definition housebound and isolated she is using it as a therapeutic tool to communicate with other agoraphobia sufferers and the world in general.Lynn says that she wanted to write in detail about what she's been through and how she has coped, to help others in the same situation or the loved ones of people dealing with the same kind of problems.
The blog stands out for the positive personality that comes over in the narrative style (better than many novels), on reading entries from 26/06/08 onwards I found myself wanting to know if she manages to triumph over the panics and goes out of the house, and also keeps her relationship going with her boyfriend!
Lynn describes all the treatments that she has tried and her lows and highs. The 7th October blog contains a link to her personal file-store where she offers to share the likes of Paul McKenna's recordings for curing Agoraphobia.A downside of trusting your thoughts to the world is that Lynn received an abusive email. Also Agoraphobia as part of a psychotic mental illness could not benefit from this story of a phobia.A brave attempt to give an insight into a baffling, but ultimately life-choice destroying condition that will be helpful to other troubled young women.

So to Nicola, Thanks x


diver said...

Great pic of Luke, love the little sword pin on the kilt, cute!

Relationships for agoraphobics are incredibly tough, I agree. Sorry to hear you are getting the 'get over it' line ... I've been copping that one for decades. It just builds a wall in a relationship I reckon. Another counter-productive one is 'you're just being silly' ... grrr.

You said, "Maybe thats where i am going wrong". I don't think you're 'going wrong' anywhere Lynn. You seem to be living through your agoraphobia and learning to manage it really well. I too don't believe in any quick fix therapy. I just think it's all about management, knowing our limitations, learning to live a relatively normal life within those limitations.

Nicola has great taste in blogs. One little correction though : agoraphobia is not a psychotic condition, it's a neuroses. Psychotic is when one sees things that aren't there, like in schizophrenia.

Lynn said...

oh dear well i am certainly not psychoctic. That would just be the icing on the cake haha. Thanks Diver though its nice to have some reassurance. And keep up the good work on your blog.

Nicola said...

Hi diver

Sorry for any misunderstanding.

We had to do a critique of a blog and I was trying to say that if you couldnt go out because of a psychotic condition, then this blog would not be helpful because agoraphobia is NOT a psychosis.

Glad you liked the piece Lynn.