Monday, 29 December 2008

Christmas Round Up

Phew it has been a busy week! Obviously i couldn't wait to post and announce my engagement but I thought I would let you know about my Christmas in general. Firstly though i want to say thank you for all the messages of congratulations. It really made me smile and I love to hear from you. It is nice to know i am not talking to myself but to be honest i wonder how you all put up with me because when i read previous posts, i don't half ramble ha ha.
It has been a bit hectic, as will be the case for most of you i would imagine. For the first year ever i had been very well prepared and had been buying gifts since October! So on that front, things had been stress free. On Christmas Eve i spent the day wrapping all my gifts and planned a nice relaxing Christmas Eve with Gerry. Unfortunately Gerry was working on the actual day so we began our celebrations early. I think the plan was that he would propose to me at midnight but for whatever reason he couldn't wait the extra hour. We watched the 'Gavin & Stacey Christmas Special' and then headed out for a walk. As i said in my previous post, i thought Gerry just needed to clear his head from all the wine he had been drinking but he had other plans. In the summer Gerry had taken me a walk and produced a ring. At the time i had thought he was going to propose and although I hadn't been seeing him that long, I had thought he was about to pop the question. He gave me a ring that day, but not an engagement ring. It was an eternity ring (don't you buy those when you have been married for years?). Gerry actually only gave me an eternity ring as he liked the style but anyway.... This time he took me to the same spot and asked the question. Not down on one knee! Shame on him ha ha. OK i should give him a break as he was obviously nervous but he didn't get down on one knee he just stood there and blurted out 'Will you marry me' and obviously i said...emmm OK then ha ha. A pair of romantics eh.
Home we went and Gerry was faced with a mammoth pile of gifts to wade through. My gift was my ring and some new boots but a good hour was spent watching him opening his. Christmas morning he left for work and I spent the day at home with the family. Mum, Dad, Grandad and 2 of my nephews, with other visitors coming and going. Gerry came back home after his work and we basically chilled in front of the TV. It was a good day although slightly uneventful. What was I expecting? I don't know, but there is a whole build up for nothing really isn't there?
My head is still in holiday mode at the moment. Thing's have been so busy that it has messed up my usual routine or getting up, going walking, keeping my diary, listening to Paul McKenna etc, but I know i will get back into it. As the new year approaches i am sure i am not the only one thinking 'this year i will beat this'. I know i have been saying that to myself for the last 5 years lol. This time i have more determination though and also i feel i have a head start due to the last few months work i have been doing.
Now that I am engaged Gerry's talk has obviously moved to 'when will you be moving in with me'. This has always been the plan but now it seems more 'real' and I feel i really need to get my act together. I suppose it is pressure but then like i said, i always knew it was heading this way. He arrived yesterday talking about cupboard space in his home and needing to build me a wardrobe (have you seen Sex in the City? It reminds me of Big building a wardrobe for Carrie, although I'm sure mine won't be so grand, but hey I don't have 1000 pairs of shoes to take with me). So with this future in mind Gerry decided it was time for another drive. I was a little apprehensive as i haven't been sticking to the routine of getting out but i went nonetheless. We drove the usual route a few times adding a couple of new roads. I had also decided that when I am out in the car i would like to drive and stop somewhere and just sit for a while. It seems we drive in circles and we always stop when we get home. I want to practice stopping away from my safety zone and just sitting there for a while. Also i want to practice getting out of the car in lots of different places and walking away from the car, so this is what i did last night. I also parked up outside the local pub and took a walk in on my own. The only reason i did this is because we may be going there for New Year and i wanted to have a little practice run. I was fine! Finally my friend Laura called to say she was home and so we drove round there. This time i was determined to keep and even head and not be high as a kite. This time instead of running around Laura's house like a whirlwind and running back to the car again, we stayed for an hour or possibly longer. I sat with her daughter Neve and her son Korrie and we chatted away. It was her first time meeting Gerry too and they got on great. The above picture is Neve and I. I really get carried away with taking pictures when I am out. I get all excited and need proof as if to say 'Wow look at me, look where i am and i am fine'!! So i had a brilliant night and was really proud of myself and going through this with Gerry does make me feel closer to him. He has been a great support recently and I can only hope he stays this way and doesn't run out of patience. I hope everyone had a great Christmas and I will be back to report on the new year.
Oh one last point. I know i have mentioned before that I don't like to take medications and that i think this is a control thing but this also applies to alcohol. I used to drink a reasonable amount on a night out and in fact I like being drunk! It does make me relax and i do get merry and have a laugh but these days i struggle with the control side of things. The last time i was drunk was May 2007! and I don't know when it was before that. My friend had turned up with vodka that night and although I really didn't want to drink i somehow ended up joining in and having a great night. I know the first reason i stopped drinking was because i ALWAYS had a panic attack the next day. I cut my drinking down so that once at the nice merry stage i would move onto water, this stopped me panicking the next day but eventually i stopped all together (very much like how i stopped going out). Now though i would like to have a drink at new year. I just don't know if i will manage it though. Can i relax enough to just enjoy a drink and allow myself to get Merry. Or will i constantly be thinking 'What if i lose control, What if i panic while drunk and cant calm myself'. With all the negative thoughts i have it is really no wonder I have ended up with anxiety issues. Even as i write this i am thinking 'give yourself a break Lynn'! Anyway, we shall see how it goes. I am optimistic though, i think we are in for a good night.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Decent Proposal

My boyfriend popped the question at midnight on Christmas Eve. So now i have a FIANCE which just sounds so funny but i am absolutly delighted. He took me a walk which i thought was to clear his head after too many glasses of wine, but it turns out the wine was to help with his nerves. Above is my ring, i think he chose well.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone xx

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

My Diary Part 2

Tuesday 16th December -

Exhausted today. Had a terrible night sleep. I have an awful cough which kept me awake most of the night so i was walking about in a bit of a daze. I still managed to get out for a while though. I went on my usual walk, taking my mum along too. I felt ok. No anxiety at all ( the other day's anxiety still playing on my mind). The walk went well. Home.. cleaning, laundry etc then cooked dinner for the family. My boyfriend arrived just after dinner and by this time i was dead on my feet. He suggested we go for a drive and i agreed it would be a good idea. As i hadn't gone out driving yesterday i was anxious that this would be like starting the process all over again. Would i make it to the round-a-bout again or would i feel more nervous? Well of course i made it there fine. I think he was ready to push me on further but to be honest i just felt far too tired to be able to take on the challange. At least i got out and have maintained that progress. Home for an early night in bed and Hopefully i will be able to tackle things on with a stronger mind on my next drive. However, i should note, i have had less of the negative thoughts today. Proving that i can have a day off from the driving and still get back out and do it later in the week has helped. I think i was too worried to stop going out driving incase i ended up back to square one, or lost my nerve! It looks like i will be ok.

Wednesday 17th December -

My plan was to really tackle my walking and driving this week and to report lots of progress. My plan has met with a problem. What i dreaded happening has happened. I have the flu. Boo Hoo Poor me!! I was up all night coughing till i felt my head was going to explode. Today my body aches and i barely have the energy to walk to the loo. Looks like i will be at home all day. No walk. No drive. And the worry ... will this have thrown a spanner in the works. Will i be scared to get back out there once this passes. Arrrghh the frustration.

Thursday 18th December -

Spent the whole day in bed. I should be out doing things!! Thankfully i feel far better than i did yesterday. Although i have slept most of today i am confident i will be fit for my walk tomorrow. I also have an appointment with my Occupation Therapist in the afternoon and hope i can go out for a drive with her and be in the same mind set as i had been in the previous week. Fingers crossed.

Friday 19th December -

Today has been the biggest challange. I woke up and immediately felt anxious. Too much time in bed and too much time to think has caused this. From 7am all i could think about was 'i need to go out, i havent been out in 2 days, What if i can't do it again'. I sat and thought about it, and thought about it and thought about it. In the end i was so worked up that i could feel the panic attack getting closer. I ran to my bedroom and got dressed and went out. I knew if i just faced the problem instead of sitting thinkin about it, i would feel much better. It worked. I went out and walked my usual route and felt fine. I enjoyed it actually even though it was freezing and pouring with rain. I ended up back in bed after this. Still not well at all and while suffering from the cold it is probably not a great idea to walk in the rain. But mentally i feel far better.

Saturday 20th December -

Arrrghhh maybe that walk was a bad idea. I. AM. SO. ILL!!! There is no hope of me leaving my bed today. But i can rest easy and not obssess about not getting out again. I also have the added joy of looking after my 3 nephews tonight. I can barley look after myself right now.

Sunday 21st December -

I feel sooo much better! Got up and took 2 of the boys out a walk. We were out for quite a while. On returning home i learned my dad was heading out to do some christmas shopping. I quickly jumped in the car with him and asked him to take me a spin. I havent been in the car since Tuesday so i wanted to prove to myself that i can still do it. We went around the usual route and then for some reason my dad took a wrong turn. Well of course the panic hit me immediately. I shouted that he would need to find somewhere to turn. The panic really does come over me in waves. One minute i felt it rise from my tummy to my head and then it would go down again. I think if i can mentally talk myself through this i will be ok but when taking the wrong turn my head just went 'NO NO NO'. In future i would like it to think ' Ok this isnt where i wanted to be but relax, you can do it, this is a good thing, you are going a new way, its all progress'. I guess i have to work on that. The way he took me is somewhere i do want to do, but obviously it is very different when you are mentally prepared for these things than it is if you are suddenly thrown in against your will.

So today i feel good. Its nice to know that what i feared most has happened but its not been so bad. After getting out and about more i had the fear that i would get ill and all improvements would be a waste, that i would go back to being housebound. How the negative mind works. Instead i DID take ill but i didn't let it hold me back like i may have done in the past. I guess this is a sign of better mental health. Originally i had decided to write diary entries of me trying more and more. To really tackle this and show people it can be done. I still believe if i can do it, anyone can. Obviously it hasn't turned out that way. I hope it hasnt been a boring read. But maybe it can offer some hope to people to see that we can stay positive and although we may face set backs we dont need to let the agoraphobia win. When i felt those old familiar feelings of not wanting to go out i fought it and told myself 'No, i WILL not let this happen again'. I also know that i will face this time and time again and can only pray that i will remain focused and strong.

Now it is just days to christmas and i look forward to it very much. Unfortunately my boyfriend is working from 11am till 11pm on the day! So we will be swapping gifts at midnight on Wednesday instead, then i will spend the day with family. In the New Year i may actually be going out! It is planned that we MIGHT go to a nearby pub/bar where they are having a party for 'Hogmany' as we call it here in Scotland. This would be fantastic and i know it would be the perfect start to the New Year but i will just see how i feel on the day, I wont put pressure on myself. I hope everyone has a fantastic time over the holidays and that Santa brings you all you could ask for. Merry Christmas.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

My Diary Part 1

Saturday 13th December -

I sit here now and i am SHAKING. It is 10pm and i am just home from another drive. I had already been on a drive today and covered the same ground as yesterday. I have decided to do it in steps just as i did with the walking. Obviously you guys dont know the area but so far i have been going to a big round-a-bout near the end of my village. The stages from there are, petrol Station, another major round-a-bout and then McDonalds haha. When i make it to that major round-a-bout i have officially left my village for the first time in about 4 years, possibly more.

Back to tonight. My friend popped round and i suggested a drive... yes me! I suggested to go a drive. What is happening to me? Anyway, we went around my usual loop again and although i could say i feel 'on edge' i certainly wouldnt describe it as anxious. I described to Angela, who was driving, where i wanted to go. We headed to Laura's house again but this time my thinking was 'will i get out the car and go into her house'. Angela parked the car and i just got out and ran! She had no idea where i was going but i wasnt hanging around for explanations. I knocked on Lauras door and you should have seen the look on her face! Priceless. As i mentioned before, Laura has lived there for about a year and i havent been inside. Tonight i was there. She took me around the house showing me all her hard work and her house is beautiful. Laura was so excited byt the whole tour that she actually showed me the contents of her fridge haha. The pair of us were a sight. I ran around the rooms in a flash but i did notice that i felt ok... not anxious but very very hyper. Back into the car i drove around more, covered more ground again. We almost went to the petrol station but i decided thats somewhere to aim for in the week, i dont want to scare myself into a panic attack (negative i know).

Home now i am buzzing. I cant stop talking. It has taken me a while to come back down from the high. My friend has been texting saying she is still in shock that i was there and it does feel fatastic. I did actually take 2 photographs when i was out but unfortunately i was shaking so much they are awful ha.

My thoughts tonight... Nervous what if's. What if i panic, what if i get scared again and dont want to do it anymore, What if this is just a little phase, What if it all stops tomorrow? What if? What if? What if? Arrrghhh. However, on a positive note, i did it and i will push to continue this effort. I will work on doing it and not being so hyper! I have already noticed that just driving in the loop is completly comfortable to me. One of my nervous thoughts had also been, 'What if i never want to get out the car and walk' but tonight i got out and walked to laura's so i am getting there.

Sunday 14th December -

Woke up nice and early and planned out my day. I will go my walk, then a drive and tonight i will relax with my boyfriend. He has spent the weekend in Ireland on a stag weekend so it will be good to have him back. Started off on my usual walk, feeling a little nervous this time. I guess it is because i have been mentally more focused on the driving. Determind to do it though and i succeded. For the first time though i had a slight panic attack. I was walking to one of the furthest points from home and felt a bit dizzy. I didnt allow myself to freak out but it certainly gave me a little scare. I was with my mum today so i don't know of that helped but i just continued chatting and told myself i wasn't going to run from it. It was very breif and once it had gone back down i continued my walk and didnt cut it short like i might have done in the past. I had been dreading the moment i started to feel that way again but i am turning it into a positive by telling myself that although it happened, i braved it out and just kept on going. Hopefully my mind will have noticed that it happened, i was ok and i got home in one piece. Obviously with the way my mind works i will be a little more nervous about doing it tomorrow but i will go nonetheless.
Went a drive with my dad. It was the usual route to the round-a-bout and to the edge of town. Again i felt fine. I wasnt setting out to try anything new or to go further, i just wanted to prove to myself i could still do it and to maintain my progress. After that i had a busy day of cleaning and the usual jobs at home, quick bath and a relaxing night with Gerry who had returned home from Ireland. New perfume for me YEY!
Monday 15th December
I expected today to be a little tougher after my anxiety yesterday and i guess it was. It was only difficult as i wasnt as motivated as i ususally am. I was a little nervous and not looking forward to my walk as much, but of course i didn't let it stop me. Went the usual walk and i felt ok. When approaching the area where i panicked yesterday i was a little uneasy. I called my friend as i walked and used the phone call as a distraction. It was a dull and miserable day which never helps me on my walks and i was also very tired. Gerry ended up being very sick through the night and i was awoken constantly as he asked for drinks or food...or a bucket ha. So it was a tired Lynn who set off today. Having completed the walk i felt myself relax, i had done it! No anxiety and more to the point, i hadnt decided to take the easiest option and stay at home.
Today was also to be the first day that i probably wouldnt be going on a drive. I didnt think my dad would be home tonight and i wasnt meant to be seeing Gerry. As does happen, our plans changed, when Gerry decided to come after all. A good response in my head was 'Good, i can go a drive tonight, keep up the practise'. Unfortunately Gerry was still ill and not fit for driving anywhere but again it was a good sign that i was willing to get back out there.
It has been another good day but i notice my head is very messed up with all of this. I feel like my mind is very muddy. I dont understand where this improvement has come from and i am trying not to question it. I still have the negative what if's and i guess i am thinking about it constantly. Probably too much as per usual. But throughout all of this i tell myself that this is the best i have done in years and i canot deny that. I need to realise i have the strength in myself to do this and believe in myself.

Friday, 12 December 2008


I had to zoom out on google maps to show you the ground covered today. That red shape is getting bigger! I am soo excited. Back out again tomorrow.
Don't like to be negative but im worried that i HAVEN'T panicked. I have been so relaxed in the car and i cant help think... i should panic soon. Why can't i just accept that i am ok instead of asking the panic to visit grrr. Guess its force of habit. However i remain positive and wont let that thought hang around too long.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Taking on the Safety Zone

As i have said before, many agoraphobic's I know are able to travel in the car, but have issues when it come's to walking. On previous posts i have talked about how i am making myself walk everyday and have been going further each time. My confidence has been growing, i have been ENJOYING my walks and the most important thing i noticed is that i just zone out and let my thoughts wander. In the past i would have been fixating on what i was doing 'this is far, how long till i get home', 'What if i panic or fall and and can't get home' and so on and so on.

Feeling my new confidence i attempted to travel in the car again is this is something i never do. Obviously i have already written about the disaster which was my first trip with my boyfriend but today we attempted it for a second time.

I wasn't thrilled with the idea but decided to go and i am really glad i did. Today in the car i travelled further than i have in years. It is actually shocking to say that since it is such a short distance but it was progress all the same. Last year i posted a picture of My little bubble ( Today i have posted a picture which shows the same bubble in Yellow, and where i travelled to today, in Red.
At first i was nervous, the negative thoughts came and my hands began to sweat. I focused on my boyfriend and our conversation and also told myself that I was going to be ok. If i really panicked i could close my eyes and be home really quickly. I didnt need to though. I was calm! We tried a few short drives around the block and then eventually i was telling him to go further and further. The best part for me was driving to my friends house. My friend Laura moved into her house about a year ago and i have never seen the house or been close! But today i called her and told her to look out her window and when she did i was sitting there waving. I ended the journey smiling and walked home chatty and upbeat. I look forward to our next outing. This is the first time i have truley felt that i CAN beat this. Its is actually possible

Monday, 1 December 2008

Award Winning & Getting To Know You

I have been friends with a lovely couple named Robert and Marie for many years now. Having met Marie online she told me about a blog which Robert writes telling the story 'My wife has Agoraphobia'.

I have always been a huge fan of his page, as i have forever been curious as to how the partner of an agoraphobic feels. Of course i have spoken to my own partner for his opinion, but i always wondered about those who have gotten married. Does it come to a point where they just accept their partners condition and stay with them anyway out of love? Would someone ever say to me, 'You may never go out, we may never go travelling, but i want to be with you for the rest of my life anyway'? That to me is love! I know that is a huge commitment but i also know i would be truley delighted if someone took me on 'warts and all'. Does the partner of an agoraphobic fully accept them and just get on with things, or do they always hope things get better?

I have also often wondered how i would cope if i had never become agoraphobic and had fallen in love with a guy who was housebound. I can honestly say with my hand on heart that i dont know if i could handle that. Am i incredibly selfish? It is only NOW having experienced it that i feel i could take on that relationship. I remember years ago, a long time before i ever had a panic attack or agoraphobia, i was told about a women who wouldnt leave the house. Unfortunately, my response then was... 'She needs a kick up the arse, tell her to sort herself out'. Well how wrong was i? I think about that statement a lot. You know i think karma may infact exist lol. But i have also said many times that living with agoraphobia, panic attacks or any other kind of 'problem' makes you much more sympathetic and patient.

Ok i digress, i mentioned Robert as he recommended me for a couple of awards. One is the Kreative Blogger and the other is the Lemonade award. I just want to say thank you very much and that i really appreciate it. It is always nice to know that someone takes an interest in my ramblings. Robert's blog can be found at I would recommend it as it shows the other side of the coin when talking about agoraphobia and just how much it affects the partner. Robert knows i have had nothing but respect for him for years as he looks after Marie, their 2 children, manages several businesses and has now just taken on a new family member, their puppy Blaze! And then you have me who struggles to just go a simple walk day after day. I think he deserves some recognition.

On a recent posting Robert answered the question, 'What are 6 things that make me happy'. I will also attempt this although to be honest it may be dull haha, but i think it may be a nice change to here these things than my views on agoraphobia all the time

  1. I have recently become very domesticated. I think it happened when i met my new partner and realised i may soon become someones...WIFE!!! Argh scary stuff but time to grow up. This has meant i have been learning to cook. I have always known how to cook but i mean i wanted to try more 'impressive' meals. As well as the cooking i have started to bake. My banana bread is very tasty and so easy to make but it is great fun as i get the kids involved too. My shortbread was like rock and could crack your teeth and my muffins were so burnt that the birds wouldnt even touch them but god loves a trier haha. All in all i am actually pretty good and take great pleasure in seeing people enjoy a meal which i have made.
  2. Music! I LOVE music and surround myself with it everyday. I like to listen to the radio, usually Radio 1 or 2 and i love to download the latest albums released. At the moment my current favourite is 'Day & Age' by the Killers but i enjoy listening to a very broad range. I can handle anything from Patsy Cline to Britney Spears (they are not my favourites, i do actually have good taste ha). Nothing pleases me more than singing at the top of my voice, even though i am terrible!!! You will often here the words 'Lynn WOULD YOU SHUT UP' being shouted through the house but hey i enjoy it.
  3. The internet. MSN, Bebo, Myspace, Youtube. Thank God for the internet. The world at your finger tips. My biggest vice is internet shopping, which reminds me i must go buy that lovely dress i just seen :)
  4. American tv shows. I can get lost in Desperate Housewives, Ugly Betty, you name it. It is escapism which i enjoy.
  5. Puzzles! Am i a geek? I dont know and i dont care but i love crosswords, suduko, codebreakers and find them extremly helpful when i am anxious, good distraction.
  6. Reading. I love to read. Similar to music my taste is very broad. I do enjoy a good autobiography but lately have been reading crime novels. Could be classed as murder mysteries actually. The author is Karin Slaughter and they were recommended to me by a friend but my favourties have to be books by Marian Keyes and Cecelia Ahern as they are light hearted and make me laugh.

I have ranted once again lol.

Seen the homeopathic women today. I do feel the remedy is working. She told me the name of my remedy, i should have written it down. It was Poly something or other but i have another 6 weeks worth. I am still determind and have been out everyday walking further and further. Had a small set back on Saturday where i felt anxious and thought 'Uh oh, here we go again' but thankfully it didnt come to anything and i felt much better the next day. I do have the fear though. The longer it is since i have had a panic the more i worry about handling the next one. Does that make sense? Silly question, i know you will understand that worry only too well!

My Boyfriend and i have made up since the disasterous drive. He knows he was wrong thank goodness. It was his frustration i suppose, but after a long talk i am confident it wont happen again (touch wood). Anyway i shall leave it there for now but will be back soon. Take Care all xx