Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Who got it?

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Primary One

I uploaded this picture of me in my first year of school earlier for a friend. I thought i would stick it on here and see if anyone can pic me out. Good Luck.

He is coming home

Well tomorrow Gerry returns from his week in Toronto. It has flewn by! I thought it would drag and I would miss him terribly, and at times I did, but I have also enjoyed being able to relax. There has been no one here to force me on unexpected drives or to make me feel bad when I haven't done enough (although thats not my opinion).

So thinking of his arrival I decided to write a little letter about how we will tackle things now that he is home....

I KNOW what I need to do. I know we are aiming at getting to your house and me eventually moving in. It is what we both want and the sooner it happens, the better. But I won’t be pressured. I have noticed that I do much better when I do things on MY terms! When I feel relaxed and comfortable I can do more in the car, I feel brave enough to push it a little. But when we go driving and end up fighting it just makes it seem impossible. Then it has a knock on effect and after a bad drive I feel crappy and then it takes away a bit of my confidence.

While you have been away my drives have been ok. Although there hasn’t been anyone around with a car all the time I have made the most of when I have seen Angela or when I went my drive with Karen. I know I still need to do it more often and I appreciate you always offering to take me. My walks have been getting further and i have been enjoying them. I have felt braver and walked down streets or along roads that I always avoided. I felt really proud of myself and my confidence took a little boost again. I have massive hopes for us and I see this summer being a great time for us where I achieve much more but i think i need you to stop going on as much.

Please don’t take it as a moan because I know you only want the best for me but I hate that whenever we speak you ask ‘where have you been’, ‘Have you been out’, ‘Have you been out in the car’, ‘Have you been any further’. Remember Karen said months ago that that isn’t a healthy relationship. Where I walk or drive shouldn’t be all that we are about. I know you must find it really hard and really frustrating, you have been so patient with me and I really do appreciate it, but I hope you can understand. I have so much I need to work on Gerry. Not just driving in a straight line from my house to your house. I have started with small walks but over the last few months I have visited friend’s houses, been to the pub, gone to the shops, the dentist, gone for food. This all might seem small to you but these were massive achievements for me. My confidence will build as I do more and more and soon those things will seem small to me too, but you need to understand that there is A LOT I need to work on.

I really do hope you can handle it, because i think that at the end of all of this we could have a fantastic future together. I am hoping that this letter will let you see that I am prepared to do the work that is needed and I hope you can support me and be here for me but maybe not force things on me so much. You don’t need to put pressure on me or force me to do things... because I will do those things anyway, but will do it in a much better frame of mind if it is done my way. I hope that doesn’t sound too selfish.

Monday, 23 February 2009

Getting to know you

I recently read this 'Getting to know you' section on Diver's blog. I enjoyed reading it and decided to give it a go myself.

1 ... If you could have any superhero power what would you choose?

The ability to teleport. No more walks and drive... Your just THERE

2 ... If you could relive one moment in your past, which one would you choose?

Any of the times before agoraphobia, to be free. To be far from home without a care in the world.

3 ... What is your favorite movie?

I can't choose just one. Loving Slum Dog Millionaire, Trainspotting, Leaving Las Vegas, City of God

4 ... What is your favorite comfort food?

MMmm Anything stodgy. Oh and pringles, and dip. And McDonalds and generally anything that is unhealthy as i try to avoid it usually

5 ... What is the first thing you notice when you meet someone?

Prob their character. If they are friendly or not. I usually know instinctively whether i will get on with them or not.

6 ... Something you find fascinating?

People. Life. Artists.

7 ... What is something you are passionate about?

Family, extremely so

8 ... How did you come up with your blog title?

It is pretty self explanitory

9 ... If you won the lottery, how would you spend it?

Oh im boring. Id clear all debts and take care of myself and my family. And buy a lovely home and a car.

10 ... What do you like about the opposite sex? Or what attracts you to someone?

Im 5' 10' so i would prefer someone taller than me. I like dark hair and eyes. I have to admit i quite like tattoos on men...but not too many. Cleanliness lol, someone who knows how to dress well. Patience and someone who can make me laugh. (am i asking too much haha)

11 ... What do you know for sure?

That I need the loo... brb

A - Z Meme

Attached or Single? Attached

Best Friend? Angela

Cake or Pie? Cake

Day of Choice? Friday

Essential Item? Hmmm Its a toss up between my laptop or my mobile phone

Favorite Color? Aqua

Gummy Bears or Worms? Ill opt for the bears as i dont know what the worms are

Hometown? Is where i live

Indulgence? Shopping. No item in particular. I seem to enjoy spending money that I dont have

January or July? July. Summertime :)

Kids? I am surrounded by them constantly but none of my own... yet

Life Isn’t Complete Without? Love

Marriage Date? 2010 or 2011

Number of Magazine Subscriptions? One.. and only subscribed cos i wanted the free gift.

Orange or Apple? Either

Phobia(s)? Agoraphobia of course. Fears.. elevators, heights, flying.


My cat's breath smells like cat food - Ralph Wiggum

Reasons to Smile? My nephews.

Season of Choice? Summer. Bliss

Tag Two ... Graham and Marie

Unknown Fact About Me? I have a really bad tattoo on my ankle. A Mistake from when i was 17. It is meant to be a fairy but it is awful and the poor little thing doesnt even have a face.

Vegetable? Carrot.

Worst Habit? Smoking.

X-Ray or Ultrasound? That would involve going to a hospital so i will pass

Your Favorite Food(s)? Pasta, Pizza, Cereal (i live on the stuff)

Zodiac Sign? Capricorn

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Hmmm Not too sure...

Not too sure about this layout. You people reading it are most important so let me know. Should i change it back. I get so bored of the same page but this seems a little... strange to me. Thoughts?

Saturday, 21 February 2009

Be Positive

The last few time's I have written it has been about the dentist or my walks, I feel as though I have missed somethings out.

I have been receiving emails and comments on you tube and, to be honest, i have been shocked. I still find it completely mad that people say I 'inspire' them. People seems to find me brave, but there at times when that's the last thing I feel.

For example. before Gerry left for Canada he decided he wanted us to go a drive. He parked up outside my house and beeped the horn. He then called me and told me to hurry. I had just eaten dinner and was seeing to the kids, I was in the middle of things, and so i felt totally rushed. I did ask him to come in but he refused saying he was sick of sitting in my house. So to avoid a fight I ran out as quickly as i could. The whole drive felt totally sprung on me and I didn't feel mentally prepared. Out in the car I had lost the comfort that I had found in previous weeks. The only word I can use to describe it was 'exposed'. Everything around me felt too much and all that surrounded me was this small tin, i.e, the car. I told myself to relax, that it would pass and the comfort would soon set in. Unfortunately it didn't pass and i suddenly felt sick. My stomach was in knots and i really thought that I would throw up. I had to ask him to pull over. Nausea was never a symptom of my panic attacks in the past so this was new to me, although I didn't actually have a panic attack..or come close, the nausea wasn't too pleasant. It was enough to put me off the drive and ask him to take me home. As you can imagine, Gerry was less than impressed and told me I was making 'just another excuse'. He didn't come in but instead drove off as he had 'things to do'. When I got home the nausea continued but eventually faded. I still don't know if this was down to the drive or perhaps it was completely unrelated.

So it is at times like this when I don't feel brave. I feel a whole mix of emotion from anger to frustration and total hopelessness. It is easy to let times like that pull you down, but lately I have learned not to let this happen. I know that I might have a bad time in the car one day and the next day feel totally great and even go further than I had previously. I guess it is all in how we approach it, at least that's what I think it is.

For example, the night after the failed drive with Gerry my nephew's were over. It had gotten dark when they were due to go home so instead of them walking like they usually would, Gerry said he would drive them. Immediately I said I wanted to go too. So we piled into the car and drove over to my brothers house. I then popped into my brothers to say a quick hello while Gerry waited in the car. Then when I got back out we went a little drive on our own where I told him to go further. The reason for this was simply that the drive was MY choice! Someone making demands of me or telling me when I have to do something doesn't work. Time and time again this has been proven by Gerry and I. When he tells me what to do and where to go it usually ends up in a fight. But when it is my choice and he also has the correct attitude it goes really well.

Also this week my walks have gotten even longer. I have walked along streets that I haven't faced in about 3 years. It is totally true that the more you work on this the more your confidence builds. As I walked those streets I generally felt fine, the problem is that your head constantly asks you 'how do you feel'. 'Why aren't you panicking'? We have spent so long being agoraphobics that we no longer trust ourselves. Few of you may remember that I wrote about going to my local shops on my bike. I hadn't been in so long and when I finally made it I was so proud of myself, I wrote about it in a post and put up a photo. I now regularly make the trip to the shop but still did so relying on my bike. Even If i didn't ride my bike, I would walk along pushing it. Classic safety behaviour! My mind was telling me that I was more comfortable with the bike, less likely to panic and if the worst thing happened and I DID panic.... i could get home quickly to my safe place. This week though I was out on my walk and I was so close to the shops. I got closer on my next walk and then closer still. Finally on Wednesday I was the closest I have ever been. I stood there looking at the buildings and asked myself to push it further. My head said 'No'. My head told me that If I took those extra steps that I would panic. It made me feel like me walking to the shops was completely unrealistic, funny even. But then this new thought came up. This new 'positive' way of thinking has only began to grow in strength as I walk each day. I looked at the building and I told myself... 'You feel perfectly calm right now so why aren't you trying it. If you are ever going to attempt to walk to those shops you will want to attempt it NOW when feeling GOOD and not in future when you may be anxious'. And so I walked. I made it, I stayed calm and I remained there for about 10 minutes.

I guess I have forgotten to praise myself for these things. My little achievements may seem so small to other people but when i look back on how I was, things have improved so much and it has been down to me. I guess I should be proud. So I continue to walk further and the drives are ok. I still don't get out as much as i would like, but on Friday I went to a shop further away, one I hadn't been in for many many years, and I made myself go in and buy something. Following that I picked Luke up from school. Gerry likes to focus on the distance I drive from my house, and heading in the direction of his place. That is his goal. Me moving in. But i have soooo many other mountains to climb as well. I need to feel comfortable in shops, walking from the car, keeping appointments, going to the dentist, going to parties... in fact I need to learn everything from scratch! If i don't do all these things and build my confidence I will basically move from once house and into Gerry's where i will be even MORE agoraphobic. There I will live in a new town, surrounded by streets and shops that aren't familiar to me. If i cannot be confident in my walking I will be trapped there... When Gerry goes to work i will have no one to drive me from A to B, and so i think I would feel like a prisoner. If I don't learn to use buses and taxi's again I wont be able to visit my parents or friends unless I have Gerry. I don't want to rely on anybody but myself... and so I will continue working on MY things at MY pace.

Marie, who most of you will know, asked me how I have managed to make all the changes that have been happening. At first I said it was nothing really, just something switched in me, but that's not true. When I really think about it, there are a lot of things I do these days that help me with getting out and about. I know this part will be repetitive but I will try and share whats getting me through.

  • Keep a diary. Write what you have done each day, no matter how small. This way you will have a sense of achievement, order and also it is a useful way of looking back and seeing just how much you have improved.
  • Exercise. Ok I know not everyone enjoys this, but I do think that old saying is true... A healthy body, A healthy mind.
  • Listen to relaxation cd's as much as possible. I have mentioned many times that I listen to Paul McKenna daily.
  • Get into a routine. This for me was my biggest battle but I would say THE answer to my on going recovery. I slept most of the day and was up most of the night. Your not gonna make great progress if your all sleepy and foggy. Now my day is completely structured and sticking to this agenda is keeping me going.
  • Don't make huge unrealistic plans. Take baby steps. When I started all of this I walked to my Gate and back everyday. When I was ready I took it further, and if you have watched my video's you will see I can walk pretty far right now.
  • Do things at YOUR pace. Don't let anybody dictate to you. I would say that perhaps medical professionals could be the exception here but i really don't think anyone knows the right pace for you to do this better than you do.
  • My fight against agoraphobia didn't just start with walking, I have taken on other problems I had which seemed huge in the past. I would only bath during the day and I would never take pain killers (or any medication actually). Now i bath whenever I feel like it and I have relaxed with taking pills. So maybe you could look at facing some problems you have INDOORS before taking on the ones outside?
  • Talk! Anytime you have things on your mind either write it down or talk to someone. I will never bottle anything up like i did in the past. I know its not healthy for me and only leaves me sitting about brooding.
  • Make the most of the days where you are feeling good. A friend pointed out to me that he makes the most of his good days because when the bad days come and he is stuck indoors he doesn't want to think... I wish I had made the most of things when I felt better. Your only going to be frustrated with yourself for not fighting back.
  • Whatever task you choice, be it walking to the edge of your street, do it over and over and over again. Daily if possible. I know people might worry that their neighbours will give them funnily looks but at the end of the day who cares. Your getting your life back and that's way more important than their opinions. Also you could maybe talk on your phone so it doesn't look so strange or if you have a dog take it along. Making myself walk everyday has definitely helped me in the long run. Also if i have a day when I am feeling anxious I will maybe go a much shorter walk but I still attempt it.
  • Remember that there will be bad days and don't give up when they come. The good days always return.
  • Positive mental attitude. Seems so cliche but absolutely works.
  • Make a list to take out with you. If you get anxious and your head gets too messed up to think it is handy to have a list that You can read that has clear statements such as, this will pass. You are better than this. You are strong and will get through this.

Ok I think I am done... for now haha. I hope it doesn't sound patronising because i KNOW I am telling you things that you already know yourself. But i honestly thought in the past that I was THE worst agoraphobic ever! Everything seemed totally impossible and I really believed that I was beyond help. So to see the change in me I can be quite suprised at myself. The hardest thing is having the motivation to put it into practice. But for me my motivation came as the days passed and I stuck to my plan in getting back out there.

Anyway I think I have rambled for long enough tonight, I will mention that I have felt so silly for going on about the dentist being so easy that last time. I have been rather sore these last few days and have finally succumbed to pain relief. BUT... don't let that put anyone off. This is one of the best things I have done in year. I mean, I have lost 11 teeth!!!! If I had left it much longer i would be lucky to have any left so don't let it get that bad. When my work is all done I will post a picture of me with a huge smile to show the end result. You probably all think I'm quite gumsy now haha. Thankfully not, all the extractions were from the back but had i left it any longer I might not have been so lucky. So.. night folks xxx

Thursday, 19 February 2009

For American Readers

I have been asked to pass this onto all the American readers on behalf of a casting agency...


Do you have a phobia that's holding you back from enjoying life? Are you looking for help? A major cable network is casting a show that will try and help women overcome their phobias. We're looking for women who have phobias that constrict their day-to-day life and want to take the next step in overcoming their fears.

The show will put female phobic's into a therapeutic environment to help them face their fears head on. Under the guidance of counselors and through the use of therapy the goal of the show is to help these women get their lives back on track. If you're a woman who's ready to eliminate your fear once and for all, this is the show for you!

Please email us with your name, age, contact information, picture, and phobia. Be sure to also include in your e-mail a brief description of how your phobia has prevented you from living life to its fullest and why you're ready to conquer it and finally move on.

Send your e-mails to:

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

You Tube Update

I posted the links for my 2 Youtube video's yesterday but the second video had really bad sound quality. I have now fixed this and you can hear what Luke and I are saying. (Part 1) (Part 2)

Just back from the dentist again

Not long back from my latest dental appointment which i am talking about in the video. I forgot to mention what happened before i got the work done. I was left waiting for a full hour this time before i was even given the injection to numb my mouth. This time the numbness DID cause me to panic. I wasn't thrilled about my appointment today but I was no where near as nervous as I was the last time, so i was surprised about the panic.

Once given my injections i was told to go back into the waiting room. As i sat there and felt my face go numb i got more and more anxious. The problem was I felt like i couldnt breathe properly. I just felt like I couldnt get a full breath and before I knew it the thoughts came flooding in. I was imagining ambulances being called, me fainting etc. I think in the past this would have lead to a full blown ARRRGGHHH moment! That dreaded panic. But i told myself to stop. I tried to relax my body as I was way too uptight, and i slow took nice relaxing breaths through my nose. Thank goodness it passed quickly enough. I was fine after that.

Incase you cant see the video I had 4 or 5 teeth removed and 4 fillings. Need to actually have a look in my mouth and count!

Now I feel the worst is most certainly over with. The next appointment will be childsplay compaired to the 2 previous and FINALLY she will fit my ugly front tooth!

Gerry must be somewhere above the atlantic about now. I dont like the thought of him being so far away but i remind myself.... I have agoraphobia. Gerry Lives 10 minutes away....but it may as well be Canada cos i cant get their either lol. Ok i'm off to drink tea through a straw x

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Taz & Gerry and the week ahead

Thankfully my walks are still improving, each day i gradually go further and luckily I haven't felt much anxiety lately. Something that will help with this routine is that I am doing a bit of dog watching. Angela who I have meantioned before, has just got herself a new dog named Taz. On Monday she started a new job, and although eventually she will be able to drive home and take the dog out whilst at work, for the first 4 weeks she is in full days of training. So... for the next 4 weeks I have Taz most days. I have already had him a couple of times and it has been a great success. I got out walking 3 to 4 times a day and I can walk the same route over and over and don't look as strange as I would usually when walking alone. I usually walk with him on his lead but today I took him to an open area and decided I would let him off this lead and see how he gets on. It went well untill I suddenly he was getting further and further away. I realised at this point that Taz could out run me AND he could run out of my safety zone. Thankfully I caught up with him just a little outside my usual route and was ok.

I have just said my goodbyes to Gerry who is flying to Canada in the morning. I am a little sad as I know I will miss him but I remind myself it is only a week, and we all know how quickly a week can pass.

Tomorrow it is time to go back to the dentist. I am not anxious tonight like i was the last time but obviously I am still a little apprehensive. I am sure I will be ok but last time I had Gerry's company to distract me from the pain.. oh well, this time i will have Taz lol

Still driving as often as a driver is available. Been out for the last 4 days in a row which is good. Just need someone who has some spare time to make the sessions a little longer. If no one is around I at least know I have Karen, my occupational therapist, on Friday and we can go a drive where I will hopefully feel the confidence and be relaxed enough to go a little further. Ideally I would like to have some improvements to tell Gerry about when he gets back.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

The Christening & Relying On Others

(Me, Laura, Angela and Lynne. Old picture but one with the girls together)

It was the christening of my friend Laura's son on Sunday. Beautiful Korrie is about 6 months old now and since he was born Laura has been planning this day. Finally (very quickly) the baby weight is off and Laura was keen to get out, looking good and have a big celebration for her little boy. Before Christmas I mentioned this on a post and said that i would be attending the christening. This was something I was really looking forward to. Finally I would be spending time with friends in a new setting, i would get to share Laura and Korrie's day and also it would be a personal challenge against my agoraphobia. Being at the christening would prove to me how much better I am doing and it was something I was very keen to do.

Originally it was supposed to be Gerry & I going as a couple but unfortunately he had been asked to work, so instead I invited Angela along. On Saturday I had mixed feelings approaching the big day. I was both excited and nervous but decided to break the day into sections, as i had done with my dental visit the previous week. I would get up, see how i felt, get dressed and see how i felt and so on. I spent the Saturday evening at home organising myself. I got my new dress, New Shoes set out and ready to put on. Made sure my camera had enough battery, and the same with my mobile phone. I felt quite prepared and decided I better text Angela to make the final arrangements.

I tried texting a few times but I got no reply. Knowing Angela could be busy with other things I waited a few hours but still had no reply. Angela's parents were flying to Australia in the morning and it was decided that Angela would arrive at my house once she had dropped them off at the airport at around 10.30am. I guess I just wanted to make sure everything was going ahead as planned. I thought it was strange that Angela hadn't been in touch for the usual conversation between girls 'what are you going to wear'. So the feeling stayed with me, something wasn't right. I suddenly had a feeling in my gut that Angela wouldn't be going. Finally after midnight I got a text telling me that she would phone me when she dropped her parents off. I found this a bit strange. Why would she need to phone me when she drops them off when she should be heading straight over to my house? Hmmmm was i just being paranoid? Anyway the texts went back and forward with Angela being very vague until eventually I just asked her if she didn't want to go. Soon she told me that she wasn't looking forward to it. She didn't have anything to wear.

I went to bed and set my alarm anyway, hoping that in the morning it would all work out. I woke up at 8 and text Angela to make sure she had found an outfit but I got no reply. At this point I just felt completely depressed. I KNEW Angela wasn't coming. Gerry was working, my parents were away out. I had no way of getting to the christening. I don't know if i should have just got myself dressed but i didn't even bother. I didn't see the point. At 11am, 15 minutes before the ceremony began, Angela called me to say she would just go. She was dressed in her jeans but we could still make it. Should I have gone? Obviously I wasn't dressed and being a big day out for me, I had wanted to look my best. I would be seeing people I hadn't seen in years and wanted to make a good impression. 15 minutes to get myself dressed and to the church seemed unlikely to me and so I told Angela I wasn't going to bother. I will admit I did blame Angela.

I spent the rest of the day feeling down. As much as Angela not seeming that interested and me being left in the lurch was the main reasons for me not going, I felt as though I had failed. The day I had been looking forward to for months had come and I wasn't there like i promised I would be. I text Laura and explained but I was worried she would be thinking 'Oh well Lynn isn't coming just as i expected, Just as she never comes to anything', but it hurt because i REALLY wanted to be there.

Why didn't I get a taxi? Well simply because I am not 100% comfortable with using a taxi yet. I would be ok using a taxi in different situations but on this day I was taking on a challenge that would make me extremely nervous. I wanted a safe person. I wanted someone with me so that if the anxiety got too much I could simple say 'I have to go now'. With a taxi I couldn't do that. I would have to call a taxi, WAIT on the taxi, while feeling awful and it just didn't seem like the best idea. Also since the snow was particularly bad it is possible to wait for an hour on a car.

While on the road to recovery this is one of the most difficult things I face as an agoraphobic. Relying on other people. I fully understand that Angela wasn't that interested in the christening. Laura isn't a friend of hers. But even day to day i still need to rely on other people for certain things. To really work on my driving I need someone with a car to be available every day. It's just not realistic. Most of the time people are working during the day, and those who are available in the daytime don't drive. At the moment i probably get out for a drive once or twice a week, which makes the progress much slower than it would be if i could be out every day.

Then there are the days when someone IS available with a car and yet I don't want to ask them to take me a quick drive because you feel as though your putting them out. Who wants to drive around and around in a circle with me? Or the other example is that someone may pop over with a car and sit for a cup of tea then announce that they need to leave because they need to go to work, the gym, shopping etc.

I totally understand people have there own lives to lead, I am no ones responsibility but my own, and so I walk. But it is times like these when i feel like a prisoner again, and also I can feel like a child. Its like a need a babysitter to take me on an outing and its not something I enjoy. Unfortunately that's how it is at the moment. I am lucky that I at least have Gerry and my dad to take me out when they are available so I don't want to sound like i am complaining. I'm just explaining the difficulties we can face. What is the solution?

Then this problem snowballs and creates another issue. My drives with Gerry can be quite stressful, as you know. Everytime we go out in the car Gerry needs to see progress or i am met with a huff of breath or a roll of his eyes which make me more stressed and also pissed off to be honest. I explain to him that i need to drive in my safe zone over and over again to get 'comfortable'. If i was driving that loop everyday it would already be comfortable, but unfortunately since the gaps in between my drives can be quite long, it can take a while for my nerves to settle, even when im just driving in my 'safe zone'. I don't always feel comfrotable enough to 'push it' further. Sometimes i feel i am doing enough by just doing the drive at all.

I don't really see a solution other than paying a taxi driver everyday, which could become very expensive very quickly, or to start taking a bus. Like with the taxi, i dont relish the idea of standing outside of my comfort zone and waiting for my bus home to arrive. So in the mean time I will just have to keep taking drives when they are offered but more likely I will have to get over the embarrassment and just ask people to take me out more often. Ah dillema dillema.

Lastly, the dentist... thank you all so much for your messages. I still cant wait till my next appointment and the good news was the pain after the appointment was totally bearable. Of course it was a little sore but i never had to rely on pain releif. One bad point though is that one of the fillings has already come away slighty, so my ordeal seems a little tainted now ha. Im sure she can fix it when im back in a week. My walking is great, i have pushed it further and further and really enjoy it so i will continue this. Gerry is off to Canada on Wednesday for a week, i will miss him (and his car), but since he is a keen snowboarder im glad hes getting away to the snowy mountains to de-stress. Anyway thats all for now. Take care x

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Walking Video & Agoraphobia Buddy

The above videos are pretty straight forward. It's just me out on my daily walk and at 4 points where I can push things further as i seem to cover a square area. I made the video's for my friend D but figured I would post them on here as they are easier to watch this way.

D and I have decided to team up in the fight to beat agoraphobia. Obviously I had already established a bit of a routine with my daily walks and drives but now D and I are going to do it together. Each night we both go online and we discuss our plan for the next day. Usually the goals are manageable and at the moment we focus on 'a street at a time'. We both leave the house at the same time each day and then after an hour or so outside we go on the phone and talk about how we got on.

It has actually worked out well so far as it gives you that extra push to make the effort. Today for example i was very tired. I had little sleep at all last night and I could have happily slept the day away, but with D in mind I forced myself out of bed, went to the shops and then went on my walk, pushing myself an extra couple of streets. It's nice to know someone is doing the same thing at the exact same time, going through the same emotions. I'm sure in future we will share frustrations and also successes and I look forward to hearing about D's progress. Obviously getting better is about me...and for me, but as I walk it does help to think... I'll do this for D. If possible I would recommend that you try this out. I'm sure you know someone else with agoraphobia who you speak to online or whatever... if not there is always D and I, we can start a team ha.

(Excuse the poor sound quality, i couldn't talk too loudly in case someone passed by and stuck a straight jacket on me ha i must have looked strange)

Friday, 6 February 2009

Book Recommendations

I am an avid reader and find reading a good book is a great way of relaxing and winding down at the end of the day. I have just bought the above book 'We need to talk about Kevin' and although I have been advised that it is pretty graphic, that's ok with me. I like all sorts of books, chick lit, thrillers, mysteries, autobiographies, educational but usually I only buy a book if it has been recommended. 'We need to talk about Kevin' was discussed on TV and I also noticed it had won an award.
I am a fast reader and very quickly I have gotten through all the books I bought a few months ago... all which were recommended. So I am looking for your help. Can you think of a book that you read that was a real page turner. One that totally grabbed your attention and you just loved to read? Or what about one that shocked you, scared you, made you feel really good or was full of twists. Let me know your suggestions and I will get online and get them ordered.
I am trying to think of books i could recommend but my mind is blank at the moment. I know Dan Browns' The Da Vinci Code' had so much hype but i did really enjoy this although I know some people werent too keen. I like Cecelia Ahearn and her book 'If you could see me now' was just so lovely and almost like a fairytale. Paolo Cohelo 'Veronika Decides to die' and 'The Alchamist' are 2 of my favourties. Reg McKay 'Armed Candy' was a great true story of crime set in Glasgow. Slave by Mende Nazer, another true story which will shock and sadden and i just loved 'The curious incident of the dog in the nighttime' by Mark Haddon about a young boy with autism. You should check them out on Amazon.
I look forward to your suggestions.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

The Work Begins!

Today I had my dentist appointment. This time i was not so calm. I was terrified. I knew the work was beginning today but apart from that I had no idea what to expect. For some strange reason it was my face being numb that was causing me the most stress. I know why though, its about control isn't it, it always is. If i didn't like the numbness, I wouldn't be able to make it go away.... I would be stuck.

Never slept a wink. Got up early and my head was running through excuses why not to go. I tried to talk myself round, it wasn't really working. Again I hoped my friend wouldn't turn up, she did! My appointment was at 12.15 so as the time approached I left. I decided to break the appointment into steps. Firstly I would just get outside, and see how I felt. Then I would speak to the receptionist, and see how i felt. All the while I was ready to bolt. First sign of a panic attack and I was planning on jumping in the car an breaking the speed limit till I was back home. Gerry spoke to me before I left and said 'You can't spend your life running home'. With this in my mind I knew I had to do it.

Got there, spoke to receptionist and before I knew it i was giving my injection...S! Several! I was told to go back to the waiting room to let the numbness take over. I sat in the waiting room on my own and i was physically shaking at this point. I really wanted to leave. Didn't care what they said about it. But i stayed and waited...and waited...and waited!!! I think i was there for half an hour with my mind running riot. I decided when I went back in I would explain my nerves and ask the dentist if i could possibly just have one thing done.

Finally I was called and i explained my situation. I was basically told no, and the work began. I think it must have taken another half an hour in the chair, i had been hoping for 5 minutes. NO such luck. Finally I left and went home. The result.... the left side of my mouth now had SIX, YES SIX LESS TEETH and I had 4 fillings!

The procedure itself was fine. It was totally pain free and as my time in the chair passed I got more and more calm. Next appointment is in 2 weeks time to do the right side of my mouth and then finally the front, the front being the ones i want done soonest.

I am EXTREMELY proud today. I know many agoraphobics manage to visit the dentist but it was just never an option for me. Again i feel totally shocked that I managed it and now i just want my next appointment to hurry up because I am sooo looking forward to having all my teeth fixed.

The numbness has now gone and I plan a relaxing night in bed. I feel like I have been through the wars haha. I was told to expect some discomfort and I have that, but thankfully I have no real pain so far. I am so happy!!!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Something to make you laugh

I'm sure you all get just as much junk mail as I do. I am forever being sent comic strips, cartoons, jokes etc, and while some are repetative and predictable I recently got one I actually found pretty funny. So I thought I would share it with you guys. Hopefully it will give you a giggle or at least make you smile. Apparently these are GENUINE call centre conversations!

Customer: 'I've been ringing 0800 2100 for two days and can't get through to enquiries, can you help?'

Operator: 'Where did you get that number from, sir?'.

Customer: 'It was on the door to the Travel Centre'.

Operator: 'Sir, they are our opening hours'.


Samsung Electronics Caller: 'Can you give me the telephone number for Jack?'
Operator: 'I'm sorry, sir, I don't understand who you are talking about'.
Caller:'On page 1, section 5, of the user guide it clearly states that I need to unplug the fax machine from the AC wall socket and telephone Jack before cleaning. Now, can you give me the number for Jack?'
Operator: 'I think you mean the telephone point on the wall'.


RAC Motoring Services Caller: 'Does your European Breakdown Policy cover me when I am travelling in Australia ?'
Operator: ' Doesn't the product name give you a clue?'


Directory Enquiries Caller: 'I'd like the number of the Argoed Fish Bar in Cardiff please'. Operator: 'I'm sorry, there's no listing. Is the spelling correct?'
Caller:'Well, it used to be called the Bargoed Fish Bar but the 'B' fell off'


Then there was the caller who asked for a knitwear company in Woven.
Operator:'Woven? Are you sure?'
Caller: 'Yes. That's what it says on the label; Woven in Scotland'.


Tech Support:'I need you to right-click on the Open Desktop'.
Customer: 'OK'.
Tech Support: 'Did you get a pop-up menu?'.
Tech Support:'OK. Right-Click again. Do you see a pop-up menu?
Tech Support:'OK, sir. Can you tell me what you have done up until this point?'
. Customer: 'Sure. You told me to write 'click' and I wrote 'click''.

(my dad would do that, he always asked me if i have email numbers, i think he means addresses. But hey we cant all be computer literate)


On another occasion, a man making heavy breathing sounds from a phone box told a worried operator: 'I haven't got a pen, so I'm steaming up the window to write the number on'

Monday, 2 February 2009

The Past week & Road Rage

Something I said in my last post really bothered me. I ended by saying 'Why didn't I do this sooner'? Ok I am enjoying getting out and about, but I was annoyed at saying that as there are some people who are reading this who still may be housebound. I thought it might have sounded patronising in some way. I know why I didn't do it sooner... I wasn't ready! I was reminded of this on the day after I wrote the post. I couldn't sleep that night, i think my mind was in a spin what with the dentist and then the drive at night. I felt that old anxiety coming back again. I tried to ignore it but Gerry was here so it was hard. Usually when I feel that way, I will just occupy myself but as Gerry was trying to sleep and we were lying in the dark I found it difficult. In the end I got up out of bed and found something to do. The next morning I awoke to the same nervous feeling. Obviously I have been reporting lots of progress in the last few months but I don't want people to think I'm kidding myself. I am aware that I could relapse, I know I may be fighting with my nerves for life, but maybe, just maybe, I can beat it all together.

I kept thinking about that post...why didn't i do it sooner? People always told me that you must WANT to get better and my reply was always 'i DO'. Looking back now i don't think I had the hunger that I have now. The ambition. My life was comfortable. It might not have been very exciting but it was safe and I was content. A combination of things has brought about my new way of thinking, my determination. I put it down to Gerry, my age (as i want to have freedom for my 30s which are fast approaching), my Paul McKenna download, the diary which i write in daily and my homeopathic medicine. I need to remind myself that this is the best I have ever done since i got agoraphobia. In the past I may have pushed the boundaries and ended up walking or perhaps going to the local pub to socialise, but I NEVER made appointments at the dentist, never went in a car and never really looked to the future. I knew i wanted to meet someone, move house and have kids, but when i imagined it, i couldn't really see it. Now though, when I think of those things, i can see it is very possible and this has given me my hunger. So I hope that I did not sound patronising. Of course we all wish we could be 'fixed' and get ourselves out there, but for a lot of years it just wasn't my time, i don't think it was my time. It took a lot of panic attacks, a lot of thinking and a lot of learning and acceptance to get where i am today.

Anyway..... the past week has been great. Yes the anxiety returned for a few hours, but It didn't escalate to full blown panic. I have been out in the car, out walking as per usual. On Saturday I went to the local church sale with my 2 nephews as you can see in the picture. My mum makes the most beautiful home made cards and sells them at events such as the one in the church, or in local community centres. As she has been struggling with her nerves lately, I said I would go as support. My nephews, like all kids, love to buy lots of old rubbish, so I knew they would enjoy a trip around the stalls. They bought old teddies, videos and bizarrely a fondue set (strange? melted chocolate and marshmallows mmm maybe not so strange). I then spent the rest of the day at home with them.

Scotland has a reputation for bad, cold weather. Although we do get rain a lot, surprisingly we have seen very little snow in the past few years. I remember one day of snow last year which didn't even settle on the ground but today within 10 minutes of starting the ground was beautiful white. I decided to take myself out for a walk which I really enjoyed. The place looks so much nicer in the snow.
When I got home from my walk, i gave the doctor's a quick call. I mentioned a long time ago that I am a smoker. Lately I have been smoking really heavily and I actually wondered if this is anything to do with the homeopathic remedy. The women who gave me it always asks if my appetite has changed while taking the medicine, and while my appetite for food has remained the same, my appetite for cigarettes has not. Even as I smoke one I crave the next. No matter how much I smoke, it never seems enough and I want more and more and more. I have never really wanted to quit smoking because, as much as it is bad for me, i really enjoy it. Also my excuse has always been 'i think smoking is the least of my worries, I have bigger issues to deal with'. At the rate in which I am going I will finally be agoraphobia free and will be diagnosed with lung cancer! So today I called the doctor to see if they can give me patches. I know you need to WANT to quit in order to kick your habit but for now I would just be happy to cut a lot! At the moment I smoke about 20 a day...possible more (i know its disgusting) but i would like to get down to 5 a day....and then eventually quit. Maybe I am deluded and this isn't the right method, but it is a step in the right direction considering in the past i was happy to puff away giving no thought to my lungs or anything else for that matter.
Something else happened this week that I am very angry about. In the past I have mentioned my nephew Luke who means the world to me. More like my little brother, Luke and I are extremely close. So I was very angry when he arrived on Saturday very distressed. It turned out that on the way to our house there was a bit of a problem with his mum. While driving Luke's mum Fiona noticed a girl in the car behind her waving and shouting to get her attention. Fiona, not really thinking about it, pulled up the car to see what the problem was. The girl then, charged out of her car towards Fiona's window, screaming and cursing about some driving manover Fiona had made. Fiona asked her to calm down as she had her kids in the car, Luke, and her baby daughter Charis. The girl had no interested but proceeded to open Fiona's door, pull her from the car, and beat her up. The kids were screaming and crying as their mother lay on the ground with this mad women on top of her. Fiona said her only concern at the time was for her kids naturally and just wanted to get the women off! Thankfully some passer's by got involved and it took 2 men to pull the girl off of Fiona. No wonder Luke was distressed when he arrived at my house. Can you imagine seeing that happen to your mother? I am glad to say that Fiona has reported this to the police and It looks like they know exactly who the girl is. I am just shocked. Fiona said her driving was totally fine, the girl must have only been about 23 and was on her own. What kind of person starts a fight in the street and more importantly, who would do that to a mother infront of her kids? Anyway Fiona is charging her with assault so hopefully there will be some justice.
So that's what I have been up to since my last post. Gerry and I are back on brilliant terms and I feel extremely happy with the way things are going. We get on so well and are so happy together and I think thats why I take the arguements so badly, as it is such a huge contrast to how we usually are. I have the dentist on Wednesday and this is when the real work will begin... I won't lie, I am nervous. But I will go and I know i will be buzzing afterwards from another success. I will use all my saftey behaviours to get me there no doubt, for example, telling myself that even if I am 'mid-drill' and feel I need to leave, i will! Simple as that. Oh a bit of bad news is that Gerry's car is acting up. It goes into the garage tomorrow to hopefully get fixed but it means that in the meantime I cant get out and work on the distance I am travelling and only now as i type this am i realising that it might not be ready in time to take me to the dentist on Wedneaday.. hmmmm I better start looking for a new chauffeur.