Friday, 6 March 2009

Agoraphobia Statistics & fighting my corner

My friend just brought the following website to my attention -

Apparently this shows the numbers of people who suffer from agoraphobia all over the world. I am shocked! Also he pointed out that this is just the recorded cases so imagine how many more there are!

Anyway thank you everyone for the comments about my new teeth. I have to say that Melissa shocked me by saying my picture made her want to get her teeth whitened again. I have never thought of my teeth as very white. I think the flash on that picture just done me a lot of favours haha. In the past i did use Crest Whitestrips for whitening and I would recommend them but don't think i will be able to use them much longer as they don't work on veneers and that's what ill be getting next. Oh well, no biggy.

I have had a fantastic week, well Sunday and Monday weren't that great actually. I was very anxious Sunday night/Monday morning. And my anxiety seems to be much worse if I don't know what is causing it. If i know i am over tired or have the flu, i accept the anxiety and can cope ok, but when it comes without warning (as it so likes to do) it can give me a bit of a fright. So that was the situation at the start of the week but luckily i forced myself out on my daily walk on Monday morning and it soon passed and so far has not returned.

The rest of the week was spent pushing the walks further and this has been a great success, once again I noticed that I am more and more comfortable doing this and can only put it down to the fact I do it daily and has become part of my routine. Now and then my old way of thinking kicks in when i attempt something new and tells me 'you shouldn't really be doing this' but most of the time I am able to ignore this and plod on anyway.

It is Friday night just now and I am pretty beat. I have had my friends dog everyday and as much as I love him he is very demanding. Our walks are great fun and I am enjoying the exercise but he is such a little attention seeker. He produces his paw constantly and gives me his sad eyes which tells me he wants petted and this goes on pretty much all day until he goes home. I admit i am getting pretty attached to him. Tomorrow night I am off out to the pub again. Is this becoming a regular haunt for me? Nah not really, it is just close to home and gets me out of the house. I am going with my sister in law and am actually looking forward to it. My confidence continues to grow.

This week i received a call about the benefit money I receive. At the moment I claim Incapacity Benefit and have done for several years. I think every year or so the big wigs have a look at your claim and want proof that you are still entitled to claim. I understand this and agree with it fully as i am sure there are many people out there with nothing wrong with them who are making fraudulent claims... but of course there are many people, like myself, who rely on this helping hand.

So this women called my house to tell me I need to attend an interview to assess my case. My mum answered the phone and explained that I was in bed and may be sleeping as I had just been to the dentist. Well this was a mistake. The women came on the phone and told me that since i had been to the dentist, I could obviously get out of the house and therefor i MUST attend my interview or my money will be stopped. I just went along with her and made the appointment with no intention what so ever of attending. The interview will take place in a completely different town from where I live. I was pretty tired when she called so I really wasn't in the mood to get into it. I did TRY to explain that i wouldn't make it but she just told me that I could get a taxi and they would pay for it. Oh well that makes it ok doesn't it. Ill be there with bells on... NOT!

So the following morning a bit more refreshed I called the women up. I explained that I would not be attending the interview, regardless of how quickly she can take me through it, regardless of her providing a taxi, what she was asking of me was NOT POSSIBLE. I explained to her that Yes, I HAD been to the dentist, but it is close to home, has taken me several years to get there and under no circumstances would i be putting myself in a hugely uncomfortable situation just for her to tick some boxes on a form. I also explained how i am trying very hard to get better, that I see an occupational therapist to get me used to going on car journeys but for the time being i would not be venturing to her office. I was angry that this women sitting behind a deak thought she could tell me what I am able to do. So because I can go to a local dentist, can I now travel the length and breadth of the country. No! Well she wasn't very impressed with me and she wasn't exactly pleasant either. She told me that I would need to get a letter from my doctor stating that I couldn't attend but she also advised me that my doctor probably wouldn't be willing to do this. I called my doctor and was asked why they are not willing to make a house visit. I told them a house visit wasn't offered and within 5 minutes my doctor had written up a letter to explain agoraphobia and say I wouldn't be attending. This letter was exactly what I needed and my benefit money will continue as normal. I hope no one thinks that I took the easy way out. I think that I stuck up for myself and felt really happy with the result. I am doing very well recently and the last thing i need is a traumatic car journey where I will associate being in the car with the panic i exterienced, i have only just began to associate being outdoors as being enjoyable again. I am not willing to sacrafice my hardwork for someone who knows nothing about our condition. But the moment I feel I am ready to attend such interviews, I will be there.

Lynn 1 - Women on the phone 0
(isn't my art work fabulous, I'm sure those muscly boxers will love what i have done to them)


Jason said...

Wow. it looks like at least 50 million people on that list. I guess we're really not alone.

And great job as usual standing up for yourself. Taking the easy way out would be to sit back and do nothing to try and get better.

Rachael said...

Well done for standing your ground, you really dont need a setback at a time when your doing so well and you certainly didnt take the easy way out. I would have done the same thing and like Jason says your trying to help yourself.
Take carexx

mhie said...

Hi. Nice blog! I'm just new here. I'm also suffering from anxiety attacks. Visit my blog if you have time. Thanks :)

alice said...

well done you. i think your putting yourself first, and thats going to help you in the future. being assertive. i wish i was more like that.

Nechtan said...

Well done Lynn,

The people from the Department of Work and Pensions and from Medical Services are not nice in my experience. The are not understanding at all. I've been claiming for about 18 months and I've twice I'd to get my GP to fax a letter to them among a host of other things.

I don't understand why they cannot go straight to the doctor and leave us out of it. They don't want to and seem to make it as difficult as possible for us when we really could do without it. The amount of times I've been told that they would stop my benefit are numerous but they never have.

Hopefully this means they won't bother you for another year. And good on your GP. I know a guy who's doctor refused to do it in the begining and he was stuck between the two. It helps massively to have an understanding GP.

But well done for standing your ground.

All the best


Lilia said...

I read your blog all the time but I'm usually too shy to comment.
I think you did an amazing job! I had a similiar problem last year and they eventually sent a Dr over for a home visit. What a royal pain to have to explain over and over again that certain things just are not possible for agoraphobics.

My hats is off to you for standing up for yourself.
: )

Lynn said...

Thanks again for all your comments. Nechtan well done on standing your ground before. Isnt it just a nightmare! I find the people on the phone so rude. Almost like they are judging me. Lilia I am glad you wrote a comment. I appreciate it, its nice to hear from you. Rachel you are doing fantastic by the way, i have been catching up on your blog. Mhie i will check out your blog and Hi Alice i appreciate your comments x

waltmax said...

Lynn, I just found your blog and love it. I have agoraphobia and need to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy,
but can't attend a court hearing in downtown Chicago. I live in a north suburb and the courthouse is like on the Moon for me. A bankruptcy lawyer says we can do the hearing by telephone if I can produce a letter from a doctor or other medical professional that I have agoraphobia.
My doctor is treating me for anxiety but if I ask him for the agoraphobia letter, he'll probably say not until I start seeing a shrink. I don't want that. Does anyone have a suggestion as to how I can get a letter from a medical professional that I have agoraphobia? Preferably in the Chicago area. Thanks.

waltmax said...

Lynn, how do I find your blog?