Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Am i getting over Agoraphobia?

Today was my 4th driving lesson. Just like the other day i was anxious this morning. I was so close to cancelling. I told myself to face it, stop running and at 1.00 i set out on my lesson. I drove through 3 towns (or villages) ended up in Paisley. Paisley has been my main goal for years. Here there are restaurants, bars, clothes shops etc, but most importantly this is where my friends live and Gerry too. I drove along and the anxiety was like a roller coaster. It was rising and falling but all the while I knew I wouldn't run from it. I wouldn't tell Archie my instructor to take me home.
My safety thinking was at work though. I had the usual visions of me jumping into the back seat and curling into a ball, or getting into the passenger seat, rolling down the window for air and screaming DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE!! But thankfully this didn't happen.
I drove through different areas learning about cross roads, who has right of way etc. I practiced my maneuvers again. A 3 point turn and reversing around corners. As the minutes passed, Archie was driving me further and further into the town centre and further and further from my home. I was aware that if i panicked it would take me quite a while to get home, but i tried to talk to myself and tell myself that it wouldn't come to that. I pulled into strange streets and sat quietly as I was taught the rules of the road. I didn't imagine I would be able to sit still like this for a while but i managed it ok. The only problem is... i am so busy thinking about how well i am doing and imagining where we are going next that i struggle to take in everything he is telling me lol. I think i might need to take a notepad with me in future and write stuff down. The lesson ended with me driving through the town centre. This is where i spent my late teens/early twenties. The pubs and clubs were all around me. I didn't think for a minute i would be seeing them again so soon. (ok its been about 8 years since i went clubbing but the progress of late has been faster than ever). I knew i had quite a drive ahead of me to get home but i was ok.
This has given me a huge confidence boost. In the last few days I have been looking at restaurants for Gerry and I to try. I have still been driving everyday in my own car to keep up with my practice. I am out most of the day now. Driving or popping into visit friends. I am happier and always smiling. Lukes 1st coommunion is in 2 weeks time and i cannot wait. I will attend the ceremony in the chapel and then I am driving to another town for a family meal. In the past i wouldnt have been going, in the more recent past I would have agreed to it, but dreaded it. Now though I look forward to it. A few people have commented that i may be getting over agoraphobia forever. I also said that if i continue like this, i will be over it by the end of summer. I don't really want to put a time on it though, as if it doesn't happen i will only be disappointed. But i notice it is me who suggests going out now, its me who wants to visit new restaurants or bars. This weekend I have asked Gerry if he wants me to drive us over to his parents. I have never met them! Because of my situation Gerry wanted to wait till i could meet them until he told them we are engaged. So we will drive there on Saturday and announce it ( well that's my plan at the moment lol). Today i passed my friend Angela's house , so i have been invited up for dinner. I plan to take her up on that invite as soon as we both have a free night. It's exciting. I think Angela has lived there for about 2 years and I have never been. I only knew it was her house because i seen her car parked outside.
I do still question myself a lot. I wonder if i will relapse. I tell myself that if i do, i will fight it and will never go back to how i was. But I'm sure we have all heard of someone who this has happened to. I know i will have to battle with my thoughts for a long long time and that they may never completely go away, but i am hopeful that i am learning to live my life whether the thoughts come or not. I wonder if i will get over my agoraphobia but be left with anxiety. I still deal with anxious thoughts and behaviour every time. But i guess with everyday i am trusting myself more to be able to take it on.


Nioniel said...

Every time I read another of your posts it blows me away! You're progressing in leaps and bounds, and it's fantastic to see how far you've come in such a short space of time. And the driving lessons will only bring more freedom.

Lynn said...

Thanks Nioniel. Its blowing me away too. I guess thats why my little anxious voice still kicks in. It is used to getting listened to. The driving has definately been the answer for me. i just hope it lasts x

Robert said...

Ok, so you can drive to Paisley... When are you going to drive to SW England? Why not drop in for a cup'o'tea? ...or a wee dram? I've got some Irn Bru in the fridge...

Don't question your progress too much, sweetheart. Go with the flow. I'm soooooo pleased for you!

Louis said...

Hello Lynn! :)
You are right about everything in your post. you are getting better and you can obviously feel it for yourself. As for having another panic attack. I think you can face a future of a possiblity of having another panic attack because now you know you can and will master our common problem. And you know what to do and how to do it. I hope you continue your posts. I think you are helpful. Maybe more helpful then you know. I am betting Mr Gerry's parents will be pleased with you.
Congratulations little lady.
Jeff A.
Have a blessed day

Lynn said...

Hey Jeffy :) Thanks for your comments. You too Robert. I do need to stop questioning my progress but its just the way my head works after 9 years of panic attacks. Hopefully over the summer the positivity will win and become my main way of thinking. As for South West England, i will be there one day ha.

Anonymous said...

Hi, you don't know me but i read your blog, ALOT, and i myself have been suffering Agoraphobia for some time now and had developed depression. I just wanted to say that your blog has helped me since then, you are helping me so much. Thank You!

Lynn said...

Thanks Anon... I hope u keep on reading. I just want to show people this is hope. I know i never thought i would get through it. I'll probably still have bad days but we need to try and stay strong dont we. If you ever wanna chat privatly you can email me on lynn_jackson@hotmail.com. It would be good to talk to you

diver said...

Short answer, yes, it sounds to me like you are indeed growing through and out of your agoraphobia.

I've always thought of our journey into this condition as a trek across a mountain range : we climb and climb then reach a plateau where the going gets easier for awhile. Then after awhile we reach another upslope (e.g each winter) and struggle with the journey for a few months once again, maybe even find a cave on the way to hide in for awhile. Sooner or later though, if we keep trekking we reach another plateau at a new 'higher' level.

Lynn, I think you are now at the crest of your mountain range and starting to negotiate new territory : the slippery downslope on the other side. It's easier going but 'slippery' because of all the conditioned habits (e.g anticipatory anxiety) you've gotta contend with. It'll be pesky like this for awhile I'd suggest, a strange sensation, as though life is at once both easier, and yet more dangerous, as though you could lose your footing at any moment.

I have a strong feeling that you're going to be alright though ... if you keep working at your driving and things keeping going well with Gerry. All this love and mobility in your life is 'reconditioning' you rather brilliantly I think.

'Scuse all my metaphors, I'm ranting a bit. What I mean to say, bottom line, is just 'Well done Lynn, you're a magnificent recovering agoraphobic and an inspiration to us all!'

Lynn said...

Diver i will be responding to your comment on your own page.