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.