Tuesday, 20 October 2009

House Hunting and Gordon Ramsay

Hello Blogland! I feel my blogging is seriously lacking at the moment so once again it is time for a catch up. How are you all getting on? I hope you are well and anxiety free.

I have been doing ok I suppose. Considering it has been quite a stressful few months I am just relieved that I have still been going out everyday. Even if it's only a short drive or a walk I still make sure I leave the house. I have noticed though that I have just been maintaining the progress I have made. I still go to the gym, visit friends, go to the shops and things like that, but I haven't actually been pushing the boundaries. The one way I always got to push those limits was on my driving lessons and due to everything that has been happening I still haven't booked those! (Always procrastinating but I WILL sort it out).

It was Gerry's birthday and I decided that I would book us a table in a restaurant which we have both been dying to try. It isn't actually that far away really, but it would still be a bit of a challenge as I haven't really ventured massively out of my comfort zone in a while. For weeks I had known about it but it never worried me at all. I was confident that on the day of the meal I would just get in the car and go. But then on the day before the meal Gerry surprised me by suggesting that we give it a trial run to the restaurant. Well this didn't go down to well. Obviously Gerry just thought he was being helpful but I wasn't happy at all. To have it sprung on me like that, I suddenly felt like I couldn't do it. The drive seemed way too difficult. I don't actually know how to explain this....

I have found that making a plan in advance can be a good thing. I knew about the meal and I was mentally prepared to take that trip when the day came. I wanted to go, so obviously when you WANT to do something, it doesn't seem as difficult. But on the other hand when you want something very much, it becomes a bigger deal and therefor maybe your putting yourself under pressure??
This would make me think that making plans in advance is the best way to go. But then I contradict myself because I have often said I don't like plans. I don't like appointments. I don't like to be tied to something. For example a doctors appointment or a dentist appointment can have you totally stressed on the lead up to the dreaded day. Thinking about nothing else and in my experience, losing sleep over it.
Spur of the moment can work too. I can suddenly decide to go see a friend or go nip to the shops as they seem easy now. But if you suddenly ask me to jump in the car and drive 10 miles I wont thank you for it. In fact Ill prob shout at you.
I'm afraid I don't know which way is best. Maybe it totally depends on the frame of mind you are in... but I digress.

So after Gerry mentioned the trial drive to the restaurant (which i refused) I suddenly felt anxious about the following day. I thought about nothing else all night and built it into this huge tasks which i would have to undertake. To be honest, it had become to hard. I was gutted and totally frustrated with myself. But I told myself to at least TRY. Even if I had to turn back, i had to at least try it. I couldn't just rule it out, cause that would be the agoraphobia winning.

So Gerry's birthday arrived. I got up and got myself dressed to go for the meal. I was physically shaking and even thought of changing the venue and visiting a restaurant closer to home but I refused. Our table was booked for 4.00 so it was more of a Sunday lunch really but at 3.30 we set off. I chatted and tried to relax myself, in fact I was prob wittering a lot of rubbish but Gerry is used to me by now. Then disaster. Disaster for an agoraphobic on a mission. The road to the restaurant was closed. Big Diversion signs filled the road and I had no where to turn back. I don't really know what came over me but I just followed the diversion (not that I had much choice). I was nervous though and certainly not thrilled by it but i continued to drive. To Gerry the diversion probably didn't seem to long but to me, as you can imagine, it felt like miles. Thankfully we arrived at the restaurant in one piece. While eating our meal I did worry about the drive home. It wasn't going to be the straight road that I had initially planned, i had to take the long route again uugghhh! What if I panicked and couldn't get home quickly enough? Maybe my anxiety realised that I wasn't playing ball that day because soon I became really relaxed. When I thought of the drive home I actually looked forward to it. I would be driving through an area where I hadn't driven in years and I was happy to take a leisurely drive and just check out the scenery. But soon Gerry added that he wanted to go somewhere else. Don't you hate it when you think you have just achieved something major and then someone asks you to do more?? Being his birthday I felt I had to give it a go and after our meal we found a pub in a quiet old village and had drinks by the log fire. It was lovely but since Gerry was drinking alcohol and I wasn't, meaning i knew i HAD to drive home, i didn't want to stay for too long. The drive home was now going to take 3 times as long as I had first thought. Also I think it is sometimes helpful to leave when your on a high. Let your brain remember the good memories you had being out. If I had hung around too long I may have become anxious, panicked, and then wouldn't have ever wanted to go back there. So i was ready to go, knowing that since it was a success i will feel confident in travelling there again.

Gerry was a happy boy and I a happy girl. Last year for his birthday I set up a table in my bedroom and cooked him a meal, so things have changed! Happy with my success Gerry then told me 'Next week we can go have dinner with my parents'. Great pffft! (the pic above is the restaurant. The pic is from there website where there isn't a great deal to choose from. I did ask Gerry if I could take some at the meal but I know he gets annoyed with me because any time we go somewhere new I get the camera out ha. Its very much 'look at me, look where i am now!'

I have spoken before about my nephew Luke who was born with Spina Bifida. Words cannot express what Luke means to me, I would do anything for him. He was very excited last week to receive a VIP invitation to meet Gordan Ramsay. Gordon is the patron of the Spina Bifida charity, i think a member of his family was a sufferer. So Luke is going to meet the chef at the end of the month. I have always been a fan of Ramsay's. I know he is infamous for his foul moods and bad language but i have always liked him so I'm wondering if i should tag along ha. We are waiting for more details in the post.
House Hunting. Gerry and I are now desperate to live together. I do love living with my parents but we cannot wait to have our own place. We have been back out house hunting again and after viewing about 6 places we have chosen one which we both love. The only problem we have now is waiting for Gerry to sell his. Fingers crossed it wont take too long. Ideally it would be wonderful to have something and be moved in for Xmas. I cant think of anything nicer than waking up together and sitting around our tree opening presents but time will tell. I'm sure we have many Christmases ahead of us so I can be patient.
Finally, tonight I received an Email from a journalist looking to interview me about my 'story'. Having read my blog online the girl wants to know all about my life, how I became agoraphobic and how I am doing now. I don't know how I feel about it to be honest. I think it is good to raise awareness about agoraphobia but I'm not sure if I want everyone to know my business. Ok that sounds strange as I speak so openly in my blog, but no one from my town knows this exists. The only people who will know about this, are fellow sufferers who have searched for agoraphobia online. But to appear in a magazine, picture and all... I'm not really sure yet. Ill think it over.
So there is my catch up. My life over the past few weeks. I am happy and physically healthy (i think) but the mental health will probably always be an issue. I can deal with that though, I'm used to it now. My friends still suck ha, I havent really seen them at all. I have tried! But hey I am persistant so I wont give up lol.
Oh one more thing. Tonight i stumbled across a new agoraphobia blog by 'agoraphob' really enjoyed it and totally related with the author. If you fancy reading it you can find it by checking out my comments and clicking on Agoraphobs profile. She mentioned this device which apparently helps anxiety. Why did i not know about this lol??? If anyone has used this let me know your thoughts, and for those of you who havent heard of it, here is the link.


agoraphob said...

great progress from gerry's bday last year to thi syear! that is awesome! I too get nervous when I have a planned route and something goes rong or there is construction, but the thing is I usually always get through it and it sounds like you do as well! good luck on the house hunting! i know how stressful (as in stressful as me and my husband did not agree on the house until we found this one) that is, but so worth it when you finally move in and get settled. yay for all the progress you have made.

Lynn said...

Thanks for your comment Agoraphob. I have left a comment on your blog x

diver said...

Agree completely about how outings we 'want' to attend provoke less anxiety. Those adventures where we're basically just living up to others' expectations, ouch, I find those are the real bitey ones.

Interesting thoughts about whether to plan in advance or not. In my case I suffer more when I make plans in advance, and especially as the due date of a planned event gets close. The anticipatory anxiety, ach, hate it. I prefer a really empty diary and the sort-of 'elbow room' to do things spontaneously if I'm in the mood ... works well for me, keeps the anxiety on a very low simmer to 'live that way'.

Your nerves over Gerry's birthday puzzled me a bit. Do you suppose it could be the 'set piece' aspect of restaurant eating? I mean, restauranting surely is one of the more claustrophobic social rituals that we agoraphobics face, very hard to escape from for fear of embarrassing ourselves or hurting others' feelings in the process.

The journalist? Perhaps a bit intrusive of her to try and objectify you like that. It's no doubt great for her career and may help sell the magazine, but hey, where's your cut? Thousands and thousands of pounds please, that's what I'd be thinking Lynn. I mean, print and TV media makes millions out of peoples' traumas and suffering so why shouldn't they pay you for yours?

Lynn said...

hi Diver. Emm im ok with restaurants. I also dont really worry about panicking in front of people. I dont seem to care what they think as they dont really know me anyway. Its really just travelling to new places that makes me nervous and the thought that i will fail and have to turn back. Also the thought of not beeing able to get home quickly but trying to drive while panicking. Horribl.

The journalist HAS offered me a decent amount of money. I would never do it for free. Does that sound awful. Am i a sell out. To be honest it would help with my debts :/

diver said...

Tricky issues there Lynn.

On one hand it may well be a sell out, a case of the media trying to turn you into a sort of emotional prostitute. I hate the way the current affairs media do that.

On the other hand it's hard to know what your story is actually worth and whether you'd end up signing over the 'rights' to it somehow. I mean, it may one day be worth heaps more than you sell it for to some publisher or film producer who uses it as the basis of a more major $ production (film or book or teleplay or whatever).

Lynn said...

I really dont know what to do. There are 2 reasons for me to say yes. Firstly - I thought i was the worlds worst agoraphobic, so it might offer hope to readers. They might see how much I have improved in a year and see that itspossible. The other reason is purely selfish. I have debt and the sum she mentioned would sort that out... or at least help.

At the moment i am totally undecided. I dont think it will be a ground breaking piece. Im sure I read a similar article a few years ago about an agoraphobic. Ill continue to think about it.

Jason said...

The planning ahead might just be giving you a sense of control over the situation, which might make it feel a little safer.

As for the journalist, I can say I probably wouldn't do it because I feel like I need to keep some distance between me and the disorder. Not sure if that makes any sense, but I fear the disorder taking over every aspect of my life. I don't want to be defined by it.

On the other hand, I think it's great when people have the courage to tell their story. It helps to remove some of the negative stigma these conditions have and can give people a more positive outlook.

Tough choice for sure!

Lynn said...

Jason i totally agree with you! I NEVER want to be definied by my phobia. There is way more to me than that. Im starting to think its not worth it. Yeh the exposure of the condition might make people see how common it is. But i have to admit that im scared of the small minded people who will just class me as a 'weirdo'. And what if one of those small mminded people lived in my town and shouted stuff in the street.

Ok i may be over thinking it but i think you have to. And thats not something i need in my recovery.

Lynn said...

The real hard thing is that I constantly get mails from people saying that they were completely depressed and felt alone before they reaf my story. It gave them hope. Maybe theres an agoraphobic out there who doesnt have the internet to talk about this... maybe they would happen to see the article??? I dunno

Katherine said...

Yours was the first blog I came across when I searched for agoraphobia. I was so amazed to see myself in your story. I can't wait until tomorrow when I can show my husband your blog so he can see that someone else feels the same way I do. Don't get me wrong, he's very supportive, but still, I don't think anyone really understands unless they have the same issues.
I have learned I must plan ahead to do anything. I must have written directions if I have not driven to the location before, and I only drive up to 30 miles from my home.
It is amazing how every once in a while I can do something completely spontaneous and not have anxiety about it. So weird. Anyway, keep up the good work and pushing those boundries! I have delt with this for over 9 years and I just keep chugging away, one day at a time.