Monday, 23 August 2010

How does an Agoraphobic move home??

That's a question i ALWAYS asked myself. How can someone who suffers agoraphobia move home? In the past this would have been my biggest nightmare. Why would I want to move somewhere completely strange? To leave behind each familiar room, my safe place, the place where I can find comfort and relax?

I Have been living with my parents since about 2004, I have been house bound in their home and gone through the worst of my illness there. You would think it would be a place of bad memories that I would be happy to leave behind. But it is also the place where, at the height of a panic attack, i could calm myself. Its my safe place. If I am anxious I have everything I need round about me and I know how to cope. No one likes change, but I think of anxiety sufferers we definitely dislike it more than 'normal' people would. I remember a change of curtains or a shift of furniture would be enough to set me off in a panic. Its that old chestnut... control!
Since meeting Gerry, I have been keen to find my own place. For lots of reasons really, wanting our own space, a bit of privacy, but mostly I saw myself approaching 30 and living with my parents and decided this is not what I wanted at all! I want to be an independent woman (far more comfortable using the word 'girl') I have pushed the boundaries with my agoraphobia. I am comfortable at home when left alone etc, and i felt it was time to move. We had been house hunting for a while but when I found out I was pregnant the search got more serious.

I have had a flat of my own since 2006. I don't know if I have ever discussed this on here before but I will explain briefly. I got my flat through the local housing association when I was still suffering quite badly with anxiety. It was a cosy little one bedroom place and I made myself go round everyday to decorate. After a few months the work was done and it was time to move in. I just didn't seem to want to. I never moved my clothes or private things in, only furniture. Looking back its pretty obvious I just wasn't ready for it. 4 years later the flat had gone to ruin. A total dump if I'm honest and moving there now just didn't seem to be an option. I wanted better. Also since it was only one bedroom i wanted bigger for when the baby comes.

But talking to a midwife she discussed how the baby will be sleeping in my room, ideally for the first few months anyway. So after lots of thought it was decided I would give it a go.
Last week Gerry and I started working on the flat. Day and night we have ripped everything out and started from scratch! The dump I didn't want to live in turned into a beautiful home, one which we would both be happy to live in. And so on Sunday came moving day! I have been buying home things for months for a new home and a new baby. I have talked excitedly about all the things I would do and what it will be like when we finally had our own space. but yesterday was Sunday and that old faithful anxiety came to visit.

I knew it was going to be a little difficult. Moving house is stressful for anyone, but I haven't slept anywhere other than my parents place for years. I was alone for most of the day and so my mind had too much time to wander and imagine all sorts of horrible outcomes. Gerry had told me he would stay with me but instead of finding comfort in this, i found it stressed me out even more. What if i cant calm down? I cant just run away and leave him there! When he finally arrived at the flat I had a bit of distraction. We were still doing odd jobs, building pieces of furniture etc and so i was kept occupied. Then I finally sat down to just sit and watch tv and the anxiety returned. I cant say I ever got to the stage where I panicked and thought 'ok i want to leave, i cant do this'. but there were definitely a few wobbly moments when I wondered if I would ever feel comfortable.
Thankfully that feeling did go away and at 1am i got into my new bed. After reading for a while I feel asleep and slept fine. I thought I would be buzzing when I woke up thinking 'yes i did it!' but if anything the anxiety just returned. Gerry had left for work and so i was on my own and was thinking 'what now'. My morning routine at my mums couldn't happen since i wasn't there and so I was a bit uneasy. Luckily a friend popped by for a visit and distracted me long enough to get back to normal and continue my day. The thoughts i have had are always the same. What if i become house bound here, what if i cant visit my parents, what if the short drive to their house becomes difficult. What if i don't see my nephews as often, what if I never settle in, what if i visit my mums house and that is no longer comfortable for me. What if the place where I calm myself no longer calms me. And on and on and on. Mostly my head just felt messed up. All over the place. I'm neither here nor there, where should i be. But I am hugely relieved to say that tonight I feel much better. I have told myself to CALM DOWN, CHILL OUT. I realised that anyone must feel this way when moving house. They leave a home and move to an address and they don't have the luxury of being able to visit their old place, but i do. And if i need to visit everyday i will ha. I will go with the flow and take each day as it comes. I am where I want to be, doing what I want to do. I have a beautiful home of my own and a place for my baby. I have peace and quiet. I have the maturity and Independence I have craved for so long.

And so i sit here MUCH calmer and my head is far more settled. In saying that, Gerry is working tonight and i will be on my own so who knows how it will be, but I know ill stick it out and each night will get easier.
Today I am 6 months pregnant and I cannot believe how quickly it is going. A little TOO quick! Although I have now been pregnant for half a year, its still a big thing to get my head around, another huge change. But a welcome one. I do feel like my life is really going to start when baby arrives and I cant wait to meet the little one. I am blooming and i suppose this is when i will REALLY start to grow, so its good that the move is over and all the major work is done.