I got a lovely email the other day from a recovered agoraphobic. After telling her story she said she has now fallen in love with the world again, and i can totally relate.
Ive said before that if you've suffered panic/anxiety/agoraphobia, i think it makes you a far more patient, understanding, APPRECIATIVE person and i stand by this. I remember when i was at my very worst, i would have given so much to go a simple walk. Something that most people will take for granted. And although i wouldn't wish this condition on anyone, i do feel quite lucky that i appreciate the simple things, and that i definitely fall in love with life all over again.
Im back on track! After the hospital episode i gave myself a good shake and started to work harder with my issues. One thing that had riddled me with guilt is that I wasn't doing enough for Nathan with regards to play dates and other social activities.
Well i found a suitable class and told myself we were going. I was nervous and many times could have backed out but i was adamant that we were doing it. He deserved it and i needed it! I told myself to stop putting it off, if i just DO IT, i will be happier, I'd feel less guilty, ill be getting myself out and mixing again and a ton of other reasons.
So the morning of the class came and my little legs were like jelly. I was on and off the toilet all morning and generally just wanted to call the whole thing off. I took the journey in stages. If i just made it to the building i would decide then if i could actually go into the class, but just get there at least.
Well i got there and entered the building. The class was at the back of the building AND up the Stairs (Typical, no fast escape route) but we did it. The room was filled with gym equipment and other fun things for Nathan. Slides, swings trampolines. He was so excited and running about crazy wanting into anything but the class does have a structure. So firstly we all had to sit in a circle, about 30 of us, and sing songs, do actions etc. Then free play where the kids choose from a massive toy box, and finally they are let loose on the equipment. Since Nathan is so small i had to take him round the circuit helping him. It was more of a work out for me than for him but this was probably better. If i had been sat at the side watching i would have had time to think, but instead i was so preoccupied with that i was doing i was totally distracted. There wasn't one point in the entire class that i felt nervous. I didn't want to run. I loved it! I was so proud i had got there and took Nathan myself. No one else. I wasn't relying on anyone else for a change and i was buzzing. I got to watch my son and play with him and i loved every minute of it. Don't get me wrong, when i first went into the class my legs were ready to give way on me, but i kept on going and soon forgot about the nerves. Nathan had an absolute ball and i told the women running it that we would be going every week from now on.
From there i had to meet my support worker and due to my confidence boost i went a huge drive. We went further than i have in the last year of meeting her. We went into shops, i casually browsed the shelves and then drove the long way home. She was impressed and i was buzzing.
The entire day PROVED once again that i can do it. That Ive wasted so much time sitting worrying and imagining the worst. I was actually annoyed with myself for not doing it sooner but i cant change that. For whatever reason, i didn't do it before but there's no point dwelling on the past. I can just concentrate on improving the future.
Its hard to break out of your routine. To do something different, especially when the thought of it makes you nervous. But when you do it the rewards are so worthwhile. Pride, happiness, a self of achievement, confidence. And from there it changes your future too. Since that day i literally lost a ton of guilt and i also lost a lot of the fear id built up since Nathan was born. When i was almost rid of my agoraphobia before i had a certain way of thinking. I was always positive. I frequently told myself 'I'm doing this, and so what if i panic. If i do i will cope'. And in that one day my thinking has become far more like that again, much more confident.
With a huge amount of fear gone i have been driving more and more. Walking further with Nathan. We've been back to the class, and will continue to go every Thursday. And i set all sorts of play dates with lots of other mothers. Nathan and i are meeting a lot of new friends. This means driving to new houses where i am not familiar and maybe not too comfortable, but i keep on going. And ill be setting myself all sorts of other challenges. Im excited!
The sun is shining more often and its very true, i fall in love with life all over again. I want to do more and more and i dont want to waste any time. But what i know is that i APPRECIATE these things. I enjoy them more than i ever would have before. And i get a huge sense of achievement from every little trip we take together. Life is too short to keep putting things off and i need to remember this. Looking forward to a fun filled productive year!