A title of celebration that I never would have expected to use. Now understanding more about why patients can get stuck inside in a vicious circle and develop agoraphobia.
Apart from briefly nipping to my GP surgery for a blood test a few days back, I have stayed firmly rooted to the house and mostly under covers in the bedroom where it feels safe and secure.
Anything beyond that has felt daunting and frightening. Seems very odd to me considering I was single for a long time and therefore extremely self-sufficient and confident in facing just about anything life could throw at me.
My reluctance to leave the house has come from three main feelings.
- Firstly, an overriding fear of what might happen if I go out on my own (but not wanting to go out with anybody else). I haven’t yet managed to shake of the intrusive thoughts of wanting to escape from everything including my own mind. Yet, rationally, I know I don’t want to act on them. However, this ‘illness’ has brought with it a sense of lack of control which is incredibly frightening. I haven’t been 100% confident that I would be able to trust myself if one of these negative flashes of emotion were to happen when out and about where I could put myself at risk.
- Secondly, despite all the years of telling patients it is ok to feel like this and it is an illness like any other, I have a deep sense of feeling ashamed and worrying what other people will think. Yet I have never judged or thought badly of patients or other people in this position. Writing these blogs and sharing my journey I am hoping will help to break down the stigma that is undoubtedly still present; I need to work at this regarding my own situation. I am also hoping that my openness about it will be beneficial to others too, at least in a small and localised way.
- Thirdly, I am still generally shying away from having to interact with anybody especially spontaneously. I couldn’t face the idea that I might bump into somebody I know who knows what is going on or would want to chat.
Well, I was given no choice this morning. A friend came to visit and I knew she was hoping to get me out of the house. But I foolishly thought I would get away with avoiding it as it was pouring with rain. Not so! No opportunity for protestations given. Raincoat reluctantly put on and off we went.
I felt very exposed and vulnerable but she took me arm in arm knowing I needed the reassurance. We went and fed the ducks and then headed back home for a cup of tea. It wasn’t long or far away but I did it. Then I felt absolutely shattered and fell asleep after she left.
Maybe I can go out on my own next time.
A small step in the right direction.