Babe wanna know what its like to be trapped? Hello Agoraphobia.
Awesome I've been invited to an event. This can be as simple as a coffee in my local town. I have been invited to something! So happy! I say a massive YES! I start to think how nice this will be, hanging out like a "mental babe" in disguise as a normal functioning human. Thoughts like what will I wear... Fluff obviously, excitedly wiz around my head. So how the fuck can it go so wrong?
Ahh Agoraphobia, I've been expecting you.
Fear of event or tiny outing starts to creep its way into my happy-go-lucky ray of fucking sunshine mind. I don't cancel. It will be fine. (of course it wont) Event or tiny outing day arrives. FUCK. FUCK. FUCK. I can't go. It will be scary. It will be awful. Everyone will look at me as I walk in. Where will I go? Where will I park? What if I have a panic attack?. Just the thought of walking the distance from my car to the place is so scary for me. I make a fist so tight I leave nail marks in my hands. This behaviour gets worse and worse, oh HEY OCD. Lets fuck around in my dressing room for an hour achieving nothing but repeatedly trying on outfits to get that "feeling gone". Back to my first outfit (text-book) now my dressing room looks like an explosive fluff bomb has gone off. I sit at my dressing table panicking, two hours have now pasted and I've not left my bedroom. I'm now incredibly late. I should have cancelled ages ago I knew this would happen, why do I even bother. I'm such a shit friend, I'm always doing this and blowing people out at the last-minute with piss poor excuses. What is wrong with me? Why am I like this? Oh my stomach is in knots, all for going for a fucking coffee. This is utter bullshit. I'm so mental. Here come the tears as I get back in my "leisure wear" and begin to feel the wave ride out as I commit to not going. Ahh classic me.
The list of things I've not gone to is incredibly long The people I've left confused and slightly pissed off is more like a scroll now. My comfort zone consists of my home, the local Co-Op, and one place in Chelmsford that I always feel safe is Acanteen. Although anytime I go there I park outside to avoid walking alone. This has led me to getting a bad rep with the local parking community. The problem with Agoraphobia is it will make your world so incredibly tiny but you don't notice until it's too late. It grabs you so tight that you start to cut most enjoyable things from your life. My saying is outside bad inside good. This is not a motto id recommend you using. Driving in new areas is utterly awful, I panic the whole way. I often wonder what it must be like to just walk around like a breezy human just going places without this feeling. I'd say out of all the mental health problems I have this one still consumes me the most. I have put serious work into changing this. I've gone to London many times now, I choose to drive as trains, tubes etc are just another obstacle for me. I find the less steps I have to take the better. I still have all this panic but I get ready and run out the door before the shit show starts. How I view Agoraphobia is very different now, I was only diagnosed two years ago and this had consumed my life for many years. Educating myself is hugely important, once I understood what was going on I was able to better equip myself with the skills to deal with it.