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Tag Archives: agoraphobia

In which I didn’t die

When you have a fear over something – be it general anxiety, agoraphobia, spiders or – in my case – being sick –   you’re often given the advice “remember, you won’t die”.

On the surface it’s good advice, and very true. CBT (or my experience of it) focused on that a lot, and I can imagine most people who don’t experience such extreme fear see it as perfectly sensible advice which can really help. So I don’t begrudge those who tell me this; apart from those in the psychiatric profession, who should know better, because it’s all well and good saying “it won’t kill you”, but anyone living with fear knows that there’s absolutely nothing rational about the red-hot tangle of despair and terror.

But, I didn’t die. I stopped being sick once the anti-emetics kicked in, and I’ve been able to eat without feeling nauseous. I’m still scared of the idea of it starting again, and there’s a huge bruise on my  hand from the IV, but I didn’t die. I’m okay.

Somehow, it always ends up okay. I don’t know how.

moving on

 
7 Comments

Posted by on January 17, 2013 in Every day life

 

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Paranoia

Eventually, I slept. Uncomfortable, sweaty sleep; the kind where every nice dream has a hidden monster and you wake every so often, afraid of the dreams but fearful of staying awake. Sleep which does nothing to ease the fatigue, and probably contributes to it.

Yesterday I told my mother that I didn’t want to look at the newly-refurbished market, or go in Superdrug, or buy anything from Boots. Avoided TK Maxx and insisted we have coffee outdoors, all because I couldn’t stand the feeling of being watched by everyone. Paranoia is raging through my head at the moment, and there seems to be little I can do to stop it apart from avoiding public places

When I lived with J, I became agorophobic. Not of open spaces… just of people. Eye-contact became a nightmare of “what are they looking at? Is it the piercings? Do I have mascara down my face? Is it because I’m ugly?”. I did try to go outside for a while – forcing myself to speak to shop assistants even though I was sweating and shaking – but it just didn’t work. The space outside of the front door became the enemy, and I locked myself away rather than face the stares and the comments I never heard, but knew people were saying cruel things as I walked past.

 

It’s easy to hide, you see. Since I moved back in with my mother, my bedroom has become a fortress; a sort of physical representation of the wall I’ve been building around myself since childhood. When life becomes too much to deal with, I can retreat to the safe space, knowing nothing can truly hurt me when I have my belongings around me and familiar things I can touch. It grounds me. Knowing where things are going to be and having everything just as I want it… it’s a security blanket.

I’m starting to give in to the paranoia again. It’s always been there – there’s never been a time where I don’t believe strangers are staring at me and weighing me up – but recently… it’s blossomed. A rise in anxiety was always the risk with taking Lyrica, and so far I’ve been weathering the growing storm as best I can, but it all feels like it’s becoming too much now; I don’t have time for it. I don’t want it.

Which is why, when S and I are settled into the new flat, I’m going to ask my GP about speaking to a psychologist. This is a big thing for me – I’ve had such negative experiences with the mental health system that I lied to the last specialist I saw and told him everything was fine, just so I didn’t have to go through with all the shite – and to be honest, I’m scared. I coped on my own for so long, and I thought I was doing well… but I’m still having delusions. Still hearing the voices.

I need someone else’s take on it.

 
38 Comments

Posted by on August 9, 2012 in Every day life

 

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A letter from Stephen Fry, and Pinterest

I finally managed to get a Pinterest account last night, thanks to another blogger; about time too! I’ve been trying to join for ages but it’s never accepted invitations.

I have no idea what I’m doing; I just know it’s addictive. I can’t stop clicking. Damn my need to join in.

I’m waiting to go to town with my mother. Thursday is shopping day (also the day my benefits go into the bank) and for as long as I can remember, I’ve always helped her. I think in a way it’s a habit of hers; she’s always done it, so she continues. I do also wonder if perhaps she has some form of agoraphobia. She’s never really socialised much, and stays in the house most of the week. We used to go for walks together, but our combined aches and pains have put paid to that.

We also have to go to the garden centre outside town… I’m dreading it. I can’t pretend to enjoy wandering around looking at plants.

 

 
32 Comments

Posted by on May 24, 2012 in Every day life

 

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I’m learning to walk again, I believe I’ve waited long enough

Spent most of the night wasting time online, reading other blogs and smoking. I never sleep well the night after I leave S’s house; I miss having his arms around me when I fall asleep. I know, soft isn’t it? I’ve never liked sleeping in the same bed as somebody else – I move around a lot, kick, flail, get too hot then too cold – but sleeping with S has never been the problem it always has in the past. He just has to put his arm over my chest and dig his nose into my back, and I’m calm. I sleep like a baby.

In contrast, most of today has been spent catching up on the sleep I missed last night. I did manage to get out for a walk (admittedly, I was forced to go because tobacco supplies were running dangerously low), wander down the embankment near the marshes and actually get out on my own for once. It’s been a long time since I felt able to go for any real kind of walk, but the sun (it’s been another hot, unseasonal day) buoys me up significantly.

I paid for it, of course. Aching legs and a headache. I used to walk miles every day without thinking about it; now all I can manage is a trip to the shops. Sometimes, that’s a really depressing thought.

I’ve never been particularly into fitness, but in my childhood I ran around a lot. In my teens, I walked constantly, wandering for hours. Early twenties, I’d make myself go out every single day for long walks along the sea front. I love the freedom of being outdoors, which is strange considering my agoraphobia; you’d think I’d hate the wide-open spaces and being able to see right across the sea. I don’t though; it’s only people I can’t stand. On my own, I’m in my element. I miss having that freedom now, and feel almost cheated that it’s been taken away from me by chronic pain and fatigue. I want to try walking again – today’s attempt could have gone much worse – but I’m worried by my limitations. I still don’t know when to stop, how to conserve energy for the rest of the day.

Sometimes I worry this is all I’ll ever be able to do. That my strength is gone.

I still don’t have the guts to weigh myself. I should have done it two weeks ago, but I’ve been putting it off in case I somehow weigh more or haven’t lost anything. I’ve been controlling the binges quite well, and I’ve stopped eating in the middle of the night, and along with loosely following the Slimfast diet I think I may have lost a couple of pounds but I just don’t dare go step on those scales in case it sets off a series of events I can’t control.

 

 
50 Comments

Posted by on March 26, 2012 in Every day life

 

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I blame you for the moonlit sky.

In hindsight, I don’t know why I was so stressed before. I came back home from a night out with S (more about that later) to re-read and publish the draft of my last post. There were so many spelling mistakes, so many words running into each other… I haven’t been so on edge for a long time. I confess; I’m still not taking the beta blockers properly. I try to, but I just get so muddled with all the medication I’m taking, that remembering to take them three times a day just slips my mind. I need to get a grip on that; I can’t afford to lose it again.

I’m glad I didn’t do anything about the urges to harm myself. I was so happy this evening, that knowing I had evidence of a freak out on my body would only have brought me down.

S got paid today, and he met me in town. I got the bus, for the first time in months; it seems a silly thing to be proud of, but I’ve been so uncomfortable with social situations lately that it feels like a huge achievement. I even made an effort; wore a maxi dress and boots, did my hair straight, took care with my makeup. I still felt itchy and exposed, but I’m beginning to accept that I’ll probably always feel that way. I’m no superwoman.

Bought some cigarettes, went to Boots and allowed myself a brief look at the makeup (I don’t like the mirrors, they make me nervous) and bought two nail varnishes, before waiting for S at the monument. It sounds childish, but I get so excited when we’re meeting, and when I saw him walking towards me in his nonchalant way, I had to stop myself running over to him. He looked gorgeous; even more so than usual. I still can’t quite believe he’s mine.

After a few drinks in the pub, we went for a curry. I’ve discovered lychee and banana curry, possibly the nicest (and strangest) thing I’ve ever tasted, and for once I didn’t give a damn about any diet or weight. I just enjoyed spending time with the man I love, in a nice restaurant, talking about the education system and my mum’s continued insistence that I have a drinking problem. Not for the first time, he said, “you need to get out of there”, which I know is true. I just wish it were that simple.

After the meal, we played pool in a deathly quiet pub, spurred on by Phil Collins, Nilsson and Jeff Buckley. The quiet pubs always have the best music (although S doesn’t share my adoration of Buckley… he’ll learn).

Finally, we walked to the lake, hand in hand. Lay on the grass together, his arm cushioning my head, and talked as we watched the stars. I asked him what he’d wish for if he had three wishes. He answered:

“For everyone to appreciate what they have, and not material objects like money or possessions, for wasps to be eradicated, and for people to look outside themselves and see the bigger picture, the things which really matter, to stop living their own secular lives and see the world around them”.

Mine were similar, except my first wish was that nowhere would ever serve watered-down Coke. Heck, that stuff’s important too.

He told me I’m beautiful. He wished on a shooting star; said the wish was about me. I told him how happy I am.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on September 29, 2011 in Every day life

 

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