Held Hostage By Agoraphobia

 

Agoraphobia. ag-o-ra-pho-bi-a noun 1) extreme or irrational fear of crowded spaces or enclosed public places. Just the word makes me feel ill. I suffer from extreme agoraphobia to the point that I literally do not leave my house. I will go to my doctor if someone takes me only so I can get my medication, and that is all. It’s hard for me to even step outside with the dogs in my own yard. The idea of stepping out my door literally gives me a panic attack.

I was not always this way. I once was quite social. Not extremely so, but I enjoyed talking to people out and about now and then. I used to visit bookstores just so I could be surrounded by all of those wonderful stories and talk to people about what they were looking for, what their interests were. The interaction with people was enjoyable.

I spent years in a severely abusive relationship. I thought I got away from it when I remarried, but then I found out that he did not care for me either. He saw me as a nanny, cook, chauffeur, and errand girl, but not as a beloved wife. I was his servant, as well as his children’s who were terribly spoiled, and mean. Oh, my word they were mean.

I met the man of my dreams once I left. My literal junior high crush. He was a senior then. I never forgot him all the years that life passed me by. We married, and I believed I was finally happy. I was loved. And I was wrong. I admit, my mental health was already not good due to the history I’d already had, but with him…it just snapped.

We live in the same house but separately. He has his room and I have mine. We do not speak and we rarely interact at all, and when we do he is always angry. I still do not know why we changed, but I changed. I could not take any more. I reverted entirely inside and now I cannot find my way back out.

The idea of being around people terrifies me. Literally. I am absolutely terrified to leave my house. I do everything online. Shop, work, everything. Even my delivery guy knows to put my stuff on my door and not talk to me, but he does always tell me to have a good day, and I like that.

Agoraphobia. Life’s living hell inside your head. The dictionary had it wrong.

by kileegoecke

23 Replies to “Held Hostage By Agoraphobia”

    1. I honestly don’t know. I take so many medications you’d think I wouldn’t care about anything anymore. Lol. I just keep the hope that someday I’ll get ‘better’ and I guess it kind of helps. I’ve never written that in depth about it before. I blog about my life at kileegoecke.blog but it just felt like what I needed to guest write about. Plus I was tired. 🙂 Thank you for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I also stay home and shop online, but I can go out once in awhile. But I need someone with me. My daughter will take me once a month or so. But I am 67, so I really don’t care if I ever go out again. I don’t even have Christmas at my daughter’s house any more because her in-laws come. I don’t want to have to talk to anyone but close family.

    I guess it happens after years of bad experiences that make me afraid. People can’t be trusted, so it is dangerous for us to feel safe out amongst people. I’m afraid of driving now too. I’m afraid I might kill someone in an accident.

    I do think you could be helped by on-line couseling. I’m so old, for myself, I don’t give a shit. I’m so sorry you have gone through so much pain because of the men in your life.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a brave post. So honest. I can relate to everything you say. It’s actually something I’ve been starting to address this past week. When I say “starting to address,” I mean thinking about how I have to do something to get better. But, anyway. I just wanted to say I can relate and I really hope you are able to recover from this. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m still struggling with my agoraphobia and I have to say it’s nice knowing i’m not alone. So sorry for what you’re going through.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It must be horrible. I wish you a change for the better.
    I believe we can change and we must grow. It’s difficult but we can do it. I believe in neuroplasticity or how-do-you-call-it and I believe in small steps. Once you feel you are in charge of a situation you win. So my advice is, do a small step every day, whether saying hello to a (relatively safe) person, going mindfully from a small room to a big room and feeling what the environment change does to your inner fear etc. You can practice at home. Try to figure out your specifics and instead of avoiding the triggers, go parallel. Don’t go toward your fear, but for now, just observe. I did so with my fear of spiders. I didn’t hold them, I didn’t run away. I held my distance, kept breathing and saying “See, it’s not so bad”. Of course, I practised first with the pictures of spiders. Hence, my advice of practising with rooms within your house.
    Or is it the people you are afraid of? Was it only for nature, would you fear going out?

    If you only needed some kind words, I wish you well. Just believe you can do it. Keep going.
    I agree with the people above, you are brave.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow. That was beautiful. Thank you! I feel that is great advice and will genuinely try it out. Inside my house I feel safe, so it would be stepping outside. Maybe start with just standing by the door. I thank you so much for you precious advice and kindness!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. If you have the motivation, you will find a way. If you run out of ideas, I’m here for you. I’ve many ideas, even though I’m not an expert in anything.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thank you for that. I truly appreciate it. My blog is kileegoecke.blog where you can always reach me. I’d really like for you to follow so I can look you up if I need. That was such a kind offer. Thank you so much!

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I had agoraphobia too. My therapist said it wasn’t so much the fear of spaces and crowds as it was the fear of having another panic attack in those places.

      I truly believe you can beat this and get your life and marriage back. I believe it so much.

      One step every day. Stand with just the door open to the outside. For 30 seconds, a minute, 5, you build up. Then when you are feeling mostly good with that you step on the other side of the door. Just across the threshold. Do that for 15 seconds and build up.

      Next stand on the stoop/porch/step. Then one step away. Then 2, 3, 4, and so on. Pretty soon you will be at the sidewalk. Then the corner.

      And every time you do one thing you feel great about it because it is more than you did before. Even if it takes 5 days of 15 seconds each day standing with just the door open remember that that is a whole 5 Days of something you couldn’t do before.

      Agoraphobia takes time and patience but it also requires and demands work. There is no easy fix. I had a panic attack on Friday because my boss wanted to have our weekly talk. Sixteen years ago that panic attack would have sent me home to bed. This time I was able to talk to myself, ask questions to figure out why I was feeling so awful and what I was panicking about. Then I took .5mgs of clonazepam to help me calm down.

      I went to my meeting. I learned I made a mistake and we kept going. But it was work.

      I have been truly blessed to have had amazing doctors to teach me what to do, and that my clonazepam is a last ditch resort. The first thing I do is find a quiet place. Then I try to breathe deeply. Then I do a body scan. I just recognize my body parts and try to “breathe into” those parts that are tensing up. Then I start to figure out what happened and what I can do about it. I’m not feeling well, I need to sip some water. I’m scared of being sick at work; the people here have seen a lot worse than me being sick.

      It’s helped so much. I still have anxiety issues. I probably always will. But I had to learn to stop panicking about the next panic attack. If it happens it’ll happen and it’s going to suck. Really really suck. But 9 Days out of 10 I don’t have one. It’s those days I love and I love for.

      My husband struggled with the panic attacks too. It’s the grocery store what was so scary? But he learned how to help me through couple’s therapy. He also learned how to help me get up and go. So maybe you can make a plan with your husband. You tell him about your plan to stand in the doorway, the other side of the door, the stoop and so on. You do it every day. You track it and show it to him at the end of the week.

      Then thank him for supporting your healing. I know that but is weird but if he can see that you’re trying he will become more supportive. You will be having nightly walks too.

      You can do this. I know you can. I know you can because I can do it. A tiny bit every day and celebrate all the tiny bits.

      If you want to stay in touch let me know. You can email me at cmeanonymous@hotmail.com. You can do it!!! XOXOXO

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I have a blog kileegoecke.blog that I write about all of this. I copied what all you said so I can try it. My email is on my blog so you’re welcome to get in touch with me. I so very much appreciate all you said and the time you took to write it all out! Thank you so much for that! I look forward to hearing from you!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I popped over to your blog. Will have to look at a computer tomorrow to find you’re follow.

        I can’t begin to imagine the pain you are in – in all the forms you describe on your About Me page. I wrote without understanding.

        I can only hope you will give it a shot and set tiny goals that grow into small goals that grow and grow and grow. Just take it on your own time. And don’t forget to celebrate!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m sorry that you’re in this position…and I understand a lot of it. I know how difficult it is to interact with the world, and it’s horrible you don’t have support at home. I agree with mosbird that taking little steps each day–and recognizing how sigificant such steps are–is key. Keep reaching out. Sending you good thoughts, prayers, and vibes. : )

    Liked by 1 person

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