At one point in my life, my illnesses took such a hold of me that I developed Agoraphobia.
I do not recall a particular incident or moment that triggered it, or if it happened overnight; but, before I knew it, I became terrified to leave my house.
I have always had panic attacks and social anxiety that would strike at any given moment.
Even before my breakdown, I can remember I would get sudden social panic attacks. For instance, I’d be cashing out at a grocery store and if the cashier started a conversation, I’d be okay for a moment and then…BAAAM…my neck would lock up, it felt like my head would start to shake,,and I’d wonder if it’s obvious, then my heart would pound loudly and my hands would tremble. I’d silently pray for the brief social encounter to be over.
I also had severe PTSD with going outside. Growing up I survived many horrific encounters just walking home. Men have exposed themselves to me, chased me, and attacked me. I can clearly understand now why I would be afraid.
I think the PTSD combined with social anxiety and panic disorder just all morphed into a giant block of fear. No matter how I geared up to leave, once I reached the door knob I was paralyzed with fear. I can still vividly recall the image of that door knob in my mind.
Even though I felt safer in my home, I would jump at any sound outside. I pulled my shades down and sometimes I would curl up in the corner of my apartment where I felt safest.
When I started to work through the Agoraphobia in therapy it was difficult; because I defensively stated that the reality is that bad things do happen out there and it wasn’t my imagination. My therapist suggested taking a phone with me, or thinking of other ways to make me feel safe.
I also joined an Agoraphobic support group on Facebook. I always kind of giggled at the irony of it. Here we were all in our homes not having to leave for our group. I am very grateful for the people there and still touch base with them.
My life drastically changed because my daughter started cutting herself. A mother has no time for fear when her baby needs her.
I can’t recall a victorious moment when I finally could go pass that door knob; but I do think about it almost daily. I fight my fears and anxieties everyday and sometimes I feel I should be farther than I am. That’s when I like to look back on my Agoraphobia times and feel proud of how far I’ve come.
Agoraphobia is a terrible way to live. If you need help here are some links: