Perhaps that is what I should rename this blog. Or the Reclusive Agoraphobic Duchess. Maybe throw something in about bi-polar disorder, just to make it clear where I stand.
I am very much in need of restarting therapy. I'm waiting, waiting, waiting....trying to be patient as I know Native Behavioral Health is overwhelmed with patients; in the meantime I'm zonked out on Klonopin all day that takes most of the anxiety away, but does nothing for the dread and frustration. It's like having a limb that is broken to the point that going outside your home is incredibly difficult. I feel like I walk around on emotional crutches when I'm outside my home....one step at a time, breathe....the mantras all circle in my head as the sweat grows on my brow from the internal effort to stay "normal" on the outside. I look pleasant and friendly and like I'm having a great time, but most often I'm terrified inside.
I wish people really understood more about this illness. Once upon a time, I was ignorant to its limitations and made jokes about it - I had watched a TV program back in the 90s, and the woman they were featuring could literally not leave her home. I thought all along that is what the illness was - someone just not being about to go outside their home. How very wrong could I be? I go outside my home often. Likely more often if I had a job, but that's another story. I go to the grocery store, shop for clothes, go to restaurants and movies. It's the feeling, inside, that defines the illness - the logistics. There may well be many extreme agoraphobes that can do little more than leave a ROOM in their homes, but that is extreme. The most common manifestation of agoraphobia is the fear itself of new situations and places. I have not been back to Fred Meyers since a man grabbed me from behind and tried to hug/kiss me. He was drunk and trying to compliment me, but of course, it made my agoraphobia worse. Same with Target - a sweet native lady thought I was a relative and hugged me before I had a chance to tell her I was not that person. Even though that was not a negative experience (she was so sweet), it was still an event that my agoraphobic mind identifies as a threat.
I hope there is a time that I can beat this thing. Leaving therapy so abruptly in Oregon without any guidance or expectations of waiting so long may have been a really bad idea. I feel I have regressed quite a bit and I'm having to fight so hard to hang on to "normal."
In the meantime, I hope those I meet and have met understand why I'm so reclusive. It has nothing to do with how I feel about them, it's an internal struggle to be "me" every day. I envy those who can just go through the day without feeling fear and doubt so constantly.
Back to being the fighting Duchess. I have a date tonight and I have to push my mind into the right place, because I'll be damned if I let my illness ruin a night of fun with my Richard and my friends. I feel like a lion tamer, whip and chair in hand - back, agoraphobia, back!