Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Reclusive Agoraphobic

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!


  1. I will for the rest of my life remember the first time I was at the store with Rin and I turned around to find her gone. She had walked off, went to go grab something from another aisle. I panicked, thinking she had fled the store in fear again. I don't remember what she brought back tot he cart, I just remember the look in eye. She was afraid of nothing. We had the BEST therapist, I had the best wife.

  2. It's amazing how many of us suffer and no one really realizes it except those closest to us. I hope I can find the strength (and therapist) to beat this once and for all. (((hugs))) Dave...she was a truly wonderful woman. I wish I had known you both better before I left Oregon.


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