Friday, 14 June 2013

Agoraphobia

Last night was rough. I felt inexplicably anxious, and my back and chest were hurting as I'd again run out of painkillers. I stared blankly at the light-polluted sky, immobilized mentally and physically. I slept sat in my armchair on the back porch, rugged up under blankets, listening to the rain sheeting down. It's been raining all week. It's lovely.


I don't have a problem being trapped in a physical space, so much as I do being trapped in my head with my thoughts. Each morning I write a simple 'to do' list (brush hair, defrost soup), try to find distractions (blogging, reading, puzzles), but I can only engage for so long. Sometimes negative self-talk gets in the way, sometimes it's feeling too anxious to move, sometimes it's that everything seems pointless. I still wake up each morning and write that list though, so I guess that's something.

I can't get out of the house much at all, except for appointments. My anxiety is truly crippling; Agoraphobia and C-PTSD playing the biggest parts in my fear of leaving the house. Saying I need to get out more, is similar to saying I need to eat more. It's just not that simple; it's never been that simple. The thought petrifies me.

I haven't been to the supermarket in over four months now, which used to be the one 'safe' place I'd go. It's been over three years since I've been into town, and even longer since I've gone for a walk around the block. Recently I've even been struggling to go out for drives in the car without breaking down into a flurry of panic and tears.

Mental illness has weighed heavily on me for as long as I can remember, long before Anorexia. I received my first diagnoses of depression and anxiety at the age of 12 from my first psychiatrist, though I'd been suffering for years already. It's always been there. I've gathered many labels and diagnoses over the years, and it's all become a jumble that I daren't try untangling. Before my ED developed, I'd already stopped functioning, started receiving a disability pension, dropped out of and re-attempted schooling several times, had five inpatient psychiatric admissions... Anorexia is my coping mechanism, as I know it is for many of us.

The point of this, is that there are many factors as to why I don't leave the house, but it isn't due to depression or my eating disorder. Anxiety has it's claws in deep. I know that getting out helps a lot of people feel better in some way, but for me, it's the opposite. Few things scare me more.


Tomorrow I'm going to be making up another big batch of my stew, about 20 cups, as I'm having the last frozen serve for dinner tonight. It's simple, whole and lovely. Lean beef, onion, carrot, potato, tomato, stock cube, flour, seasonings. Mum was apparently much more impressed with my dinner bowl before I told her it was only 130 calories.

Speaking of the devils, my calorie intake is still kicking around 400-700. The last three days have been in the 400s, a direct reflection of my mood, and I'm cutting it fine with my blood sugars. Part of me is looking forward to seeing the dietician next week, to record the loss on the scales. But I'm also dreading having to explain why I cancelled last week's appointment, because it's not like me at all. Either way, I know I have to drag my butt there next week, so hopefully I'll be able to find words before then. 


xxBella

10 comments:

  1. I feel absolutely nuts when I am in the house for more than one day straight, so it is somewhat hard for me to understand agoraphobia...however, my mother suffers from it, so I'm no stranger to it, and I've seen the effects it can have. She also suffers from severe, severe anxiety, so I imagine there is a relation between the two. It helped me to read this post because sometimes, when I see my mother at her lows, I want to shake her and say GO OUT, go see friends, take a vacation or even get a job! But like you said, it's no different than saying "eat more", and that gave me a lot of perspective I didn't have prior.

    It's been raining here too, and I'd be lying if I said I hadn't been enjoying it :)
    Sending love, light, and happiness your way. Keep distracting yourself. It is the best way to get past these demons.
    <3 Anna

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  2. I can really relate to this. When I get depressed my anxiety gets kicked up and I have a hard time doing anything let alone leave my house.

    I work but its only two or three days a week at 4 or 4 and a half hours each shift. I am waiting to hear from disablilty this is my third time doing it and now I have a laywer. The waiting is killing me since I am stuck with my mom and my sister both are triggers for me.

    I forgot where I was going with this maybe I was going to say your not alone?

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  3. You really aren't alone. We sound similar in so many ways. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety not too long ago but I've been suffering with it a long time. I'm also bulimic which isn't good but I'm not telling my doctors... I just really don't like the way I look. My anxiety gets really bad sometimes, I worry about mostly everything. My anxiety really gets amped up when I have to speak in front of my class.. I also have horrible thoughts that run through my mind daily. I always try to keep myself busy otherwise I end up sobbing and self harming.. Anyways, I wanted to let you know that if you ever need someone to talk to I'm here and that I really love your blog. I hope you enjoy mine as well. xx -Dani.

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  4. I get anxious during the school year more than summer break. College is a pit of deadlines, the need for perfection, lack of sleep, and always going so I'm prone to more anxiety and depression. Who wouldn't? The education system is not effective when they force you into that. I can't be in the house much either. I don't really get homesick. I actually started to tear up when I got back yo America from Greece. I have a wandering spirit so to speak.
    I get anxious about the unknown though.
    .little by little. That's all you can do. As long as you're moving forward it's not about how fast.

    I love you dear!

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  5. I usually don't have high anxiety, but when I do, it's torture. So I can't even imagine how trapping it must be to live with it in such high doses. Do you wish you were able to get out more?

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  6. It sounds awful, Bella. I will admit I have been pretty ignorant of Agoraphobia, you have helped to enlighten me a little so thank you.

    Do you get upset or distressed that you can't go out? Does it become the norm in the same way we just don't ache like people imagine we do when we stare at a big fat oozing chocolate cake- because it's so 'impossible' to even contemplate let alone tempt us?

    Do you enjoy reading? Sometimes a good book can transport you completely from your prison. Or perhaps getting your mum to get you some travel brochures so that you have something to aspire to? Or would that be too painful?

    I'm sorry I don't understand more so I could help more

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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  7. I was very ignorant of how it felt to have Agoraphobia. Thank you for sharing and giving us insight Bella. Just shows only you know what's best and what will help you. My heart aches for you. Keep fighting beautiful xx

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  8. Hey Bella, I can relate a lot to what you are saying, because I don't leave the house unless I have to - to go to uni, grocery shopping etc, and prefer not to go alone.
    It is probably true that if you could get out more, you would feel better about going out, but it's not so easy to do that in the first place and I do understand. A lot of the time I think "I should really go for a walk, I need to exercise and I would feel better" but I can't do it, or won't rather. It's sad because I love walking and it would be great to be able to take up running but it won't happen because I'm too anxious.
    I'm sorry I don't know how to help. I hope this week is good <3
    Alice xx

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  9. Bella I just wanted to stop by and send so many hugs your way. I'm so sorry you are struggling so severely with the agoraphobia :/ It makes me so sad that you are having such a rough time right now. It's just not fair for such an amazing person to have to go through all this. Anyways, I have nothing useful to say...as is seeming typical these days...but I wanted you to know I'm reading. And I seriously enjoy your comments. You are such a considerate reader, I'm surprised you remembered that I said I was going to crochet flowers for Sondra's scarf :) I definitely am by the way...once I take a break from zooming through the HP books! Take care sweety!

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  10. Some famous people who have suffered from agoraphobia include Woody Allen (director), Paula Dean (celebrity chef), and Elfriede Jelinek (Nobel literature laureate).

    Agoraphobia is often misunderstood as a fear of open or crowded places. It can sometimes coexist with these phobias, but agoraphobia is the fear of being too far away from a “safe” area. Agoraphobics often welcome visitors to their home, since they’re in better control of the situation, but simply don’t like leaving their own home.

    Agoraphobic people suffer panic attacks if they feel unsafe; this can include feeling trapped or finding oneself too far away from a comfort zone.

    Like all phobias, agoraphobia doesn’t discriminate. Age, religion, ethnicity and socioeconomic background don’t affect who could be afflicted with agoraphobia. The one notable exception to this rule is that women are about twice as likely to suffer from agoraphobia.REF:http://www.newsonhealthcare.com/anxiety-disorders-agoraphobia/

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