Tag Archive | panic

CBT Therapy

I have realised that my agoraphobia and anxiety is selective.

When I was having therapy last year, I was repeatedly told that what I was experiencing was a form of social anxiety – in other words, that the root of my panic and anxiety was due to a fear of people, or people’s judgements, or feelings of inadequacy or some such basic inferiority complex.

Nonsense.

The therapy I was offered, CBT, (cognitive behavioural therapy) might have been useful had the therapist actually been willing to listen to what I told her. But she wasn’t. She was determined to squeeze me into a neat round box. Presumably she was following a flow chart which didn’t allow for any free thinking, or square pegs.

What I have noticed is that I have no problem in social situations (though I may find them exhausting), no problem with crowded rooms, shops, restaurants, no problem driving, unless I am particularly stressed. The only thing I struggle with, regardless of stress level, is walking out in the open, and that has nothing to do with social anxiety.

I have been out a few times – pubs, restaurants, shops, over the last few months with no problems. But on a day-to-day basis I am practically housebound. I hate it. I deeply dislike the house I’m currently living in, but can’t seem to escape it.

I have good intentions – next week, I will definitely go out, for coffee, to see the sea, something, anything. But it never seems to happen. I’m dependent on circumstances forcing me out – hospital appointments, husband taking me out.

We’re supposed to be moving again soon and I really hope that will signal an improvement. But house moves aren’t known for their calming effect.

I really just want to shrug this anxiety off and start living a normal life again. The best therapy might just be immersion – just jump in, or out as the case may be.

But don’t hold your breath. I might just dip my toe in and sit in the garden.

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Drive to Holsworthy

I have actually lost count now how many weeks I have been holed up at home, cocooned from the nasty weather, but it’s at least three weeks and could easily be double that.

This week I had a task that couldn’t be put off any longer. I had a cheque that I needed to put into the bank. I could have posted it in, but we need the money as fast as possible, so I needed to put it in by hand.

So I girded my loins and drove to Holsworthy. It’s quite a nice, country drive, about half an hour from Bude (I keep to the speed limit – it’s doubtless possible to get there quicker if you don’t). I wasn’t overjoyed to go as I had no company, and that always makes it harder, although I find driving largely okay provided I know where I’m going and I know where I can park.

But because I had no money, I couldn’t park close to the bank, I had to park in the Waitrose car park which is free and walk up the hill. Not far, about 5 minutes each way, but – you know, walking!!

I did it, and didn’t have any panic attacks, and so I popped into the co-op to buy myself a drink and a snack as a reward on the way back to the car.

If I were feeling stronger (and richer), I would have gone into Waitrose there. It is really such a civilised shopping experience compared with Morrisons etc. Sainsbury’s in Bude is also quite pleasant, and the Bude co-op is usually nicely empty too.

But not this time. I walked straight in, straight out and straight back to the car. The weather that day was nice so I enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine and the beautiful view over fields from the top of the Waitrose car park. But then I went straight home and slept all afternoon.

Small steps turn out to be quite exhausting.

Sorry no photos. Still no new phone. Feel free to donate to the Bude Agoraphobics Benevolent Fund.

Trip to Morrisons

So, as I alluded to in my last post, I am a (hopefully recovering) agoraphobic.

I never previously considered myself an anxious person (although I suspect my husband might disagree because he is so laid-back that he thinks hippies are highly strung! 🙂

But we have had a run of hard times, culminating last year with our landlord evicting us – not because we were bad tenants, or because we weren’t paying the rent: we were good, regular rent-paying tenants – but simply because he wanted to sell the house. My friends in the US were shocked and appalled that such action is legal, but here in the UK, tenants have almost no security, even when it’s the landlords who are bad, as in our case.

Our old house stood empty for almost a year while our greedy landlord learned the hard lesson that greed doesn’t always pay. And needless to say, I don’t have a lot of sympathy for him.

So, here I am, traumatised! Really not liking the house we are in now, but ironically stuck inside a lot of the time because going out sets off the anxiety, and I find ways to avoid going out unless absolutely necessary. Shopping deliveries have been a ‘life-saver’ in that regard.

But I am on the mend, hopefully, and trying to make sure that I do step out as much as I can.

So far this year the weather has been pretty horrendously un-outviting (humour me!) But since today was a little brighter, I girded my loins and got myself out… To the supermarket. Morrison’s in fact. By car. Not my favourite place, for sure. (And no pictures, obviously) But I did it.

One of these days – perhaps in the summer, I will actually start walking to places from home again but, for now, going by car and not having a panic attack inside was a small achievement.

So, yes, I do hope that my next outing will be more fun and joyful than a supermarket!

And it will be really great if you can forgive me for the boring blog without pictures so far, and help me with encouragement and accountability to keep trying 🙂