Yesterday, my husband commented that he’d like for me to come into the office for a few hours to train up on some software we’re going to be using. Fair enough and all, because I need to learn how to use it. What isn’t fair is that my anxiety spiked at the thought and hasn’t come back down since. Now, it’s not that anyone there is particularly annoying or obnoxious — everyone is always kind and friendly to me. I even had someone ask with genuine interest when I was going to be coming back in on the regular last time we swung past. I managed to fumble some sort of response besides the screaming, ‘NEVER’ that was raging in the back of my head, but still.
It’s crept up on me the last couple of years. I have never been a fan of leaving the house, but it has gotten to the point where I have to take something as a security blanket when I leave. I have a lot of smallish objects that fill that remit, like my DSes, my netbook, my knitting. They all together and then some shove nicely into my messenger bag, and help me rein in the anxiety of having to not be in my safe space. I’d been doing this for years now. I’d even referred to these objects as security blankets, and of course, I have no shame in taking things with me that make it so I am able to leave the house and pretend I’m okay.
I’m not sure what made me look up agoraphobia today. I probably saw a friend mention it in passing, or perhaps something in a news article. I hadn’t realised it applied to anxiety in general about going places outside of safe spaces, and that certainly has applied to me for a long time. I remember once when I was pregnant last year that I almost had a panic attack because someone sat behind me in the pub, thereby preventing me from having a clear line of escape to the door. It was bad enough that I backed into a wall on the way out and decided to quit going earlier than was warranted. This was towards the end of my pregnancy, and I had intended to attend every session possible up to and after the birth of my kiddo. It’s my one social thing that I love and mainly feel safe at, so it’s a pretty big deal that I’d choose to miss out. I did later explain to everyone that I needed to not be blocked in and that being why I always sat where I sat, so everyone has been really super about recognizing and respecting that.
So then, what else can I do? I’m on an SSRI antidepressant, but my anxiety seems to keep getting worse lately. I’m not sure if it’s bad-bad or just a rough patch, but it probably isn’t helping me yanno, function ‘normally’. Nor do I think any sort of CBT or talking therapy is going to make it better — it seems to be getting worse the ‘better’ I get… probably because I’m in a space where I can admit my weak spots whereas before I’d bull over them to whatever detriment may occur. I guess I can just sort of be pleased that I’ve figured out that agoraphobia is likely the case, and then do some reading on it. In the meantime though, I’m seriously fine with staying home away from people. Seriously. Hope I find enough people-personing to at least work through emails, ha ha.
Hope everyone out there is doing well.