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.
I went through a two year patch, after some idiot shrink took away my xanax, and I left the house two days a month that whole time. That was it. I missed appointments because I couldn’t leave due to terror and she dropped me as a patient. Which was excellent because I found a better doc who put me back on Xanax and boom, I could leave the house again. Given it’s still in short spurts, three, four hours max without melting down but I’ll accept any improvement. And safe space is underrated. You’re supposed to wear a seatbelt in a car for safety so why can’t home be your seatbelt to keep you safe from whatever is making you feel unsafe?
Yeah, I feel no shame about needing comfort objects, and if having them with me means I can vaguely relax… all about it. I’m already on an antidepressant, so like, double up? Change? It takes so freaking long for my body to adjust to antidepressants (or at least, the one I’ve tried) that it’s miserable to think about having to change. ><
I’m so sorry to hear about how your anxiety has increased. I suffer with a similar-sounding condition. I’ll definitely be interested in reading your upcoming posts about agoraphobia etc!
You’re absolutely right in that there’s no shame in brining any item along that makes you feel more secure. I must bring my Kindle and my emergency Seroquel tablet + my essential oils. Also I pack Rescue Remedy gum when I can find it on sale – it’s subtle stuff, but it helps me. (For all I know it’s the placebo effect!)
Thanks for sharing what’s going on with you. I do appreciate it!
I take a chamomile tablet as part of my regular top-up meds, and that has historically helped some. I’m guessing it’s just part of the ugh crap of trying to figure out what the right balance is after this kiddo.
My husband has some internal rumbly tumbly IBS issues for some time now. He’s had the dreaded Colonoscopy, He’s been tested for Celiac’s. He’s on low doses of anti-anxiety meds as well as some nerve-pain reduction things. We don’t go out anymore. I had noticed that the pain associated with his ills gets worse when we go out of the house. He feels pain and discomfort and needs to go to the bathroom. When we are home, it’s low grade, and there’s never an “emergency poo” because i’ve got all the food triggers figured out. He can’t enjoy himself if he’s in pain, so that’s all he thinks about. I’m the one who told his doc about the spiral of death when we go outside the house, and that’s how he got on the anxiety meds. Going for an hour drive to visit my cousins is an epic journey, much less the 5 hour drive to Seattle to visit the granbebeh. He keeps saying it’s not “all in his head” which I’VE NEVER SAID, and i understand it IS debilitating. When we went to see the kids for Rhys’ 1st birthday, hubby had an attack of pain at a park. No one had figured out where the bathrooms were, and it took a 10 minute walk around to find them. On these jaunts, we don’t leave until he’s had a go at the bathroom, and he never eats unless he’s home “just in case”. He missed going to the zoo. He feels awful, i feel guilty andI have yet to find his security blanket.
I hope he figures something out. That sounds like a terrible self-feeding combination of things, which… is common. Even with my security blankets, I’m still a wreck at the thought of going out up until the going out occurs. Once I’m out I’m normally fine, but. The minutes between those two seem infinite.
yep, me too. it’s a slow go:( I want to get him allergy tested because of the triggers we’ve figured out. and i’m not sure if beer counts as a security blankie, but it does help. Although the self medicating thing we both know is not a great plan. I also hope you figure out your own current swing! <3
Self-medication is totally less than ideal, but speaking first-hand, sometimes it’s the only medication we can get our hands on. When my anxiety is as high as it is now, I desperately wish I was still a smoker. Because that helped a loot.