During certain times of the year, the pain gets worse and the memories overwhelm my logical thinking abilities. I start to feel vulnerable outside of my apartment. Too vulnerable and my brain automatically starts sending out “not safe” signals to the rest of my parts. So I stop leaving my apartment building. And then I stop leaving my apartment except when absolutely necessary.
And even the “absolutely necessary” going out causes a problem sometimes. But then I go outside and feel confused. Being out of my apartment feels good at first. I enjoy the scents and sounds from trees, restaurants, people, and dogs. But the further I get from my building, the more vulnerable I feel. What if the pain escalates? What if I can’t get home? What if I embarrass myself by having a panic attack in front of these strangers?
The questions, the fears crowd my mind and stiffen my body. My hips start to ache. My spine curves. And I focus one step at a time to the counselor’s office. Potential treat: a hot chocolate (regular or peppermint) from Starbucks before the appointment. Potential treat: brunch/lunch on the way home.
Since I love food and hardly ever eat breakfast before my morning appointments, the reward sometimes helps me get from A to B. Hot chocolate that I don’t have to make also helps. Other days, visiting some stores to window shop works better.
But sometimes not even a reward for going out or meeting needs like laundry or grocery shopping can get me out of the apartment.
Eventually, the agoraphobia passes.
While I experience the agoraphobia, I also feel frustration and shame. Frustration because I want to be outside. Shame because my fear and vulnerability prevent me from doing what I want. Triggers occur. Panic takes over. And the only safe place feels like home.
Nothing I’ve tried helps. Nothing makes the agoraphobia go away.
The trigger causing agoraphobia hasn’t revealed itself. The trigger to make it go away hasn’t revealed itself either.
I wait out the periods of agoraphobia and hope that this one ends sooner instead of later. But I still hate it. I still struggle.
I still persist.
Remembering and pain will not stop me anymore now than it has before.
Thanks for reading.