[note: this blog contains discussion of suicidal ideation]
As a person who
suffers from agoraphobia I know all too well how this disorder can limit the
freedoms others take for granted, even though I would not class my agoraphobia
as having a significant impact on my life.
agoraphobia presents itself in a few ways. I don’t go anywhere unless I am able
to drive myself and get myself back to my place when I want. I don’t live far
from my parents, so when we go to family things or we are going to the same
place, I have to drive myself. This annoys my folks to no end, I think my Dad
more than Mum. Waste of money, paying for fuel for 2 cars to go to the same
place. But I can’t go with them, I have to be able to escape if and when I want
too. I can deal, well deal better, being out of my house if I have my car. My
car, my house, they are safe places for me.
This also means I
don’t travel, I don’t stay overnight at other peoples places, go away on
holiday or travel any great distance from where I live. The only time I have
stayed outside of my own place in recent memory is when I was in a psychiatric
hospital recently. At the time, I lived about 45 min from my parents and while
I was staying with them and in hospital, my Dad stayed at my old place and
packed it up and they moved me to where I live now. My old place wasn’t a bad
place but it wasn’t great, I stayed there for about 7 years because I couldn’t
bring myself to move. I think, if it wasn’t for all the medication I was on at
the hospital and after I was released I wouldn’t have handled moving. The idea
of going back to my old place freaked me out, because it had gone from being a
safe place to a place I was scared of. This was where I had really ended up in
a bad place mentally and it was there that I got the closest to trying to kill
myself than any time before. By the time I was admitted to hospital I was
terrified that if I was left alone much longer that I would not be able to stop
myself. The thought of going back there made me extremely anxious, I was pretty
sure I would have a panic attack if I tried to go back into my flat.
I have developed
ways to manage/minimise the impact agoraphobia has on my life. As crowds are
extremely difficult, grocery shopping is not one of my favoured past times. So,
to minimise the difficulty I go shopping only when there are the fewest people
likely to be at the shops. I don’t hang around in the shops any longer than I
need to, I get what I need and get out. If the store is particularly quiet I
will try and spend more time and buy more in one time out than I normally would
but this doesn’t happen often.
As I said, I
don’t think my agoraphobia impacts my life significantly however, after writing
this blog I realise that it does play a larger role in my life than I thought.
I imagine this is because I have grown accustom to modifying my life style to
accommodate my agoraphobia.
I hope you have
found this blog interesting. Thanks for reading.
Aimee: I decided to publish this piece because there are many people with dual diagnosis and I am not one of them so my blog will therefore always focus on BPD. I wanted you all to see how other disorders can affect lives and also, my best-friend has this diagnosis so it had some personal interest to me.
Malen Steptoe is the founder of http://www.steptoelodge.com/ and can be followed on Twitter here