I’m finally doing the things!

I’ve been doing the things and it’s been great! By “the things,” I mean I’ve been going out of the house daily and doing various things.

I stayed in a hotel for five days. My house did get red-tagged, but got un-red-tagged.

I have gone lots of places and done lots of things – more than I have in the past year combined. It’s a breath of fresh air from not leaving the house at all, and driving around the block over and over again, or not being able to drive around the block at all.

I made it to a doctors appointment with no anxiety. I went to a museum and a marine sanctuary. I’ve gone shopping at a lot of different places.

And I met one of my favorite authors, Jenny Lawson!

sDF0QiLj0fgvoAvv.jpg

b9YuYggC2rGY62ab.jpg

I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on how it felt for so long as though I’d never be able to leave the house again without getting a panic attack.

And it was always the little things I would hyper-focus on.

Things like, “I miss grocery shopping,” or, “I feel like I’ll never be able to get a Starbucks again.”

ef62NIuOMeu1gFcX.jpg

And those things felt so big and huge and unattainable.

And the more I’ve gone out and done things, the more I feel like everything else keeps getting easier.

I started small – going the the library by the house, the grocery store by the house, a local coffee shop… and then branching out from there. Allowing myself to take my time. And the less pressure I put on myself, the less the anxiety was there and the more I was able to do.

I finally feel like I can really beat this stuff, or at least manage it to the point where it’s not all-consuming. I know that anxiety will probably be something I’ll have to manage for the rest of my life. But that’s okay, as long as it doesn’t completely overrun and consume my life.

There are still a lot of things that I want to do, and things I don’t feel quite up to yet, but I feel like I’m getting closer to those things every day (like drive on the freeway, and move out of the state). Those things felt so unattainable just a few months ago, but now I feel as though it’s possible for me to be up to them in a week or a month, or maybe tomorrow if I’m feeling good enough.

As soon as getting around the block became totally normal and not panic-inducing, it felt like the rest of the world started opening up even more.

I’ve certainly gotten twinges of anxiety here and there, and sometimes I’ve set out to do something and said, “hm, maybe I need to stop pushing myself for now and come back to that later.” And that’s okay. But I haven’t gotten a panic attack, and that’s freaking awesome!

I’m finally feeling like despite having panic disorder, maybe I won’t be agoraphobic forever. Maybe I can really do this thing.

retg2Ush5XzaN7kl.jpg

So, I’m excited for the future, and finally feeling in a good place. Motherhood has been really good for me, and Rex has shown to be an amazing father! And we just had our anniversary yesterday!

It’s been difficult to find time to blog lately what with being a new parent and spending a lot of time being out and about… but I fully intend to keep up with this blog (hopefully more regularly in the coming weeks).

I feel very determined to be successful in getting past all the things that have held me back for so long. All the fears and phobias and future-tripping (aka “what if this or that happens?”).

And if you’re struggling, just know that there is light for you as well. I know that when I was in the middle of the worst of everything, it made me feel better to read about people who had been through similar things and pulled themselves out of it, because it gave me hope that maybe I could do the same thing… but often I’d be hard pressed to find an agoraphobia recovery story that wasn’t one of the same three or five ones that showed up on google, and instead would end up finding awful stories.

I think that a lot of people who have gone through hell and come out on the other side have a hard time going back to that place to share about it. I know that for me, sometimes it’s hard to talk about or even think about how bad things were, how hopeless everything has felt, because part of me feels like if I allow myself to go there it will all come crashing back. So maybe it’s easier to write about the bad stuff when you’re in it, and then not want to re-visit, or acknowledge how bad things were later when you’re doing better. I don’t know. I guess I just feel like it’s important to talk about all the good stuff that happens when you start to emerge on the other side of mental illness, because when you’re in it sometimes it feels like no one else has ever made it out, and it makes you feel like you never will.

Not that everything has been easy – after staying at the hotel, and returning to my apartment, I felt like I had walked into a time-capsule of my sadness. I looked around and just thought, “wow, I barely left this place for an entire year. How did I even do that?” And I felt so overwhelmed, and almost let myself go into a really bad place… It took a lot of work to pull myself out of it. A big part of me wants to move and start fresh somewhere else. And I’m really working towards that, but for now I’m going to have to make do with where I am, and show myself that no matter where I am I will be okay, even if where I am is somewhere that I was really not okay for a long time.

As always, thank you for reading ❤ you are wonderful.

A Jumbled Introduction

I’ve been telling myself I need to start a blog for way too long. So, here is that blog.

What makes me so special that I feel the need to share my experiences with other human beings?

I’m a pregnant agoraphobic who can count how many times I have left the house in the past year.

I’m plagued with some of the silliest neurotic tendencies; and I feel that a lot of people can relate to (or at the very least, laugh at) some of the things that go through my mind on a daily basis.

As of today I am 27 weeks and two days pregnant (according to the app on my phone). I’ve been wrestling with panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, OCD, PTSD, blah blah blah, for a number of years, and am now really starting to fight this thing head on. It’s been a pretty interesting journey, and one that I would love to write in depth about over a series of blog posts.

Also, I dread writing a first blog post. I feel like I need to just get this post out of the way so that all the rest can come.

More about me:

I’m a writer. It’s just what I do. I write every day. It’s like some kind of compulsion. If I don’t write every day I get cranky and sad. I’ve been working on a novel for about a year now that I’ve been stalling on, but still am passionate about and I love it. More on that later.

I live with my dog, a cat, and a wonderful boyfriend named Rex who is extremely punk rock and rarely leaves the house without his leather jacket.

I wasn’t always agoraphobic. In fact, I traveled a lot up until my panic disorder started kicking in about five years ago. I backpacked Thailand, spent a few months in the UK, traveled to around thirty-five states, and was always on the go. Then something shifted inside of me – mainly, the panic began to take hold, and my world began to get smaller and smaller.

Recently I’ve been able to leave my house successfully. By successfully, I mean I haven’t had to be physically held down screaming in a car while sobbing to take me back home. I want this blog to also be about that journey. Overcoming agoraphobia has been the toughest thing I’ve ever set out to do. It’s been scary, frustrating, and has also given me such a huge appreciation for the little things in life. I can’t ever imagine taking for granted something as simple as being able to go grocery shopping, or order a latte.

For a while things seemed impossible. I couldn’t walk out my front door without being crushed by an overwhelming sense of dread and primal fear. I never thought I would be able to again. But with the help of a therapist that comes to my house, working with an exposure therapist who is a recovered agoraphobic, mindfulness meditation, and a host of other tools under my belt, I’ve been able to stop feeling like I’m getting attacked by mother fucking dementors every time I try to do anything that doesn’t involve being inside my house. Yay!

Most of my bigger hurdles have been overcome in only the past few weeks, and there are many more to overcome. So, I’m planning on documenting as much of  that that is worth documenting in the blog posts to come.

Thank you so much for reading and sharing this journey with me.