Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A to Z Blogging Challenge: O is For Outside

This is my daughter and myself back around 1999 in Red Rock, Nevada. I used to go hiking, go out to eat, go to the Hotels on the Las Vegas Strip or Downtown and a lot of other places with my family. 

And then the slight case of Agoraphobia I had back then slowly progressed to the point that I am at now. As of right now I've come out of my home one time in the past two years. I don't go outside anymore. 

Outside has become a dirty word around here. I know my family doesn't do it on purpose but they do make fun of me for not going outside and it does hurt. I have tried going outside, just to check the mail or take a look at the construction that's going on across the alley from my building. But I start shaking, get dizzy and feel sick when I go out, so I just don't go out if I can help it. 

My brother and husband talked me into going over to my dad's house for my 43rd and my dad's 80th birthday's this past February. It was actually hard to go out the door, that first step was the hardest and I could not wait to get back home. I had an upset stomach for most of the day after getting home that night. It would be nice not to be like this but the only therapy my doctor said there is for Agoraphobia is exposure therapy..essentially you have to do what makes you outside. 

What is Agoraphobia?
Agoraphobia is being afraid of being out of ones comfort zone, most times that would be their home and fearing a loss of control or a panic attack in a place where they can't easily get back home. The more panic attacks they have in a given situation the less they expose themselves to that situation.

My Agoraphobia started out slowly and for years I just dealt with the symptoms of panic attacks, dizziness,  paranoia and scared feelings in the places I was going to.

When I went grocery shopping I would routinely vomit on the ground next to my car, after getting the groceries inside my car and getting ready to leave. I could keep it together while in the situation and would not fall apart until I was home or in my car and could relax a little. Most times after being outside running errands I would come home and be sick the rest of the day with stomach problems, the shakes or panic attacks. 

When our car broke down and found out it was unfixable, we sold it for scrap and at that point I started staying home more. It was easier to use my own car when I had to go somewhere but I can't use public transportation because of my panic attacks. 

I know it's wrong but I'm more comfortable in my home and can have everything I need delivered, I don't need to go outside. 

I know I'm not alone, I even had an author tell me that she battles Agoraphobia. She writes at home and like me can have things delivered...she doesn't have to leave home either. 

For an outsider looking in that doesn't suffer from this condition, it's probably hard to understand. I can only hope that by sharing my story I can help someone else who thinks they are the only one to have these feelings. 


  1. Oh man that sounds incredibly difficult! Thanks so much for having the courage to post about it, Mary.

    I've made sure to follow your blog.

  2. I love that you shared this with us. Thank you for sharing your story. In my studies at school I remember reading that exposure therapy is the most effective treatmenmt by far. I hope yuor family doesn't make fun of agoraphobia anymore. True, they may not realize how hurtful it is, but they should be more cognizant.

  3. I am not really sure how soon you will recover, but let us hope that is soon enough.

    It is really good on your part to blog about it. We have a phrase here in India: Acknowledging the issue is half the issue solved. Not that you didn't acknowledge it before.

    You are lucky to have things delivered at home :-)

    Maybe as part of your exposure therapy, you can try going outside, just around the house at times when other people are inside. Like early mornings or late evenings?

    Also, maybe you could get a dog or another pet. Then trying to get it to walk etc. could be easier, I think. And if it is a dog, I reckon you will feel safe with it.

    No matter what you do or think, remember that keeping faith (in God or yourself or both) and trying hard is what we are born to do. I am sure you will get better. Hope for the best!

  4. Does sounds difficult indeed, not being able to go anywhere. Only ever saw it in a movie once, but knew what it was.

  5. I do understand panic attacks and anxiety. It is a vicious circle. I also understand the comfort of home. It's feels safe there, doesn't it?
    As you said, it is difficult for others who have not experienced these incidents to understand.
    I hope your family reads this post. Perhaps they will realize how hurt you are by their comments and know that their comments are not helping.

    I am visiting from the A-Z challenge.

  6. Sounds difficult but don't worry. It's always cozy cozy inside. And u r absolutely brave gor dealing this and sharing with us.

    -Fellow Blogger from A to Z!

  7. That sounds really hard. I think exposure is the only thing that works. A friend of mine suffered from that, and ended up afraid to leave her bedroom. She finally worked up the courage to get into the rest of her house, and then onto her back porch by the door, and then further. It took her about year of steady goal-setting, and a continual self-determination . . . which was really hard. However, now, she can go outside.
    I hope you can get outside soon.

  8. Matthew, Thank you.

    Optimistic Existentialist, Yeah that's what I've heard to and maybe one day I will expose myself to the outside more, but for now I like it inside.

    KK, thank you for your comments.

    Pat, Not many people speak of it if they have it.

    lyndagrace, thank you, I appreciate that.

    Me, thank you :)

    Tyrean Martinson, Thanks. I'm sure that probably would work and at some point I might try it.

  9. My teenage daughter suffers with anxiety problems and I can see how things could escalate to the point they have for you. She is getting medical help but even then it is a struggle.
    Glad you have your rattie babies!

  10. Mary, you are far from being alone with your battle. Many people suffer from the same and I am sure you have found more than a few of them in your online travels to share with. As with any disorder, we fight the battle daily. Never, never give up. I wish you the best. Always. Hugs to you.

  11. Sharon, I hope your daughter does well with the help she's getting. I tried therapy for years but I think losing the car was the big catalyst for me not to have to go out again for a while.

    Artemis, Thank you I appreciate that.

  12. I'm so sorry you have to go through this! I wonder if there are therapists who have different takes on it. Therapists are just regular people too, and some of them just don't have as much information. Maybe there is someone out there who specializes in agoraphobia and can help in at least some small way. Either way, I hope for your happiness, inside or out.

    #atozchallenge, Kristen's blog:

  13. Oh, Mary, that is so very sad. I know someone else who suffers from agoraphobia, and experiences a real torment, as you do.

    Mental illness really "steals peoples lives," as I've said previously.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!
    Bears Noting

  14. This isn't a joke and nobody should be laughing at you. They should be helping. I hope they are.

  15. It does sound very hard but thank you for sharing. It's helpful to understand. I hope that your family helps you out more some day and you are all able to work together on it.

  16. @Dark Thoughts : I really was not aware of this but HUGS from a distant blogger. Do try diff ways to get out it . Its good that U blogged it. U must have felt better !!
    Take care

  17. Wow, thanks for having the courage to post this! You're so strong!

    my blog:

  18. Oh wow Mary that would be so hard. It's good that now days there are so many options to have things delivered and you can "get out" and visit people via the internet.

    Thanks for sharing a bit of your story!!

  19. Mary,

    I didn't realize. That must be so difficult. Sending you a big hug. Your family are mean for teasing you :(

  20. Thank you all for the wonderful comments. I should clarify that while my family does tease me about it they also help and I know they love me. Hubby does all of the things that need to be done outside, like things that can't be delivered and they come to my house for visits knowing that I won't come to them.

    I do appreciate all the well wishes.

  21. I know someone who suffers the same thing and it is so difficult for her. I hope you get help and support from those around you. Thinking of you and sending peaceful thoughts your way. Jennifer a.k.a. Urban Gypsy Girl


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