It never occurred to me that I would be diagnosed with Agoraphobia. I had been in a workforce program with the state concerning my disability and my ability to work while dealing with it. I saw a psychologist in order to test my mental acuity, my intelligence, and my ability to comprehend issues and problems pertaining to any field of work.
While they were testing me, I already knew some of the things to come. I definitely knew we would go over my schizoaffective disorder, anxiety, and depressive issues. I wasn’t fully aware of the intelligence testing but looking back it makes sense.
I was tested on a lot of different subjects, and talked to about my disorders, and just issues in general in my life, and how I went about solving these issues. I had previously never had this kind of testing done on me before.
Given this was 6 years ago, I don’t remember how long it took for the results to come back. They were hand typed by the psychologist herself, and everything about me was analyzed to the nth degree. When the results did come back, I wasn’t surprised that my schizoaffective disorder, along with my anxiety, depression, and trichotillomania was recorded as issues. Though, seeing Agoraphobia on the list was extremely new. Something I had never been diagnosed with and it never ran across my mind in the slightest. It all was making sense when I looked back across my times dealing with people and dealing with public spaces.
Agoraphobia is a fear of large crowds and open spaces. People thing it’s the fear of leaving your house, but that’s more of a side effect of those previously said issues. While I do to this day leave my house, I don’t do it often, and only when I need to. Yes, it’s a big issue for me.
In order for me to feel the need to leave my house, it needs to feel important. Something I have to do, am made to do, or is a responsibility that can’t be overseen. I have a child, too, and I will absolutely leave the house for him. This isn’t his problem to deal with, it’s mine, and I don’t want to subject him to my fears and anxieties.
I have the help of my parents and husband when need be. Though, there is no real trick to trying to build up that confidence to leave my house. I just have to do it. Some days I just can’t, and I give myself that space to be able to not leave and stay home as needed, but I will always have a backup plan or help, too. Nothing is ever left to the wayside and to just not be fruitful. Sometimes, I order my groceries, and sometimes I’ll have help going to a store. I like to try to have someone with me at all times. It seems worse with the schizoaffective, because it can sometimes turn into paranoia and delusions if I’m having a particularly stressful day.
I remember going to the state fair and walking into the food court where all these people were eating, and the walls started to close in on me. I started to hyperventilate, and I felt like I was going to faint. I stepped out of the food court and to the side of the building where there was little to no pedestrian traffic. I was able to ground myself and come back from the anxiety. I wanted to leave, though. I realized after that, which wasn’t initially long after I had been diagnosed, that I truly was Agoraphobic. It was heart-breaking to me, and it still is. My wants and goals don’t match up with what I deal with and it’s always hard to reconcile. I continue to push myself beyond my limits. I always have. I continually test myself, because I can’t help but feel I’m worth more than these disorders I deal with.