Almost forty years ago I was housebound with phobic fear—technically called agoraphobia and sometimes defined as fear of fear. Today it’s often called chronic anxiety disorder. No matter the name, it leads to unease, anxiety, depression, and too often panic attacks. The end of the driveway was as far as I would go alone, and I wasn’t really comfortable out in the world with other people. I’m not sure what triggered it—perhaps my father’s death, perhaps a lifelong tendency toward fearfulness. A lot of group therapy helped me past that point, but I know too well it’s a question of pushing back on the circles of fear that enclose you.
So today, after a week and a half at home with various back troubles and a bad scare with my back—which isn’t as bad as I initially believed—I am once again beginning to push back the circles. Today was my first venture out in the world—a full day.
It began with a haircut person. Rosa, who has done my hair for at least fifteen years, promised to come out to the car to meet me. I was fiddling with my phone, trying to find her number, when I looked up and she was standing by the car. So I got a cute haircut (if I do say so), Rosa walked me back to my car, and I headed home.
Then I met an old friend I probably haven’t see in twenty-five years for lunch at Carshon’s. I have a favorite space to park there—easy for me to get into the deli—but I was uncertain of footing once in the restaurant. Enjoyed lunch immensely, my friend walked me to the door, and I was headed home again.
One more outing, for supper with friends Sue and Teddy. This time I was truly spoiled—Teddy picked me up, shepherded me when I was at their house, and brought me home, all the while praising the way I was moving about. That’s the kind of positive enforcement I need to hear. Sue fixed a delicious dinner, her teenage son joined us, and we enjoyed good food and great fellowship.
All in all, it was a big day and a giant push outward on those circles. Jordan said she saw great improvement over a week ago. So I’m feeling optimistic tonight. And tired. But, no, I don’t want to be a recluse.