Growing up I saw agoraphobia depicted in movies and on T.V. sometimes. I thought it was one of the weirdest illnesses I’d ever heard of. I was fascinated by the documentaries on it and other mental illnesses. I didn’t realize at the time that I have agoraphobia. I wasn’t housebound. I wasn’t one of those weird people.
But I did have agoraphobia. I do have agoraphobia.
What I as a child, as do many, many people, assumed was that having agoraphobia means you can’t leave your house.
That’s not the fact.
Yes, agoraphobia can become so severe that a person can’t leave their home. Hell, it can become so severe a person can’t leave their bedroom! But in less severe, and more common, cases a person can leave their home, but it causes anxiety to do so and they are much more comfortable at home.
Growing up my agoraphobia was of the less severe sort, I could leave home but it gave me anxiety. If given the choice I would always choose to stay home. I ditched school a lot, and as I got older I’d call out from work a lot. The older I got the more severe my agoraphobia became.
As I’ve said before, I didn’t know I had agoraphobia, I didn’t know anything was a problem at all.
It wasn’t until I became about 90% housebound that I finally sought help and was diagnosed with agoraphobia. I was 35 years old by then.
I have depression, social anxiety, and agoraphobia.
For me the social anxiety has been there from birth. I developed depression and agoraphobia somewhere between 8 and 11 years old. They, I’m coming to figure out through therapy, were caused by multiple traumatic experiences.
When I reached my thirties I, once again, experienced multiple traumatic experiences in a short period of time. These experiences exacerbated my depression and agoraphobia leading me to be mostly housebound.
I went into therapy and started on medication. These helped a lot and eventually I was out and about again. The agoraphobia doesn’t go away, it will never go away, but I was able to handle it. I could cope.
Then, not very long later, more tragedy, more traumatic experiences. And here I am once more, housebound for the most part.
But this time it is worse. Way worse.
That’s what I’m learning now. I don’t know if it’s the same for everyone with agoraphobia, but for me every time it cycles and gets bad again, it get worse each time.
And this time…
This time I don’t think I’m going to get over it. This time it’s cost me so much. This time it’s defeated me. This time I don’t have the strength or energy to fight it.
This time I just want to stay home and sleep.
There’s no fight left in me.