Thursday, 26 April 2007

General Background

This blog may be of interest to agoraphobics and/or their carers, since I intend to try to describe what it is like to live with agoraphobia, and what it is like to be a carer.

My wife is called Marie. She is 28 (in 2007) and (in common with many agoraphobics) her agoraphobia can be traced back to her adolescence.

  • Worst consequence of her agoraphobia – she had to give up a promising modelling career.
  • Best consequence of her agoraphobia – she got me!!! Actually, it was best for me - since when we met, I was a balding, average-looking, financially-challenged, middle-aged (complete with middle-age spread) bloke with a baaaaad love-life history and lots of baggage.

She has also got monophobia (aka autophobia or isolaphobia) which makes life more difficult, OCD – but that’s less serious - and more generalized constant anxiety. Unusually, for long-term agoraphobics – she doesn’t suffer from depression. In fact, she’s usually very good fun to be with, and being considerate, caring, and affectionate are some of her many good points.

Over the years, her condition has deteriorated – with some particularly bad periods and some better periods. Right now she’s not having a very good time. In brief…she cannot ever be on her own – she needs to have a safe person with her; she cannot go further that 2m (or 2 yards, if you prefer) outside; she can go out in a car (with a safe person), but she cannot go into most buildings.

  • Worst period – she could not leave her bedroom for a couple of weeks in 1999.
  • Best recent period – she went to Bristol on her own by bus and walked around for a while, also in 1999.

When I met Marie, I assumed that her condition could, given the right treatment, go away. I didn’t expect to become her carer on a long-term basis. Luckily for both of us, she’s worth it!

  • Worst attribute as a carer – my impatience! Although I’m better at controlling that now.
  • Best attribute as a carer – I can carry on most of my business activities from home, so I can care for Marie most of the time.

Marie and I have 2 kids, aged 6 and 2 (in 2007). Absolutely the best kids in the world! Of course, her agoraphobia affects them, too, but we try to minimise that.

  • Worst effect of Marie’s agoraphobia on the kids – being unable to go most places with them – school, doctor’s surgery, playground…she misses so much!
  • Best effect of Marie’s agoraphobia on the kids – uh-oh, can’t think of anything!


HSP Woman said...

Wow... I have just read most of your posts. I'm speechless, and so moved. I have agoraphobia, too -- since I turned 21 (that'd be 18 years now). My husband is so loving and understanding about it, like you most definitely are, too. He's traveling in Spain now, but when he returns, but when he returns I know he'll just devour your blog, too.

I just started blogging about my struggle to get off of all the psychotropic medication I've been on for the last 18 years. It's so hard to imagine going into the world without meds.

I can so relate to everything you wrote. Man, what a similar story (except I've always just been too panicky to have children much to our sadness...).

Thank you for sharing. And, tell your wife she really is an inspiration. She sounds amazing and lovely, as do you. I wish you both lots more continued happiness. I really appreciate you sharing.

Wow... All I can think is wow! It feels so good to find people with similar challenges.

I'll be back!

sile said...

hi ... have you heard of or considered thought field therapy . a friend of mine was cured of her train phobia after 3 sessions of this therapy. i am about to make an appointment for my daughter who has developed severe anxiety problems after an ambulance was called against her will because she had a reflex anoxic seizure and passed she has a fear of needles , coming to and finding a large one being inserted into her hand caused another seizure and turned fear into phobia. this makes her job as a shop manager difficult. if a staff member gets hurt or people even talk about medical things she has to leave the area and can get very upset.
i am desperately hoping this therapy will help her as the nhs doesent seem very helpful.
all the best ....sile

Robert said...

sile -

Thank you very much for visiting my blog. Will you please let me know how you get on with the thought field therapy?