Monday, 10 September 2007

Less Anxiety - Room for Hope?

Marie and I live in an apartment above our business premises. It's slightly more spacious than the average British house, and it has a small patio area for sunbathing/pot plants/kids to play, so it's quite comfortable...but it doesn't have a garden. All my older children live in houses with gardens, and Marie has noticed how the gardens become an alternative living area when the weather suits, the kids like to play in them, the adults like to barbeque, but she knows that we cannot move to a house because of her agoraphobia. She can't stay at home by herself while I go to work. A week at her parents' house, with its large garden, highlighted this shortcoming in our own home. It was one of the subtle differences in attitude that Marie has had since we both returned home from our separate holidays.

Another difference was an almost intangible increase in Marie's self-confidence and a lessening in her overall anxiety level. I'm not even sure that she realised this herself, but I could tell.

And then I noticed how much our children - particularly Orla - had missed their mum. Marie noticed it too. They smothered her with affection on the first night of our return home, and have been showing her their love for her ever since. It's beautiful to watch.

Then Marie has been working in our business pretty much every day, at least for part of the time. More than that, she has been letting me leave the building while she works. Of course, she's not alone. There are other staff there. But it's an improvement from just a couple of weeks ago, when she felt unable to work unless I was at home.

Joseph took this photo
of us at the beach.
Not bad for a 6 year-old,
don't you think?
And she got her car serviced and has been driving it around town (½ mile from here maximum) on several occasions - with just the kids accompanying her. She has even driven to Orla's nursery totally unaccompanied. Ok, so it's only ¼ mile away, but it's the start of something bigger, isn't it? ...Perhaps?

We have been going on picnics to a nearby beach, making the most of the superb weather we are currently enjoying. We have been playing soccer with the kids. Although Marie can't stray more than 2m (2 yards) from our car, she has been getting some exercise!

A strange picture of
Marie & Sharyl enjoying
a drink.

On Friday evening, she and Sharyl went out to the local pubs. We have 7 within ¼ mile of our home. Marie drove of course (she is almost teetotal so no drink-driving was involved), and they managed to visit 3 pubs, ending up at the one at the harbour which has seating outside. The weather, as earlier mentioned, being really good, they sat here mixing with both locals and boat owners from the marina until almost 1 am Saturday morning. This was the 1st time Marie has been out in our town without me in the 7 years we have been living together.

And the best of it all - the hope for the future - was this brief sentence Marie said, out of the blue, on Saturday - "I'll have to get used to staying at home on my own, so that we can get a house." It's is the first goal Marie has set herself (or at least, the first one she has told me).

Is this the start of something, or just a flash in the pan? We'll see...


Sarah♥ said...


All those things you have mentioned that Marie is doing are all MASSIVE baby steps in the right direction!

"Baby steps"...thats all we ask for.

Its looking positive, i wish her lots of luck.

I would love to have her determination right now.


zenfrog said...

Like Sarah, I think it sounds positive, so good luck. Hope to be able to use one of my 'hoorays' soon:-)

Marie said...

Hi Guys

It's Marie.. in person well in writing!! lol

Thank's for your comment's, I have been feeling much more confident recently and I guess it's cos I take a step back and see that Im not going to wake up one morning and I will be cured cos It wont ever happen like that, and I do have ambition even thou I have my anxiety head on it still seems to tell me that the grass is greener on the other side of this agoraphobic world of mine..

And so if I want my ambitions and goals to come true I have to look what I have now and make the best of that before I can do better things so... who know, But the good thing is that I am a bit more positive thease days and I know Robert will be there to support me all the way. Excuse any spelling and grammar mistakes you can see why I dont write a Blog!! lol

zenfrog said...

Hi Robert

I'm not sure how to email you privately but I just wanted to apologise for not asking your permission for quoting part of one of your posts.

I think you will have seen the one I mean, and I would like to ask now if it's ok, and would you like me to ref it to your blog, or would you prefer it if I deleted it from mine.

Once again, sorry, I just didn't think at the time.

zenfrog said...

Hi Marie

Lovely to hear from you.

Are you saying that you've accepted agoraphobia now, and that you've accepted the life you have now?

I've read about all the treatments you've tried, it must be demoralising to find them not paying off. I'm at the very beginning of counselling, so I'm not sure how that is going to pan out, but I'm at the hopeful stage at the moment.

All best wishes and I really hope you beat this thing. It's more sad because you're so young.


Affers said...

Can't believe I don't read here more often than I do. Bookmarked it now. Shall return. Often!

Just a quick note to say well done, really. It's hard taking any sort of step in the right direction, even admitting what you have to do can sometimes be nigh on impossible.

Hope to continue to read positive things here.


Robert said...

Hi Zenfrog

First of all, feel free to email me direct. You'll find a link on my profile page.

Secondly, I feel honoured that you felt that some of my blog was worth quoting; so no chance of offending me! If you feel like it, you could include a link to my blog, or include the webpage address, but I don't really mind if you don't.

And finally, speaking for Marie now...
When the adolescent Marie first learned that she had agoraphobia, the family doctor told her that she might just wake up one day and the agoraphobia would be gone (he mustn't have known much about this condition...). She has been waiting for this day ever since! I think that her attitude had now changed - she is trying to improve things little by little. Unlike many sufferers, Marie is rarely depressed, even when "immediate cure" therapies don't work. I think she's lucky in this respect, and I have always admired her "make the best of things" attitude.

Thanks for your interest!

Robert said...

Sarah & Affers -

Thanks for your comments & encouragement. Learning about others' experiences of anxiety/agoraphobia has been a great help to Marie.

Thanks again!

zenfrog said...

Hi Robert

I've amended my post to include a ref to your page and given you pride of place in my apology post:-)

It's good that Marie doesn't get depressed, I also rarely get depressed over this condition, and when I do it's over what I can't do for my children. I know they are grown up but I would like to go out with them at times, family meals, etc. Now especially I'd love to go out with my daughter and grandduaghter to parks etc, not being able to is very upsetting.

And yes I'll be writing a post or two about caring soon.


Ruby said...

Hi Marie & Robert
It's great to read all the positive steps you have been taking Marie, its awesome!!!

As Sarah said its all baby steps, but with Marie's change in attitude its all uphill from here.


lady thinker said...

My fingers are crossed for you - keep on trying to ignore those anxious thoughts and re-inforce the positive thinking... even if it's two steps forward and then one back you are making progress ...all the time remember that .. good luck. :-)

john said...

Fantastic news! I always dreamed about overcoming my agoraphobia. Then I realised that dreams are not the same way as actually living and the only thing in the way was the agoraphobia. I could do anything I wanted. Sometimes the world can seem to have too much to offer, but if you look closely, it has some really nice things that so often dont get noticed. I often go in to the garden and just watch the bees and insects in amazement. Makes me want to go and explore the world further.

its amazing to think that something you fear so much, can be so beautiful.

Good Luck!

Robert said...

Thanks Ruby, Lady Thinker & John for your support. Marie reads this blog regularly and your comments are gratefully received. I'm sure that you are all helping her on her road to recovery.