Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Agoraphobia - outdoor coping skills test postponed

Marie wanted to go out and check out some shops, get some Christmas presents, see if her outdoor coping skills are also improving. We had everything organised to go on Monday when Joseph was at school, extra staff were working so that we wouldn't be needed and Orla was booked into a nursery for the day; but alas! it wasn't to be.

First of all, Orla went sick on Saturday. Puked all over me, so that was good fun (lol). Next, late on Sunday night, Joseph vomited over his bedroom floor. Perhaps he liked the feel of this, for he repeated it in the hall, and finally at the entrance to the bathroom.

are nicer things to do at 2.30 am than clean vomit from carpets...

Marie has been enjoying working for the past few months, so I took on the childcare duties. Orla hasn't been physically sick since Saturday, but she has been running a temperature off & on since and is stuck to me constantly like a second skin. She spends large amounts of time on my knee. Poor Joseph was retching just a few hours ago. Too big to sit on my knee now, he tends to lay his head against my chest. With this unplanned, unexpected use of my time, other things are running behind schedule - mainly Christmas preparations and some work projects.

However, the good news is that Marie's recent improvements have remained, and she's been on her own a few times.

Emma Roberts rang. Marie phoned earlier telling her of her progress. Emma told Marie that she would send her an email containing instructions for some new exercises to do to allay panic. It arrived shortly afterwards, but neither Marie nor I have had a chance to read it properly.

Marie & I have met quite a few therapists of one sort or another over the years, and I can tell you that for lots of them, their income stream seems more important than the progress of their clients. Emma Roberts is different. Since Sharon Osbourne introduced Emma to Marie about 15 months ago, she hasn't asked for
any payment. Makes me feel guilty. Perhaps we'll go to see her (in London) next year just to have a paid consultation. If any readers want to try EFT (Emma does therapy by phone, so you can reside anywhere in the world and still use her services), you could do a lot worse than give Emma a try. Btw, I'm not getting paid for this plug! But perhaps I could send Emma a begging email...

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

More steps away from agoraphobia

It is 12 days since Marie’s EMDR appointment and there have been significant changes. For the better! In fact, there has been a major improvement in one area – staying home alone.

Marie has not been able to stay anywhere on her own - for more than a few minutes - since she was 16. Over the past couple of weeks, that has changed dramatically. She has been staying at home without a safe person for increasing amounts of time. Here are the steps she took –

* 1 hour with just the children while I went to a meeting ½ mile away. Marie rang two different friends who live close by to check that they would be in “in case of emergency”. I had my mobile phone with me, of course.

* 1½ hours on her own while Orla and I went to Joseph’s nativity play at his school, ½ mile away. (It is sad that Marie's agoraphobia kept her from going too and seeing her son being applauded by everyone there...) Two friends were put on standby again and Marie went into the “No More Panic” chat room for a while for support. I had my phone with me, of course, but this time on “silent” mode.

* 2 hours on her own while Joseph, Orla and I finished a shopping trip, 20 miles away, and returned home. Marie used “No More Panic” chat room again, but this time didn’t have friends on standby. I rang her a couple of times, just to check her anxiety level. She was fine!

* 5 hours at home with the children while my sister, her new man and I went to Sharyl’s college play (excerpts from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales – mainly the lewd tales – just what you would expect from hormone-flooded adolescents…). Our phone line had gone down and with it our internet connection, so no chat room support this time. Marie didn’t ring me the whole time.

* Tonight I went out twice for relatively short periods, but Marie wasn’t even slightly anxious.

Up until recently, Marie could only work if I was in the same building or at home, but this has also improved. This afternoon I had to go to a meeting 20 miles away, and Marie worked the whole time.

All the above happened without Marie having a panic attack.

So things are looking better for Marie. And it had nothing to do with EMDR! Although her appointment was 12 days ago, she was ill (stomach bug) and couldn’t go. Now she’s undecided about going. Why bother, I wonder? She’s improving anyway. If she goes now, she won’t know if EDMR is helping her or if she would be improving anyway. And there’s always the slight possibility that it might halt her progress – or worse…