Monday, 10 March 2008

After the weekend

Here is my daughter Collette and her fiancé, Neil. They are to wed in just over 5 weeks time (which is, of course, causing anticipatory anxiety for Marie).
On Friday evening, most of my family gathered at Collette's (and Neil's) new house for the dual purposes of having a look round the house and celebrating Colleen's birthday.
The new house

The house has a non traditional layout.
The ground floor has a garage with a couple of rooms behind. The next floor houses the living and dining areas and the kitchen while the top floor has bedrooms. Bathrooms and closets are liberally sprinkled throughout. This will be a good house for Neil & Collette if they have a row; one can stay on the bottom floor and the other on the top, thus avoiding close contact until they make up. ;-)

Marie coped with this unorthodox layout very well with just a slight pause before climbing upstairs to the living room. Enjoyable revelry ensued, accompanied by copious amounts of food and drink for those that wanted it. A good time was had by all, and Marie was able to relax and join in.

Marie looked stunning at the christening.

Next day found us in Weymouth at a local church where our nephew Sachin (Marie's sister's son) was to be christened. On initial inspection, the church and its hall were not suitable for agoraphobics. The entrance to the church was too far away from the car park, and the entrance to the church hall - the venue for the after-christening party - was at the end of a path roughly 20m from the car park. Cunning was required. I found a grassy area just round the corner from the church door and parked there.
Later, I drove up the path to the church hall door and parked on the lawn in front of it. Fortunately, no-one objected.

Both buildings gave Marie problems. The church was huge both in area and height, and the christening ceremony had nearly concluded before she was able to get close to the baptismal font.

Sachin wanted to play with the water in the font!

The church hall was an even bigger challenge. There was an entrance hall to cross before entering the main hall. This took Marie about 30 minutes and was successful only with the use of Sachin's pram. It was about an hour later when she felt comfortable enough to relax and move around the hall a little. So in the end, she had an enjoyable day; I, on the other hand, spent the day looking after the children.

We stayed at Marie's parents' house but I'm sad to report that no ghosts were in evidence this time. On Sunday the children played on the nearby beach with their grandad and at local playgrounds with me while Marie had a restful day in the company of her family and her best friend Claire.

In my spare moments, I looked through "Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Dummies" and the "Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook for Dummies" (click on the pictures for more details). Neither is easy reading! However, I realised that I didn't need to read all of the books - just those parts pertaining to Marie's problems. This means that Marie will be able to start to use the books immediately while I continue to read the rest of the books. Marie and I are going to look at the first exercise this evening.

Once the writing exercises are complete, Marie must begin her "exposure" sessions. Planned exposure therapy has always been a no-no for Marie, so we'll have to see what happens when we get to that bit! I explained to her that when she pauses at the start of a building and waits until she is comfortable to enter, she is, in fact, practising exposure therapy - albeit on a small scale. She understands this, but I can sense an unwillingness to go down this road on a planned and timed goal-driven basis. Time will tell!


Gary said...

I have both them books Robert, and i've been skipping through them, sounds like Marie's positive and really wants to get better, these books might be good for her!
I really hope so! keep up the good work Robert.

Aimée said...

Congratulations on the wedding and baby christening! Lots of great things happening in your life. It sounds like Marie did very well. Let me know how she likes those books and if they help at all.

Take Care!

Robert said...

Hi Aimée -

Thanks for dropping by!

I'll be posting Marie's progress (or otherwise) with these books as it happens. Currently suffering from a bad cold, there's not much happening at the moment.

Rachael Hale said...

Hi Robert

I still dont know whether im going to try it or not! Im glad that he's left it for me to decide and is not forcing it on me.

Good to hear Maries having a go at CBT, so far ive only had a positive experience although im aware its still only ealry days.

Take care

Anonymous said...

Good luck to your wife, Robert. I'm the publisher responsible for the two books you mention. I hope the will help. We've all been in difficulty one way or the other at some point in our lives - all I can say is, keep going! Your wife is lucky to have someone so supportive.
Jason Dunne

jamesc25313 said...

I have agoraphobia also and it sucks Ive had it for 3 years now and it doesnt seem to be lightening up anytime soon.