Monday, 5 January 2009

Agoraphobia, Monophobia, Autism and Family - 2008 summary

Marie's Agoraphobia, Monophobia & OCD Last year, I predicted an improvement in Marie's agoraphobia, due to an improved attitude to fighting it. Unfortunately the reverse is the case. Her anxiety levels increased to such a level that she accepted the assistance of medication, but she has still got a worryingly high level of background anxiety. Her agoraphobia has become more severe since the start of the year. and is worse than when I met her in 1999. Her monophobia has become a little less severe. Her OCD remains virtually unchanged.
Marie can, at the start of 2009...
  • Stay at home on her own, as long she knows that is at least one safe person at home nearby and I am less than 30 miles away. New! - I can be in an area where there is no mobile phone signal (common around here). This is a little better than last year and much better than in 2000.
  • Go out in a car, with a safe person, almost anywhere - although recently she has been more anxious when out.
  • Walk 2 - 3 metres from our car/home/a safe place. This is back to the 2000 level & significantly worse than last year.
  • Stay in any non-threatening place (e.g. a house) with a selection of "safe" people, as long as they can drive and there is a car close by. This is unchanged since last year. Marie could stay in any small building - e.g. a pub or shop - as long as there were other people there, not necessarily safe people - in 2000.
Marie cannot, at the start of 2009 -
  • Be alone anywhere, if I am more than 30 miles away. Slight improvement on 2008.
  • Be alone at any time (see above for exceptions)
  • Walk more than 3 metres outside our building. Slight improvement over 2008.
  • Walk more than 2 metres from a car in an open area
  • Go anywhere, except by car and accompanied by a safe person
  • Go into any large building - e.g. supermarkets, the doctors' surgery, hospital, office blocks - or go more than 2 metres away from the door of small buildings. Worse than last year, but similar to 2000.
Colm's Autism Colm started to live away from home 10 years ago. Throughout the entire period I have been worried about his quality of life and his happiness (or rather the lack of it). I have felt guilty about "abandoning" him when he clearly preferred to live at home, even though I knew that if he continued to live at home both his personal development and his siblings' lives would be adversely affected. Then, for the first time, last October, Colm told me that he LIKED the house which is now his home AND called our family home "Daddy's house". This has been a huge weight off my shoulders. Also, Colm has started to call Marie his "new mum" this year. He even repeated this to his birth mother (who has almost completely removed herself from his life) at Collette's wedding. (If it upset her, she didn't show it.) I'm hoping, desperately hoping, that Colm will stay as settled as he is now - or even improve - during the forthcoming year.

The Family
Joseph (7) and Orla (3) are maturing nicely and are a constant source of wonder, enjoyment and pride to Marie and me. There are times when Marie's anxiety affects mothering ability, but the rest of the time she is a superb mum. She is kind, patient and loving and plays with the children at their own levels. This year Orla starts proper" school, but being precocious and sociable, I see no problems here.

All my older children have left home and are becoming increasingly independent. With the exception of Jenna, who now lives in Ireland, their relationship with each other and their younger siblings continues to grow - a fact which gives Marie and me great pleasure.


diver said...

Colm's progress must be a huge relief for you; and of course the little ones. Marie's agoraphobia, "... more severe since the start of the year", bummer guys. Maybe 2009 will be the turnaround year. Hope so!

How are you both thinking about the value of SSRIs these days?

Hey I just got an email notification from you this very moment - coincidently we were on each others' blogs at exactly the same time :)

Nechtan said...

Hi Robert,

Thanks for your reassurance and advice today. It has been of more help than you can know so very appreciated.

Your two young girls are very close to the age of my own girls. It is good that Marie is able to devote time to them because I know it is difficult with kids that age who demand alot of attention when all you want to do yourself sometimes is seek distraction.

Great new also about your son Colm. I'm sure it must have been a hard decision at the time and even harder to mull over this past decade. Hopefully now though it has proved to be the right one and the main beneficiary of that decision has been your son.

It is a shame that Marie's progress has not happened over the past year and to some extents gone back the way. More so when you get glimmers of hope. Personally I have have become so negative towards progress that I never expect anything to come of it but for my wife its always a disappointing false dawn. It seems that the more you progress the harder you fall when you hit setback which usually hits you all the harder because it comes out of the blue at a time when you are unprepared. Hopefully it will all come good. Time sets things pretty much in stone and its very difficuly to get out of the bad way of thinking. I'm sure though it will come. Not quickly but it will come with time.

All the best for 2009. I hope this time next year your recap of the year better news for you and your family.

All the best


Grumpy Old Ken said...

You are a survivor, I am sure. Frogdancer tagged me with 'six things that make me happy.I've tagged you (If you have the time because you are a positive thinker in spite of your problems. (blog 5th jan)

Jenn said...

It seems recovery from agoraphobia has a lot of ups and downs- sometimes activities that I had been doing well for weeks- all of a sudden I find myself unable to do

What I am trying to stay is to stay strong!!!

oh and a lot of those meds have an adjustment period where she will be super anxious

Good Luck!

Kit Courteney said...

Wishing you and your entire family a safe, healthy and happy 2009.

Nota Bene said...

Very pleased to read about Colm...that is good for him and good for you. Hopefully Marie will progress...

Laura said...

Hi Robert - I hope things improve in 2009. The update on the children is lovely.

I have tagged you in a 7 things meme, but have just noticed that Grumpy Old Ken has also done the same. We are awash with meme's! Don't worry about mine, Ken got in there first!

Laura x

Robert said...

Diver - how coincidental, considering the time difference, that we were simultaneously reading each other's blogs! I'm not sure about the value of SSRIs, but Marie wants to continue to take them.

Nechtan - I also hope that my recap of 2009 will be a better one. I hope it's better for you, too.

GOK & LAURA - thanks for tagging me. I'll get around to responding asap!

Jenn - Marie has had her super-anxious period. Was a difficult time! Good luck for 2009!

KC - I hope you & yours have a good 2009, too.

Nota Bene - I haven't given up hope for Marie yet. Let's see what this year holds for us all!

Michelle said...

In my experience, accepting it has been more effective than fighting it. Fwiw. If I accept it, I can take steps to manage it.

I hope things get better for both of your sakes.

Robert said...

Thanks Michelle. I agree with you, but Marie doesn't want to believe that it won't all go away some day...