Saturday, 11 April 2009

Agoraphobia adapts

Just got home last night...

I wanted to go to Windermere (Cragwood Country House Hotel) for a business seminar, and Marie wanted to visit her friend Lynn who lives near Glasgow.

Click on the picture if you want to view the hotel's website.

Windermere is around 300 miles from here and Lynn lives another 150 miles further north. Although the sensible way for me to go to Windermere was by train, I offered to drive Marie to Lynn's house and then double back to Windermere. A mere 600 miles!

My business seminar was to last 4 days which meant that Marie would have to stay with Lynn for 4 days. 450 miles away from home. In a town she had never visited, in a house she had never visited... This created some anxiety. She kept asking herself variations of the agoraphobic's favourite question, "What if...?"

We were due to leave on Saturday morning, but by Wednesday Marie still hadn't decided if she would be able to go.

And then I got cellulitis in my foot.

However, I was determined to go to my business seminar if at all possible.

By Friday, it was obvious that I wouldn't be well enough to drive either to my seminar or to Lynn's house. I informed Marie that the only way she would get to Lynn's would be if she drove the two of us there. A couple of years ago, Marie panicked on the M4 coming out of London and (as any agoraphobic would do) has avoided all motorways ever since. After that, we either took A roads or else I drove on the motorway parts of any journey. This option was not available this time. To get to Lynn's, Marie would have to drive more than 400 miles on motorways, sometimes 4 and 5 lanes wide.

On Saturday, I wasn't well enough to travel, but I still wanted to go. The eternal optimist, I arranged for the children to go their grandparents' house on Sunday. Marie could go too, if she wanted.

On Sunday, after checking with the seminar organisers that it would be ok to arrive a day late, I decided that I was going to go. Marie decided that she also wanted to go.

"Are you sure that you can't drive?" asked Marie.
"Absolutely" I replied. "I have to keep my foot raised - it's the only way I'll be able to travel. I'll be doing really well if I can drive the 150 miles to Windermere."
"Couldn't you drive some of the way?"
"What if I panic?"
"Pull over to the hard shoulder, wait till the panic subsides and then carry on."
"What if I can't go the whole way?"
"Then we'll have to pull off the motorway and go home."
"What if I panic at Lynn's house?"
"If you really can't stay there, call me and I'll pick you up as soon as possible."
"What if...?" There were lots more 'what ifs', but eventually Marie decided to give it a go.

Near midday, Collette and Neil collected the children and took them to their grandparents' and Marie and I drove off in the opposite direction.

Marie was able to drive most of the way before she got too tired to continue. (We found a convenient bush - if you watched the video clip, you'll know what I mean!) Yes, she had anxious moments on the way, but she didn't give in to them. It was tiredness not anxiety that prevented her from completeing the journey. I
felt able to drive the rest of the way, and the rest is history.

Marie had a really good time at Lynn's house, and my business seminar was well worth the effort I had put in to attend it.

I had to endure this sort of scenery!
Click on the pic for the Lake District website.

Not for the first time, Marie was able to overcome her natural agoraphobic tendencies to do something that she really wanted to do. I commented on this ability a couple of years ago in a previous post (click here).

So what do Marie's considerable achievements mean in relation to her most important journey - the journey away from agoraphobia?

Who knows?


Sarah♥ said...

This post blows me away! M6....that is bloody amazing :)

I'm SO impressed, i get anxious merging onto an A!!!!



(BTW - You sound like Terry Wogan on that vid)

Kaci said...

Wow, that is amazing! I am so glad to hear that everything worked out. Congrats to Marie!!! :)

Nioniel said...

I'm totally in awe of Marie's recent achievements! She's doing fantastically well. And I've seen from Lynn's blog that they both had a lovely time and achieved a lot together too. So pleased for you both that things are moving in the right direction :)

Robert said...

Sarah - Not just the M6, we travelled on the M5, M6, M74, M73 and M8!

I sound like Terry Wogan? Think I could get his job? He gets paid quite well, I imagine. I need to brush up on my Eurovision knowledge (lol)!

Robert said...

Kaci - Belated happy birthday! And thanks for your support.

Robert said...

Nionel - Thanks for the comment. Marie is going to write a post about the trip too. She just hasn't got her head around it yet!

Madison Rose said...

Robert, you have the best accent ever! Congrats to Marie, she's an inspiration :)

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Excellent blog. Envious of your video ability. Fascinating but do you know what intregues me most. What on earth do people talk about for FOUR DAYS at a seminar. i know, business but what can they say for four days. Good luck to your life, youve earnt it.

Rachael said...

This is absolutley wonderful, Marie really is an insipration. I havent been able to get on the motorway (m11) yet but this fills me with hope. To drive on all those motorways is amazing.
Well done Marie!

Robert said...

Madison Rose & Rachael - Thanks for your support. I hope the progress continues!

Nechtan said...

The progress is beyond belief. You must be a very proud man Robert. Just fantastic.

I really enjoyed the video too which was great to experience.

All the best


Robert said...

Hi GOK. I should be privileged to assist you with video publishing - just ask - it's not hard, honestly, or I wouldn't be doing it!

My business seminar of 4 days consisted of goal setting, the effects of d├ęcor and lighting, coaching skills (to help one's employees to get the most out of their job - something close to my heart), time management, trips to local business premises to evaluate what they do well/badly), etc. It's not a classroom setting - we all sit around in plush sofas and debate these issues, punctuated by gourmet meals. It was unlike any other type of seminar in which I had participated & although not enjoyable in the conventional sense (i.e. I wouldn't do it for recreational purposes) it was very much worthwhile. Before I went, I wondered what I would be doing for 4 days too!

Robert said...

Nechtan - I was thrilled for Marie, but oddly, she seemed not to be proud of herself! Glad you liked the video.

rosiero said...

That is ****** fantastic. You and she must feel so chuffed. Loved hearing Robert's accent too!!

Robert said...

Thanks for the compliments, rosiero. Perhaps I should take up a career in showbiz?

Gary said...

I'm really pleased for you both Robert! Marie has really made huge progress since the last time i was blogging! and to see her smiling driving the car on a busy motorway should be a massive encouragement to all Agrophobics and Anxiety sufferers! tell her from she should be very proud! Oh and thats is a great accent Robert lol

Robert said...

Great to see you back again, Gary.

maz said...

It sounds like things are going really well, I'm dead chuffed for you both!

maz x

Robert said...

Thanks maz - I hope we can keep up the momentum!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

If yo can show me how to put a short video (that is on the camera at present) onto my next blog I would be grateful. BUT the instructions have to be SIMPLE Im hopeless but my wife follows things a lot better. (Next blog 16th April)

Nota Bene said...

Cool...great achievement

Lakeland Jo said...

thanks for popping by Robert - it was great to see you.
Glad all went well on the trip and glad you liked the scenery here in the lakes. Mind you I agree with you- far too busy at times especially this weekend. Aggh. Manic