In my Rollercoaster Agoraphobia post, just over two weeks ago, I related how Marie's positive attitude was helping her to expand the number and types of activities she was comfortable doing.
Eleven days ago, Marie went to her friend's house near London to stay for a few day. I stayed at home with the children. Anticipatory anxiety had plagued Marie on the days leading up to this short break. London without me is well outside Marie's comort zone, but she had done a lot of preparation -
- Her friend's house was only a couple of metres from the road.
- Her friend had borrowed a car and it would be parked outside at all times.
- Mobile phone reception was excellent.
- She could get a taxi within 15 minutes, 24 hours a day.
- Her friend knew that she couldn't leave Marie alone at any time.
- I would be able to come and collect her without notice should her anxiety level become too high.
Marie's friend had to return her borrowed car, and was unable to borrow another. Marie decided that she would risk panicking and stay anyway.
Marie's friend had to go out a few times on personal matters. Without a car, Marie couldn't go with her, but she managed to stay in her friend's house by herself!
Bouyed up by this significant progress, Marie started to take her friend's dog out for a walk. Okay, the walks may have been really short, but this is another activity she did by herself.
On Saturday I left our children with older sisters Collette and Colleen, and drove to London to pick up Marie and her friend and take them to a panic party in Milton Keynes. The lunchtime "meet" had been organised by No More Panic. About 20 anxiety sufferers, some with their partners, gathered at a rather attractive pub. Naturally, parking spaces immediately outside the entrance were available! The panic party lasted for several hours and seemed to be a great success for all those who attended, including Marie. Many attendees were pushing their boundaries to the limit just by attending. There was much laughter and chatter which created a lovely ambiance.
It was a tired, but happy and elated Marie who returned home late on Saturday night.
The next day was Mothering Sunday, and I persuaded the children to let Mum sleep in, until their patience ran out about 11:30 am. Then they woke her up, giving her their cards, gifts and a specially prepared breakfast of all Marie's favourite morning foods.
Although Marie was suitably enthusiastic about the morning activities, she was simultaneously oddly detached from the children.
This has not changed. Since Sunday, Marie has gone back to the excessive sleeping, lethargic, depressed, detached state she has been in before. Fortunately - and sadly - the children and I operate really well as a unit and everything goes on as normal. We've even been entertaining some of their school friends. My business activities suffer, of course, and I am exhausted most of the time, but my family is my priority.
The children and I are hoping that happy, vibrant Marie will be returning real soon...