Friday, 19 March 2010

The panic party - before and after

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.
This continued.
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.
Alas, the best laid plans can go wrong.
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...


♥ Kathy said...

She really accomplished a lot on her trip and maybe it just kind of overloaded her..she might just need a little down time to recover. My SIL (who also has agoraphobia) does that often after big steps in the positive direction. I hope that Marie gets back to her happy self soon!

maz said...

Hi Robert - seems you and I've both been riding that roller-coaster recently!
Just keep holding on tight and cross your fingers the white knuckle bit is over for a while! LOL
Keep strong!
maz x

Alcoholic Daze (ADDY) said...

Just catching up on blogs. The trouble with anxiey and phobias is that it does not seem possible to build on sucesses, but rather you get knocked backwards. Hope Marie is able to get her confidence back son.

HSP Woman said...

I agree with Kathy. It's just a minor setback due to overwhelm. She'll bounce back soon enough. She just needs time to recharge and regroup. It happens to me *every time* I need to "man up" and face a challenge like being alone for a weekend, get a medical procedure done, drive anywhere. It's like I shut down for about a week, and, of course, the depression sets in. But, alas, it is always temporary and just the nature of the disorder. Sensitive nervous systems will always be sensitive nervous systems. Attitudes can change, but physiology (IMHO) is difficult to change. Marie did a GREAT job; time to replenish that strength.
My love to you both!

Kaci said...

That is really good that she challenged herself and stayed! She is a lot stronger than she knows. I think we all are it just takes some time to realize it, I know this is a problem I face. I hope that she gets back to feeling like her happy self soon!

The Fairweather Blogger said...

I think, as others have said, that Marie simply exhausted herself on the London trip and then the No More Panic party. I expect you're exceptionally proud of the way things worked out with those events. My wife also has these episodes where she seems detached from things. When they happen I try to make like everything is normal for our Daughter's sake, as you are doing, and eventually things do get back to normal, but it takes time and other commitments tend to fall by the wayside for a while. I admire your commitment to your family and feel ashamed that sometimes my impatience gets the better of me. My best wishes to you all, and congratulations to Marie for her outstanding achievements of late.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Robert do you ever feel like screaming and going under or have you trained yourself not to. Do you ever make light of the whole thing or is than totally non PC. I rate you highly but I am never sure what is an acceptable response to your situation. Are you as resiliant as you sound?

Robert said...

Dear Kathy, Addy, HSP Woman, Kaci and TFB, thanks for your spot-on insights and words of comfort.

Robert said...

Maz - Maz - Things get better, get worse, but never stay the same. And never predictable!

Robert said...

Hi Ken -

Robert do you ever feel like screaming and going under or have you trained yourself not to. - Both!

Do you ever make light of the whole thing... We joke about it all the time -e.g. sometimes when people call and, ask is Maria in? I reply by telling them hat she's just set off on a hike across the Sahara desert!

One has to be resilient when one has little kids totally reliant on one. But I don't always feel in control!