When the common man hears the word Phobia he thinks of crazy people who are scared of spiders or germs. He does not think of the hundreds of different kinds of Phobias there are and the dramatic affect they can have on someones life.
Imagine being afraid to leave your home. Imagine you can get gas at only "1" gas station because you are to terrified to get out of your car at any other station.
Imagine the inability to go grocery shopping during the day. What if 24 hour markets were the only way you can get the staples of life?
What if you were physically unable to go out to a nice restaurant?
Ask yourself, why would a person be terrified to enter a movie theater?
Would you think a person strange or weird if you knew they almost never left their home?
Imagine your phone never ringing. How do you think that would feel?
What if you were scared of people? Literally terrified of other humans? Would you be able to handle this type of existence?
This is but a very brief explanation of the life of someone with Agoraphobia.
The Taber's Medical dictionary explains Agoraphobia by breaking the actual word into 2 sections. Agora, meaning marketplace and phobia, meaning fear.
The overwhelming symptoms that occur when out in public can lead to severe anxiety
and panic attacks.
I am an agoraphobic and have lived this existence for the last 12 years.
Agoraphobia does not attack you suddenly like the flu. Instead, it creeps up slowly when you aren't looking. Then suddenly one day you realize that you have no people in your life. You have not been to a movie theater in 25 years and just the thought of going out to eat makes you break out in an all consuming panic attack.
I jump out of my skin when the telephone rings. A knock at the door makes my stomach hurt. I can't do things that other people do. Why? Fear! Deep seated, panic drive fear.
Realizing that this is irrational fear does nothing to ease the physical affects this monster has on the body.
I lost my job because I slowly got to the point of being unable to go to work. I would have
severe bouts of GI upsets, uncontrollable shaking, profuse sweating and nausea at the very
thought of going. I physically could not go to work. I could not even go outside at the height of my Agoraphobia.
Today, I am still an Agoraphobic. I have "1" gas station I can use. I shop in "1" store for
all my basic needs. My answering machine always answers my phone, if and when it rings. I
have absolutely no friends in my life. I can go weeks without leaving the house. Food is
the ultimate reason I go out and then only in early morning hours when most people are sleeping. I enjoy my home, my cats and watch entirely to much T.V. But, the key is I am happy and have my panic/anxiety attacks somewhat under control.
I can not have company in my home. I do not invite people to my home. But if they simply drop by unannounced, I do not ask them to come in. I will stand at my open door the entire time they are there. People coming into my safe space, aka. My Home, is something I am totally incapable of handling.
While this sounds like a very lonely and isolated existence, which it is, I am still living
a content, stress free and happy life. The physical discomforts and illnesses caused by
Agoraphobia can become unmanageable if push into leaving the safety of my home.
Just imagine the need to "work" yourself up before you go out shopping, and then for only medications, food and the occasional treat of some sort. But the treat is only if you can stay in the store long enough to find one.
The life of an Agoraphobic is one that few understand, and even less live.
Agoraphobia is an extremely debilitating condition. It can be managed, however; through
therapy and patience by family.