Agoraphobia is the fear of places that you feel you cannot escape from or leave freely.
Also, the fear of places you have previously had a panic attack. The fear of open spaces.
It would take me minimum 3 hours to leave the house. I found it hard to step outside my front door. I would stress about what to wear, my make up, what I looked like, whether I looked tired…so many minor things.
I didn’t want to face people. I thought everyone was looking at me. Cars driving by might be judging me. People on the bus were just too close to me. My local area consisted of people who were staring at me whispering, talking about my clothes and the way I looked and walked. Part of me didn’t know if these things were actually happening but part of me did actually believe them. Odd isn’t it?
Being in places where I couldn’t leave quickly or was restricted frighted the hell out of me. Post office queues, packed shops, people’s houses, trains. I felt trapped.
I started to only go to places I thought I could leave quickly if I needed to. I wouldn’t go out with people I’d have to explain myself to if I panicked. I just wanted to be able to bolt out when I needed to, and in my head I believed I would need to. No doubt about it.
Eventually I stopped going out with friends. Clubs were a no-go because inevitably the loud music and crowds of people would overwhelm me and I’d have to find a way to get home at stupid o clock at night – alone. Not to mention I’d have to explain why I was jetting off. If I was invited out I came up with excuses about why I couldn’t go. Sometimes I would say yes (I actually meant it), but it would get nearer the time and anxiety would appear telling me about all the awful things that would most likely happen, so I would bail last minute.
I felt so bad about what I told people, but it was easier than telling the full truth. “Yeah I can’t go out because I think I’m gonna have a panic attack, as I suffer with anxiety.” The answer would obviously be “don’t be silly, you’ll be fine!”. I didn’t want to get into that so it was easier to think of an excuse.
With no social life and the distance growing between me and other people I became isolated, which obviously lead to loneliness.
And loneliness is never a good thing for anxiety…