My name is Summer. I’ve got that panic disorder thing with a side of agoraphobia.
It’s been awhile since I’ve written a truly personal blog post. I’m not sure why. After all, one of the primary reasons I started this blog was so that I can share the details of my many panic & anxiety foibles with the world. (Wait: “foibles” is too weak a word. Debacles? Episodes? Situations?)
And my dream is that you’ll read about these situations, identify with them, and feel comforted knowing that it’s not just you. It’s you, and me, and him and her and her and that guy and that woman and that child and this teacher and that mechanic and that group of students over there. And many, many more.
In truth, I’ve been doing very well lately. And by “very well,” I mean this: I can survive a grocery store trip. Sometimes, I don’t even need Xanax! Imagine that.
I can walk across parking lots again. Last week, I had to park a three minute’s walk away from the building in which I work part-time. I got a little nervous while walking, but I didn’t find myself hunched over on the ground expecting to die. (Yes, that’s happened before. Fear of open spaces isn’t a joke.)
I’ve even had some recent success driving outside of my “safe radius,” as I like to call it. If you’ve got even a mild case of agoraphobia, you’ll know what I mean: you can travel only so far away from your home before you become too uncomfortable. You might plot it out by distance or perhaps by time. Example: you can travel no further than five blocks away from your home on foot. Or, you can travel no more than five minutes away from you home via car.
About three months ago, my radius was something like five minutes. I could drive ten or fifteen minutes away, but only with an extra dose of Xanax and a lot of difficulty.
Now, fifteen minutes is almost entirely safe. I can finally drive to Sheetz to fill up my gas tank for cheap instead of relying on the closer-but-more-expensive gas station. I can drive to my doctor’s office two towns over without trembling as I park my car in front of the medical building.
I can even travel twenty minutes to the super-duper-extra-discounted grocery outlet. Win! I love getting food staples for crazy low prices. (Although, admittedly, I still lean on my cart — a safety behavior — and each trip to this outlet usually results in a severe desire to GTFO and drive home.)
But still, things are looking up. Undoubtedly.
You can find the second half of this post here.