‘How does it feel when you have an anxiety attack?‘
It makes me feel sick and dizzy. Like I haven’t got enough control to stand up and I’m not really sure what I’m looking at anymore. My heart is beating through my chest so hard it feels like it’s going to drop out onto the floor and my instinct is to run. Run as fast and as far away from the point in which I’m standing. It feels like death is creeping up on me. It’s happened a million times before but it’s always just as petrifying – it feels frustrating, it feels overpowering and it feels dumb.
Up until recently I would have told you I’m Claustrophobic. I hate being trapped anywhere. You know the usual – lifts, being locked in small rooms etc. But now that it’s growing and I understand the reasons behind the fear, the word Agoraphobia seems to suit much better.
Agoraphobia (ag-uh-ruh-FOE-be-uh) is a type of anxiety disorder in which you fear and often avoid places or situations that might cause you to panic and make you feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed.
With agoraphobia, you fear an actual or anticipated situation, such as using public transportation, being in open or enclosed spaces, standing in line or being in a crowd. The anxiety is caused by fear that there’s no easy way to escape or seek help if intense anxiety develops. Most people who have agoraphobia develop it after having one or more panic attacks, causing them to fear another attack and avoid the place where it occurred.
– Mayo Clinic
It’s getting worse and it has been for quite some time now. The once labelled Claustrophobia that prevented me from getting into a lift, now stops me from getting onto a train, a bus and sometimes even a car.
It stops me sitting in a crowded space or standing in a queue. I’m nervous when a door is shut, If I’m isolated, if I’m shut in; or if I’m on the top floor of a building.
And that’s where my problem lies today. I have exams this week. Tomorrow and Thursday. My tutors have been kind enough to offer me a separate room to take my exams, as the thought of sitting within a busy crowded room makes me more anxious than the exams themselves. However, I just went to visit the two alternative rooms to find out exactly where they are so that I don’t get lost tomorrow.
One of them is on the second floor. Not one set of stairs. Two. I got to the top of the first set and it hit me. That feeling of sick and dizzy. The lack of control and the blurred vision. My heart felt as though it was going to fall out and I did exactly what my instinct told me – I ran. I ran as far and as fast as I could.
So I’m too Agoraphobic for the special requirements that have been specially put into place for me? Now what?