If you read my earlier posts, you’ll see that I say time and time again that I have Claustrophobia. In a nutshell, I’m scared of being in confined spaces. But there was always something that didn’t add up with the term Claustrophobia – there was always something more to it than just that and I couldn’t put my finger on it.
Problem is, for me, it doesn’t have to be a confined space. It can be a space that’s metaphorically confined. Such as a cinema or an exam. I can get out. But it’s not the done thing to do. Or it can be a large space that I can’t get out of. Like a train.
It’s only very recently that I stumbled across an actual definition for Agoraphobia.
If you’d have asked me a year ago what Agoraphobia was, I’d have said quite simply ‘the fear of going outside’. But it’s so much more complex than that.
It’s the fear of being in a situation that you can’t escape from or get the help you need.
If I’m in a lift I can’t get help if I need it. If I’m on a train I can’t get off if I need to. If I’m in an exam, I can’t run out if I need to. If I’m in a queue, I can’t just leave and stand outside for a second. I’m trapped. But not actually trapped.
For some people, they equate safety with home – and that’s why Agoraphobic’s have a reputation for having a fear of leaving the house.
For me though, I can leave the house. Outside is OK for me. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t feel comfortable somewhere isolated where I couldn’t get phone signal, but the average street is OK. But I can’t do buses, trains, sometimes cars, planes, lifts, cinemas, exams, long queues, and most recently – I can’t go higher than the first floor in a building.
It’s the most draining and inconvenient thing I’ve ever gone through. It’s only been within the last nine months that it’s got terrible and it’s just a living nightmare.
I can’t go home from university to see my family. I can’t get a bus into town. I can’t go on holiday. I can’t go to lectures at university because they’re like a cinema setting. I can’t even go to seminars if they’re on the top of a tall building.
It’s the most isolating phobia and illness I’ve ever come across.
The reason for writing this post is to impart some understanding. I guarantee half of you reading this now will also have the same connotations as I did about the phobia – ‘people with that don’t leave the house’. But it’s a complex and frustrating and terrorising fear that’s so difficult to comprehend until you have to face it yourself.
It’s not something I’ve really spoken about much; I tend to focus much more on my BPD and Cyclothymia. But now I think it’s time that I battle this too – and therefore it’s been added to my fact sheet page for you guys to get more info – BPD, Cyclothymia & Agoraphobia Fact Sheet