Welcome back to the Share Your Story series. Last time Amy from Mothering a Rainbow spoke candidly about her beautiful son Jason who was born sleeping. This week I have Catherine from Paint the Face of Anxiety who’s sharing her story on living with Agoraphobia.
Paint The Face of Anxiety
Hey! I’m Cath, I’m 26 and I blog over at paintthefaceofanxiety.com. I talk about everything beauty related, mental health and anything else in between!
For most people reading this, if you needed a loaf of bread you would just pop out and get one, right? Well, I have never been able to do that, but for the past six years, it’s not even been an option.
I have agoraphobia.
Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder that can make a lot of things difficult. It affects every sufferer differently, but some of the things it can affect are –
- being in open, crowded or public spaces.
- leaving the house.
- going somewhere unknown.
- going to work/school.
- seeing friends or family.
And many other things as well. Of course everyone is different and have different experiences with agoraphobia. Some people may get one or two of these, some get all each person is different.
For me, agoraphobia is something that stemmed from anxiety. I’ve suffered with severe generalised anxiety disorder since I was around 11 or 12. Its caused, as you can imagine, a lot of problems.
Between the ages of 17 to 20 I was doing pretty well, however a few months after I turned 20 I was signed off work due to my anxiety. It’s sadly all gone down hill from there. It was around a year or so after this I got the diagnosis of agoraphobia, and its become one of the most debilitating illnesses I have.
As time has gone on agoraphobia has slowly affected more and more of my life. These days I’m only able to leave the house with my mum. And that only happens every few months, at the moment.
Apart from that, I sometimes get out too what I call my “safe shop”. A gas station just outside of my village I can go too with my anxiety raising a little bit compared to other places! I can also go to our local doctors, and the school were my mum works (as long as no one is there). I can go on drives as long as I don’t have to leave the car. But that’s it.
Once I was signed off work, I slowly started to stay at home more and more.
When you don’t have a reason to leave the house it makes it harder. Then my anxiety has always been very difficult with leaving the house preferring to stay in my safe zone.
Medication and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) has helped.
But its swings and roundabouts.
I’m waiting for more therapy at the minute. It’s been a while since I last had any professional so sadly I have become a lot worse over the past year or so. Thankfully I have a brilliant support system. Wonderful family & friends who I couldn’t do this without.
What I would say to anyone reading this is to not take leaving your house for granted.
Try and get out as often as you can. If you know someone who seems to be hiding more and more lately, invite them out! Ask if they would like to go for a coffee, or go over to theirs for a coffee and a walk. It’s so important to feel like the world outside your house still wants you.
Thank you Catherine for sharing your story. It must be very difficult to live with and so I’m glad you have the support of your friends and family.
If you would like to follow Cath some more than pop over to her socials;