Do you wanna know the irony about starting a blog about living with anxiety?? Constantly second guessing myself and being worried about what I’ll write about first, thinking, “Well, I need to begin like this so people understand…..the flow won’t be right unless I say this first…” So in honor of this being my inaugural in-depth post, I’m throwing caution to the wind–in an orderly fashion, I can be a bit OCD–and letting the following serve as an introductory post:
My first inkling of anxiety happened pretty early in my life. I remember being in an auditorium at my sister’s spelling bee when I was about 5. I was pretty tired so I fell asleep and when I woke up, the bee was over. For some reason the next time I went into an auditorium, I felt a sense of doom and was panicky the whole time. It wasn’t until years later when I was able to put a word to my panic: Agoraphobia.
According to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, agoraphobia is defined as, “a fear of being in open or public places”. I’ve also heard it described as being afraid of large open spaces. So it does stand to reason that I would panic in larger places like auditoriums or theatres. Going to a sport’s arena was out of the question. For me having agoraphobia is a double whammy because I also have a fear of heights. Yep. I’m that awesome! 😀 So if I go somewhere where the only available seats are in the balcony, it’s a total no go.
Through the years things have gotten marginally better. I am now able to go to concerts in larger places as long as we have floor seats, and in some instances, seats that are on the floor in a covered portion of the theatre. Even then I more often than not have a few minutes of panic, but return to normal fairly quickly. An understanding spouse and ushers have been a God-send through the years. The one bright spot about having agoraphobia, is that once I’m in a place and am comfortable, I’m able to go back to that same place and enjoy myself with no panic at all.
Living with agoraphobia has taken a whole lifetime to figure out that, 1. It’s a very real fear even if most people don’t understand and, 2. It can be managed as long as you are open to exploring what works for you.
I think I’ll end our first conversation here. I hope this has been helpful to you if you struggle with similar feelings. Remember, you are not alone.