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My Journey Through Agoraphobia - Part 7

This page added 3 October 2011
By Janesse – written September 2011


[see also: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 ]


Part Seven


Hi everyone,

It has been a while since I have written, and I apologise.

Overall my progress is coming along, still slow and steady for me.

I have had some changes in my life which I have found difficult to deal with, so the fact that I am still making progress, however slow it may be, is good!

A few months ago my long term partner and I separated.

We have been together for twenty years so this has been very, very hard for me. We have remained friends and that is something I am happy about. He just felt he needed time and space away from the relationship. Like most couples we had our ups and downs but my problems with agoraphobia, anxiety and depression took a big toll on him. He was very supportive but there is no doubt that living day and day out with an agoraphobic person can be difficult for partners. I live on my own now and that has also been challenging for me.

Apart from the more personal aspects, it also has been hard for my progress with my agoraphobia. I was at the stage where I was trying new things and venturing further and I could do this as long as he accompanied me. I felt safe with him knowing he understood about my anxiety and knowing that if it became too much for me he would gently coax me along, or would take me home if need be. With that confidence I was doing more and more new things which I was totally enjoying.

The freedom of being able to go out! It felt so liberating to be finally able to go out. I felt like I was part of the world again, instead of being trapped inside by my fear. This may sound like I was just doing it easily. I wasn’t. I would often be anxious, sometimes very anxious but I was able to now cope better with this anxiousness and not let it overwhelm me.



Then when my partner left I had less opportunities to try to get out more. I am doing things on my own more and more but I am not at the stage yet where I can do a lot on my own. I can walk short distances on my own and I have started to drive again but I can only go around quiet streets near my home.

Another big change for me was one of my closest friends whom I have known since we were kids, and who has also been a great support to me, moved interstate.

Again, apart from purely missing her and her loving friendship, she was also a practical help to me as she would take me to my therapist every week. She would also take me out when she could.  Thankfully her sister has been able to take me to my therapist for my sessions. She usually can’t take me every week but I am grateful that she can take me at all. My therapist and I do phone sessions when I can’t get there in person.

I must admit I have felt frustrated that just as I am ready to explore the world the two people I have relied on to do that with are not available!

I do have other friends but they generally live too far away to be able to help. It is times like these when I really miss having family for help and support. I am an only child and have no family. Still I know having a family is no guarantee of help and support!

However, I have kept on with my own work that I can do, which is trying to work further everyday and trying to drive again.

Getting in a car again has been very scary for me but I have taken it very slowly. At first I was only able to drive a few houses down and then turn around but I have gradually widened that to be able to drive a few streets away. I am lucky that the streets where I live are very quiet with hardly any traffic. My car is an old bomb that is falling apart and I had the experience of it breaking down when I was going on one of my drives. That was extremely challenging for me!

It actually happened twice. The first time the car just stopped in the middle of the road and thankfully a nice passerby helped me to get the car off the road. I was one street away from my house
He could tell I was shaken up so he offered to drive me home.  I was so relieved that he was so kind.

The next time I had a bit of warning and I pulled over to the side of the road before the car stopped dead. This time there was no kind passerby so I had to walk home on my own. It was a little bit further than I was used to walking and I become quite anxious. I wanted to just run so I could get home quickly and not panic but I knew that running was not the answer!

With legs shaking I just started walking slowly but steadily trying to loosen my tight grip on myself and my muscles and let go of the tension. That helped enormously and I made it home.

I have kept up my meditation and truly believe that has been a huge factor in my progress in dealing with anxiety and panic.

I have had days and nights when I have felt so alone that I didn’t know how I would make it through. I have also had days when I have realized that being on my own is helping me know my self more, the good the bad and the painful.

I have had a lot of childhood issues that I have been working through with my therapist and this time alone has allowed me to really feel the pain of my past and my present.

More than my progress with going out, I think what I am most proud of is that I have let myself feel my pain, let my tears flow freely, and let the loneliness envelop me without being quite so afraid of all of it.
It hurt like nothing else to face my deepest pains. I had stuffed all the pain down, deep down inside and tried to ignore it. I used to be afraid that if I let myself feel all of that it would overwhelm me and I would have the ‘big’ panic attack that I had always dreaded. In fact it is the opposite, by letting all that out and feeling it all, the anxiety lessens.

I am still a work in progress in this regard but there is progress.

Sometimes it is easier to see how far I still have to go rather than how far I have come. But when I think back to the person I used to be…… so very frightened and existing with a level of anxiety most of the time… I see how far I have come.



By Janesse – September 2011


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