An Ology in Agoraphobia

I’m not writing on a regular basis. Having turned my talents elsewhere I am now full booked up for the next couple of weeks. I feel a bit of a fraud. I’ve been designated a Key Worker and I have to go out wearing a lanyard. In fact, I have two, one for each job I do. I’m not in Lockdown and being an Agoraphobic I have never felt better about leaving the house than I have over the last few weeks. You see I don’t like people, or rather I do like people but people don’t tend to like me, or is that just my paranoia or my fear, or both or anxiety. Whatever it is, I feel that I can do more for those that can’t leave their homes than I could have done before.

I am a professional Agoraphobic. I could have an Ology in the subject if there was such a thing. In this episode I am finding more people are suffering anxiety than ever before. There are those that advocate, “just pulling yourself together” as the cure to all ills. I’m seeing those same people being brave, I’m seeing those same people being scared and some are even blasé about the whole situation and still having BBQ’s with the kids popping in.

I’ve slipped twice. I had a hug, it was needed. We are both key workers and the strain hit us, as we said goodbye after a brief encounter, we hugged. (Sounds like an elicit affair but that’s what it felt like) I went to collect eggs and literally bumped into the egg lady. It’s so easily done.

As a rule, I tend to stay away from gatherings and crowded places and if I go in I am loud and proud, it’s my defence mechanism.

Thursday however I have a Zoom meeting. They have been going on for weeks and weeks, I was even brave enough to stick my head in to two of them, and promptly shut down again. This week I intend to stay for the whole meeting. I haven’t decided as yet whether to go faceless or just mute. You see I know my faults. I can be brash and come across as the crazy lady. But that’s ok. If I can hide behind the crazy lady when I’m out then no one is ever going to see the anxiety ridden agoraphobic, for that’s who I am.

The last couple of weeks have been easy for me, the streets have been empty, there is a distance kept in the Supermarkets so I don’t feel cramped nor pinned in by people, so I don’t do stupid things like sing nor dance or tell stupid stories, to cover up my insecurities. (ok there was that once) But Zoom, that’s a different matter altogether. My dog snores, the mic turns on, my husband coughs, the mic turns on, I laugh, and believe me, I have a loud laugh, and guess what, the mic lights up. It’s annoying when all I ever hear is the sound of my own voice spewing out rubbish so I have a rough idea what it’s like for a normal person having to endure it.

I can be sensible, I do a sensible job. I can be ‘normal’ to an extent, well at least I think I can. But Zoom brings back all the insecurities of social agoraphobia. It isn’t helping that they are digging up the road outside of my house and the traffic is as it was before lock down here.

If you have someone that isn’t joining in, isn’t Zooming Zumba with you, isn’t in meetings, is avoiding face time or just not into this live video chatting, have a heart. Some of us, like me, have to work really hard just to leave the safety of our house. This new exposure is not as easy as it seems.

I’m using my Ologies to do other things at the moment but when ‘normal service’ resumes, I will either crawl under my rock to recover for the next few months or I will be more exhausting to live with than ever before, who knows. This episode for all of us is a complete change of life. What we will be when we emerge is anybody’s business, what I do know is there will be those that will come out with some mental health problems they never went in with and the best people to help them might just be those of us that have been managing the condition for years. There is no cure for mental health, it’s a part of everyone. It’s not always a problem. Most people don’t even think about it. But that’s a whole different story.

On Thursday at 7pm there will be Zoom, I will be in the office, which I will claim back from my husband. I will decide to what extent I will partake at the time, but I can’t let this fear, anxiety, paranoia or visual Agoraphobia set in, I’m not adding another one to the list of mental health problems that I manage. Wish me luck.

One comment

  1. I’m still not sure if I like online meetings or not yet. My anxiety always seems to centre around the background – probably because our house doesn’t have an angle anywhere where the background is tidy lol


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