I am a recovering agoraphobic. I gave up a job three years ago after the discovery that I could barely leave the house, much less travel a commute, without devastating panic attacks. City hopping, flights to Europe, all the doors of my old life slammed shut at once.
Long story short – I was treated through CBT, I did the whole graduated exposure thing (small incremental trips with my walking bag bristling with a panoply of safety behaviours: maps, water bottle, comfort books and, for some reason, fucking emory boards) and recovered to the point where I can again work full time and have a full social life. Still, there is some fear around the edges. When I walk up to town through Oxford Road there is this one fucker of a road that is difficult to cross and makes me panic a little. Booth Street East is my mortal enemy.
I used to believe that the shit is always with you and that all you can do is learn to manage it better. I now think it’s possible to outlive these things completely. Whatever, the right way is to test the edges and so, today, I am going to London – big scary fucking London. I will be tweeting about it. Twitter is good for panic attacks.
Wish me luck, my friends. Avaunt!