Anxiety is a bitch! It has been several years since I have had a full-blown panic attack – the one where you can’t breathe and you think you are dying – but on a regular basis I have bouts of anxiety where my heart races, I get a bit short of breath, and I fear I may go into panic mode. These smaller anxiety attacks, along with some low levels of depression, are enough to make leaving the house a big chore for me.
Top 5 Reasons I Hate Leaving My House
1) Showering takes more energy than I have on most days. And then there is the fixing of the hair, and OMG! make-up, and God-forbid getting out of my pajama pants. I mean, come on…that’s a lot to ask of a girl. By the time I do all of that I am ready for a nap!
2) Driving is stressful. I live in a busy metropolitan area and traffic is heavy. Patience, concentration, and sometimes aggressiveness are needed to safely navigate the roads around here – all of which I basically lack.
3) Social anxiety. Leaving the house often means going to some sort of social event, and I don’t feel comfortable around other people because small talk is like nails on a chalk board to me! I’m definitely an introvert and prefer to be alone or with my immediate family. Also, if it is a larger party, the noise and extra stimuli is overwhelming to my senses.
4) Fear of public places. Leaving the house also often means going to the store or some other public venue where crowds gather and strangers abound. Yikes! What if I see someone I know? What if I get mugged? Kidnapped? How claustrophobic I feel standing in lines and squeezing down isles. How it makes me lose my breath to bump into others or feel them in my physical space! And again, the noises, lights, and movement are all overwhelming to my senses.
5) Agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is an intense fear and anxiety of being in places where it is hard to escape, or where help might not be available. This would explain why if my husband is with me, I feel much less anxious when out of the house. He drives, I stick by him during parties, and follow him through the stores. Now if only he could shower for me. 🙂
Although I hate leaving the house, I do force myself to on a regular basis. Sometimes I have to take an anti-anxiety pill before I leave and sometimes I don’t. I think it is important for me to desensitize myself to these stressful situations as much as I can, because if I don’t my anxiety will only get worse.
I also grade the tasks in a way that will make them more successful for me. For example, when I go to the grocery store I only get a few items at a time, and leave the big list for my husband (he’s the best!) When my daughter has a 3-day sports tournament in a loud crowded gym, I will only attend one or two of the days. When going to a social event, we will only stay a short while or not go at all if I am not feeling up to it. We go out to eat early in the evening (with all the old people) so we don’t have to wait for a table. These are just a few examples of how I compensate for my increased anxiety.
As you can see, there are ways around anxiety. It doesn’t have to make you a prisoner of your own home. Although, sometimes it will. But it doesn’t have to all of the time.
How does your anxiety limit you, and what are some ways you have found helpful to decrease these limits?
I can relate so much to most of what you’ve written. I’ve suffered from Agoraphobia in the past. I still suffer from anxiety but am trying to accomplish things in spite of it. Showering is exhausting. Many days I can’t accomplish it. I’m hoping that part of it is the weather, and I’ll improve a bit when Spring gets here, along with a tweak in my meds coming up. Good for you to still accomplish so much despite how you feel!
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Thanks, Joyce. I am glad you are accomplishing things too in spite of your anxiety. Its important to let others know that things can get better if we keep trying.
I had agoraphobia for several years and know exactly how you feel. I am doing much better now and when I do occasionally have a panic attack I seem to be able to recover from it much faster and accept it as part of my sensitive make-up. Thank you for sharing your experience. Love,
Amy, Thank you for sharing too. We do have sensitive make ups don’t we? It is good that we can find ways to work around them and find ways to live with them. I hope others realize they can too.
I find if I limit the time I spend out of the house at any given event, it can help. Also, if I have particular tasks to perform rather than being at an unstructured social gathering.
Yes having a “job” to perform or a responsibility to fulfill is a nice distraction when out at an event.., I agree and have experienced that.
I truly relate to what you’ve said. It’s Friday, I’m supposed to go out with a friend tonight but I still have not taken a shower. My bedroom is my safe haven. Where does one dig for motivation when they have no shovel????
anxiety has made it practically impossible for me to hold down a job, that and obviously my bipolar, perfectionism, etc which all makes me burn out. i have really bad performance anxiety, so if I do work I have to take two different medications to help the anxiety. I recently did EMDR focusing on a memory that contributed to my high level of anxiety at work and am hoping it will help whenever my next job comes around. I also just tend to worry a lot- I’m just a worrier and I have been since I was a child. I “catastrophize” a lot- I can at least recognize now and try to stop it but sometimes I do just freak out over little things, over worry about things WAY into the future that I should not have to think about now.
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I could have written this about myself except for the EMDR. I’ve never done it but hear good things about it.
I hate leaving the house because I dread dealing with people. I love empty streets where there are no other cars. When I go to Trader Joe’s, I want to be one of no more than three people in the entire store. I know that’s self-centered, neurotic and ridiculous but that’s how I feel. I want everyone to go away so I don’t have to deal with anyone (except smiling people who are there to help me, serve me and attend to my needs haha). Do I have anxiety or am I just a bitchy, selfish, self-centered misanthrope?