I often wonder how my life turned out like this.
When I was younger I used to go out with friends and do all the normal things people do. Even up to last October I was still managing my anxiety and, while not necessarily having it under control, most of the time life was ok. So what changed? What was it that made me retreat into myself and hide from the world? I wish I knew! Since November 2013 I can count on my fingers the amount of times that I have actually left this house. I do sometimes manage to go out into the garden so I don't think it is agoraphobia, just a worsening of my anxiety and panic attacks that keeps me shut inside.
I remember as a child panicking every time my brother or sister got sick, worried that I would catch it too. I spent hours out of the house avoiding them, only going back to eat and sleep. As I grew up it became a phobia - emetophobia to give it it's correct name - and I told my then boyfriend (now husband) that there was no way I could consider having children because I wouldn't be able to deal with the morning sickness. That was taken out of my hands when I found myself pregnant a few years later but luckily I didn't really suffer from morning sickness so it wasn't a problem. I used to take time off work if colleagues had been off sick so that I could avoid them the first day or two that they were back at work. I would avoid seeing family and friends that had been ill for a week or so after they had recovered. I panicked if I needed to go to the hospital to visit someone or even to the doctors for an appointment. Eating out put me on edge if it was somewhere I hadn't been before just in case the food wasn't cooked properly and I ended up with food poisoning. Even at that point I still thought I had some sort of control over it.
Over the years my panic attacks have gotten worse with each major problem that we have encountered and I don't think I have ever got back to the level before. During the last five years or so we have lost five close family members, almost lost our house due to a situation with my OH's job which was very stressful for 15 months, and had numerous smaller things to contend with too such as my OH working away from home for 5 days a week. It's no wonder I am on the edge!
My family try to be supportive but how can they understand this when I don't understand it myself? I'm hoping that by writing it down I will be able to get some sort of clarity and take some steps back towards what counts as normality in this house. It will probably be a jumble of thoughts as I remember things, or as they happen but maybe it will make sense to me at some point.