A friend of mine is in therapy for an eating disorder. I follow her blogs daily to see how she is progressing. While she does not believe in herself on most days, I am so proud of how far she has come. The strength she shows each day is truly amazing.
My struggles with Agoraphobia and PTSD are no secret. I started having panic attacks over 20 years ago and was finally diagnosed with Agoraphobia with Panic Disorder and PTSD after I left Queensland, changed my name, mourned the death of my son and of the life I’d had before I met my abuser/stalker/psycho.
Being house-bound (for six months so far, this time), I took particular note of one of my friend’s blogs regarding “drawing your demon,” and started to ask myself what mine would look like.
After an attack on my book sites on Amazon yesterday, which saw a disgruntled author sabotage and defame most of my hard work in the literary field, I closed off the internet before meditating. While in meditation, I was able to visualise my demon.
I present to you, Agoraphobia/PTSD’s portrait, as drawn by me:
As you can see, the effects of Agoraphobia with Panic Disorder and PTSD are not so nice. Fear and confusion are in its eyes, as it cannot rationalise where that fear has come from when it strikes. Its mouth is sealed shut, blocking the ability to scream, while the chains on its ankles also prevent escape. All thoughts are nullified and irrational. When the demon disappears as quickly as it had arrived, the person who’d just had the attack is left feeling like they are going crazy.
Agoraphobia is nasty. It takes a lot of work and a lot of flexing those “brain muscles” to kick it out. It trespasses – squats in the minds of people who have been through too much trauma.
Yesterday, my boss used the term “smelly socks,” and I thought… Agoraphobia/PTSD is my smelly sock. You know it’s there and you wish you could be anywhere that it’s not.
When I am set upon by this particular demon, I find it helps to forcibly distract. As bizarre as that might sound, if I am out on one of my 30 minute “outside the house” adventures with my husband in tow, the very moment I feel my skin start to numb and my lungs start to give way, I distract. My particular distraction is in Mother Nature herself. I look around and say the name of things I can see which I could actually touch.
tree, car, building, dog, house, bin, grass, road, bus…
I continue with this until I am, once again, back in the safety of my home. I then start writing again, continuing the work on whichever book needs my presence – whether it be writing my own books, designing covers for my books, proof-reading other people’s books, adjusting their layout and copy-editing their work, helping them design a cover, getting them to give final approval to my work before securing their copyright and publishing their work. I also read many books daily before providing the author with a professional book review… or with constructive criticism when their book needs work.
My working life is in the literary field. When I am not working, I am cherishing every moment I have with my husband and our furbabies, while counting the blessings that I have in my life. All of those wonderful things are the whip that I use to tame my demon.
Thank you to everybody who is a part of my life. To all those who have wronged or hurt me – even the person who chose to attack my books on Amazon – I forgive you.
– Rosie xx