I'm Jean Maurie and I'm a recovering Agoraphobic

I belong to a blogging group-- Blog Along With Effy and we get a topic to write about every day. Today is day 5 and although I've been reading other people's blogs I haven't started to post until today.  I'm not going to beat myself up about it either but if I continue to procrastinate I'll never post so here goes:

TODAY'S NUDGE: What is something you struggle with? What battles are you fighting that most people know nothing about? What's something about you or your life that makes you feel weird, or different, or isolated?

I am a recovering agoraphobic.  I have written blogs about it and I created a video about it that I will post at the end of this.

So even though I can call myself a "recovering agoraphobic"  I haven't been driving regularly, although I know I need to and would love to feel confident again driving, it scares me.   I don't travel far away for various reasons and haven't seen my Great Grandsons or my Granddaughter's husband.  Yes I know, it is sad but it is what it is.

I didn't used to be able to eat out at restaurants but I can now.  Standing in line has gotten better but I still have trouble getting haircuts and going to the doctor or the dentist is hard.

Why do I have this problem?  

I had many surgeries as a child to repair a cleft lip and palate.  I was told to be a big brave girl and don't cry.  I held it all in and was terrified.  This is called a trauma and experiencing it over and over caused Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).   I would be taken to the hospital the day before the surgeries and mother would go home.  I was left all night terrified of what was coming.  Early in the morning I would get an enema.  Why they gave us enemas before facial surgery mystifies me.  I guess they didn't want us pooping on the operating table.  But that was another trauma and to this day when I have a panic attack it makes me feel like I've gotten an enema and I better get to a bathroom soon.   

School was a nightmare.  I had a panic attack every morning for 12 years and couldn't eat breakfast.  Summers were better unless I was scheduled for surgery.  

I tried hypnotherapy, Primal Scream Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy,  and more.  I tried positive thinking, affirmations but during that time it was more like pushing down feelings rather than acknowledging them and learning what their messages were for me.
Finally about nine or ten years ago I found Emotional Freedom Technique  EFT.   It is tapping on the acupuncture points.  This is now my go to tool to help me when I get anxious.  Sometimes instead of tapping I just hold the points and breathe.  It helps.  I will tap or hold the points one by one and say something like this, "Even though I feel anxious I am ok right now.
"Even though my stomach is in a knot, I am acknowledging it and not trying to cover it over with affirmations.
"Even though I'm scared I am taking care of myself right now.
I breathe as I tap and talk.  This lessens the intensity until I can start thinking more rationally and realize that indeed I really am ok.   

Will I completely be free from this?  I don't know. At 81 I kind of doubt it.  But I have a full life even with panic and anxiety.  I try not to let it rule my life.  So far so good.  The rest remains to be lived.


Ginette said...

Jean, thank you for sharing what you have shared! I love "The rest remains to be lived'. Yes to that!

Jean Maurie said...

Thank you Ginette, yes I am glad I am the curious type. I'm open and not stuck. That helps :)

sak said...

I just love your spirit. Very interesting video. So much of what you said resonated with my own experience. One of the things you said, "the little girl in me froze", I know that sensation. It was like having someone peer into my own mind. You are not alone in your journey. I just want to send you so much love! I loved "the rest remains to be lived". Blessings to you!

Jean Maurie said...

Thank you for reading and commenting Sak. I appreciate the love very much. I am glad this resonated with you. I feel very fortunate that I am a curious person. And I also have a wicked sense of humor that also helps. I would love to hear your story. Blessings to you...

Ellie-TheForgottenMuse said...

I love that last line! "the rest remains to be lived" Very powerful!! Bright blessings to you!

Effy said...

What a brave post. <3

Jean Maurie said...

Thank you Ellie-TheForgottenMuse ... I was kind of surprised myself when that last line popped out of me... I do plan to live a curious and hopefully helpful life. I love helping people with panic and anxiety because if I can help them know they are ok no matter how scared they are and let them express it without saying, "oh just get over it", which is what I've heard most of my life, then I'm happy.

Thank you for posting and for the blessings :)

Jean Maurie said...

Thank you for reading and posting Effy. I am who I am and hopefully I will inspire others (even if it is only one or two) to express how they feel, fears and all it will be worth it.