Thursday, August 30, 2007


"Anxiety about being in places or situations from which escape might be difficult (or embarrassing) or in which help may not be available in the event of having an unexpected or situationally predisposed Panic Attack or panic-like symptoms. Agoraphobic fears typically involve characteristic clusters of situations that include being outside the home alone; being in a crowd or standing in a line; being on a bridge; and traveling in a bus, train, or automobile.
The situations are avoided (e.g., travel is restricted) or else are endured with marked distress or with anxiety about having a Panic Attack or panic-like symptoms, or require the presence of a companion."

I do have a bit of agoraphobia, which literally means "fear of the marketplace." However, I've never had, nor do I expect to have panic attacks. I just get very nervous when I'm outside the home and in a new place. For instance, today I took my car to the dealership for some routine warranty work (oil change, etc.). On the way home, I decided to stop at Shoney's for lunch, as I was hungry and it was after 11 a.m. I almost didn't turn into the parking lot. When I did get into the parking lot, I was about half out of the car when I had a sudden impulse to get back in and drive away. I didn't do it. I went in all by myself, which is tough enough to eat alone, and had a nice lunch. My agoraphobia is more about being in a place I've never been before. I have no trouble at all talking with strangers just like I've known them for years. It's the new place that bothers me. When I go into a store or restaurant, I see lots and lots of shapes and colors and it's always either too bright or too dark. Then there are the sounds, typical restaurant sounds or "WalMart" sounds. I'm inundated with stimuli! I feel as if I'm drowning in it. I can't focus on any one thing, or make heads or tails out of what's in front of me. If there's a line to go through, I can't find the end of it or where it's going. If there's an aisle to be negotiated, I can't see where it's going, or what's on the shelves--there's just too much of it all! And that blaring intercom they have at WalMart is horrible. Those employees who are allowed to make announcements should have voice modulation lessons before they're allowed near a microphone. I don't know why I'm like this. My husband says it's part of my dysautonomia. I don't know. I've not read anything about dysautonomia that would indicate that I'd have this trouble with visual and auditory stimuli. (When I was diagnosed with MVP about 15 years ago at the MVP Clinic in Bham, they told me I had dysautonomia, which sometimes comes with MVP.)

I don't have trouble meeting new people, though. There was a lady and I guess it was her husband sitting in the booth across from me at the restaurant, and she had on a Univ. of Kentucky tee-shirt. I don't know if a grandchild is a student there, or if she is from Kentucky. I wanted to catch her eye and comment on her shirt, since I'm from Kentucky, and it's nice to see someone from the "My Old Kentucky Home." However, I couldn't catch her eye, even when I saw her at the cash register. I tried to listen a bit to their conversation to see if they sounded "Kentucky," but I'm a bit hard of hearing which makes it well nigh impossible to hear in a restaurant, so that was no good. Come to think of it, my not being able to catch her eye might be evidence that she is from Kentucky. Kentuckians generally do not talk to strangers, or make eye contact with them. I've just learned to do that by living in the deep south for the past, oh, 35 years now, I guess.

I never get to eat beef, because my husband quit eating red meat decades ago, so I had sweet tea, a nice salad, roast beef, gravy, mashed potatoes, kale, and apple betty with a huge spoonful of whipped cream! Now, I did watch my portions, and I did not take a biscuit or a corn muffin, because mainly I didn't want to come away in pain from being too full. I thoroughly enjoyed that meal.

I really do need to get myself out more often. I'll be out again tomorrow, though. My husband has the day off from work, and we're going "into town" to the court house to apply for passports, and he promised me that we'd have lunch at Miller's Drug Store, which has renovated itself to reflect the 1950's and we haven't seen it yet. I hope we do that.

So I guess considering today's outing, and tomorrow's (however it turns out), I'll have my fill of "being out" for a while, especially after this coming 4-day weekend! (Lord, help me!)

Y'all take care.

No comments:

Post a Comment