it looks long as fuck, it's only 15 paragraphs. get it read!
I spent my childhood watching how people conduct themselves in everyday life, watching them deal with their problems, watching and learning. I’ve seen life accept death and people walk towards the light, death overcome life and people dragged into the darkness. My name is Alex, a twenty-two year old recluse. I haven’t left my mothers basement since I was 18 years old, it’s warm and stuffy down here. I’m a hypochondriac, sometimes it’s difficult to breathe.
I let myself forget about the world out-with these four walls, occasionally I think about leaving, there’s an urge to explore but my fear of embarrassing myself in public wont allow me to leave, anxiety sets in and the palpatations begin and before I know it I’m breathing deeply into a paper bag, reminding myself to think calming thoughts, my doctor prescribed benzodiazepines, more commonly known as valium for the anxiety.
I continually coax myself into sticking my head outside the room door, at least,
just to feel as though I’d achieved something. I see a psychiatrist two times a week, she tries to help me overcome my agoraphobia - so far the progress has been little to none. She’s very patient with me but sometimes I want to grab her and shake her when she speaks down to me, as though speaking to a child. I know that she’s not doing it purposely to piss me off, it’s her method of explaining complicated solutions, she simplifies the explanation but her tone of voice drops an octave and she seems condescending.
Agoraphobia is diagnosed to be an anxiety and fear of being in a place that would be difficult to escape from in a time of urgency and the anxiety and fear of being in a public place that would cause embarrassment to the individual if they should suffer from a panic attack with public onlookers.
I know what you’re thinking, I am agoraphobic, how is it possible that I keep appointments with doctors and psychiatrists? It’s simple, they come to me. Home visits, my GP, Dr. Singh visits once every 3 weeks and my personal mind-fuck Dr. Amanda Keller keeps a more specific schedule and sticks to her routine, visiting twice a week to make sure I’ve been putting her methods into practice. We discussed exercises which could be brought into play, such as ‘self hypnosis therapy’ which means I’d hypnotize myself without the assistance of another person to serve as the hypnotist and it would allow me to escape the fear and feelings of anxiety.
I often had dark and twisted nightmares, when I eventually slept. I could be awake for two or three days at a time, sometimes I’d pull my curtain over and lose track of time, not knowing if it’s night or day. I have black-out curtains which reach from ceiling to floor and wall to wall, the only source of light in the room was a dim lit lamp, at times I’d convince myself I seen a shadow scale my wall and become so paranoid that I’d sit with my back to the corner of the room as if anticipating an attack from a mystery adversary, the attack never came and the feeling never really fled.
I was standing in the centre of a room, there was a door on each wall and no windows. I heard a rattling sound and spun quickly to identify it, I seen the knob of one of the doors shaking intensely, someone was trying to enter. I heard a knock and then a thump on another door, my heart started to beat harder and faster, the third door swung open and whispers entered the room, but there was nobody in sight, the rattling and thumping got louder, I found myself spinning looking at all of the doors, waiting for the next one to swing open, they all opened simultaneously and for a few seconds there was complete silence, not a sound, then all at once the room started to fill up with bodies, creatures, the living dead, hideous insects, they were headed right for me. Before I knew it they were all over me, I couldn’t breathe and just as I felt as though my lungs were going to pop, one deep, sudden inhalation filled my lungs and a shot up, eyes wide, staring at familiar surroundings, it was just a nightmare.
I often wrote on scrap pieces of paper, Amanda encouraged me to write my thoughts in a diary and regularly asked to read over my current scribblings. Sometimes I wouldn’t permit her, my thoughts became dark and tempestuous, if I could curl up into a ball and wither away, it wouldn’t be a far stretched thought-process to arrive at a decision.
Dr. Singh was due to be at my house in twenty minutes, she said she’d like to put me on a new course of pills. SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) which would take up to four weeks to kick in, she explained the side-effects, diarrhoea, feeling sick, vomiting, and headaches, she also explained how the antidepressants work: Antidepressants alter the balance of some of the chemicals in the brain called ‘neurotransmitters‘. SSRI antidepressants mainly affect a neurotransmitter called serotonin. An altered balance of serotonin and other neurotransmitters is thought to play a part in causing depression and other conditions. She placed me on a 6 month course, checked my blood pressure, took my temperature and left.
Amanda and I had agreed that we’d try and get me out of the house, at least beyond the front door today. I had a strange feeling through out my body, I felt shaky and unstable, I was beyond my bedroom door now and headed nervously toward to front door. Amanda let go of my hand and I stumbled uncertainly, approaching the open door, I could smell freshly cut grass, it was welcoming, my nose twitched. I took a deep breath, filled my lungs with fresh air and came to a complete stand still, I wanted to step forward but my leg wouldn’t allow it. I looked back at Amanda and my mum, they nodded at me as if to urge me forward, I tried to tell them that I wanted to but couldn’t then my body turned to face them and I found myself walking toward Amanda, she pointed over my shoulder and told me not to give up.
I was shaking, I reached out to hug my mum and fell flat on my face, my vision turned black and the next thing I remembered, I opened my eyes to a voice ‘are you ok?’ I replied ‘huh? Whu.. What’s going o-on?’ Amanda appeared in front of me and handed me a glass of water. ‘You fainted, must’ve been too much excitement in one day’ she giggled, I paid her no mind, I was feeling sensitive and didn’t appreciate her laughing at my expense. I would question her about it later, I sipped my water and brought myself to my feet.
I spent a few days mulling over what had happened in the hallway, I have to be stronger than that. I moved my things from the basement to the spare room upstairs, it was a lot smaller than my old habitat, I closed the door & pulled the curtains closed. A few hours had past and I still felt weird, like I didn’t belong here, it’s funny, I knew this was still my home but I felt out of place. Perhaps I had spent too much time in the basement dwelling on my insecurities, this was progression, a move upwards into the open space of the house. My mum suggested that I leave my room door open and open the window, she reminded me that I’d be safe and there was nobody to embarrass myself in front of, I didn’t like the idea, but then I wasn’t crazy about the idea of moving out of my accustomed environment.
It had been 3 weeks since I started taking the SSRI pills, I was still very self conscious and insecure about being out in open spaces, in front of the prying eyes of my neighbours and their kids, would they judge me? Dead cert. Although I wasn’t overcome with confidence, I was feeling less rough around the edges, maybe I could venture into the back garden? I phoned Amanda and told her I wanted to try and get out, she came straight over. Less than twenty minutes had passed when Amanda showed up, bright eyed and bushy tailed, as usual. ‘Right mister, you ready to go on your travels?’ she joked, I chuckled along with her, which to her was something out of the ordinary. I could see she was psyched and I didn’t want to let her down. I took one deep breathe and crossed the divide between my house & my back garden, I did it, I was standing in my back garden and I felt fine.
I was shaken by an abrupt breaking sound, I jerked forward, opened my eyes and couldn’t believe what I was seeing, I was back in the basement. Had I ever left? ‘What the fuck is happening to me?’ I phoned Amanda and told her that I had to talk. She arrived with in twenty minutes and was sat in front of me, waiting to hear what was so important that she had to drop everything. ‘I was out of the room!’ she looked excited, ‘go on.. I’m enticed’ she encouraged me ‘I was outside the house!’ she said ‘don’t lie to me, Alex, I won’t stand for it’. I sulked and told her what really happened, she leaned over and hugged me ‘at least you weren’t being tormented by the fictitious creatures your mind has burdened you with’ I snapped ‘No! instead I was teased. It felt so real!’. ‘Why don’t you re-enact what happened in your dream? Maybe it was a sign, maybe you’re ready to try again.’
We started putting my things into boxes, Amanda and my mum took the boxes to the room upstairs awaiting me. I walked slowly towards my room door, thinking about leaving the basement behind, my only memories of the small dark room were fear, panic and depression yet, I couldn’t bring myself to terms with it. I felt like I was leaving a friend behind and I’d never see him again, yet I would only be up stairs, in the same house, less than 5 minutes from my old head quarters.
*bows* thank you, you've been a great audiance..