Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Agoraphobia is as scary as it sounds

An extremely unwelcome visitor that accompanied my post-partum anxiety was a mild case of agoraphobia. I'm not sure if it was a side effect or a symptom, but either way, it was all too real and incapacitating. The psychiatrist I saw back in January encouraged me to try to overcome it as soon as I started feeling better.

For those who aren't familiar, agoraphobia (according to Merriam-Webster) is an abnormal fear of being helpless in an embarrassing or unescapable situation that is characterized especially by the avoidance of open or public places. Basically, for months, I've been afraid to leave the house. What was I scared of? I'm not even sure that I can delineate it. Maybe that I would encounter a situation that I wouldn't be able to handle (like a Carina tantrum coupled with a baby poopsplosion) and that I'd have an anxiety attack in public.

There have been times when I've realized that I haven't been outside (further than our front porch to get the mail) in a week. At one point, it reached 2 weeks. This was -- and still is -- horribly embarrassing for me, even though I know it stems from anxiety. I haven't always been this way.

I've avoided talking about it until now because I wanted to wait until I had conquered it. And today, I realized I have.

Previously, I would use any excuse not to go out:
Carina has the sniffles? Have to stay home.
It's raining. shopping can wait.
Want to go for a walk, Carina? "NO!" Okay, nevermind.

This weekend, Mike wanted to go to New Haven's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. I guess it's kind of a big deal, so I begrudgingly packed up my brand new diaper bag (eee!) and we headed out.

Double stroller time!
Walking by the Yale Library on our way to the parade
Up close
Waiting for the parade to start
Oh hai, Governor Malloy!
Adorable little boy in a kilt
Me. Happy.
I'm so glad we went; we had such an amazing time. Luck would have it that the girls would both fall asleep just minutes before we got back to the car...resulting in awesome 10 minute naps.

And then today, I asked Carina if she wanted to go for a walk. "NO!" She was quite adamant. But I wanted to go out. I needed to get out of the house. A small tantrum ensued as I put on her shoes {MOMMY TAKE THEM OFFFF} but once we got to Dunkin Donuts and I handed her one with green frosting and sprinkles, she was in heaven.

And I was, too. This week I was happy to be outside the comforting {yet confining} walls of home for the first couple instances in a long time.

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