Sep 072005

So yesterday I needed to go to the barber shop. I was looking forward to it, and my wife was looking forward to it. I was going to walk down to the street corner and get my hair cut and come back. Simple.

I could not bring myself to walk out that door. I was gripped with terror. The worse part was that I couldn’t even say what I was afraid of. I wasn’t afraid of getting mugged, getting lost or getting a bad haircut. I was just scared shitless. My stomach rebelled and I found every excuse to stay at home where it was safe.

Obviously I have a problem. I’ve always been shy, and I’ve always been reluctant to meet new people but I have never understood why. I have lost relationships because I couldn’t leave the house some days. I thought I was just the world’s biggest chicken.

Apparently I am not a chicken, I have agoraphobia. I used to think that was the fear of open spaces, but after doing some research I have discovered that it is a term for people who create safety zones and are terrified of leaving them. For me, it’s going outside by myself. If my wife or a loved one is with me, I do a lot better and am even adventerous. Those comfort zones however don’t extend to the phone where I somedays can’t even order myself a pizza. Going out to ride the bus is a terror. Getting a job is something I desperately need to do but I just can’t see how I can do it. It scares me to death.

I think the fears extended into my wrtiting when I decided to try to go professional. Looking back, I can see how writing for a different audience took me out of my comfort zone and made it as hard as going on a MARTA bus ride. That understanding makes it easier for me to see why I have been unable to write but it also angers me to no end. I think my writing was a comfort zone to me in that I created a safety net.

I feel like a fragile broken person and I hate hate hate how I feel like a handicap on my wife. Now that I have a term and a condition to use instead of just calling myself a coward, I can find ways of coping. I can read, learn and adapt. Agoraphobia is much easier to deal with than just thinking I am a chicken of the Nth degree.

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