Tuesday, 5 March 2013

As part of my ongoing therapy for agoraphobia/anxiety I have had to put in place "Assertive Intervention" and the following is sort of using this theory.  Assertiveness is being able to stand up for your rights, beliefs in a manner that does not offend or deny the rights of others.  In this example, I am using opinions - we should all have an opinion or an understanding but its how you put those opinions across that can be hurtful and if you have little or no understanding of the person, their problems etc your opinion can often hurt.
Dear Whoever,
I have been saddened over the last week over the increase in animosity or lack of understanding involved with anxiety and/or agoraphobia.
I sadly was unable to attend a much needed operation, not a matter of life or death operation, but deemed by the Consultant as entirely necessary.  An operation that was going to improve my quality of life and hopefully amongst other more sensitive, delicate "too much information" matters stop the pain that I have been in for some time.
Unfortunately my chronic agoraphobia and anxiety got the better of me and the option of the operation actually taking place was removed.
Ive felt deflated, desperate, stupid and angry, not enough this but others have felt the need to question my need and why the operation couldn't take place.
Had I have had a cold, virus or the hospital would have cancelled I'm sure this would have been perfectly acceptable in most peoples eyes. BUT NO I had anxiety and agoraphobia and this gives people the right to say what they like and how they like.
I don't want sympathy or pity just some understanding.  There was a commercial recently surrounding Mental Health, asking us to "talk", however it seems that physical illness will always take priority of over mental illness.  I am in no way detracting from any ones physical illness, just don't judge because you cant see it.
Often I have had people say "well you don't want  to go out" wrong I cant - would you state to someone with the use of only one leg "you don't want to walk" NO of course you wouldn't.
I have counselling - people around me have often frowned upon this, don't want to talk about, don't accept it in the same light as other NHS treatment, have been hurtful about it BUT look at it another way- if I had certain health problems I would be given physio - this would enable my limbs to work better, for an injury to be healed, to ease pain - so lets say counselling is physio for the mind - does it sit better now?
Ive always tried to be compassionate of others difficulties, health and views etc sometimes I may not have agreed with their actions or needs but for the sake of their feelings Ive kept my opinions to myself. 
I am in awe of people who can get up, deal with their difficulties, are never scared, can do anything, their lives seemingly perfect - do you know how perfect you are? or do you think you are perfect? I admire your confidence- sadly not everyone has your confidence.
Don't say in an over dramatic sarcastic way "oh I thought i was getting like you" - getting like me!, this is hurtful, can damage months of confidence building in an instant.  I'm sure none of us would dream of saying to a physically impaired person "oh I thought I was getting like you" - I hope you don't get like me, I would not wish this on anyone but by the way - its not catching!!!
When you walk past houses in the street have you ever wondered is there an elderly person in there lonely, on their own.  Do they need something doing or someone to talk to? are they in pain?  Do they need shopping or a prescription?  I know I have in the past.  Change that to - there is a person in that house who cant leave because they have anxiety and agoraphobia - they are lonely, they need some shopping, they haven't seen anyone for days.  They wish they were able to do it, just get on with life.  That the pain they feel would go away - is there a difference between these two scenarios.
Ive seen people walk past, get in their cars, go shopping and Ive cried and cried wishing I could do that, wishing that physio would make my mind able again.
So to put this into the method - I understand you have views, you want to say your opinion, but do you know how hurtful what you are saying can be and that maybe no thought or understanding or compassion has been put into it.  So to end, from now on think before you give an opinion or a comment, would you want it said to you, in that way.  Because some of the comments and opinions Ive received over the last week especially have been hurtful.
Mrs Behind the Door xx
PS Iam getting better, one day Im going to be better than I am, my confidence is growing (maybe in the wrong direction ha ha) - I wouldnt have done the above a while back - Im trying to stand up for myself and this was one way I thought I could say what I felt x


  1. What a powerful and thought provoking post Jaqueline. I hope that by writing down some of your feelings you have gained some more confidence. Beginning to talk about your situation is a good positive move forward. Its difficult to imagine what you are going through but by talking about it here you are giving an insight into a small part of your daily struggle.
    Thinking of you on the days you find things tough, and at those times when you can celebrate that you continue your positive steps on your journey.
    Ali x

  2. I read your post this morning and have been thinking about you all day. It was humbling,moving and touched my heart.

    I only wish you could point all the people who do not treat you with the sensitivity you deserve towards this post.

    Take care of yourself,love yourself and most of all accept yourself for the special,unique reason you are.

  3. Special, unique person you are!

  4. People can be so cruel and totally unaware of how difficult it can be for others just to face the day. I know you can do this - when you are ready.........and if I can help or assist you in your quest then please don't hesitate to get in touch - you really are the bravest special person I know and I am proud to call you friend......

  5. Physio of the mind, excellent way to express it. I understand and am greatfull to have you as a kind friend. I suffer from claustrophobia and have struggled with the simple things too, my home is my sanctuary - as long as I can open the doors and windows whenever needed and take big deep gulps of air.

  6. Hello, Jaqueline. This post made me think and I learned a lot from it. I just nominated you for a Liebster Award. See my blog at
    I hope you find time to play along. Best wishes, Una, Great Balls of Wool.

  7. Hi Jaqueline,
    Have just read your post and agree with everything you say in it. I too have agoraphobia and have done since I was 9years old after my Dad died. It hasbeen off and on and now have depression and anxiety as well. I have a son of 41 who has just lost his wife to cancer. He has never accepted me having this illness and has done nothing to help me and just does not understand. I'm very lonely as I've lost all my friends due to IT they got fed up asking me to go out and then listening to my excuses and lies
    as to why I couldn't go. I couldn't bring myself to tell people hadit. Oh I could go on forever but I must stop. This time I've had it for 8 years and how I wish I could get rid of it and be NORMAL again. If you feel like a chat at any time I'm here same as you stuck in doors watching normal people doing normal things that I can't do!!
    I must go now and do some more knitting or crochet maybe for a change.
    Best Wishes,
    Rae rstevens4