Being back at home is hard work. The smallest things like going to the supermarket and being around a lot of people at once are things that I am noticeably finding very difficult. I look out the window and feel paranoia about just taking the dogs for a walk. I feel safe inside my flat but as soon as I leave I feel very vulnerable and desperate to go back home again. I start feeling the initial twinges of a panic attack starting which makes me feel incredibly confused and isolated and scared. Scared of the outside world. Welcome back agoraphobia, oh how I’ve missed you.
In hospital I guess you get used to the smaller number of faces, the relaxed structure, the place where you don’t have to try to rush around trying to help and please people, where you don’t even have to think so far as to what food to buy or what the hell to cook. Is this how people become institutionalized? It makes me wonder how many are just genuinely completely stuck in the system so that’s why they are in hospital for long long periods of time and how many just stay there for an easier life. Did I really say that out loud? An easier life? In a psych hospital? With all those people with all their various stages of mental illnesses wandering around?
But I could just shut the door and shut them out – the wandering patients that is.
Back here I can’t just shut everything out because she – no longer pregnant friend – is on the phone every few hours wanting to know when I’m going to go and help her get her food shopping and I have an appointment with my psychologist to attend in a few hours and the dogs need walked and I need showered and dressed and knowing there are so many things to do in such a short space of time just makes me want to hide from the world. So I switch phones off or don’t answer text messages and then they all go into worry mode… it just isn’t normal to want to hibernate on my own so much and can’t I see that by doing my hibernation stuff then that is when I begin to make everyone worry. Where the hell is the harm in just wanting some peace and alone time without other people i.e. no longer pregnant friend or my parents or whomever thinking this is a ‘bad sign’ for my mental health.
I feel torn between the boredom and long days and being in the middle of nowhere where I had no responsibilities and nothing to fulfill to make other people happy – and this – being back in the safety of my nice little flat but where they all want daily contact with me. And I can see the bigger picture I know they are just worried for me and therefore even a five minute chat on the phone would ‘put our minds at rest’ but is this how it’s going to be? Me having to build up their trust again over whether or not I am safe or suicidal that day. Argh. I really do just want a day or two of absolute peace but round we go again – I make people worry and I don’t want them to worry so I go out to wherever they want me to go and have dinner or spend three hours listening to a 5 week old and a 2 year old toddler screaming for a few hours.
I told the psych at my review on Monday that the current way I was (in a mental hospital) was no way for me to be living and how I wanted to get my life back. Only the agoraphobia is trying to fill me up with indescribable fear of just walking out the front door. What do I actually want for my life? I have to think about that one.