I am familiar with agoraphobia, not just as a mental health crisis responder but because my own mental illness has manifested into periods of debilitating anxiety. What I now refer to as the breakdown of 2007, was a period of my life where I was struggling with many issues and my mental health suffered greatly as a result. I found it difficult to leave my house and the comfort zone of my home. Staying home as much as possible was the only way I could maintain some sense of sanity, when I was feeling anything but sane. I lived in this state of chronic agoraphobia for many days. This turned into many months and eventually it passed the one-year mark.
I left my house only when I absolutely had to, and it felt exhausting both mentally and physically. The process of trying to convince myself that I could leave my house, be okay after I leave my house, and get through the task of whatever I needed to do outside of my house was draining. Reflecting back, I feel a deep sadness for that time in my life that I felt tortured by my own brain.
Eventually, I got out of that dark place that I felt cemented in for so long through counseling, self-care, my 12-step recovery program and sometimes sheer determination not to live the rest of my life that way. I had to engage in exposure therapy and be an active participant in the world that I was finding so scary to be part of. It was not an easy mission and there were times I felt suicidal, but I knew that I had to fight for my life.
The agoraphobia subsided and eventually life returned to a somewhat normal rhythm. When I say normal