7 March 2015 Agoraphobia, Reclusiveness and Anthropophobia

Extreme or irrational fear of open or public places.
Avoiding the company of other peoplesolitary
irrational pathological fear of people or human company

When I am unwell, mostly when I’m depressed but also sometimes when I am manic, I suffer from the above conditions.  I am sure my experiences of them are not as extreme as other peoples, but I experience them to some extent, enough of an extent that it negatively impacts my life.  The degree to which I suffer depends on how unwell I am and I don’t always have all three, I may only have one or two of them at a time, all three if I am very unwell.  The reclusiveness is in fact bought on by the agoraphobia and the anthropophobia, being reclusive allows me to avoid the discomfort bought on by them.

There are a small group of people whom I am comfortable seeing or being around even when I am afflicted with these conditions.  My husband of course, his family (although I will be in the same house as them but will lock myself away in my room for much of the time) and a small group of friends (although only for short periods of time and in a setting I feel comfortable in, a private home (theirs or my in-laws) rather than a public place.

Being that I live in Chinchilla, when I am at home it is easy for me to be reclusive and avoid places or people in general, this makes me feel better at the time but in fact is not good for my mental health because it feeds into my condition.  When I am unwell, as I am now, I come to Brisbane for treatment.  I stay with my in-laws and I am closer to friends and family in general.  This leads to people visiting me or arranging to meet me places to catch up and forces me to step out of my comfort zone and tackle these conditions head on.  It is not easy and I often chicken out at the last minute and cancel plans made to see people or go places.  But slowly as I get better I will begin to venture out of the house and go and interact with people despite my discomfort.  I rationally know that these conditions are purely a symptom of my bipolar disorder and that there is no real threat to my safety or my sanity, and that challenging my anxiety will do me good in the long run.

So today I tell the world about my fears as a way to tackle them head on and I ask my friends and family to support me in my quest to over-ride my anxiety and be social and venture out of my comfort zone, both physically and metaphorically.  I also apologise for the many times I have cancelled plans with you and I hope that reading this article gives you some understanding as to why I have done that so many times in the past.  I know that with your support I can overcome these phobias and get one step closer to mental health.  I also hope this article helps other people experiencing similar symptoms to know they are not alone and to know there is hope.  It is possible to challenge these emotions, it takes hard work and courage but I am sure it is possible and I’m working on doing it myself right now.