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[personal profile] whiteadelphi
So I'm sort of waking up on a metaphoric level and finally feeling the desire to re-engage with the world in general. Uh, probably not a huge surprise to anyone, but the lack of posting on LJ has just been a side effect of a pretty huge withdrawal from just about everything ever.

It's the main reason I decided going to university next year would be a damn good idea. And in attempting to arrange this, I found out that I have done my psyche some pretty nasty damage, apparently. e_e But in the name of trying to post here again (without the constant pessimistic voice saying "Don't bother, nobody is interested," thanks, self-esteem), lemme just explain a little further.

So some people will know I've always had trouble with a reverse sort of vertigo. I generally can't look up at tall buildings because they make me dizzy, and a building with an incredibly high ceiling (like cathedrals and airports) make me really uneasy and I will normally cling to whoever's with me, or - in absence of company - stare resolutely at the floor and hurry through and try to ignore the butterflies in my stomach.

About a week before I went to sit for my STAT test for university, I was invited out to lunch with a friend and walked through town to meet her, and found myself on a wide intersection with a church on the opposite side of the road. And in waiting for the traffic lights to change, felt increasingly uncomfortable until I reached out to cling to a traffic pole. And when the lights went green, had real difficulty letting go. >_>

Not only that, but once I did and started walking, I felt so lightheaded and panicky crossing the road that I was terrified I was going to fall over in the middle of a busy city road and start freaking out. Still. I just kept walking and made straight for the nearest door to let myself into a building and calmed down after a few seconds. NO BIGGIE. Sometimes church steeples do that, but not ...usually to those lengths. Mrr.

So anyway, that was preying on my mind. Came home, looked up "fear of falling into the sky", because the feeling I get is usually AUGH GRAVITY HELP and it's not a very nice one. >_> Found a forum where it was listed as a rare phobia. Joy! And then finding out it was a phobia as opposed to a medical vertigo condition just ...made me think about it more. >_>

So we get to the STAT test. And the night before, UG had made casual comment "Oh, it's at the recital hall." At which point I got struck by a horrible thought and looked it up.

Y U P.

So I was already nervous when I went to take it. And ended up walking through a particularly bad part of the university for buildings/high spaces on the way there. And at the point I tried to walk in, my knees folded and I just went NOPE. NO WAY IN HELL. Asked if I could sit in a side room, was told no, but by that point I'd gone stark white so the lady said she could book me into the STAT test sitting a few days later in a building that wasn't so terrifying. Ahaha. And then I kind of ran away and met Tanyth for lunch and burst into tears on her and was shaky for the rest of the day.

Okay, this? This is not me. Or it shouldn't be. I've been in high ceilinged places before and managed to deal with it, but now I was just sort of flatlining instead of going in. And the university always has their exams in places like this, so really...this was a problem.

So on Monday, I went to my doctor.

Doctor: ...okay, that's new.

Nobody's ever heard of this. Go figure. He first wondered if it was agoraphobia, and I went psh, don't be silly, I have no problem with crowds or wide spaces! He then pondered anti-anxiety medication that I could take just prior to exams, and I made faces because that sounded a little over the top.

Doctor: I mean really, I'd normally associate this kind of attack with anxiety or depression, but as you're not depressed I'm not quite sure how to go about this.
WA: Um.
WA: Actually.
WA: About that.
Doctor: ...right.

The look he gave me pretty much said You know, when you come to my office for the first time and I ask for a verbal history, I expect to hear about this sort of thing. Yes, well. I spend half my time denying I have depression and half the time convincing myself that nothing can be done about it without costing me hundreds of dollars, anyway. Although it turns out that this particular surgery actually does have counselling programs in place; that is, he referred me to a psychologist and said, "Don't worry about paying. Just go and see them, they'll talk things out with you, and we'll work out what to do from there."

And as it happens, the psychologist in question informed me kindly when I asked that no. There was no money involved. My doctor's surgery had referred me, they were paying for it, and what would happen is I'd go to see them for six visits and be referred back to my doctor after that for a check in to see how I was going, and after that it would be played by ear.

...okay. Guys. What is this marvellous efficiency. Free counselling. Why could I not have been informed about this in 2007.

Also known as: holy shit, skeevy doctor, I am so glad you retired and forced my hand.

Anyway, so. I'm seeing a psychologist. Who also raised her eyebrows when I mentioned falling into the sky. She'd never heard of it before, but promised she would ask her fellow associates to see if anyone else had. (They hadn't.) After much questioning and filling out of forms and talking about life, she pointed out the following things:

1) Yes, I was depressed as all hell, and she was going to help me fix it
2) Those reactions I was having also meant I was likely having anxiety attacks, and
3) None of this was surprising, as I'd apparently had one of the most unstable upbringings she'd ever heard of, which given I'm talking to someone who does counselling for a living is kind of impressive.

I'm pretty sure she thinks I'm too forgiving, actually, given I told her my strongest familial relationship is actually with my ex-stepmother. ("The abusive one that threw you at walls?" "Look, I understand what she was going through." ...okay, admittedly that probably does sound like I'm an apologist for physical abuse. But I didn't particularly want to air the dirty laundry on that point, okay.)

Anyway. Despite our differences on what time she thinks I should be going to bed at night (>___>), it is helping. Especially when she showed me a bunch of info on depression that...described the way I think about things incredibly accurately. Which doesn't sound helpful, but given I'd practically given up on just about everything but I was convinced it wasn't worth it and everything would just end badly, it was kind of a wake up call to the fact that it... probably wasn't that bad after all.

The upshot of everything thus far, though-- and I had to concede the point after I realised that my ill ease with high spaces had now spread to every wide intersection in town and the further I got from home, the more jittery I was-- is that I have become agoraphobic; that I have possibly always been very slightly agoraphobic, but that I have withdrawn so utterly and completely from life and kept myself shut in my house for too long that I have conditioned it unwittingly into something so much worse.

Which sucks, and I wish I'd realised that would happen, but I didn't. And UG pisses me offo n this point just slightly for the simple fact that when I mentioned this he said "Oh yeah, I could have told you that, I could see it happening."

"Well, why didn't you?" Because what.

"Well, I tried to bring it up a few times, but I coudl already see you didn't want to hear it."

See, that is also a lie, okay. Because he never has aside from you should really get out more, you need a social life. So I'm kind of annoyed at him for trying to pull that particular version of guess what, I'm smarter than you. But that's life. And he's going out with me at night to keep me company while I try and push my newfound limits (we go to the intersection that's one further along from the one closest to my house and walk around it. I twitch. A lot.).

Anyway, here is where I am now: agoraphobic with low level anxiety that I refuse to let get any further, and I'm going to university this year and I'll goddamn well suck it up, because if this agoraphobia gets any worse can you imagine me trying to backpack anywhere ever again? And on the way up from being depressed, because I actually feel like going out and seeing people again for the first time in over a year.

That's helpful, at least.

Anyway. Thought I'd actually try to re-engage with my blog as well, so... there you go. If anyone in Adelaide wants to go out walking with me and doesn't mind the occasional deathgrip on their arm, let me know, will you? |D
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April 2017

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