I have written some previously about my inability to physically go anywhere but one or two places and how I have become almost entirely agoraphobic because I suffer from overwhelming fear & panic while in public as well as most social situations.
This is the most frequent topic of conversation with my grief councillor. He always wants to know how I’m doing, stepping back into these situations and my answer is usually the same. I let him know that I still have not attempted any more than I had the last time we spoke and once again explain how these things have just become of no real importance to me.
He always seems fairly bothered by and even perplexed with my answer. So I will explain my personal stance on why I haven’t been rushing back out into the world.
By now, even if this is the first time you have read anything I’ve shared, it should be pretty clear that I have withdrawn from most every public & social situation and how these things tend to cause me emotional distress. I can however, step back, take a look at myself from other’s perspective and understand why my councillor and some of my loved ones get concerned. I do get it; It probably looks a great deal like defeat from the outside. To me it’s not my defeat though.
I have made a conscious decision not to place myself into unnecessary settings which cause me overwhelming stress and anxiety. This does not mean that I have given up on life. To me, these things are just not of huge priority right now and I realize how they can cause a significant set back for me emotionally. I have much more important things to accomplish and/or tend to first.
First, I have to focus on my survival because I’m beginning to understand how important I still am and know I have to keep my mind as sane as possible. I do have to remember the importance of my mental stability. I have been through a lot; I think that is understood by both my councilor and loved ones at this point and just saying “a lot” is clearly an understatement. I continue to go through and face so much every day. I still have yet to run out of brand new, challenging emotions & life adjustments to face related to my grief too. There really does seem to be an endless array of obstacles and transitions after the loss of your child. This has been my experience anyway. So for now, I have to focus on understanding and surviving these things before I can jeopardize the tiny piece of calmness I’ve found since Maddy left this world just over two years ago.
To me, personally, going to a grocery or department store, home improvement or super center, movie, out to dinner at a restaurant, on vacation, etc., just doesn’t seem all that important at this time. It’s not that I do not plan or even want to re-enter the world doing these things; it’s just that for now, I’ve decided to put these things on an unofficial hold. On hold, until I can become more comfortable in my own skin and more accepting of the idea that all these things no longer revolve almost entirely around my daughter. I have to find a little bit of myself first. I also have to figure out my new identity and learn who this person now staring me in the mirror is. I have to learn my purpose in life again.
While I’m doing all of this, in my opinion, running errands and going places socially can just wait. It’s my choice, but it’s not my defeat.
I will do these things in my own time and when I am ready.
What do I know though? I’m just human.