I’ve always had a difficult time letting the world know about any of my mental illnesses. I have always been my biggest judge so I seldom let anyone else in for fear of being judged by them as well. By sharing my story, picture and name attached, I hope to not only inspire others to open up but in hopes of letting the shame I feel go too. Though I’ve suffered from many different types of mental illnesses for as far back as I can remember, agoraphobia seems to be the one most misunderstood even by my own family so here’s my story in the form of a poem.
How to leave home (Agoraphobic addition)
Step 1. Take a step towards your door and reach out towards the lock.
Step 2. Take a huge step back and realize you’re no where close to turning that knob
Step 3. Remember what others have said, step one isn’t so bad
you won’t get hurt just by opening a door
Step 4. Pay no attention to the false premonitions now playing out in your head
Don’t listen, don’t listen, don’t listen!! Don’t look! People aren’t watching you
can’t see the panic tearing up your guts, ripping out whatever strength you had left can’t see the ugly parts
they can’t look that deep.
Or Can they look that deep?
Oh god they’re all going to look that deep!
stare into my weakness and judgement will be passed
They must notice my ever present distance from the world
So why do people want to come in so closely, that I can hear their breath.. Its terrifying coming so close
coming to kill me
I can’t breath
I know Someone’s going to kidnap me at least
is it still kidnapping after 18?
I’m gonna die
I really can’t breath
Think about it, what if I have to cross street, car, boom, smash crashes into me
Im gonna die
No crossing streets
Bridges are out
What if it collapses
that’s for sure to happen
No streets or bridges
so a car in my future is out of the question
I can’t breath I can’t breath!
If I were to leave
they’ll all see me freaking out like this
They can’t see me freaking out like this
Oh fuck now I’m freaking out
legs trembling, sick feeling in my stomach
Completely drenched in sweat
most definitely not taking a single step not like this
I can’t leave because I’m not even alive
Step 5. Please calm down! Brain stop thinking body stop reacting
anxiety take your meds..
Forget there ever was a step one for now
Step 6. Don’t let your inaction get you down, wash the black tear stains off your face
Change your clothes. Breath. look for a reason any reason to believe today, you will make it happen
Step 7. Explain Why the hell you’re laying in that hole of a bed again, sweat pants, a tee, and sheets drenched in tears
Weeping only muffled out by the blasting of netflix.
What happened to trying steps 1 through 6?
Is there even a point to 8?
And then there’s Step 9. After you stop crying and being angry but before you start to hate yourself for giving in so quickly and continuing this pattern
Pretend tomorrow it will all be different
Pretend Tomorrow 1 step will be a dozen more maybe even 100. Tomorrow you’ll walk to the moon, all the way to the stars,
And finally Step 10. Right before you fall asleep, remember step 9 is the only reason you even woke up today
That little make believe sprinkles the idea that soon you’ll be free of having to take steps to nowhere
no more circling your home in an effort to leave your home the cycle will end if I just keep pretending that one day
One of these days I won’t need Xanax plus a few drinks to complete step 1. One of these days I’ll finish step 1 and forever erase steps 2 through 10
Step 1. Take a step towards my door and reach out towards the lock, turn knob …. now live