Thanks to much introspective delving, I think I’m finally starting to get a grasp on the root causes of the agoraphobia and anxiety issues. It’s been five years since I first started having acute symptoms of agoraphobia and decades since the anxiety started rearing its ugly head. So, it’s about time, in my view, it’s explained itself.
During my formative years, I lived in a really bad neighborhood. That part is no secret. I never tried to hide that from anyone and I’ve been proud that, while I am a product of that neighborhood, I didn’t let it become an integral part of my personality.
What I didn’t go into was just how bad it was there for me personally. I was the frequent target of physical, psychological and even sexual abuse at the hands of several people in that neighborhood. It got to the point where, as a child, I didn’t leave the apartment I grew up it. I wasn’t agoraphobic at the time, I just didn’t have many, if any, friends who’d take my side.
The abuse came from both adults and children. So, there was no safe place to go. I can remember walking down the street with my mother, on our way home, and boys throwing rocks at me for no reason. They were careful not to hit my mother, who was (obviously) an adult but I was fair game.
I can remember adults making horribly disparaging comments on everything from my issue with Precocious Puberty to my weight to my color and anything else they could pick on. A neighbor’s daughter once yelled out for the neighborhood to hear that I was “a bitch” with no justifiable reason for saying such a thing. By this point, I would just accept the abuse, ignoring it, and go on with my day. After all, it’s not like I had anywhere to run to or anyone, save my mother, to defend me. The abuse went on from there.
So, I learned to amuse myself and became enamored with scientific subjects as shown on PBS. Where most kids spent their Summers outside playing and partying, I spent my time indoors watching the Summer television schedule. When I wasn’t doing that, I was putting what I’d seen on television into practice by committing science experiements. When I wasn’t doing scientific experiments, I was at the Library, having knowledge orgies by checking out and reading forty books at a time before returning them a week and a half later for more books.
Thanks to rational introspection, I’m finally starting to see the threads that connect these issues from my childhood to my current condition. I’m still expecting the rocks and verbal barbs to come flying. I’m still expecting viciousness when I don’t live in a vicious neighborhood anymore. When I’m in a crowd of people, I go into my shell because I’m expecting, at any moment, for the insults and fists to come flying my way. This thought process isn’t justified. Not anymore.
Recently, I’ve been able to go out, by myself, and rather than getting the expected attacks, I had a pleasant time, but for the anxiety settled firmly in my chest.
I’m putting a timetable on this condition. By this time two years from now, I want to be able to say that I am no longer agoraphobic and that my anxiety is considerably lessened.