It has to be said that I am not a great out-doorsey kind of person. Given the choice of a nice ramble in the great wilds of Northamptonshire and sitting in a darkened room playing with the internet, I think you know where you’ll find me. I went on a school camp once and got blisters on the first two mile hike we took and spent the next three days looking after base camp and helping with the cooking for the rest of the class, I loved it.
Fast forward twenty years, to the past few weeks and I find myself STUCK inside. This is no common or garden not wanting to go out, this is a fear inducing paranoia slamming hatred of going out. I have been out maybe three times in the past 3-4 weeks. Twice to a relaxation group and once to a shop for milk… and I may be misremembering the milk trip.
I know what I am thinking sounds incredibly stupid and I have been told that what my delusions and paranoia stem from is totally unreasonable but still it’s there and as soon as the door opens I know with all my heart and all my twisted mind that I am being watched and spied on. When I wake up in the morning, someone has usually opened the blinds in the front room. Usually it’s mum waiting for her taxi to work or it’s us waiting for some shopping to be delivered. My computer sits right in place that it puts me in front of that exposed window. PEOPLE CAN NOW SEE ME! Well not if I re-close the blinds they can’t… and that’s what I do, before I even cross in front of them I close them again. It must infuriate Mum and my wife. I live like a vampire by choice the get it by default through living with me.
I have tried to explain to them what happens when I go out and how I feel and while they make the right noise and sympathise I am not sure I have done enough to make them understand what really goes on. I mentioned earlier that I had been out two or maybe three times in the past few weeks. The first time I went out was to a non existent Relaxation group. It had been cancelled but no one had thought to ring the attendees and tell them it had been cancelled. This left me outside and to my mind exposed to anyone who passed by. I was taken aback by the group being cancelled mostly and then the realisation that I was stood in the street like a shop window dummy finally hit and I became very self concious that anyone who wanted to follow me and keep track of me could now do this as I was stranded.
Let me take a moment to explain what’s actually going on in my head…
When I am out I think I know people are following me and watching me for various purposes. They are watching me to catch me out. Trying to catch me from claiming benefits, from having a diagnosis, from generally being me while outside the house. There has been a hell of a lot in the press in the UK about the Government wanting to cut the social fund bill. Cuts everywhere… the schools are being threatened the hospitals and healthcare are being threatened and as of late the Benefits system and it’s users are being targeted. Basically the government are wanting to get the money spent on Benefits down and they are going about it in many ingenious ways. The latest is getting your neighbours to spy on neighbours and report anyone who looks like a benefits cheat. Being paranoid like I am I am sure that half of my neighbours are just waiting for that cash incentive to grass me up. I have no inside knowledge that the government are going to offer “Incentives” to get people to report on people, but it’s only a matter of time.
The “sick” thing about all of this paranoia is that I know it’s totally irrational, and I know people have better things to do that watch me stand on a street corner waiting for a cab. I know that closing my blinds all day is more likely to attract more attention than not. It’s just that I can’t shake this over reaching gut feeling that something bad is about to happen to me and I don’t really want to be around when it does. I am being robbed of my life by my brain and it’s chemical imbalances. The support worker at the place where I go for my relaxation group asked if I needed an appointment to talk through anything…. I said no because it was just one more excuse NOT to go out and expose myself to the world.
I know this behaviour is totally irrational… and that’s the crazy thing… I don’t know how to change my way of thinking. When I had my first lot of anxiety sessions I had it all worked out and I did really well for a few months hell close to a year I was doing really well but now it’s all gone to shit and I am lost and stuck again.
One thing is really bugging me though…. I have no way of “safely” getting my next issue of Doctor Who Magazine from town next Thursday as Linda goes back to work next Wednesday. See…. Sad or what?
Until Next Time…