Agoraphobia?

Yesterday was Memorial Day in the U.S. For those of you expecting a post from me yesterday, I do apologize that it did not happen. I am having a really hard time with this isolation business and the pandemic and my mental state. I feel cut off. I feel alone. I feel like I cannot go anywhere or do anything, and even the eye contact received behind the masks is hollow communication to me at this point. I have trouble socially because I do not trust people (PTSD thing). The masks remind me of the Middle East–the burquas and shemaghs. Seeing my doctor via telemedicine has been the most difficult. I feel like I am talking to a game show host or a newscaster. I cannot ascertain body position or gestures, only facial expressions and tone of voice (at least I have those). Eye contact, if you have not noticed, is not real in these situations because you are looking at the person on the screen, not at the camera. Your eyes are always looking slightly below the camera when you are communicating this way, and it is less than satisfactory. It is as if you are an ant crawling about on the floor. Fortunately, I trust my doctor with my life, so I do not feel threatened, but feeling like an ant on the floor is somewhat unnerving. That is why I feel it is not real communication. I am talking to a computer screen, not a person. Now, lest this be taken as a complaint, let me make it clear that it is not a complaint, but instead a set of observations made by a very scared and frustrated person who may well be going insane. I called my doctor’s office for a coaching moment and hopefully, the Doc will get the message and give me a call at his earliest convenience… today. I had a panic attack earlier today when I went outside and I fear that I am becoming a true shut-in. You know, the type that does not come out of the basement even when they can. I have not been hanging out at the climbing gym or climbing, which is not like me at all, and I have not been going to the Adaptive Performance Center (APC), or the regular gym, as it were. I have friends at both places and people to do these activities with at both places. Yesterday, I managed to drive to the city to meet with two fellow Veteran friends of mine and have watermelon outside on the porch to celebrate Memorial Day. The fresh air did me good, but I was still very jumpy. Something is wrong. Really wrong. My PTSD is really acting up and I do not know what to do about it. Medications are not going to fix this. I have to find something to do about it. Action involving both my frontal lobes and my motor skills. Climbing would be ideal…if I was not having panic attacks on the way out the front door of my mom’s house!  This is not good, and that is why I sincerely hope that my doctor calls back today. Not that it is going to matter whether it is today or tomorrow, because I am not planning on braving the front door again today. I am content writing and calming myself down as much as my heart rate will allow me to. It is beating like a hummingbird’s right now! I am going to try to read for a little while and see if that calms me down any. It should. Or perhaps I should keep writing. This seems to be doing me some good to talk about this. There is a mental disorder called agoraphobia–literally “fear of the marketplace”– that I am worried about developing here. This is not me being a hypochondriac. This is me being realistic and looking at the situation. I do not like the possibility at all, and I do not like the idea of my mental illness getting worse during this stupid pandemic!

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