Agrophobia Is Not Logical

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Whatever this obstacle is, it started 18 months ago, there wasn’t a moment I can pin this inability on. Inability is the right word, I’m not afraid to leave the house, I’ve driven a few times in the past year, I know how to drive and live in the same town.

Yet I have my husband take me to all my appointments even if there just a mile or two away. I never feel nervous when we’re getting ready to go, no uncomfortable feelings on the way there and no sigh of relief when we’re back home.

For the longest time, I denied I had Agrophobia but now understand people drive while suffering from Agoraphobia. The famous Chef Paula Dean was Agrophobic for years, she drove and took care of business as needed but she feared it, didn’t want to drive, couldn’t even walk around the block at one point. Her book helped me understand you can function but it still didn’t convince me I have Agoraphobia.

I feel tremendous pressure to drive to my doctor’s appointments so my husband won’t have to take off work. He has to take an average of five days a month to drive me, sometimes very short distances. Even thou he’s been with the company 20 years that is still a lot of days off. I hate to think of how many days off since 2012 when I first got sick.

There is only one factor I can come up with, my dementia. I have lost big chunks of knowledge, simple things like where I used to go shopping. I don’t remember how to get there. One other factor is our city has grown so big since I got sick nothing looks the same. We passed a restaurant we use to frequent and I barely noticed it because everything had grown around it.

I’m not sure I could drive the 30 miles to my grandparent’s house. I had to really think hard about what streets I would take, exits, what freeways and then doing in reverse. My husband David said he wouldn’t feel comfortable with me driving to their house.

Is this the root cause? Am I afraid of getting lost, not being able to take care of myself as before or forgetting my phone, which I did the first appointments I drove to. Not only did I get lost but forgot my phone. Another small part is I have a different car than before. My previous car was a sexy BMW hot rod and I knew how fast it could get to the on the ramp. I now have a Suburu which is really cool but not the same get up and go. I’m still adjusting to how fast I have to turn in front of someone and all the good things you learn when you get a new vehicle. My Suburu is two years old and has 1300 miles on it. I have driven about 15 of those miles.

Does any of this make sense, is the real issue my dementia and I’m trying to avoid admitting?

Please give any feedback you have, I want to hear every thought and idea. Thanks a million.

Melinda

18 Comments »

  1. Great post, Melinda. I’m sorry you have to deal with this. I experience something similar, though not Agoraphobia nor Dementia related. I have a terrible time driving and will now only do it on backroads. I have spells and if one comes on while out, it’s dangerous to drive. For me, I believe that it’s the fear of one of these spells and the fear of being so terribly vulnerable in the world we live in. I used to be fiercely independent and now I’m always afraid to go out alone or to drive. Just my two cents. JoAnna and Caz offered some great solutions. I write everything down before leaving, myself!

    Liked by 1 person

      • I could have written the same post minus all the work you’ve done. My husband has gone far beyond what I thought marriage was about but cleaning is not his strength. We have the money for a maid and have I just haven’t gone thru the process of finding one, then hiding everything important, but it’s worth it in the long run. I did duster the living room on Sunday and straighten up. I’m close to giving myself a break, it’s still dealing with the I can do everything ego. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Or feeling like we “should” be able to deal with everything. I agree. It’s crazy to think of all my Husband has to do to support me. It’s far from what I thought in the beginning. I never take him for granted and am grateful for all he does. But cleaning isn’t Bri’s thing either. He takes care of our monstrous yard and works a ton! So I hate asking him for help inside!! I’ve done the maid thing twice, but it’s expensive and I wasn’t always happy with the work. So now I do it. It just isn’t as often or as clean as I’d like it to be. So more conversation for therapy, right? I think this is probably something we all contend with, no?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes we all must deal with. I’m doing better right now so we went to lunch the other day after a doctor’s appointment. It was nice then we went into a shop where I found a couple of items for the kitchen. It was actually a good day and he was happy to. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I can imagine the anxiety. I don’t think I have dementia as a diagnosis, but my mind isn’t always as sharp as it once was and I occasionally get confused about something that used to be easy. It’s like I have to back up and regroup. When we were temporarily re-located at my parents’ old house, I stayed home a lot. I got used to it and liked it. Now, I’m going out a lot more, running errands, etc., but I love days when I don’t go anywhere. When I drove myself to the mountains, I wrote down directions and made a detailed map. I’ve also used GPS, so I was thinking that might help you, too, even for short trips. I suggest driving very short distances to places you like or that feel good, a coffee shop? A park? Or just around the neighborhood. Keep it simple. If you have written or drawn directions to consult, you could listen to music. Maybe you could make up a little song with directions to where you’re going or landmarks. Some people will think this is crazy, but I like making up little songs. At the very least, talk nice to yourself. Do you have somewhere close by you could drive to that you could become comfortable with? I’ll say a prayer for you to become more comfortable with driving and ask angels to be there with you when you drive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re the greatest Joanna
      My local coffee shop moved but there are many others. We live in a town with a Starbucks on every corner. I think you’re on to something with the GPS, someone suggested it yesterday too. What I need is the type of GPS that talks to you….looking at a map can get confusing on a bad day. I wouldn’t think I’d drive on bad days. I make up songs all the time to, mostly to my dogs. At least they know I’m talking to them.
      I believe now that I have a better idea of what is going on in my mind and talking to my therapist, I’ll be able to venture out. I’t’s a 100 degrees and I just had major surgery so I’m in no hurry to get out in weather. I’m also being lazy right now, it’s a low grade depression probably caused from the above. I know better days are ahead. Thank you for the prayers, I’ll take all I can get. Angels are very nice to have along on a trip.
      Have a great day.

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  3. Oh Melinda, I’m so sorry you’re struggling with this. I imagine it’s very anxiety-producing & limiting. If you, for example, wanted to walk rather than drive twenty minutes from your home to get to a shop, would that also fill you with anxiety? I do think you’re probably on to something with the dementia in the sense of that loss of confidence, the worry it causes not trusting yourself. I just wonder whether, if you do various things to be as prepared as possible (whatever they may be, lists for what to take with you so you don’t forget anything, being more happy with your car after getting more used to it, a sat nav or map on your phone for when you leave the house etc) could help you feel more confident, then less anxious and more able to go out..? I’m sorry I can’t be much help here, but I’m sending hugs ♥
    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Caz
      You’ve given me some great ideas, being prepared on my phone would help. I have a nav system in my car…the problem is I forget how to use. I need to write out directions on how to use the car nav. Thank you for commenting, every idea will help.

      Liked by 1 person

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