in the end, my facebook friend david janis was not able to see me. i felt a sense of failure, but i also felt like i understood him completely: i have had anticipation anxiety suck much of the pleasure out of experiences and i’ve often cancelled when i can’t fathom how i could get from point a to point b in an experience. nonetheless, david–who is an inspiration to many agoraphobics through the magic of the internet–shared this with me:
A Positive Side to Agoraphobia
by David Janis
We are writers, painters, musicians, crafters, gardeners and teachers. We possess imaginations that extend well beyond that of the “normal” person. We have broad emotional feelings that reach far deeper than your neighbors. We have learned how to live with ourselves, and accept who we are despite our limitations. When we love it is unconditional and when we befriend it will be for life. We speak the truth for there is no point in lying anymore. Our fears run extremely deep but no one is better equipped to handle them. Fear is a daily occurrence for us and if you believe that practice makes perfect, we have become experts in dealing with this demon. Yes, we are prisoners in our homes but that is only a physical limitation. Mentally we are very sharp, witty and extremely intelligent. This becomes so obvious in the words that we write, pictures we paint, songs we write and gardens we grow. We may not run a mile everyday but or minds are strong and powerful.
In the grand scheme of things, is it important that we are afraid of grocery stores or that we eat? Every agoraphobic I know is afraid to shop for food and yet not one of us ever misses a meal. That is called, identifying the problem and fixing it, and I could easily site twenty examples of this ingenuity if called upon to do so.
We have experienced some of the worst situations that life can throw at one person. Public and private ridicule, expulsion from family, accusations of lying and laziness, taking a free ride and probably the worst, our loved ones and friends have forsaken us. Who else do you know would still be standing as we are, not many, I assure you! All one needs to do is read the daily posts on our forum to see the strength of the people this plague has swallowed. We are articulate, insightful, compassionate, and opinionated. We are firm in our resolve to either beat this affliction or live with it peacefully. We are strong!
So I say to you today, embrace the life you have been given and steer around the bumps and potholes. If you cannot leave your house today, write something, build something or grow something. It is not a curse to be housebound, it is a hurdle, a hurdle that you may choose to jump over, or not. Either way, you are just as important to this earth as the president, the pope and Oprah.
What validates you? Is it your bank account or your car? Could it be the house you live in or the company you keep? Maybe it’s because you’re pretty or handsome! What makes you a contributing member of the human race? I can’t answer this one, only you know if your existence is with reason. I can tell you this much, we all have a purpose and we are all incredible people. So go and write a poem, paint an abstract, compose a ballad, start a scrapbook, plant a garden and share your knowledge with whoever will listen, just remember, agoraphobia is only a small part of who you are. All of us that know you, know this to be true, the question is, do you?