Hello to all readers. It’s the third day of my agoraphobia challenge, and today has been an easier day, as anticipated. The effort needed to tolerate my anxieties is very tiring, so I knew I needed to be upfront about that, and not to do too much. After a slow morning in my room, I walked a longer way round to see my family, crossing a large playing field. That might not sound very significant to most people, but as I was doing it, I spent the time reflecting on the first time my agoraphobia really burst right out into the open. This was when I had a dreadful panic attack whilst crossing a grassy area close to my home. I had no idea what it was, or what had caused it. The strength of the fear precipitated an instantaneous avoidance of going out alone. Of course, I now know that avoidance only makes fear worse, but I had everything to lean then, and no internet to fall back on.
Eventually, I confided in a hospital physiotherapist, asking her if she’d ever heard of anyone feeling as I described. She gave me a strange, hard look, and said that she’d never known anyone at all like me. It was many years before I mentioned it to anyone else again.
Anyway, enough about the past. After lunch we went to Wicken Fen, as planned. It’s the most beautiful place of water, reeds and woodland. I took all the sights and smells, colours and textures in as much as I could, storing them in my memory, so I can imagine myself there again at will.
This evening I’ll be taking the family out for dinner. It will be noisy and busy, but it’s only a couple of hundred yards up the road, so shouldn’t be too challenging. There have been plenty of meals interrupted by panic in the past, but I’ve practiced enough to be pretty confident of coping, by the use of my standard techniques of patience, endurance, going to the loo for a few minutes alone, and holding the wooden cross I always keep in my left-hand pocket!
Here is this evening’s prayer, a celebration of the natural beauty I experienced all around me this afternoon:
One with you
You are everywhere –
Throughout this little earth,
And far beyond.
Your glory spills from
Everything you make,
For you are one
With all created things,
And all created things
Are one with you.
I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength support me (Psalm 139:9-10; NLT).
The Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them (Exodus 20:11; NLT).
Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky” (Genesis 1:14; NLT).
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands (Psalm 19:1-2; NIV).
Whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17; NIV).