Mental illness

Meet The Fear Family

I didn’t think I could do anything to advocate for mental health.

I have issues. 

There are days, and sometimes weeks that I can’t bring myself to walk outside. It takes a very strong motivator, like seeing my kids, or when it becomes vital for me to eat. You know, to stay alive.

The age of online shopping is heaven for a person with agoraphobia. Amazon, eBay, and my new favorite, the Walmart Grocery Pick-Up service, make life so much easier for me; I have a lot less anxiety as well. 

The first time I ordered my groceries online, I was so thrilled to be shopping for food and breathing normally at the same time. A short time later, I received an email informing me I could pick up my groceries. 

I told the app I was on my way, apparently they can watch your trip in real time through GPS. Once I arrived a message popped up asking which stall I was in. A couple minutes later a woman walked out to my car with my groceries, she even put them in my car for me, it was amazing. When I returned home, I informed my boyfriend I was never stepping foot inside a WalMart ever again. 

Agoraphobia is such a strange thing. It’s hard to describe the way it feels exactly but I’ll try.

There is a town in the brain called the Amygdala and this neuron called Mr. Fear and his wife Nonsensical Fear live there. When I should be afraid, Mr. Fear uses his neurotransmitter which is kinda like a loudspeaker, and tells all of the other neurons that I’m scared. Every now and then however, Nonsensical gets on the loudspeaker and says some crazy shit. All the neurons know it’s inaccurate information, but what Nonsensical does is plant a seed of doubt. So these happy, healthy neurons who were perfectly content, now think it’s possible that a huge crack will open up and swallow me whole if I open my front door. I don’t know. That’s the only way I know to describe it. 

Sometimes, if I am late to an event or late for plans with someone, it’s simply because I am struggling to leave my apartment. When my brain is functioning correctly, I am never late. I hate being late for something. If I’m having anxiety over leaving the house, plus anxiety over being late, I will usually end up cancelling whatever I had planned, cry for awhile, then just go to bed, hoping that will push some kind of reset button and I will wake up normal and happy. 

The times agoraphobia is really bad are when I’m depressed, which makes sense. Depression already makes me not want to do anything. Combine depression and agoraphobia and you might as well forget about me leaving my apartment. I would probably have starved to death by now if Postmates and Doordash didn’t exist. 

Hopefully after reading this, agoraphobia makes a little more sense, although you might be confused instead. There is so much about mental illness that doesn’t make sense and thanks to a loudmouth named Nonsensical, I’m as confusing as they come. Oh well. 

You can’t have everything. 


Mental illness

“Anxiety-Ridden” Is A Way Of Life

Anxiety has been a big part of my life for a long time. I don’t really know what it’s like to not be anxious to some degree. It’s normal for me, but even with that being the case, it sucks.

Beginning as a little girl, I was sensitive to everything around me, I still am. I am what is known as an Empath. Some people don’t believe Empaths exist but I’m walking, talking, living and breathing proof of the Empaths existence.

This is the official definition from the American Empath Association: An Empath is someone who understands the mental or emotional states of others in a way that defies conventional science and psychology. Empaths have the ability to sense the feelings, thoughts, and energies of people, plants, places, or objects. In addition to sensing, Empaths absorb the energy of those around them. Empaths can also use their abilities to help others by imagining themselves in someone else’s situation and connecting with them on a deep level.

It’s not a gift, trust me. If it is a gift, who do I talk to about returns because I’m pretty sure this is not what I ordered. It sucks! I feel everything and everyone around me. Sometimes it’s very difficult to differentiate other people’s feelings from my own. It’s maddening.

One can imagine I’m sure, the amount of anxiety this little “gift” causes in my life, especially if I am in a crowded place. Imagine feeling 50, 100, 200+ different people’s emotions during a single trip to WalMart.

There are 17 different types of Empath according to The American Empath Association. I have traits of 3 types; emotional, claircognizant, and telepathic.

Dumbfounded guys saying

You might have already known about emotional Empaths as it’s what most people think of when referring to an Empath. I feel what other people feel.

Claircognizant means I can intuitively sense others intentions, often being able to tell if someone is lying. It’s the type I dislike the most. I can’t tell you how much denial I have had simply because I don’t want to be hurt or I don’t want to believe the sinister intentions of others.

Telepathic is what some call a “mind-reader”. I began to show telepathic abilities as a very small child. By the time I was 4 years old, I read my mother’s mind quite often. I didn’t think it was strange because I didn’t know any different.

I have a vivid memory of reading my mother’s mind once. She was in the kitchen thinking about getting me a swing set for my upcoming birthday. I remember hearing her just as if she were speaking out loud. To me, there was talking while moving our mouths, and also talking while saying nothing. That was normal. When I told her that I, in fact, would like a swing set, she picked her jaw up off the floor.

Jaw dropping polar bear

The telepathy isn’t anywhere as powerful as it was when I was a kid but I still pick things up randomly.

Mental illness and anxiety go hand in hand. When you are an Empath as well as mentally ill, the anxiety can often be unbearable.

I go to great lengths to avoid situations which I know are likely to cause anxiety. For instance, I haven’t stepped foot inside Walmart in about 6 months. My wonderful boyfriend does all the shopping, bless him.

It’s so difficult for me to go inside a crowded place that there have been many times I have left full grocery carts because I had to leave. Shopping, in general, is not fun for me. I always have to absent myself at least once and go outside. That has mainly been happening in the past 5 or 6 years.

I am in no way belittling the anxiety of those who are not Empaths, so no hate mail, please. I know anxiety can be debilitating for anyone, no matter their “superpower”.

Not very many people know these things about me. I wasn’t ever comfortable talking about it before. I have always been scared of what people would think or if they would even believe me. At this point in my life, and with the amount of bullshit I have endured, I do not care anymore. Believe me or don’t. This is me. I’m weird.

I'm fucking crazy-kristin wigg

Deal with it. I have to…