Update From Diane, July 4th 2007
Hi there folks!!! Originally writing my website whilst housebound totally was as I thought It was a way of contacting others in the same position and that maybe I wouldn’t feel so alone. You’ll see that since then I have received a therapy called NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming) and Hypnotherapy. It certainly was a miracle in my eyes as I never thought I’d ever get to the stage I’d have confidence to open doors and windows let alone go out again. But after the 3 sessions already written about you’re able to read just how effective and fast this therapy can actually be . I would recommend this to anybody. In fact ill tell you more about that a bit later .
Well many have asked me what I’ve been able to do and achieve since November 2003, well I have to give you a shortened version of events! I had a holiday at an Aunties caravan in Walton on Naze , with both my son and daughter . Something I thought that I’d lost my chance of as they were of the age where …you just don’t go on holiday with your mother , but I think they were so proud we all made the most of it. I’m grateful they gave me the opportunity . We didn’t stop after the 3rd night as I have physical problems and needed to be back home BUT I tell you it felt like Id been for a month. The sea air was lovely , we were lucky with the weather and my toe was even dipped in the sea and I went in the swimming pool just for 10 minutes so I could say I did it !! Also in all the years I’ve known Walton , the Naze Tower had always been closed but they opened it to the public that summer . So I agreed to join Kevin and Claire on the climb to the top. Now I’ve had a fear of heights since tiny but nothing was going to stop me . It took me a long time to climb as I was out of puff but as we reached the top the wind hit my face and the last 3 steps were done on hands and knees, as I thought Id be swept over the side !!, Gradually I stood long enough for the kids to take two very quick photos for proof before descending, wobbly legged down quicker than on my way up! I’ve been to Bangor overnight to see my friends daughter graduate from Uni. Visited my Family in Milton Keynes also. Looked round two universities with Claire, been able to attend a cousins wedding , and two friends funerals. Obviously the latter were sad but I could say my goodbyes properly and see their parents. I’m looking forward in hope that the cousin whose marriage I went to will soon be holding a christening service for their beautiful baby daughter, That would be a honour if I was invited .
I can even visit the Doctors instead of me using his valuable time doing home visits. In March 2005, I waved my son goodbye as he joined up for the police . Very proud naturally but disappointingly realising my children had grown past needing me and I’d lost valuable childhood times with them . That May my daughter sat her A, Levels , and by the end of September we were loading the cars up to move her into university accommodation . Again very proud of her achievements too , but sad of the lost time, prior to my therapy, and my ‘baby’ was leaving too That month too my son moved into an apartment he had got a mortgage for, at the tender age of 21 . I was now a mum but had no one at home to be a mum to. I was very saddened then and still am that I’d not spent with them doing things a ‘normal’ mum could have done. I guess I was there for them in other ways but on hindsight we all missed out all because of the agoraphobia , something any parent would deeply regret, and certainly I still do .
So now what was I supposed to do ? I’m sometimes quite an impulsive person , and on seeing an advert to learn how to become a therapist in both NLP and Hypnotherapy , I wrote for the information pack, .compared it with other ’schools’ of this nature , decided the best reputation, and continued the process to get an interview. My biggest achievement was to undertake a course on the therapy which helped me lead a more normal life just two and half years before and so in 2006 I passed my Diploma in Hypnotherapy and became a NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programmer) Practitioner . This was indeed the hardest thing as It doesn’t become natural for me to read , absorb , write, in fact all the aspects of studying etc. The group were the most supportive group of students I could have wished to learn with and felt I was lucky to have been chosen for that group. There was a big cheer as I received my certificate , by my fellow students . They all knew even for me to attend the weekends ,unlike them I wasn’t 10 minutes or so away like the majority, I had to travel to Norwich which should be an hour and a quarter car journey, but, instead due to my terrible sense of direction , bad map reading and poor memory , it could take me up to 2 hours easily. I even tried borrowing a sat nav . Oh boy I hadn’t even left Sudbury before the silly voice was telling me to turn left at the next junction , wanting to send me back home ! But via a meadow first!!!! There were many weekends I wondered what I was doing putting myself through all this for .It bought up many issues within that I know still to this day need to be addressed . Earlier in the website it mentions I also have anorexia. This obviously affects my day to day living , there’s obvious times I’m an ‘outsider ‘. Social functions are usually around some type of food, I’m used to it but others can feel awkward If I sit at the table with them eating a meal and me with a drink . If people ask questions I’m past the stage of denial or making excuses and will answer peoples questions in the hope to put them more at ease. Not with the anorexia, and with me.
This illness is still so widely misunderstood and maybe one day I’ll address the attitude of the psychiatrists , psychologists towards anorexia and the sufferers. Attitudes and treatments haven’t changed in 30 yrs I’ve suffered. Due to the anorexia I now realise since the therapy that there are hang ups about certain places where I go ,caused by a social phobia due to my fears over how I feel about myself. However I have spoken to many people through the website and there seems to be something common with a lot of people who have overcome agoraphobia , that is that the place where we live is always the hardest place to face going out . I’ve discussed this with Michael in the past and originally we thought my problem was due to my anorexia and not wanting to be seen as I feel fat and unacceptable to others but now it appears so many people who have overcome the agoraphobia still fear their home area, where they are known. I’m sure Michael and my Tutors would both say these can be overcome too, and as a therapist myself now I too agree if the sufferer really really wishes to overcome that it can be treatable. For myself at this time I know I still have many fears to work on ., but I NEED to be ready for that change, just like before when I desperately wrote my initial website on agoraphobia, for then I’d reached the point I couldn’t live like a caged animal anymore. I WANTED to be able to do even the simple of things with my children, like parents evenings , hospital appointments , days out and so forth , they couldn’t even have friends round because I was so full of fear.
Another symptom often with agoraphobia is OCD (Obsessional Compulsive Disorder.) Mine for example was to skip 7,000 skips inside daily, hoover and dust the whole house twice sometimes 3 times. The clock ruled the day , starting at 2.30 to come down to skip at least .4,000 skips , would return to bed approx by 5.30a, and then up at 7 to hoover and dust before The kids had their breakfast . After they left for school , college I would then start to final 3,000 skips trying to space it out whilst alone so as not to worry the ‘kids’ . Some times through the heat I couldn’t always complete and would have to do it in the evening .If I lost count as it was all calculated in 100s even if Id got to 50+ Id start that 100 again . March this year 2007 I was awarded a wonderful award from BT connections. Id seen an advert about them helping people in the community who were doing something to help others in someway . I didn’t think I’d fit the criteria as I seldom see clients from the website , but I filled the form in hope of maybe even being sponsored for another years payment to keep the agoraphobia support website up and running as I struggle to find this money and fund this and phone calls to clients myself . I desperately didn’t wish to have to quit the site as so many people have enquired and email me , and I hope I can offer support in whatever way they need at that moment in time and at least learn they are not alone, not ‘mad’ (as we feel sometime in the midst of it ), that it is an illness and so forth .
My aim is to offer you all HOPE, ENCOURAGEMENT , and SUPPORT. I hope that through my story and the therapy I received that each and everyone of you can see just how dramatically your loves CAN change when you have reached that crisis point . I stretch my hand in for you to grasp in an offer to help you to a stage you are content with . Often I’d love to do more , but everything is done with each individual in mind , and to the distance that individual will allow me to help to the best of my ability . I would like to tell you more about the award I received from BT COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS . I owe them a huge THANKYOU and words cannot describe my gratitude . I was awarded a new computer s mine was so dated which had been for my children to see them through school, let alone 6th form and college, prior to university .
I was also awarded Broadband with BT for a year . I am over the moon. I rang and asked what do I do as I’d a contract until November . Within 2 days a cheque arrived to the value of that award . I immediately rang to thank them immensely and ask if it was ok to bank that until I could swap over to BT . I was told that money could be used in anyway I felt would benefit agoraphobia support . I opened a separate account and will endeavour to ensure www.agoraphobia-support.co.uk , will continue and hopefully go from strength to strength. I’m sorry to BT Community Connections that it has taken this long for me to update my website. Unfortunately illness prevented me to do this sooner . My hope now is to contact the EADT who covered my original coverage in July 2003 before Id even received help . I hope they will do another article and allow more people to find out more about the website. I have had people from Austria, Australia , Malaysia, Kentucky, and Canada to name but a few , along with English. I am often asked still if I know of groups in their areas. I often ask would you be able to go if there was one……, the answer is like the time I spent searching before my treatment . In desperation I wanted a group before realising even if Id found one I wouldn’t be able to attend as I was housebound after all ! My answer also to people is that I am willing to contact them through e:mail or I will call them for upto an hour at a time for as long as they are ready to either undertake therapy or often just knowing theres someone who REALLY understands to talk to. I offer to find help in the area and in more local cases offer to visit them . I tell of the fantastic help I received and that if they wish to take that route I can find them a therapist again in their own area. Sometimes although people contact me and we talk many times , they will admit that they are not ready to take that step . it’s a shame as they can turn their imprisonment around but this HAS to be when they are ready . I often hear from them a few months after , when they’ve thought things through or reached that point where no longer do they want to let this debilitating illness control them . That is always a fantastic feeling to know another life will be set on course to enable them to enjoy family outings again and not be a prisoner in their own homes anymore. My future aims is to find a way to help people abroad more as obviously I can not afford to offer to ring them ,and can not offer to visit them etc.
I have been discussing with Michael Worthington just this week of making a step by step C.D for people to listen to and learn the skills we hold within ourselves to help ourselves , but with the bonus also of the C.D of support if needed with a regular phone in for extra encouragement . I need to write a larger article about NLP and Hypnotherapy as this form of therapy is still a mystery to some. Hypnotherapy really can have people thinking they will be barking like a dog or clucking like a chicken , I have to admit I too was dubious until I did my diploma in it .There’s so much I could write on this but in order to promote the update of the site , all thanks to BT , I will do that at a later date. I also hope to have a page of peoples opinions , ideas and views on what has helped and maybe anything I could do different . Im always open to suggestions. I would like to say at this stage that I have been asked at times if there is someone nearer to them who is also in the midst od the agoraphobia. My answer to is always I feel I would rather reply to people individually for the simple reason I believe each client needs POSITIVE thoughts. To have contact with other sufferers can bring about a lot of NEGATIVITY , what help in all honesty is that. This website is fully confidential , answers are replied to as soon as possible . I apologise for any delay recently through illness. Each reply is dealt with only by me. It is time consuming as I wish to offer my best . Please be patient . Occasionally I am on courses. Yes that’s something else for the future if I can get sponsorship , I would like to undertake more training .There is always more to learn . I’d love to do the advanced course in NLP /hypnotherapy, but the money is just not available at this moment in time I hope you enjoy the launch of the NEW LOOK for www.agoraphobia-support.co.uk . There’s still much to do . I have other contacts and therapists who wish to be affiliated but none will be added until I have had a meeting with contacts . Please remember this is a voluntary service. I reply as honestly and openly as I can and anything written is only based by my own experiences and in my opinions.