Recently I’ve decided to stop bringing my partner to all my appointments. Partly because they keep getting rescheduled last minute, but also because it’s not fair on them. My partner has to take a lot of time off to come to my many appointments. My fear of going somewhere new, or even just going to a new ward at a hospital I’ve been to before, needs to be overcome.
What Is The Fear Of Going Somewhere New?
Most people that have a fear of going somewhere new, or anywhere, are likely to have agoraphobia. The classic definition of agoraphobia is that people are scared of open spaces, but that’s simply not the truth. You can be scared of leaving your home, getting on public transport, or visiting crowded places like a shopping centre or town centre instead.
Anyone can have a fear of going somewhere new, especially if it’s going on holiday, but it’s not a phobia until that fear becomes debilitating. If you notice your heartbeat or breathing becomes more rapid, you start to feel hot and sweaty, and/or you start to feel sick, then you might have agoraphobia. Furthermore, if you notice that you’re starting to avoid situations and events because of that fear, then you could also have agoraphobia.
I’ve suffered from agoraphobia and social anxiety disorder for almost two decades now. As a result, I’ve had a huge problem with going outside, especially in the earlier years of the manifestation of my anxiety disorders. But after living with them for so long and taking some extreme actions to treat myself, my anxiety disorders still spike when I have to go somewhere new.
The fear of going somewhere new isn’t entirely rational, but it feels like it’s due to the reduced control you have over the situation. If you don’t know the area, then how can you know you won’t get lost? What the best way to get away and get back home? Or where you can go to collect yourself if you have a panic attack? These are the kinds of thoughts that drive this fear.
My anxiety disorders are manageable in areas I’m really familiar with, like going to the shops near my place or going into town where I do my proper food shopping. However, with stuff like going somewhere new or going to an appointment my anxiety and fear spike.
The reason this is a problem is that my anxiety disorders can cause psychotic episodes. This is thanks to one unfortunate event involving a truckload of alcohol and drugs, and some well-meaning friends, that changed my life forever: Drug-Induced Psychosis And My Anxiety Disorders.
I’ve always known the only reason I asked them to come with me is to make my anxiety easier to handle, but that’s pretty selfish. I also don’t want my needs to damage my partner’s career due to taking too much time off just to come to my appointments.
More often than not, I’ve been to these hospitals so often that it’s not like I’m going to somewhere unfamiliar anymore. Yet, I still want my partner to come with me just to make my fear easier to handle.
Weirdly, I went to my second MRI (Quick Post About My MRI Trip) on my own without really thinking about it. I don’t know why I still prefer to take my partner to my other appointments when I didn’t feel the need to for my MRI appointment.
Thus, I decided enough was enough, I would only ask my partner to come to the really important appointments. For all my other appointments I’d go on my own.
So far I’ve done just that. My last few appointments I’ve gone on my own, even though my partner has offered to take the time off work to come with me. I went to My Short Synacthen Test (SST) on my own and to the follow-up appointment with my endocrinologist to get the results.
I also went to My Gastrointestinal Appointmentest on my own, as well as to my PIP (Why I Hate Atos And Their Assessments) assessment. Although this was largely because I didn’t want to have to reschedule it due to having to ring them up on the phone. I hate talking on the phone, which is another fear I need to overcome.
I haven’t really used any tips or tricks to overcome my fear of going somewhere new. That work was done a long time ago when I found a way to massively reduce my psychotic episodes. It was just a matter of accepting the fact that it’ll only be a mild discomfort that’ll lessen the more I engage in these actions. Basically, classic graded exposure.
I do still have a few distraction and “busy” strategies that I use to help manage my anxiety disorders when I leave my place. The one I find most useful is always having my headphones with me so I can listen to music. However, this can sometimes backfire with helping me with my anxiety.
If I’m listening to music but can’t see a display of stops on the train/tube/bus when travelling to a new place then it can vamp up my anxiety instead. This is due to the fear of missing my stop and looking like a fool if I have to travel back the way I just came. Thus, I normally have it at a level I can enjoy my music distraction but still here the call out for the stops.
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Unwanted Life readers.