@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder that often develops after one or more panic attacks. Symptoms include fear and avoidance of places and situations that might cause feelings of panic, entrapment, helplessness, or embarrassment.
Treatment can help, but this condition cannot be cured.
This is the medical definition of agoraphobia, though I might disagree with science here and say alcohol is a for sure cure. Though, I guess, technically, that’s just treatment.
It’s not so uncommon for me to fall prey to an agoraphobic mind. Some of my earliest memories are that of a painfully shy, separation anxiety ridden and agoraphobic child. It starts with being sent off to school. It’s not so uncommon for a child to dread leaving the safety of their home and mother to go to what I saw as some sort of prison for kids, being punished for doing nothing wrong, just being small and part of society. In retrospect, even then my anxiety was a on the extreme side, as I cried at the bus stop clutching my mom, cried on the bus all the way to school, hiding my tears from the other kids so they wouldn’t make fun of me, and even crying in class, unable to focus on the tasks at hand that I could have probably done relatively easily as I wasn’t a dumb kid, but that gnawing feeling in my stomach and head clouded any thought besides, “there’s no place like home,” wishing my mother would take me in her arms and away from here.
Perhaps this is why at 33 years old, I still sometimes wake from nightmares about school. Even though I would come to like some teachers and classes, make friends and often be a favorite among faculty, given my odd but sweet disposition and near incredible gift for writing and storytelling. Perhaps I’ve confused positive condition for a calling. Or maybe that’s all a calling is. Still, in a world that is literally controlled by math— from the dollars that govern society to the particles that define the rules of the cosmos, all I ever saw was art.
And like so many artists, there were side effects.
But agoraphobia is like being shy on steroids. And I could argue there are a great many logical, practical and sane reasons to be shy. Most of the best people are. Regular shyness, however, doesn’t come with the dread. It doesn’t come with the obsessive fear of being looked at, but not seen. It doesn’t come with panic attacks and stomach cramps and a dizzying feeling. Of knowing that as soon as you’re out there, you’re in first grade all over again, wishing to vanish far away from these people I’m supposedly of the same species of.
Why is this even a condition humans can suffer from? Just one of the many questions I’d like to ask the creators of this simulation. Though a part of me suspects they lack many of the answers of our reality. We’ve taken the code given to us and made it our own thing, unbeknownst of what we do.
Even though I have friends, some really good ones, who genuinely want me to emerge from my comfortable cave, even though I’ve fans, who actually believe whatever path this is chosen by me or predetermined by the simulation, is going to work out, I’ve found my mind to slip back into the fogged woods of preferring solitude. With no desire for a spotlight. Losing sight of the weight of the importance of succeeding in my dreams. Wondering if I’d have always been better off isolated, someplace warm, someplace near the ocean, among the creatures of the water dimension that I’ve often felt more connection to than these homosapiens, desperately disguising their true selves, driven by greed or sexual gratification. I’m not like them. And therefore I’ve no desire to be among them.
This, of course, is damning and detrimental to my dreams. Networking, and so tragically social media posts, are imperative to ‘making it’ as a comedian or anything. But even that, I sometimes am unsure I care anymore. What is the price you pay? If no one cares, why should I? Why shouldn’t I retreat to my comfort zone. Who do you trust— the liars, deluded sheep minded fools outside, or the agoraphobia.
It’s just a hibernation retreat. Fear not. I always come back. Well… that’s what history shows. Until one day I don’t.