Congressman Simon Clarke, chief secretary of the Treasury, shared that he suffers from agoraphobia, which makes him uncomfortable going out into some open spaces – but what is the reality of feeling trapped in your own home?
For Anneli Roberts, 31, from North Wales, the front door of her rural cottage is where her feeling of being safe begins and ends. On some days, even a three-foot walk to the garden gate can feel overwhelming.
Anneli suffers from agoraphobia, due to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which means she is afraid of being in public spaces. But it’s not just about open or crowded spaces – it’s everywhere she can meet men who are strangers.
During the lockdown, Anneli and her partner lived in her in-laws’ house and during that time she stayed in her attic bedroom for more than a month, only going out to use the bathroom.
“I feel on edge the whole time I’m out, especially if I’m alone,” she says. “It’s really scary enough for me.”
Anneli uses coping mechanisms such as wearing headphones to avoid loud noises and only use specific routes that she knows well.
Earlier this year, she managed to get out of the house for 148 days, but was misled when she fell ill. Now he feels he has to start over.
On Wednesday, Clarke said he would be missing the pre-Budget team photograph due to his agoraphobia. He took part in a previous March Budget in which the photo before the speech was taken inside the Chancellor’s residence, not outside.
He tweeted: “I won’t be out for photos in Downing Street because I live with agoraphobia, which prevents me from feeling comfortable in some open spaces.”
The NHS defines agoraphobia as a fear of being in a situation where your escape may be difficult or where you will not be able to access help.
Many think it’s just a fear of open spaces – as Clarke said – but it can also manifest as discomfort with public transportation, shopping malls, or just leaving the house.
And it’s not as black and white as crowded spaces are always a trigger: for Anneli, for example, an isolated street with one person could be scarier than a crowded place, and going to a big event like a wedding with her. family and friends is something he could handle.
It is estimated that two in 100 people in the UK have panic disorder and a third of these people will develop agoraphobia. It is twice as common in women than in men and usually begins between the ages of 18 and 35, the NHS says.
Other high-profile figures with agoraphobia include actor Kim Basinger and legendary Beach Boys musician Brian Wilson. In 2011, actress Emma Stone also claimed to have been “borderline agoraphobic” during her childhood. “I couldn’t leave my mother’s side,” she told a magazine.
Tanya, 36, from Essex, has also had agoraphobia related to PTSD for most of her adult life. Unlike Mr Clarke, these are not just open spaces, but can be hooked on to previous times of high stress.
Last year Tanya had a full body panic attack during which she lost sensation in her hands and legs. She had to call a friend to accompany her on the five-minute drive home from the city center.
“Then this will scare you because it’s humiliating enough to be in tears with no one around,” he says, adding that your mind tends to catastrophize and imagine extreme scenarios like passing out or falling without anyone coming to your aid.
A spokesperson for Anxiety UK said: “[It] it varies enormously from those who are housebound, even in a room, to those who can travel specific distances within a defined boundary.
“Some agoraphobics find that they can travel more easily if they have a trusted friend or family member accompanying them, however this can quickly lead to dependency on carers.”
Ruth Hatton, 43, of Redcar, who exhibits symptoms of agoraphobia but has no official diagnosis from her doctor, said she gets away with asking her adult daughter to drive her to the supermarket.
Tanya says the way she copes with her agoraphobia is by pushing herself out of the house because, although it initially feels like a safe space, you start to “feel like a prisoner in your own home”.
During the course of the pandemic, agoraphobic behavior for many people was exacerbated by being told to stay home in isolation and stay safe.
Mind’s campaign manager Megan Pennell told the BBC: “Many people are feeling the mental health impacts of the pandemic.
“Right now, 1.6 million people are on the waiting list for mental health support or treatment, and another eight million people can’t even join the waiting list due to current thresholds for access to care. “.
But Mr. Clarke speaking openly about his experience is helpful in raising awareness, says Dr. David Crepaz-Keay, of the Mental Health Foundation.
“Whenever a person in the public eye reveals that they have psychological difficulties, they tend to reduce the stigma around mental health problems, which is extremely helpful.”
- Simon Clarke
Related Internet Links
Read More about Politics News here.
This Article is Sourced from BBC News. You can check the original article here: Source