I am agoraphobic. I believe I've mentioned. So by nature, I am something of a homebody. Sometimes, very much a homebody. As in, I don't want to leave the home so my body stays right on inside where it belongs.
Don't get me wrong, I adore nature and think the world is a beautiful place. I am equally enamored of the sea, the mountains, the plains - all of nature is a place of wonder and delight to me, and I revel in it.
Sometimes I just can't handle the revelry. Sometimes it's all just a bit too much. It's not the nature, the openness, the vastness of the world that bothers me. It's more the people. Leaving my house means I must mingle among the mundanes.
Again, don't get me wrong, mundanes are often simply lovely folk. A few of 'em, though...a few of 'em ought to be labelled, carry a sign, have a light or some doohicky that warns a body that they're not of the nicest sort.
Some days, I just can't muster what it takes to face the possibility of those sorts of mundanes.
On really bad days, I don't want to go get the mail, answer the phone, or even be online. Too danged many people trying to suck the life out of me.
Occasionally, though, it doesn't much matter how much my crazy is doing the Cha-Cha in my brain - I have to go out.
I don't have pills for this, and I don't drink or take illicit drugs to deal with it. I just...go all Nike...and do it.
Now, lest you are tempted to turn to the agoraphobe in your life and point and accusing finger with the addmonition "See, she can do it!", you should understand some things.
My van is a mobile safe place. If I cannot get away with burrowing under the covers until the world plays nicely, I can at least feel a little better about leaving my home because I have Rosie the Mule and now Miss Tessbacher to cart me about.
A number of the places I go are sort of default okay places - this is why I drive past two other markets to get to my Publix and avoid the Evil Empire like the plague. Also, my local Publix is full of nice people who know me, are good natured and kind-hearted, and some of whom know how to spot the signs of a bad day and are inclined to ease my passage through their world.
If I must leave my beloved van and enter into a foreign land (any place not in my regular pattern is Siberia to my beleaguered brain) and I do not have the children with me, I have music and earphones, which help remove me from the unpleasant physical reality I am experiencing and loft me to a place of sonic calm.
There are time when I am completely out of my comfort zone, though. At the park, for example, where I cannot hide in the van or between earphones because I need to be watching my kids. At the indoor play place. Anywhere or any time I should be minding my children and not my crazy, in fact.
Those times, I focus. Not inward, but outward. I hear it all, see it all, widen my perception to include everything. Never mind trying to block out the too-much-ness of it all, I blast my neurons with input until they are so busy processing they can't fear.
It is exhausting. I feel wrung out and empty after, like a small creek that has had a one-hundred-year flood and is now experiencing drought.
I don't like it, but it works.
I have been working it a lot, lately. I really want to be at home, quiet, not dealing with what's outside my walls, but that's not an option right now. Instead I must take a deep breathe, say a silent prayer, and take that leap into my peculiar focus.