[Content Warning: Addiction, Substance Abuse]
This diary is about Pat’s experience living with agoraphobia. Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by a fear and avoidance of places or situations that might cause panic or feelings of being trapped, helpless, or embarrassed. Tying into February’s theme of intimacy, we see its role on multiple levels in this story: on one level, Pat’s agoraphobic symptoms prevent him from cultivating intimacy with new places, other people, and the world outside of his own. And on a deeper level, it is an avoidance of intimacy with himself and a lack of self-love that Pat identifies as the very root cause of his agoraphobic symptoms.
In his diary, we join Pat as he takes the important first steps in his healing process by facing the experiences and behaviors that have allowed for his agoraphobia to develop over time. By sharing his story with us, he helps us understand that before taking big, scary strides towards healing, we must first start with an honest acknowledgement of our pain and the role it has played in our lives. By doing this, we develop a fiercely intimate knowledge of ourselves, which allows us to cultivate the necessary strength and strategies we need to face our pain head on and move step by step down the path towards wholeness and healing.