My four heart healers
Here is the US we had an Arctic blast and living in northern territory we got hit hard. 2F were the highs and -31F were the lows. For two weeks this blast took over everything. Like not being able to walk the dogs because their paws would get too cold after five or ten minutes. It meant a lot of indoor time and while I’m not used it, I thrived in it. I was in my home, doing my own thing and didn’t have to worry about seeing anyone. I’m a definite homebody and I was in my nest. I didn’t even miss the dog walks. Nope, I was in my glory.
Then the blast retracted and the temperatures lifted and it was time to go outside again. And I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t even go out in the yard. Not to mention the reminder of the icy air we had for two weeks and the thought of going out in any cold was more than I could bare. The wind was particularly strong that first day up to 30mph, even though the temps were 25F. And dog walks were out because of the bitter wind chill. I felt bad for the dogs, but there again was no choice. Then with an hour left of daylight, the wind finally stopped and I thought about walking the dogs.
Panic struck. My mind went haywire. I couldn’t fathom walking out the door let alone going down the street. My heart raced. I didn’t know what to do. Suddenly, I was in a pressurized vacuum, as if the whole weight of the world had a vice on my head. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it for the dogs. I couldn’t do it for my husband. I couldn’t do it for myself. I COULDN’T DO IT.
Every day I go through this but on a smaller scale when it comes the dog’s walk time. An every day fight in my head. Of how I am going to make it out there. Will someone try to hurt me or my dogs while were walking? What if I run into another person? How will I act? How will people-feared girl survive their encounter? It doesn’t take much to keep me inside.
So back to the pending dog walk…After much turmoil I was finally able to give myself permission to just let go of it and drop the whole idea. The dogs would be disappointed, but I had a plan for that too. We were going to play treat games out in the yard. My first step out into the world. It was huge! While it would never replace a walk for the dogs and myself, just hanging out in the yard was a BIG first step. I could tackle it. My mind could take a bite and chew it and swallow. A small bite in a big, big world. I felt fantastic!
The next step was walking the dogs with my husband. Since he is limited on how far he can walk, our walks are shorter than if I were to go by myself. Which meant it was a couple more bites for me to swallow and easily digest. I could handle it. And that made me feel even better than before. Each step building on itself creating a foundation that I needed. Because really I love dog walks. It is my centered bonding time with my dogs and for the most part I am always glad I take the initiative of taking them out. It is a natural high that just gets better with time.
I’d say my agoraphobia is only part of the time, as I have worked through some of it. It delves into deeper issues that go back to my childhood abuse and people in general. It is one of the gifts of having dogs, they force you to go outside and do things you wouldn’t normally do, but the reward is so worth it.