in the fade

  1. supertrains, agoraphobia and other stuff

    I was listening to the Supertrain episode of Roderick on the Line (again). 

    I find myself doing this when I start thinking about agoraphobia and my fear my agoraphobia will come back. Is there a word for a fear of a fear? Metafear?

    I guess it’s always there, it just lays dormant, a sharp clawed owl waiting to swoop down on a mouse. 

    There’s this one part in Supertrain where John talks about riding in the presidential car of a train, how it was like an apartment on tracks - three bedrooms, a living room, a kitchenette. It’s like bringing home with you when you travel. Imagine traveling like that all the time, feeling at home no matter where you are. Rumbling through the country, heading far away from home yet feeling like you are still there.

    I wish I could live like that. I’d be more inclined to do things, to seek adventure.

    Whenever I’m away from home - and this can mean in another country or just at work - I always need to feel like I’ve brought my home with me. It’s why I overpack for trips, taking things that bring me comfort. It’s why I take fifteen minutes to make sure I have everything I need when I leave for work in the morning because my tote bag is packed in such a way that I can sit at my desk during lunch and feel the comforts of home. It could be something as small as bringing real utensils instead of plastic to eat with. It could be something larger like taking my Macbook with me on vacation even though I don’t have to have it with me. It’s that routine in the morning of sitting in bed with the news on, checking email, writing a little something on tumblr, that makes me feel less far from home and the routines there.

    I don’t like being away from home. I venture out a lot more than I used to. There are times I feel like I’ve finally gotten past my agoraphobia enough to say I don’t have it anymore. But then something comes up - my daughter gets free tickets to a Taking Back Sunday show I really wanted to attend - and I beg off because it means more hours away from home than I can deal with right now. And I know. I’ll never get rid of it. I’ll never be over it. It will always be there, lurking inside me, waiting for the right moment when I’m vulnerable enough to suddenly have a night out of the house seem daunting and overwhelming. 

    I hate this. I hate that my fears will always be with me. I hate that I can feel recovered for so long and then be completely thrown off when a fear pops up again, a skeleton jumping out of a closet rattling its bones at me.

    I want that train. I want a place that feels like home even when it’s not. I know, I know, home is where the heart is. Home is always inside you. Wherever you are, that’s home. And all those platitudes are great for people who aren’t carrying around a suitcase full of fears. But they are not for me. They do not work for me. A week away from home - in another country, no less - triggers that need to cocoon myself in my own house. The thought of going back to work tomorrow brings back uncomfortable memories of the days when my fear was so bad I almost lost my job because of poor attendance. The difference between then and now is now I can make myself do it. I can get up and go to work and deal with it because I have medication that helps me deal with it and because I’ve progressed in my mission to abolish my fears.

    But not enough. Not enough progress. Not enough success. Because it’s still there, still an active disease and it will never go away. I can’t go to the show Wednesday night because I don’t have the emotional strength to both go back to work with a smile and go out for several hours without the familiar panic working its way from my brain to my stomach to my throat. 

    There are places I go where I can bring home with me. But I can’t do that all the time and for now, when that fear of being out of my element is triggered, I have to stay home rather than make that effort to feel at home somewhere else.

    It’s not always like this, but is now and it pisses me off that I miss out on things when this happens. I wish I could always be home. Or, no. I wish I could always feel like home is with me. 

    Now a Supertrain? A supertrain will always feel like home.