Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Rejoining society

We lived 4 years in Southern Spain. Our girls in high school our baby age 2 , then we decided it was time to come home again. We arrived in NY greeted by our best friends who lived in NJ.
Our well wishers had 3 teen age children.
Immediately the comparison was being made. What is your favorite singer ?
Rhonda beamed and said Cassidy. Giggles and more giggles ...Cassidy was so passe.
Bob and I felt we were in a new era, and that we were.
A trip to the grocery store had me so overwhelmed I could not see it all and rushed out.
My big joy was to find "throw away diapers".
We had left a very small fishing village, and most ladies there went to the creek to do their laundry.
My mother bought me a small portable wash machine after the baby was born and I thought I was in heaven, the envy of the whole populations.
Appliances were very expensive. Only in our second year there did we buy a refrigerator.
We managed very well , no big problem, I went to the market every day and got fresh veggies and fruit and white fish just fresh from the boat. Eggs direct from the farm had huge tasty orange looking yolks.
We had to cook the milk anyway as it was fresh from the goats so who needed a fridge.
The most shocking to us was the way people had changed the dress code and truck driver language.
We moved to NC and there was yet another shock, this was the South, not native California for my husband who loved his Santa Cruz. In the stores I hardly understood the you'all greetings and they sure did not know what to make of this Belgian with an accent.
Settle we did and we stayed here since 1974.

Now I see my son recuperating. Almost 7 years in total has agoraphobia,  and no, it is not about spiders.
He has been in my house 5 years and most times he could not go across the street.
In the last year with medication and help he is now able to drive his car in a radius of about 2 to 3 miles.
So before he does that he has to set his mind to where he will go ,where he needs to turn,, where to park and then see how far he will get into the store to find his Coca Cola. It takes a lot of planing on his part. A lot of steps to avoid which areas COULD give him an anxiety attack and freeze him in the car for hours.
I go out with him as I then get a chance to see what is happening in our little town.
Last night we managed  to go into 3 stores and drive through BK. When we got to the grocery store I gave him money and asked if he could go alone and get me 3 bananas. He froze, that was not anticipated, yet he knew my back was hurting and getting in and out of the car can be a b....He started to walk away, came back, :"Mom, what kind of banana?Yellow, Green, spots?" Will I have enough money ?
I told him what I needed and yes I gave him plenty for 3 bananas.
He came back smiling like Cheshire cat. He said : I never bought a banana before in my life.
(I hates them) and I have no idea if bananas are 1.00 each or 5.00 a lb? In fact, he said, I have no idea what anything costs in a grocery store. I am so out of "this" world. I know eBay and Amazon and how much my jeans cost. I buy my T shirts on sale on line, usually with something to be read. I know how much my school costs last year. I know my phone price. I just do not know this place anymore. It is scrary!

When I heard him explain every move he did and how much of it had to be examined and accepted within his mind, I remembered how we felt returning from Spain but it was all a new and fun experience, not for him, every move he makes he has to follow steps for his re-entry. At least  every 100 yards he does more
are a victory, every new store he can walk in is another step forward. When he will ever go into a Wallmart or a Mall is up to his negotiations with himself. I am here with him every step of the way.
If you know someone with agoraphobia please have patience to understand him or her.

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