What does safe look like? Last week, I wrote about agoraphobia and how a daily routine that involves travel can spark apprehension and anxiety. It seems like “safe” is impossible. But I more or less got there in 2014. In October 2014, I started working at UVic. The co-workers respected me. The environment was easy to survive in: I was able to drive to campus. I could walk at lunch time. I was working near my life-long partner– my wife. We could drive into work together. We could have coffee together. The income was okay but it was stable. When I didn’t work, I didn’t need to suffer– I could just ‘be.’ Nothing triggered me. I felt safe and as a side effect, my life started to click. My weight started to drop. I had time for friends and family. Safe felt pretty good. Safe felt like the storm had passed and the sky was blue. I was safe for two months and then some big revelations pummeled me and my marriage.
I have agoraphobia. I first noticed it in a pronounced way when I was about 14. Prior to that, I would just opt to stay home instead of going out. It got to be a pretty familiar practice. By 14, I would end up with massive anxiety fits. I took Grade 9 as home schooling and formally swapped to correspondence education in the next year. In my teens, I took to writing for a living. I worked in retail for a number of years (varying degrees of sucking). As soon as I could, I went back to working at home doing web design and programming.
In the weeks that have followed my break-up, I have had to contend with rage. At the outset of the break-up, I had the sampler of emotions: remorse, regret, rage, sadness, hurt, bitterness. They were prepped fast food style and served out immediately to whoever was closest at hand. Often I dumped them on my first wife* but I also dumped this on others.