23 November 2009


This past weekend has been a banner one for me as far as decreasing my isolation and reaching out to my friends. Of course, you’ve read about my coffee date with K on Friday and my grocery trip with A on Saturday. Well, I discovered that I needed to go out once again, and to the mall no less where it was teeming with people. Mind you, I am not a mall rat; in fact, I cannot remember the last time I was there. However, there is one thing I need every year and can only find it when the independent vendors set up their kiosks at Christmas time. I use this huge grid calendar that I hang on the wall right inside my bedroom door. Each square is large enough to accommodate multiple entries and to write them in large letters so I can read them. Therefore, I called K and asked if she would mind taking me to the mall.

We were not sure at which end to park, so we picked one anchor store and went inside. The idea of walking all over the place to find this particular vendor was rather daunting to me. However, we spotted a mall security guard as soon as we got there. He did not know where it was, and upon spying a walking talkie radio, I suggested he call out and find out if anyone of the security guards knew where it was.

Now that we knew where to go, we started negotiating our way among the throngs of people, impatient kids running away from their parents, and a mass of strollers with shrieking babies. I hugged the interior wall for fear that someone would kick out my cane from underneath me. I was not handling the mass of people very well, but stuck to my guns as I looked at this adventure as a mission to complete. Having K there made all the difference as I could focus on her and keep up a running dialogue as we walked.

I espied our target and once acquired we headed directly there. I got my calendar and out we went. That said, I am still fairly sure I don’t want to return, at least by myself as the crowds were somewhat suffocating. However, I did accomplish my stated mission and nothing happened to me. A week ago you couldn’t have paid me to insert myself into that situation. K has been a valuable friend as she knows my boundaries and is more than willing to be there whenever I need her. Lesson learned: I can tolerate what I most fear, even if I have to have a friend walk me through the process. I am still not capable of doing these things alone; having someone with me allows me to concentrate on my continued conversation and ignore the people. I did not have a panic attack.

Afterwards, I invited her back to my house where we talked for about an hour before she had some things she needed to attend to. This is the first time I have let anyone into my home since that fated night. All in all, I feel as though I making progress as far as my isolation goes. Now I have something to talk about when I go to group later this morning.©2009


  1. Again, great to read of your progress Alix :-) I'm so glad you have people like K and A to be there for you.

    I totally empathise about shopping centres; even when I'm at my dubious best healthwise, I hate them with a burning passion. If I were to go to one at the minute I'm pretty sure I'd crack up. I'll use your success here as a benchmark for progress :-D

    Take care x

  2. SI, thank you for unwavering support. I am pleased that I have been able to make this progress and I am only going to stay in the moment and enjoy it for today. I'm not going to worry what tonight may bring because, as you so well know, being alone in my house in the evening is my truest test.

  3. I like to hear about your steps forward. When you head back to the difficult times read the entries you wrote on your good days and it will help you hang on until the down passes. My journal has been critical for me in that way. Our own words are much more beneficial than others well meaning assurances. I have actually written what I term "Truth Statements". When I go to that place of irrational and distorted thinking, I read MY words of the true realities of my life, instead of the lies that my mind is telling me at the time; basic reminders that I myself had written on a good day when I could actually see things clearly. When they are your own words of hope it is easier to try and believe them. I can then attempt to hang on to the "truth" until my episode passes. One of my biggest challenges during those times is believing that I am still loved and won't be abandoned because of my illness. So, many of the statements are specific reminders that I am loved and cared about and that I will feel that love once again when I am well. Best wishes.

  4. Dina Marie, it is so true what you said. In the midst of my madness I cannot see the strides I've accomplished. Having this written record will help preserve the situations when life can be good.