14 Nov 2023

Is it possible to have a phobia about a phobia? I have a horror of ending up housebound due to agoraphobia.

It's a condition that I have to admit I am less than sympathetic about. Knowing that it is one of my own lurking demons does not make me more understanding.

My mother never went out alone for the first 17 years of my life. In her case it was tied up with delusions of what she might do if alone, abducting and  harming children, stealing door keys from strangers. She loved shopping, eating out, going to the pictures, just as long as she was not alone for a second.

It would take too long to list the ways in which this put responsibility and stress on myself and my older half-brother. Inside the home was equally restrictive. At times she literally followed me everywhere. When Dad left I was nine, and had to move into their bedroom. My brother was kept out of school to be with her for a year, with inadequate home-tutoring and none of the sports he loved.

Then I think she realised that she was going to find it impossible to find others to support her crazy world. My brother had married and planned to live abroad, and I was champing at the bit. One day my sister-in-law got Mum to walk to a local shop on her own and buy something. Within a week she had a job in a dress shop, and I got pregnant (accidentally on purpose?) and moved out.

Talking about it years later, my brother and I felt cheated, she had never made any effort to make a normal life for us, until it suited her.

I know a few couples where the (usually) male partner has to do everything outside the home. I don't want that to ever happen here. The dynamics of such relationships may suit some people, but I am not going there.

I know people who hold up their parents as a role model.I do that too, but in reverse. If I feel a flutter of anxiety about going out I say "Do you want to end up like her?" and it does the trick.

It's not that I feel anxious when I am out. There just seem to be some delaying tactics going on, when I faff about finding things to do before leaving. It must be linked to anxiety. I have seen the same behaviour with some rescue dogs at the centre. They only get around 30 minutes of outdoor play and exercise every day, usually with volunteers. Some relish every moment, and slink away when it's time to go back. Others try to get back to their kennel from the offset.

I like my kennel too, but I am not going to let it become my prison. Is there something that you are refusing to give in to?


A Moodscope member

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

Email us at to submit your own blog post!


Login or Sign Up to Comment and Read Comments