Sometimes it is scary to go out.

postnatal agoraphobia
Perinatal mental health

I’ve been there, perinatal agoraphobia and claustrophobia, anxiety, depression and I now think maternal OCD. i seemed to just tick lots of boxes. My experience is a reason Snowdrop exists.

Agoraphobia is a fear of unknown places or situations in which you feel you can’t escape.

Claustrophobia is a fear of confined or crowded places.

If you put both these things together, it can be a very scary place to be.  The world becomes a place where going out is full of worry, concern and staying in can feel overwhelming. Everybody can react in different ways to this, some stay in one place and neglect everything else. Whilst others can develop an OCD, in which in order to go out or do anything requires certain things to be in place before it can happen. Having these after the birth of a baby can be related to the change in life and priorities, suddenly everything seems dangerous and theres a need to protect and control the world around where we can. Perinatal agoraphobia, claustrophobia, can be really scary but it does get better.

It does get better.

In the depths of my own illness I would have numerous things I would do in order to feel “safe”. I would need a bottle of water, some food, medication in my bag, I would need to know the route, the timings and to know where the door is, sometimes I’d need a blood pressure machine and to be checking regularly (!). If I didn’t have any of these I simply could not do it. Now, I am 17 years in and still do some of these things (ensuring I’ve always got some food and drink, but I justify this now as I get migraines with lack of food or water). I am now able to continue in a place and feel calmer, it does get better. 

Sometimes there could be a reason why a place may be scary. Could be a rational reason as it’s a situation that causes worry for most? Perhaps a previous bad experience? If this is the case there are some techniques that suggest confronting the situation again to change thoughts to that it’s OK now. If the situation is genuinely unsafe then it’s ok to remain scared and not go. 

What is unsafe to one may not be to another. 

Places and situations can be scary.

It is OK to acknowledge these feelings. To listen to them and what they need and look to provide the comfort. 

If you are struggling please talk to a trusted friend/family member and get in contact with a therapist and/ or GP.