Christmas and Agoraphobia don’t mix for me

I don’t really enjoy Christmas.  I guess I should qualify that.  It’s not so much Christmas as the memories that are attached to it.  It wasn’t a very happy time for me as I was growing up.  Since I left home Christmas is usually a quiet time for me.  Even though I don’t enjoy it I do enjoy gift giving.  I used to go to the malls and other sorts of shops to find the perfect gift for those who were on my list.  All that ended when I was stricken with panic disorder with agoraphobia .  I no longer can go into a mall.  In fact it’s probably been 12 years since I have been in one.  I also have problems with big box stores as well.  With a lot of work and practice at least I can go into most smaller stores.

One of the problems I find is the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season.  I’m not sure if it’s me, but it seems to have gotten worse over the years and it starts practically before halloween ends.

This may sound somewhat weird but with all the excitement and stress over Christmas, if I can get into a store I seem to ‘feel’ all the energy the people are putting out.  All the noise and excitement, all the lights and movement really ramp up my anxiety.  I like to spend time comparing items and reading the fine print but when my anxiety is high I tend to lose focus and concentration. My eyesight goes funny as well.  Gift buying is almost impossible for me at this time of the year.

Over time I have learned to work around it to a certain extent.  I try to be organized and buy my gifts throughout the year.  I will use catalogs as well for some items.  And of course the internet has been the best thing since sliced bread for shopping.  Or maybe the worst thing since if I was so inclined I wouldn’t have to leave my house at all.

Although agoraphobia seems to be another reason not to enjoy the Christmas season, with a lot of adaptation and hard work I still can enjoy gift giving.  For that I am thankful.

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2 Responses to Christmas and Agoraphobia don’t mix for me

  1. Harriet Welch says:

    I think it’s great that you have found ways to enjoy the season, and enjoy gift giving, without stressing yourself out. I don’t have agoraphobia, but I have a terrible problem with crowds and heat and lights and sounds and smells. And that pretty much describes every mall and every store during the month of December. So I hear you.

    • lostinamaze says:

      I don’t like the crowds as well. I usually plan any shopping I need to do around non busy times of the day if possible. If I had my way, I wouldn’t shop at all during this season.

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