woman opening her front door to go outside

The Anxiety of Leaving My House as a Person With Chronic Illness


Every time I’m planning a trip away from home or a holiday, it terrifies me, especially if I’m traveling alone, because, put simply, I don’t trust my body.

It’s hit or miss if my body will hold out. I plan the best I can, I get taxis instead of buses and I request assistance where I can but it’s still a massive ask, and I don’t know how it’ll go.

I don’t trust that I won’t faint in the middle of nowhere. I don’t trust that I won’t get brain fog and end up lost. I don’t trust that my joints will hold out and I’ll be able to walk. I don’t trust that I won’t get really dizzy and sick and be unable to leave a random bathroom. I don’t trust that my body won’t just give out on me.

Every time I leave my house I take supplies, snacks, extra medication, phone charger or anything else I need in case I get stuck. All I hope is that one day, when I’m more used to my health conditions, this will get easier because for now, leaving my flat for more than a few hours is terrifying.

It feels like my thoughts are constantly racing. My mind has to be constantly occupied or I spiral into panic. As long as I’m busy I’m OK. I do crafts. I work. I practice mindfulness. I play games. I read. I’m constantly on the go. I guess I’ve learned how to manage my anxiety, because it works – as long as I keep myself busy I’m OK. It’s exhausting.

This is just while I’m at home. Once I’m out the things I can do to occupy myself are limited, and my anxiety shoots up. A short trip is OK, like going for a coffee or something. It’s exhausting, but it’s only a few hours. I can occupy myself for that long – it doesn’t take too much out of me. A whole day out is horrible. I’m physically and emotionally exhausted. My mind is constantly fighting against itself. Desperately clinging onto the things that make me feel safe. Desperate to run back home. My mind constantly racing, not stopping on any thought for too long in case it drags me down. It’s exhausting.

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Thinkstock photo via Oppdowngalon.

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