To celebrate my 75th blog post I want to give my few but beloved readers a taste of my memoir. It was published last June and I am proud of my accomplishment and I’m proud of my journey to healing. This chapter is a short one but it does show how a young girl -me -can be incapacitated by anxiety and agoraphobia. Please contact me if you want an autographed copy of the book. Aloha
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Copyright © Marilyn Mendoza 2011
PART THREE –TROUBLE
‘INSANITY DESTROYS REASON BUT NOT WIT”
AMERICAN THEOLIGIAN 1745-1840
Agoraphobia means fear of the marketplace. At seventeen, the marketplace was one of the few places I was not afraid of. Oh, I had the classic panic attacks when I was in line with my groceries and without warning, feel I was dying. I had to run out abandon my shopping cart and try to look normal while catching my breath that had left my limp body. But the difference was, I always went back. My food addiction fought my panic attacks and most of the time won. I had to get my fix. Pastrami sandwiches, as many as I could stuff down, pounds of potato salad, rolls, coke, potato chips and vanilla ice cream melted and slithered down my throat. As soon as the world stopped spinning, I went back to the store and came home clutching my drugs tightly, my heart still pounding from the panic attack.
I had to eat it all and dispose of all the evidence before my husband Jose came home. That part was hard because after all those carbs, I was fighting the urge to pass out. I managed to wake up in time to also do a bit of cleaning to answer his inevitable question. “What did you do all day?” I was seventeen and already deep into my madness of compulsive overeating and fear, and giddy that my mother couldn’t stop me.
I almost stopped going out at all after believing, I mean really, really believing there was a witch that was following me. The woman showed up wherever I was, and gave me meaningful scary looks. I would get panicky when I saw her and ran away. She had long grey hair and a pointed nose. I began to make excuses to stay home so I wouldn’t see her. If I had to go out, I would run to and fro like a frightened doe, darting my eyes back and forth. I saw her in the back of other woman’s heads, in crowds and in stores. A face would suddenly turn and it was her- I think. In my mind she lived in the cellars that were the storage areas of Brooklyn stores. I was especially afraid of stepping on a cellar lest she pull me in.
I felt safe at home and comfy with my food and “Dark Shadows” a scary soap opera which come to think of it had a witch named Angelique featured in it. I stopped washing or combing my hair. It seemed too tiring and I ran faster and faster to pick up my food, my wild hair flying in the wind. One day I saw the witch, and she startled at the sight of me. It was my own white face reflected in a supermarket mirror. I started to think I was the witch. Had the witch turned me into a witch? Which witch? Was I mad?
I was scared, really scared and the next few years would find me seeking the security of my home until that also became unbearable.