Cabin Fever

Locking yourself away

I never really understood agoraphobia, it seems such a waste of life. We are here 70-100 years, if we’re lucky and I love living every day of it; having said that, I can be a bit of a hermit. As a writer I often sit at home tapping out words that I hope people will read with the idea that sometimes I will touch someone in a happy, sad or even spiritual way ie move them. It requires time of sitting indoors, somewhat recluse like and on odd days only talking to people via Facebook, text or telephone. In other words I don’t see anyone. That is a rare occurrence though, with the martial arts side of the business, going to the gym, seeing friends or even out for a run you never know who you are going to meet.

The first breath

This week proved exceptional though. I got home from teaching at 9.45pm on Tuesday and didn’t leave the house again until 8pm on Friday, a total of just over 70 hours. Hardly solitary confinement – not in the league of Nelson Mandela or Henri Charriere, but for me a bloody long time of not going outside, smelling the air or feeling the wind on my face. The only person I saw in that time was a work colleague on the first day and then no-one else until I ventured to the local Asda on my self imposed release. That first breath of air when stepping outside was exceptional; as someone who has spent thousands of hours running in all weathers to be indoors for so long was an interesting experience.

What to do?

So what did I do? First of all I was ill, so sleeping was part of the deal. Trying to sort my erratic body temperature out took some time too. Sky + is both a blessing and a curse. Once you start saving stuff the battle is to get through it all at some point. In fact Sky + is like the to do list. It never gets finished. However, some movies, episodes of “Ripper Street” and various historical documentaries all bit the dust. Having three books on the go is always interesting and the exploits of Jordan Belfort and two books I’m using as research for my latest non fiction volume were also delved into and absorbed and notes made. Facebook and the BBC kept me up to date with the news, the trivial, the banal and the interesting.


Wednesday and Thursday passed by quickly enough. Great help from my team at the martial arts school meant the classes ran well and smoothly (thanks Shanette, Gary and Kerry), but by Friday I was feeling twitchy. Perhaps I was feeling better – the drugs were helping – but as the day drew on my desire to leave the house grew until I got myself presentable to the outside world and took that first step out of the door. As I said that first breath of fresh air smelt, well, fresh, certainly different from the air I had been breathing for 70 hours. Driving felt good too, even wandering around a supermarket on a Friday evening was pleasurable. I won’t do it again for a very long time; life is about living, of striving for the next great experience, of setting and achieving goals. If you know anyone with the fear of the great outdoors try and help them see that living in four walls is no life at all.

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