Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Today I met a very brave woman. She was walking in the park with two friends and their dogs. She was an elderly woman and suffering enormous pain from arthritis and a bad back. There wasn't anything about her outward appearance that attracted attention. Well, maybe the fact that she and one friend were each holding the end of a short piece of knotted rope. She was holding very tightly onto her end, as if afraid to let it go.

As she and her attached friend moved away, I asked the third woman if the lady used the rope in some therapeutic way to cope with her bad back.

It turns out that the lady suffers from agoraphobia, but is determined to beat it. So she ties her wrist to her friend's and they take a short walk through the park every day. Each day she walks a little further.

I have never suffered from agoraphobia, but I am both claustrophobic and bathophobic (so submarines are pretty much out of the question) - and I am not much good with heights, either. I know how utterly debilitating it is to suffer from an irrational fear, and I absolutely tip my hat to this frail, arthritic old lady, determined not to become a prisoner to her own fears.

1 comment:

Harold Jarche said...

I'm very scared of heights but I made a conscious effort to jump out of planes and climb mountains. That hasn't overcome my fear but at least I know that I can temporarily overcome it.