Kim Larocque has Agoraphobia and she is not alone. According to the DSM-IV-TR, Agoraphobia is defined as “anxiety about, or avoidance of, situations where help may not be available or where it may be embarrassing or difficult to leave the situation in the event of panic symptoms or a full blown panic attack.” Agoraphobia can manifest in varying degrees of avoidance. Ranging from just a few situations (i.e., driving) to almost any situation where an individual may feel ‘unsafe’. In severe cases of Agoraphobia, the person may become housebound, rarely leaving the house and only when accompanied by someone they trust. Some statistics indicate that women are four times more likely to have Agoraphobia at some point in their life. Because there are varying degrees to this mental illness, not all cases of Agoraphobia are recognized as such. It may simply be viewed as anxiety over a situation such as public speaking.
Kim Larocque was born in Quebec, Canada to a family full of artists. Her grandfather was an artist who painted with oils and as a child she would draw but did not feel that this talent was encouraged. Her father is a pianist and frequently told her how quick she was at picking up songs ‘by ear’ and playing them for him often. However, even though she would have loved to learn from him, or any piano teacher, the “talent” was ignored and Kim never pursued it. In her 20’s, Kim decided to explore the arts through photography, by taking pictures of her friend’s heavy metal bands for their posters and promotions, and she even photographed a wedding. Encouraged by her peers, she took a photography class, yet with the pressure from the outside world and the collective thinking “artists do not make money” Kim never pursued a career in photography. When Kim’s children came along she decided to be a stay at home mom. She felt that it was important for their growth and development and intended to stay home with them until they reached their eighth or ninth birthdays. The relationship with her children’s father did not last due to his abusive nature and Kim set out to build a life for herself and her children.
Kim’s anxiety and panic attacks did not start until she was in her 20’s after her ex committed suicide. Her father who also suffers from anxiety has it under control, but her grandmother had Agoraphobia that was not controlled. Kim says that as a child she does not remember her grandmother ever leaving the house un-escorted, not even to step out onto the porch. She also says that she did not think much about it and it wasn’t discussed. It was just the way that it was. Kim’s uncle took care of her grandmother and was her escort whenever she needed to go someplace until she passed in 2001.
Kim’s own Agoraphobia did not start until 2009. Kim was a teacher in French schools for four years teaching English as a Second Language and is now on Sick Leave working on getting her disability and reinventing herself. Kim says that she has a ‘Safe Zone’ and she challenges herself to step beyond it. In January she adopted a dog and each day takes the dog on a leash and goes for a walk. Some days she says it can be a challenge just to get down the steps and other days she goes a couple of blocks. Kim explains it best in one of her recent blogs ‘Under my Dome – Living with Agoraphobia’.
“This mental illness is definitely tied to my recent panic attacks, yet I do not fear judgment anymore (at least I do not think so). What I do feel is something in my stomach which tells me not to go any further. The best way I can explain this is to imagine walking and all of a sudden an invisible force field pops up and you cannot get past it. If you watch the series Under the Dome you get a visual of how it feels to me. This is how the agoraphobia has developed over the past 4 years, and is at the point where I can walk about 2 to 3 blocks at the most depending on the day.”
Kim was fortunate to find a therapist that works both from a traditional and non-traditional approach. She said that her therapist has given her a feeling of ‘not being crazy’. She teaches Kim how to protect her Solar Plexus because Kim is also an Intuitive Empath and absorbs individual and collective energies like a sponge. Kim says that her intuition is generally ‘dead on’ and she is learning to listen more and more. She did not say this, but I believe that Kim’s Spirit Guides led her to Social Media where she blogs about depression, anxiety and now Agoraphobia in hopes of helping others. Kim is a born blogger having kept her own diaries for 25 years, writing daily is natural for her. Social Media has given Kim an outlet for her beautiful and outgoing spirit to truly shine while remaining in her ‘Safe Zone’. Social Media has also helped Kim to overcome her own depression with a support system of other beautiful souls and she does not have to go outside and risk a panic attack. Kim says despite the Agoraphobia, “I truly am outgoing once I relax.”
Kim’s therapist is helping her to go back to her inner child, encouraging this little girl to expand her creativity; a creativity that was natural born. With Kim’s interest in photography reborn, she has expanded to digital photography and claims to enjoy macro photography best as it allows her to expand her horizons. She says that when you get ‘up close and personal’ with a flower or tree bark you find an entirely new world within. She referenced Horton Hears a Who, and being the clairvoyant that I am I suddenly had a view of her world and it was amazing. The Macro world removes some of the limits that she encounters with the distance she is able to travel from home. The macro world opens up new dimensions that are not limited by space, time or distance.
Kim says she is unable to sit in quiet meditation, however, during a therapy session she started to doodle to help with the anxiety. It started as some swirls and it kept going “like sacred geometry” according to Kim, and somewhere along the way opened up a door to a world that only Kim Larocque and Horton could see in that moment. The macro world within the swirl and then the swirl became the flower and the butterfly and it all started to take on life and color. As Kim was sharing with me how she doodles I could see this fantastic world unfolding in my mind’s eye. A world of infinite possibilities where I believe Kim is channeling spirit, creating beautiful pieces of artwork inspired by her Macro world. When Kim doodles, she says that she gets ‘in the zone,’ does not feel any anxiety and she has never felt so “present and mindful.”
Kim claims that she would not have discovered her talents without her limits. She loves being creative and says that no matter what limits you have, they do not define you but actually help you to discover who you are. Kim says she has a plan and it does not include returning to teaching. She gave up teaching in 2011 and her current plan is to ‘break the chains’ as she does not want her children to follow in her families’ footsteps of anxiety, depression and Agoraphobia. She feels that it has been looping through too many generations and it is her purpose to end the cycle. Each day is a step toward her goal of ‘getting out there’ and recently she has put up some of her doodles on Fine Arts America and they are selling. Kim says that she has never been happier and it is in part because she is listening to herself and following her intuition as the ‘Muse in the Valley’.
You can find Kim Larocque and her work through the following websites and email: