'Catch 22' - tattoo artist speaks out about agoraphobia in lockdown

Molly Garnham, who has agoraphobia, is taking on walking challenge after lockdown caused a decline

Molly Garnham, who has agoraphobia, is taking on walking challenge after lockdown caused a decline in her mental health. - Credit: Archant

A 27-year-old tattoo artist has spoken out about the effects lockdown has had on her anxiety and agoraphobia, as she takes on a personal challenge to give back to mental health charity Mind. 

Molly Garnham, from Stowmarket, has suffered from mental ill health since she was 15

Her agoraphobia - a fear of being in situations where escape might be difficult - became so bad that, from 2015, she was not able to leave her home for two years. 

Molly Garnham
is offering to do a free tattoo a month to someone who wants to cover up their self

Molly Garnham, 27, is a tattoo artist in Stowmarket. - Credit: Archant

However, after seeing an improvement in her health over recent years, Mrs Garnham is now hoping to give back to charity Mind by taking on a walking challenge throughout January. 

"I've had lots of ups and downs but the one thing I've struggled with most is my anxiety and because of that agoraphobia," she said. 


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"From around 2013 to 2015, I became housebound because of the agoraphobia and eventually, when I started to go out again, I vowed to never let myself get stuck in that situation again. 

Molly Garnham, who has agoraphobia, is taking on walking challenge after lockdown caused a decline

Molly Garnham, 27, is taking on walking challenge in support of mental health charity Mind. - Credit: Archant

"Over the years I've done really well but over the last year with Covid and everything, it has been really tough." 

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Mrs Garnham, who works at Rough Diamond Studios in Stowmarket, said that the pandemic has been a "catch 22" for people with agoraphobia. 

"It's been tricky because I need to go out and not fall for what my anxiety and agoraphobia wants me to do, which is stay in," she added. 

"But on the other hand, there is relief because you're not allowed to leave your home, which is really what agoraphobia wants me to do.  

"It got to the stage of another lockdown, our business closing again and so I decided to take on this challenge. 

"I've always felt such fulfilment in doing something that makes me feel good."

Mrs Garnham has decided to walk a mile every day for a month to raise money for mental health charity Mind. 

Despite a mile seeming easy to most, the 27-year-old said that it will be a real challenge for her, as she used to struggle to walk to the end of her road. 

Molly Garnham, who has agoraphobia, is taking on walking challenge after lockdown caused a decline

Molly Garnham, who has agoraphobia, is taking on walking challenge after lockdown caused a decline in her mental health. - Credit: Archant

She said: "I don't usually walk up the road without feeling anxious, so this is a massive thing for me to try and push myself. 

"I feel this overwhelming panic and fear that I need to be at home as quickly as possible.

"Everyone has mental health, even though some people have good mental health, and others bad. 

"I just feel like I just needed to do something that really pushes me. I know it's only a mile, but this is tough for me. 

Molly Garnham
outside Rough Diamond Studios in Stowmarket Picture:
RACHEL EDGE

Molly Garnham outside Rough Diamond Studios in Stowmarket - Credit: Archant

"Although there are so many amazing charities out there, I think Mind is the one which everyone thinks about when they think of mental health."

To donate to Molly's cause, which has raised already £730, visit this website.

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