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Sample Chapter One
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Ragamuffin Project

BOOKS by Ellen

"Behind These Eyes
..One Agoraphobic's
Journey To A
Meaningful Life"

"Coexisting With Agoraphobia, Anxiety and Panic Attacks"




"If all of life
with all its meanings
were tied up with a rope....
The center force,
which is the knot,
would certainly be



"The Ragamuffin Project"



Well friends, here I am again trying to put another book together!

From the time I undertook the writing of my first book, I had always thought I would write at least three books relating in some way to the topic of agoraphobia and this current attempt will fulfill that expectation. My first book, Behind These Eyes: One Agoraphobic’s Journey To A Meaningful Life, published in 2013, is a memoir. The second book, Coexisting with Agoraphobia, Anxiety & Panic Attacks, published in 2014, is a handbook in which I share many of the tools I have found or created to deal with this (for me) chronic condition. In this third book I will speak to and HONOR the incredible inner strength and courage that is required to live and function with this potentially debilitating disorder. This message, of course, applies to all who are challenged with debilitating illnesses or disorders of any kind.

The book will probably be entitled "The Ragamuffin Project, (with a yet-to-be decided subtitle)" but that is not written in stone. The title refers to two little "ragamuffins" in my life and how they both are responsible for me taking on the task of writing this third book. One is the "vintage" Chevy Van pictured at the top of this page and the other is the little well-handled and loved stuffed doll at the bottom. I invite you to join me as this most unusual story unfolds. It will be in part based on what I have come to recognize in my heart about inner strength and courage (both mine and others) and will partly be a journey of where this adventure leads me..........a story in the making.

Why not keep coming back to check on the progress of my little project and watch as it unfolds. I'd love to have you join me on my journey!
As usual, I will try to take the scenic route!



Book's Preface


Hi, My name is Ellen and I am an agoraphobic. I feel prompted to use that phrase in this  introduction since, for me, agoraphobia is a condition as persistent as alcoholism or any addiction, and, having spent many years behind the walls of 12 step meetings (ACOA), the phrase also seems appropriate in this venue. In 12 step meetings the phrase is used by way of an introduction for someone to share their story, and this book will be an attempt to share the ongoing story of my life as an agoraphobic, but more importantly about the durability of the human spirit. I have been challenged with this condition for 55 of my 68 years, so I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the topic, even though I have not been able to get myself CURED! My experience with agoraphobia brought me to write two books previously on the subject and now has brought me to my third.

After completing my first two books and knowing there would be a third, I pondered for a long while what the next would be about. One morning, in late 2015, I was laying in bed feeling especially anxious for some reason and was just letting the feelings du’jour rise to the surface. It occurred to me that in my life I had so many days, periods and even years like this when I became so riddled with anxiety that the ability to function “normally” became insuperably difficult. Over time I have gotten much better at finding emotional balance, but that does not mean that I am not still without times of horrific anxiety and fear. Even though there is comfort in knowing that I have gotten much better at recognizing and coping with high levels of emotion, it is still painful to realize that I have lost so many years and even decades to fighting and eventually accepting this condition. All-too-often I’ve wondered just how I have survived my life. So many times I have felt like I was living in what must be insanity and would never find my way back to home base on this planet. Only those who suffer similarly can ever truly understand that feeling of total groundlessness. You really do feel like you have lost your mind somewhere, never to be found. It would probably be easier, however, if that were actually the case! Down deep you truly know you are not insane but can’t fathom how to get back to feeling safe and grounded. At the same time that I was pondering all this I was also marveling at just how intense the feelings of anxiety could be and how much inner strength and steadiness of will it took to keep moving forward with life throughout the years. The struggle to find the motivation to keep on keepin’ on consciously began when I was just a new teenager and has lasted to one degree or another to this very day. HOW did I manage to tap into that inner fortitude and manage to keep it and me alive all these years? This is a question that I would like to explore as I progress through this book. More importantly I would like to make it a point to honor that ability in myself and others as often as I can in this writing. So often we see our lives as simply one struggle after another without taking the time out to acknowledge the magnificent strength we had to call upon to resolve issues or truly survive certain life circumstances. We have all had, perhaps unconsciously at times, followed that inner voice or compass that helped us get through and eventually arrive at the place we were meant to be after the trial or trauma. It is after all, how we learn and grow, but oh what a journey it can be to get to that next level of life’s teachings!  I am sure much of the time we did not even recognize our own strength, but rather seemed to be operating on some kind of automatic pilot. In a later chapter I will share some insights from friends and those willing to look deeply into their own life struggles as they try to tap into what helped them to rise above those tough times. I learned a great deal from what others had to say and hope you will too.


There may not be enough information to write an entire book on the subject of perseverance, inner courage, strength and determination to overcome, but these topics will surely be threaded throughout this literary and real time adventure. I hope you’ll stay tuned and enjoy the unfolding of this next chapter of my life..

Now let’s get to know a little something about my “ragamuffins”!




I'd love to hear from you if you have your own story of courage and how you got through an especially stressful or traumatic time. What did you draw on to get you through? Please send me an email with your story. I will not use your name in the book unless I have your permission. Please email me here.  Thanks in advance!

copyright 2017