CONCORD, New Hampshire
You may have heard the term “agoraphobia” and you may even know that it refers to a fear of stepping outside your home. Maybe you learned it from that old Incubus song, or maybe you’re simply not a dumbass. Whatever the case, you’ll have sympathy for this New England man who hasn’t left his house in 10 years. Yes, that’s 10 years.
Daniel Wiley was a well-adjusted 22-year-old when he experienced his first attack of agoraphobia. The year was 2003, and New England was in the midst of a terrible snowstorm.
“That fucking snowstorm ruined my life,” he muses. “I had everything I had ever wanted. A job, a steady girlfriend, a family who loved me. And then one day I had it all taken away. Goddamit, it was cold out. Anyone would’ve done the same.”
The condition progressed to the point that Wiley could not even bear the thought of going out, in case there was another snowstorm.
“I hate when it’s too cold. It’s just plain uncomfortable. I’m not strange, I just don’t like the cold. It makes me shiver.”
Friends and family have urged him to move to Florida or California, where the climate is much warmer and not conducive to snow, but Daniel says he won’t let his condition dictate his life.
“Move? I’m not moving because of a stupid snowstorm. Only a sucker would do that. I looked outside the other day and there was 6 feet of snow on the ground. I almost vomited. But it’s not gonna stop me from living where I want to live and doing the things I want to do. I’ll just wait it out. Snowstorms are just a way of life up here. My way of life, though, happens to be staying the hell away from them. It’s nice and cozy in my house. ”