Diane Mengali, author of The Quicksand of Agoraphobia: A memoir of panic disorder, lives in Davis, California. She graduated from the University of California, Davis, with a B.A. in English, and taught English at St. Francis high school in Sacramento for one year. From 1968 to the mid-1970s, she and her husband owned and operated Mengali’s Florist in downtown Davis. After her divorce, Diane continued to operate the Davis store until 2009. Diane is an artist, and her work has appeared in many art shows in Northern California. Diane is a member of the local branch of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
About The Quicksand of Agoraphobia
Diane Mengali grew up in Northern California in the 1950s, when family dysfunction was cloaked in denial. On the outside, her family appeared functional and successful, but the part hidden from view was her mother’s depression, alcoholism, and suicidal tendencies, and her father’s intolerant attitude and infidelity. As a child, Diane internalized her mother’s fear and insecurity and by age 10, she had become a chronic worrier.
Diane married Dave in 1966. She had her first panic attack in August of 1967. While disturbing, she saw it as an isolated event, not the life-altering siege it soon became. A world of confusion unfolded in 1975 when Diane met Ellen, a registered nurse. What began as a friendship, turned into an affair, forcing Diane to question her sexuality and to seek counseling. After much turmoil, Diane and Ellen moved in together. Her marriage to Dave ended in 1980.
In 1983, a psychiatrist diagnosed Diane with agoraphobia, a type of anxiety disorder in which one fears and avoids any situation that may cause panic and is usually accompanied by feelings of helplessness, shame, and being trapped. A few years later, she found a therapist who guided her through long-dormant painful emotions, introduced her to behavior modification and the life-saving practice of mindfulness.
Diane hopes her story will help people understand the torment and terror that people with panic disorder and agoraphobia face on a daily basis. Panic disorder need not be a life-altering, frightening struggle; it can be treated by an appropriate therapist.
The Quicksand of Agoraphobia: A memoir of panic disorder (Print ISBN: 978-0-9996471-0-3; ebook ISBN: 978-0-9996471-1-0) is available at Amazon in paperback and Amazon Kindle (worldwide), Barnes & Noble paperback and Barnes & Noble Nook, and at Apple iBooks. It also can be ordered by your local bookstore.