I have read some stories here about people who overcame years of anxiety and I really wish to be as brave as you guys. I don't know how you guys did it. Right now it feels impossible for me. I suffer from agoraphobia and I do go out with my family everyday but it physically hurts me. Trying to stay calm is so hard for me. I'm always shaking and I always feel a strange liquid sensation in my brain. Even though I go out everyday, the anxiety is still there. It has such a tight grip in my life. I guess I am impatient with myself, I want to overcome the anxiety now... But I know it might take a long time. I have missed out a lot in my life. I can only hope I can someday overcome my anxiety like some of the people on this forum. It takes a lot of courage. My biggest fear during a panic attack is losing myself. I fear the sensation of feeling disconnected around me. When I have a panic attack I feel like I am not real and that I am already dead or everyone around me is not real. It is that sensation that kills me.
Courage: I have read some stories here... - Anxiety and Depre...
Anxiety and Depression Support
I was agoraphobic from age 16 till I was 30. I never thought in my wildest dreams I would ever leave the house. Its not easy by any stretch of the imagination. I believe that time helped me get to a place where I had the emotional strength to give it my best effort and I was successful. I don’t think one size fits all when overcoming agoraphobia. Everyone is different and has different strengths and weaknesses. You need to learn about yourself and from that self knowledge make a plan that suits you.
My heart goes out for you. It must have been extremely hard to live like that for such a long time and I'm glad you overcame it. People like you give me hope that someday I will make it out of the darkness.
Thank you for the kind words. In the beginning it wasn’t so bad. After getting panic attacks while still functioning in class was very hard. I was a straight A student at the time. Getting away from all that was a blessing to my sanity and physical health. My teachers wanted me to go back but I had taken a complete mental breakdown. It really got hard for me five or six years in. I was starting to get restless and bored. I developed so many hobbies. I was constantly reading self help books and doing relaxation exercises that I eventually burnt out on that too. It was an experience. I look back now and I don’t regret being homebound. I can look back and say at that time in my life I couldn’t cope with being out side. It is not something I am ashamed of. It is just who I was.
That is a nice way to see your life. I came from an abusive home and both my parents are narcissistic. The experience was what gave me anxiety disorder at an early age, as early as age 7. The experience was not wonderful but it has taught me compassion for others. The things I went through as a child and as an adult has taught me to treat people with love and respect. I often wondered if I did not experience such a horrible childhood if I would still have a big heart. It was not fair what happened to me but at the same time, it made me a better person.
It takes courage to go through what you did and not be bitter. That positive attitude will be of great service if it hasn’t helped already. Don’t doubt that you aren’t recovering. Healing from our past can make coping with our present easier. You should celebrate that.
You are right about that. I have been told once before to embrace my anxiety and not to try to control it. It is scary to do that but I might consider it.
Hi Meli, I hope I didn't give you the wrong idea in getting anxiety under control and living a more anxiety free life. I don't feel it has much to do with courage as much as it has to do with the time being right for you. Anxiety does take a tight grip on our lives, no 2 ways about that. The thing is not staying stuck in that fearful position. You may think that these brief outings with your family aren't accomplishing much, but they are. Your brain is learning every time you go out that the uncomfortable symptoms may be there but you are safe and you can physically go out with no harm coming to you. Oh sure, you are physically drained by the time you come home.
Always moving forward is your goal. Baby steps are the way. If you slide back, pick yourself up and start over again. Never allow Anxiety tell you that getting better isn't possible. That's a lie that anxiety injects into our minds. Therapy will help you immensely if you listen and practice all that they say. Without doubts, without fear, they know what they are talking about. It doesn't come easy, there is no magic cure. It takes work but so does everything else in life that is worthwhile.
You will get there. It doesn't happen overnight because it took a long time to get ahold of you. But never give up, that's not an option. It doesn't take courage Meli, but belief. Believing in yourself and believing that you will attain your goal. I believe in you xx
Thank you so much Agora. I have been crying a bit while reading the forums and the advices people have given. It helps to know that I am not alone and it is also helped me understand that there are people who have had anxiety much longer than me and they were able to improve their mental state. It also saddens me to hear how some people have suffered for decades. You may not think so, but I see you guys as heroes. You inspire me to fight the negativity that comes with the anxiety.
If anything I have taken from my experience from agoraphobia the most important thing is this the night is always darkest before the dawn. You can’t give up hope. It also helped me to cope with my depression in the long term.
30 plus years, therapy upon therapy, medication trial and errors, hospitalization, agoraphobia (5yrs) Hypnosis sessions, Acupuncture, Biofeedback, CBT etc. You are one step ahead of all of us who 30 yrs ago anxiety wasn't accepted as it is now.
When I first came on this forum, even though I was in a good place, I wanted to pass it forward to others. I didn't realize at the time, how many suffered from anxiety and depression. I too, got tearful but I also got angry that Anxiety would rob others of their lives and I wasn't about to make that happen. And so here we are Meli, ready to help you and all the others who are forging ahead everyday like warriors. You are in a safe place xx
Thank you so much Agora. Seems like you have done it all. I have not been hospitalized for my anxiety but I was almost ran over during a panic attack while crossing a big intersection. You have a good heart, all of you here have a good heart... Thank you for helping us get through this.
I am sorry to hear that. I know it's tough for you but there's no way that anyone's gonna truly understand what is going through your mind.
Still, I would make an attempt to blend rational and logical thinking in each point of yours. So this is gonna be a long post!
1. You have read about people who have overcome their anxieties-------
There's no one who has got rid of his/her anxiety. There are good days and bad days. When everything falls in place, and complies with your expectations, those are your good days. Sadly, days like that are rare. So the success stories of people overcoming their anxiety essentially reflects how they were able to minimize their expectations and find contentment. Similarly, you could try to lower your expectations so that when things do not go as desired, you will have nothing to lose.
2. You suffer from agoraphobia-----
There's only one thing that I could possibly say to you: It's Okay.
If you have it, it's fine. If you don't have it, then too it's fine. It doesn't change who you are. Yes, to some extent the social aspect of you may take a beating. However, that shouldn't concern you. If you are going out with your family, that's great!
3. Trying to stay calm is hard for you----
It's the same for every individual who is a part of this forum, including me. Stretching and deep breathing can work wonders (not immediately, but in the longer run).
4. Your biggest fear is losing yourself during a panic attack-------
The best thing that you can do while having a panic attack is: lying flat on the bed or the floor. Scientifically speaking, the parasympathetic system kicks in and instantly calms you down. Inhaling through your nose and exhaling through pursed lips accelerates the process of calming down your body. If you stop the panic attack at its bud, you won't lose yourself.
I have found out that anxiety arises due to excessive imagination. Your panic attack is itself causing more panic attacks, so it seems that you are unreal and disconnected. You have to nip it in the bud.
Looking for help everywhere but not within you would be wrong. Being in reality, accepting yourself and others would help you a lot.
Some of the primary steps that you should take from now on:
1. Walking with moderate pace for atleast 30 minutes a day (Boosts sleep, regulates hormones and strengthens the heart).
2. Deep breathing, alternate nostril breathing twice or thrice daily (Balances your thoughts and emotions).
3. Drinking water regularly and low fat, low sodium diet (keeps your heart healthy and your body hydrated)
4. Try solving Sudoku, Crosswords, Rubik's Cube.
Remember that it's all about achieving a balance in everything. You don't have to be good at something and you don't have to feel bad about anything. You are not there to please anyone.
Take one step at a time. I wish you a good health and do let me know how it goes for you.
Thank you so much for what you said. I have always been ashamed of my anxiety and most people think it is because I am too emotionally weak but I have always thought to myself " the fact that I haven't taken my life makes me strong". I managed to graduate highschool and I got a bachelors last year and I managed to maintain a 3.8 gpa. It was incredibly hard and I sometimes wonder how I did it. Burrying myself in my studies have helped me from breaking apart but it has also kept me too busy from seeing my friends. During my years at University, it has taught me who my real friends are. Sadly I only have two real friends who stayed by me.
I will start applying what you have mentioned into my life. I'm tired of people asking me if I am cured. I wish for once someone would just tell me " you have panic attacks meli and that's okay, and I still love you even if it never goes away".
Thank you for understanding I'll take baby steps each day.
Good to hear that!
Meli, remember that you are very strong. 2 friends or no friends doesn't make any difference.
You need only those who truly understand you and do not expect anything in return.
Now, you have the right knowledge, so use it wisely. Remember, bright future never comes on its own, you have to set the necessary path and accordingly work towards it.
This feed is really great to read! You all are doing such a nice thing for each other. Such insight and experience you all share. Meli you too will get past this. So many great steps you are making, especially the compassion you are able to acknowledge towards others, I’m sure that you will be able to find that same compassion towards yourself, if you haven’t already done so. Anxiety for me is how I process. I know when my anxiety peaks it’s just a distraction. It has taken me some time to process this. When I get caught up in analyzing my body symptoms I have learned to label these feelings as thoughts and not hold on to it. That has taught me to accept these symptoms. Kinda like a dietetic accepts that there blood sugar is low. Once I was able to understand that these symptoms were not going to hurt me I was able to do more. You are in the process of learning how to cope with these feelings. For me it all starts with a though. Once I wasn’t afraid of the feelings I was able to challenge the thoughts. Don’t forget about prayer..not that this is a must, but it can be a useful tool..
I can only say one thing: some things need the right time to fix or to happen. And, I know it's hard, but you do need to be patient. Sometimes you have to go through A (be it undo some knots inside of you, work on a painful past, review the way you've been raised, or any other stuff) to be able to reach B.
Even if your heart feels desperate or helpless, it is at least helpful that your head knows you can overcome it. Even if many times it doesn't feel like it, you can do it.
Thank you Amanda for this great advice. It is so strange to have a degree in psychology but still have my own demons to battle. I'm great at helping others with their problems but I am bad at helping myself. My sister told me it is time to take care of myself. I have spend my entire life sacrificing my needs for others. A psychologist once told me that my only disorder was that I was my own worst enemy.
I have agoraphobia too. About 2 years ago I got myself into such a state that I didn't leave the house for 6 months. One day I broke down and realized I was so tired of being afraid to go anywhere or do anything. With a lot of support from family and my best friend, I started with small steps. Some days I could only get ready to leave before I'd panic, but I was patient with myself, I'd repeat "I can do this" over and over. A few weeks later, I managed to step outside the house. Slowly I began to make progress. Now there are 2 or 3 places I can go without having a panic attack, because I slowly showed myself that those places were safe places where I would be okay. So start small, really small. Never push yourself to do things that make you feel bad. Nothing is worth making yourself ill over it, nothing. It's taken me a year and a half to get here, but I've made so much progress. I don't think it has much to do with courage and more to do with determination. The whole time I'm terrified, but I keep going. If I can do it, and all the other people posting their stories can do it, I have absolutely no doubt that you can too. Just keep going. Remember, any progress is good progress. If you go 1 minute longer without having a panic attack than usual, be proud. Don't downplay all the things you manage to do. You get out of bed, get ready and leave the house. That's amazing. You're amazing. You can do this, just keep trying and one day you'll get there. ❤️
So I don’t see how we can escape feeling ill while it seems we are in need of pushing ourselves to do it, to get out. I feel the anxiety all the time do I feel constantly sick but am making progress with less panics and going out more places with an easier time. But I feel upset doing it as well it’s really hard on me, I get so stressed. But a friend suggested to not focus on the anxiety not giving it power but I’m having trouble with it at first. Maybe it will get easier and I will end up focusing on life and not fear of life.
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