Agoraphobia

Does anyone else have agoraphobia and can I ask how it effects your life?

I am 37, married and a mum to 3 children. 4 years ago I was attacked by my brother and my mother and sisters resented me for not forgiving him, causing me severe anxiety and depression due to their abusive messages for the following 2 years. I slowly became agoraphobia and socially anxious as I didn't trust anyone anymore. I had therapy, went on Mirtazapine and overcame the agoraphobia.

Then a year ago I had fatigue issues and slowly I became quite unwell, my son was also unwell due to bullying and it all got on top of me and my anxiety returned along with agoraphobia and now social anxiety. I was so unwell I rarely could go out due to the huge energy crashes and fatigue. It led to me hiding away from the world, too ill to be out. I did the school run then went home. Being unable to work on the anxiety and agoraphobia due to the health complications I had it's become quite deep seated and I now feel so guilty I can't take my children to their appointments, parents evenings etc.. hubby does and i beat myself up as I was back doing all those things again. I feel bad we don't go to the cinema as a family, restaurants etc again all since I became ill this last year. My husband takes them to the cinema and big things I cant manage. We did a family holiday last summer an hour away which was lovely and I make sure we still do that.

I know once my health improves I can get back out there and do the exposure work I did a few years ago, it's just so hard having chronic fatigue. In the last 2 months I do walk my dog a few times a week alone, a shop once or twice a week with hubby, so i am doing it again around my health. I just compare myself to other mothers and wives every day, worry what if I never get better physically and can't work on the agoraphobia. What if i can't go to my childrens graduations and weddings.... I beat myself up so much every day and I need to learn to accept all of this but i am struggling since the agoraphobia returned. I went back to therapy in the summer and she made me feel even worse saying she couldn't understand why I'd let myself become agoraphobic again. It wasn't something I chose, being ill brought it all flooding back.

I am even socially anxious now and even get panicky and anxious if my dad or a friend wants to visit, I shake, go hot, dizzy... it's awful. So upsetting as I was back doing all of that again, living life, talking to mums by the school. Driving to Costa alone and geting a hot chocolate reward, small shops alone, appointments etc... I now can't do appointments again and my GP had to come to my house twice last year and once to do a blood test. I am devastated as I was back doing all my appointments again, I got my life back after the attack.

Can anyone relate? I live in fear of needing hospital treatment, everytime i have an energy crash I get anxious about needing a doctor or what if I faint and need to go to hospital... everything boils down to this agoraphobia again. It's tough. I am trying to accept my chronic illness but I still beat myself up for having anxiety again. I wish I could find a way to stop doing that and just accept myself. I am a loving mother and wife and they're my world, I do my best for them all. I coped being ill all last year on my own, no help, I still got my kids to school even on severe crash days. Hubby worked long hours and my mother refused to support me. I should be proud of who I am and what i am doing.

Ju

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23 Replies

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  • You sound just like me but my mam supports me it's awful I've had times were I've been so bad I can't get out of bed am that tired weak dizzy 😵 and nothing takes my mind of it it's crazy, a wish there was a cure tbh am sick of it a feel like laying down and that's it I also can't go to parents evening or anything as I panic am fidgety can't sit down because it feels as if I'm swaying my heart races

  • I'm sorry you're struggling too.

    I have chronic fatigue due to the thyroid illness but also I think alot of it comes from the anxiety wearing me down.

    I can even have anxiety during the day, I am always thinking and worrying beating myself up for being ill physically and having anxiety. It's draining.

    I am lucky I can do the school run, do a small dog walk alone and a shop once or twice a week depending on my fatigue levels.

    I think it's great you have your mothers support. Have you had any therapy or support to work on the anxiety causing the agoraphobia? Claire Weekes has a brilliant self help book that helped me 4 years ago, I got back out living my life. Now being ill it's a tough obstacle for me or I'd be back using the tools Claire Weekes taught me as I swear her work is the best.

    Big hugs to you x

  • No I've been like this 8 year now aww u have a thyroid problem that causes tiredness my friend has it to but she won't take medication she's always complaining ano you can lead a normal live with it just eat fruit and drink good things to keep it controlled hers was over active then went under then went without treatment now it's bk but she won't do anything about it x

  • I haven't no my doctor prescribed citalopram a few year bk wich I didn't take and then I had a nurse who cam to talk to me wich was nice and she stopped coming as I hide my thoughts 😢

  • I got bk to normal to Hun I didn't go out for years them a thought frig this and a was good but bk again

  • I'm also fatigue due to worry a lot and stress a panic for nothing a think everything is wrong with me 😰

  • Hi; I can relate to all you have wrote in your post I have the tiredness, agoraphobia ,anxiety, blurred vision. dizzyness,I would shake too, if I have visitors, and have to talk to them or make them coffee..like you I had the agoraphobia nearly beat..I was out walking on my own, doing shopping.going on Hols..now its all back with a vengence I am constantly tired, afraid to leave the house, and afraid to stay in the house alone..I feel off Balance. and have nausea a lot..I am so depressed with my life. as in my head I want to go out and enjoy myself..but I Just havan't got the motivation any more..I have Health anxiety too, and keep imagining all sorts...my bloods all comes back normal..so I just cry with frustration ,please feel free to message me, if you want..we are both going through a lot..Thinking of you, xxxxx

  • Hi miarose, I'm so sorry everything is back again. Please try not to let it drag on. Being stuck in the house only gets harder as you know. I continue getting out every day without a thought. I'm here for support if you need a hand to hold. :)

  • Thank you for replying..means a lot to me..I actually think I am dying, I feel so bad..I would fight this agoraphobia, but I havan't got the energy..I have resigned myself to the fact, that i am dying with some thing that hasant shown up yet. I am sitting at home tonight crying, I do need help or support.. my Hubby just dosan't understand.how bad I feel...xxxx

  • Oh miarose, I'm so sorry. I know how difficult it is when the people around you don't understand. It hurts. That is why, be grateful for this forum. I only wish I had it years ago. I always felt so all alone. At least you have us to surround and support you. Dry your tears miarose. Nothing is going to happen to you. It's anxiety playing it's cruel mind game once more. Once you have a positive mind set, you will get back your energy and once again be able to go outside.. We will be here holding our hands out to help you. You are not alone. xx

  • I am really thankful, for your support..I thought I was dying the other night. went to the DR yesterday eve, and just told him, I couldn't stand or walk.and my anxiety was sky high..Thought he was going to offer me the usual A/Ds, but he examined me and seemed concerned...Turned out, I had a bad kidney infection...He told me this can cause, nausea, dizziness, no energy, and feeling unwell..I left the DR with a song in my heart..I actually had a reason for feeling like dying, and I was soo glad..goes to show not everything is caused by anxiety..I actually went shopping today and bought new boots in the sales...kidney infection and all..I never was as calm...I was so Happy..xxxxx

  • Hi miarose, it won't be the first time that we actually welcome a health issue that can be taken care of. I know the feeling. Whenever I've had minor surgery, I didn't even need something for pain. There was a real reason to the discomfort which apparently we are strong enough to handle. And yet, anxiety can tear us down when it appears. Feel better soon. Enjoy the happy feeling. x

  • I can relate so much.

    Having ill health has brought all my anxiety and agoraphobia back. I have chronic fatigue and dizziness. I feek off balance like walking on a boat daily which my gp says is anxiety.

    Message me anytime. Maybe we can support each other. Big hugs x

  • Am with you Hun x

  • Hi Jingyd35, yes you should be proud of who you are and what you are able to do. Agoraphobia is not something we choose. It is a devastating offshoot of severe anxiety. I went through it for 5 years myself and it was embarrassing to say the least. Hiding from the world, really I was hiding from myself. My anxiety levels were so high, I literally was paralyzed with fear. Like you, I didn't want to see anyone who came to visit. I would hide in my room. Neighbors wondered what had become of this outgoing person. My doctor came to my house as well. I also worried what if an emergency arose, would I be able to leave my house in order to get help? It is a nightmare when you have children. I worried about my sick daughter and if she would have to go to the hospital, would I be able to be there for her? Do you have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? I know that can be devastating and contribute to agoraphobia. We do the best we can with what we are given Jingyd, that's all we can do. We can't beat ourselves up over it. You sound like an amazing wife and mother who truly loves her family. I hope that little by little you will find your way back and feel better. My best to you. x

  • Thank you.

    Yes I have an underactive thyroid and chronic fatigue. Both have caused this relapse. I was out again and overcame my anxiety and agoraphobia almost fully then wham I became ill a year ago and it all flooded back. It's now worse due to my health issues and they make me very anxious.

    Thank you for your kind words. I hope you're doing better now.

    Julie

  • When mine was in full swing it was horrendous. I went from being a principal of a high school to being unable to walk down the driveway to get the mail out of the mailbox. Just thought of it made me dizzy, weak, felt like I was having a heart attack,etc. . I have two primary age kids. I went from being completely involved in my kids life to barely being able to get them on the school bus in the morning. I know how the agoraphobia comes and goes. What I had to do was go on meds. I'm fortunate to have a psychiatrist who realized that I could not do the exposure work needed with my anxiety level so high. If your anxiety is continuously cranked exposure therapy does not work. In fact it can make things much worse. Whether you need a benzo for a couple of weeks and/or need to get back on an SSRI I don't know. But your body and mind need a break. Claire Weekes says "even weak knees can get you across the room". While this is true you need some strength to get through the exposure therapy with meaning. Don't worry about mother, brother, etc. . Your hubby loves you and so do your kids. If your hubby had an issue he would have rolled out a long time ago. Seriously, get a GP, Psychiatrist, whatever to get you on meds. Level with them as to how bad this is. And if they say you need to go to a hospital to stabilize do it. Because right now you are not living. You are just existing and suffering. It is time for you to suffer well. Your kids and hubby and you are worth it.

  • Thank you

    Sorry to hear of your strugglea too.

    I'm on medication. Mirtazapine 15mg for 3 years which helped loads and it's how I got back our doing exposures and overcame things. Now my obstacle is my ill health, that's the issue I have and sadly no anti depressant will help that as I have to work around my health and energy to do exposure work. I know once my health improves the anxiety will lessen, it's all linked to my chronic fatigue and thyroid illness sadly.

    Thank you for your kind reply.

    Julie

  • Maybe it is time to switch from Mirtazapine which is a noradrenergic drug which means it uses norepeinephrine as part of its action mechanism. It is an old school atypical tetracyclic antidepressant. . . . from the early 1970s. . . . I get the health thing. I have Hashimoto's thyroid. My thyroid antibodies are often sky high and I have bouts of Atrial fIbrillation and nueropathy as a long term side effect of chemotherapy drugs from when I had cancer as a teenager thirty years ago.. At times I can feel real crappy but the symptoms you described- not leaving the house, not being there for family, not even being able to go see a movie with your family- that is anxiety disorder. Consider talking to a different doctor than the one prescribing you mirtazapine. Perhaps a pure SSRI may help. I found cutting all gluten and dairy dramatically drops my thyroid antibodies levels, even though I do not have celiac disease, etc. . . You said once your health improves the anxiety will lessen. That swings both ways. Anxiety disorder is a health issue, mental and physical. Doctors do not always see it that way. Once the anxiety improves your overall health may improve as well. And it is clinically proven that once anxiety is properly treated people have less pain, fatigue, etc. . . Seriously, go to your doctor and look for something different. Doing the same thing over and over each day is producing the same result. I know it is painful and hard to make change, but at times in life it is necessary. I understand the whole thinking that tomorrow will be the day my life improves/I will bounce back, my fatigue from my thyroid wont be so bad, but that often doesn't happen. I did that for three years and I regret everyday I missed living in the present with my family because I was too apprehensive to go and find a doctor and a new med regime that worked. Best wishes to a speedy recovery.

  • Thank you for your help.

    My problem is I cannot take SSRI drugs after 2 nasty reactions to them. I also had a very nasty reaction to a tryciclic anti depressant that landed me in a hospital with tachycardia. My only option was venafalexin which I couldn't take as I have naturally low BP, so mirtazapine was the option. I only had those 2 options and as BP is always low they weren't happy to try that.

    Mirtazapine helps me to sleep, prior to it I never slept a wink in 6 months and was going crazy from no sleep. I was the most anxious I have ever felt. I also had eating issues all my adult life due to anxiety and now I eat amazingly well. I love my food. So I do believe it's bringing some important benefits to my life.

    I am afraid to make change because I was a wreck before Mirtazapine looking back. I am also in the early months of thyroxine treatment which is hard going until my levels even out and they have me on the right dose.

    It's difficult to know what to do, I think maybe right now isn't the right time but I know at some point I will wean off, I am just afraid to after the frightening withdrawal stories that are all over the internet with this drug.

    Thank you

    Ju

  • I hear you loud and clear. I used to take SSRIS. Every time I take one I go into afib or SVTs. I am sorry. How about Valium or clonazepam? I wish there was something that would help. I'm sorry you are suffering. I know the feeling. There are lots of folks on this website that are suffering so bad. I feel like there has to be something out there that someone in the medical establishment can figure out.

  • Thank you.

    I'd never take vallium and I don't get into high panic where I need it to be honest. I've been through tough times and never resorted to benzos. I hate medication can you tell lol!

  • I expect numerous people have thrown this one at you, but I am somebody in a really similar situation - have experienced agoraphobia for a long time, and the only thing that has remotely helped me (except for certain medications) is exercise. I could never go to a gym or anything, so I just started skipping every morning, and doing some easy exercises. It was hard at first, not going to deny it, but as the days go on, it gets easier. Then I would force myself to walk the dog, which is hard when u are scared to go out, but afterwards the feeling of elation at "doing something I couldn't have done a while back" makes it all worth it. You just have to try and keep going, and override those feelings of anxiety. Exercise takes some of the pent up anxiety away - I promise you. Try it.

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