agoraphobia

i have had agoraphobia for the past year and within this year it has gotten worst. i've went from being able to take my garbage to the can outside a block away from only being able to take my dog to the side of my building and running back in. also i fear the world...like i fear earth & i always feel like the air is super thick or not there...my thoughts are everywhere and i'm rarely ever happy. any advice?

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  • Hi I also suffer with this the world does feel strange like your not really here like your in a dream. I am slowly getting better I go to CBT therapy which is ok . I can't walk down the street or supermarket without shaking and feeling dizzy but take one step at a time the therapist said I have my list of fears I have to face. It's such I struggle when about 6 months ago I didn't have all this fear it's crazy what stress does to your nervous system.

  • xo_haili, The great outdoors is waiting to welcome you back. When we experience agrophobia it's not the outdoors that's to blame, it's our nerves that have been sensitised by too much worry and stress. They begin to play tricks on us leading us to believe something terrible will happen if we leave the safety of home. We feel fear at the thought of going outdoors and if we do venture out we feel even more fear. And over sensitised nervous systems thrive on fear.

    If only we can starve our nerves of fear they will eventually lose their sensitivity and return to normal and stop frightening us half to death if we go out.

    There was an American philiosopher, name of Norman Vincent Peele, whowrote: 'Do what you fear and the death of fear is assured'. Easy for him to say, he never suffered from agrophobia. But, xo_haili, say you dis step outside and started walking up the street and all the horrible feelings started up. And say you said to yourself: ' O.K., I'm going to feel lousy, but I'm still going to keep walking even though I'm feeling bad. BECAUSE I AM GOING TO ACCEPT THE BAD FEELING FOR THE TIME BEING!'

    The key word here is Acceptance, to accept feeling rough but to do it anyway. After all, as you know, it's not the outdoors that's the problem, it'syour sensitised nervous system. Are you going to let a glitch in your nervous system keep you a prisoner in your own home?

    So why not take a walk down the street and Accept the bad feelings? Let them come knowing full well they're not life threatening, they can't damage your body and if they make your legs feel wobbly, well, don't worry about that, jelly legs will carry you there and back just as well. All you have to do is Accept with the minimum amount of fear you can muster. After practicing a few times you might feel less fear but either waykeep accepting the bad feelings, keep practicing. And gradually, as the wise old Yank said, you will feel the fear receding. More importantly, your nerves will feel less fear and their sensitivity will diminish and eventually disappear. And you will be ready to reclaim the streets, the parks and the shops of the area where you live.

  • Hi xo_haili, Jeff1943 is so right. There's a world waiting for you outside. Fresh air and sunshine. Having been agoraphobic for 5 years made me truly appreciate the day I took the step forward. The scared feelings are with us whether we are at home or outdoors. Those feelings can come over us at any time if we allow it. It's not the place we are at, it's our mind giving us false information. When we fight it, it hangs on and gets stronger. When we accept that it can't harm us and that it's our mind trying to control us, the feeling starts dwindling down.

    The first time I got back out was scary but I was determined I was going to do it and could do it. I wasn't about to give up. I intended to drive and circle around the block but it felt so good to be in control again, that I went further then I thought.

    The second time became easier and by the third time I looked forward to getting out again and drove to the Dollar Shop. This time, I didn't just drive but went into the store. Haili, it felt so good to be out again that I spent over an hour going up and down the aisles. When I realized I had been there that long, I knew I was on my way. The excitement and distraction of being out made me feel that I was once again alive and part of society. It's a feeling you have to experience.

    Little steps become bigger as we accept and overcome the anxiety demon. Good Luck and let us know the steps you take. We will support you and be with you in thought cheering you on. x

  • I definitely know the feeling, what helps me is to tell myself that I can leave at any time and go back home. However, this only works for places like the grocery store. I have a lot of trouble holding a job because having to be somewhere at a specific time for a certain amount of hours really makes me panic. So know you're not alone, there are a lot of us with varying degrees of agoraphobia. (hugs)

  • I have the same feelings and issues as you... It's amazing to know Im not the only one who feels this way... My family just doesn't understand me.

  • It makes me glad to know I'm not the only one, although I wouldn't wish this on anyone. I've had this issue with jobs to some extent my whole working life, but it has become worse in the last few years. I'm at the point where there aren't many more places for me to work in my area. I've burned bridges with staffing agencies and employers, and now I come up with excuses why I can't start jobs so that I can avoid the inevitable feeling of panic and then having to leave in the middle of the day....I wish we could all work at home, that would solve that issue. I think for me it's about flexibility. I hate having to be somewhere! Even things like hair appointments are hard for me. And you are correct, other people do not understand at all, including my boyfriend.

  • OMG it's sounds like you are describing me... I've had the same troubles always with jobs and am going through it right now with a good job I just lost because of my intense anxiety and agoraphobia. My family just think Im lazy and crazy but they don't understand when I explain my feelings even my sister who struggles with anxiety too. It makes me feel so so alone and spiral into depression because of my financial situation and trying to raise 2 teen boys with no help at all. It's a vicious cycle I can't get out of...almost all my life now!

  • I feel for you! I lost the best job I've ever had a couple of years ago and it's an awful cycle because you feel really disappointed in yourself but at the same time the anxiety and panic are very real. I'm thankful I don't have kids because I don't think I could cope with having to support them as well. You have my respect for dealing with that along with everything else! I just got fired from a job that wasn't bad but the people were passive-aggressive bullies which brought out my anxiety again and I finally just wasn't able to go back anymore. Hugs to you 'cause this is awful and I have yet to find a successful way of dealing with it...my normal strategies for dealing with anxiety just don't seem to work with jobs. I saw a therapist back when I had insurance and she was totally unhelpful. She basically told me to visualize a happy place, like on the beach or something, when I was anxious at work. Long story short that did not work for me...

  • You again just desribed me.. This is amazing. I lost my recent good job because other CO workers were bulling me and my anxiety went sky high. My sister said don't let it bother you and just make money to support you and your boys but I just couldn't go back frozen with anxiety and now locked in the house again.

  • Yes, my boyfriend said just milk the job and don't worry about the bullies but it got to be too much unfortunately. I hate people who do that at work! I just like to go in and be left alone.

  • Also you are blessed with a boyfriend /partner. I tried to date after 10 yrs and every single man runs away quick when I tell them my issues...esp the anxiety scares them fast. I gave up altogether on trying to find a life partner. But now Im giving up on the world and people in general. I miss all appointments and don't even want to get out of bed let alone out of my apartment. I sometimes don't get out for a week. It's getting worse and wish I had help

  • Yes, I am thankful I'm not alone because there have been many times that his was the only income we had. Although I have been wondering if he is part of the catalyst for my anxiety worsening, since he has anger issues and has emotionally abused me/threatened me at times. I'm still trying to figure that part out, whether I should stay or go, and the damn job issue does not help things. I understand the not wanting to leave your apartment thing, I have trouble getting out of bed. It's like I wake up and immediately am hit with anxiety about being productive, finding a job, etc and then am paralyzed for an hour thinking about all of that. About getting help, there are websites that offer online chat/email with counselors for free. I have emailed in the past and it wasn't a miracle cure but it did help to talk to someone. 7 cups is one of the sites, I don't recall which one I used.

  • Thank you for that advice...I do know about all the stuff you are going through aswell with your partner. That's why I say to hell with that because it's probably just another problem I don't need in my life..a bad relationship.

  • Yes, as awful as it must be to deal with things alone, I can speak from experience when I say that it's also a bad thing to become so dependent on someone else that you are willing to put up with a lot.

  • Hi i e had agrophobia before for many years and i put agrophobia down to our homes being our safe haven?? I couldnt even collect the milk off our doorstep without putting shades on its not very nice to go through or live with you are stuck when this happens i got out as i had alot of intense therapy and i started by going out wen it got dark obviously with someone with me but i still get days like it were i cant go putside as i cant cope with people lookong at me even though they probably not you will get passed this but u have to do it with baby steps and in yohr own time take care honey xx

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