Anxiety Support
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Anxiety and Agoraphobia

Hi everyone, I’m new here. Just wanted to reach out to see if anyone had advice to help me take steps to get myself back out in the world.

In April of this year I lost my job as well as stopped smoking and haven’t been the same since. Every time I quit cigarettes my anxiety goes crazy. I don’t have another outlet. I’ve always had anxiety, I have a panic disorder, and I’ve dealt with agoraphobia before but never to this level. I have an anxiety attack every day almost even if I just think about having to leave. I did try to leave my house but it resulted in an anxiety attack where i felt like I was going to pass out and my hands went numb. Now I’m even more terrified to step out of the comfort zone that is my home even though I have a full blown anxiety attack almost everyday.

•What are some things that help you guys?

•How do you deal with your agoraphobia or just anxiety in general?

•What are some tips or tricks you have or that I should try?

Thanks for taking the time out of your day to read and/or respond. (:

19 Replies
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Hi Highwinds,, I may or may not belong in this chat area. I have some Anxiety and Depression issues. But I read your post and I would suggest a good, when I say good I mean one that understands you and you connect to when you see them, therapist, You need one that will give you exercises to build you confidence and face fears on small baby step levels so you don't get over whelmed and quite. I would suggest that you do some visualizations for a start, on your own. You just need a quiet room where you can listen to soft music to relax, then start to imagine that you want to go for a walk, imagine getting your things to go, imagine walking casually to the door, you turn the door know and open the door. Stop. do this everyday till you no longer feel any anxiety, Once you reach that point then proceed, Add the next step, step outside on to your porch, do this till you feel no anxiety. Make the sessions short, maybe 5 of 10 min. a day. Hopefully you will be able to visualize walking to your car with in a few weeks. Each time you start in the house and move to the goal ( to get further and further from your home). Once you start to visualize what you want with little or no anxiety start actually doing it in baby steps. Get up prepare to leave, stop when you feel anxiety, relax, and visualize the rest from that point, Continue doing this in baby steps till you are outside and in your car, Then start all over from the pint of the car, imagine driving away from your home to some place to meet friends or shopping. Once again when you feel confident, Drive, even if it is just around the block. Baby steps, build, and build... I hope this helps you good luck.

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Thank you so much for your reply and your advice. I’ve never tried an visualization techniques before but I will start today! I’ve never thought about doing that before and I’m so grateful that you’ve shared it with me.

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I had some aspects of agarophobia recently with my anxiety. I can tell you what really helped me was medication ( I am on celexa and therapy. I recall reaching a rock near my house and I couldn't get past it due to panic attacks, feeling like I was going to pass out. I practically had to run home back to my safe place. I ended up making goals to get couple feet past the rock before turning around and I realized that even though I was having the panic attack I did not pass out and that led to less anxiety. I also had a great feeling of accomplishment from reaching my goal. Don't fight the panic attacks but let them happen, it is difficult but it's the way out of panic. Medication has always made this process easier for me but I know everybody is different.

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Thank you. I am afraid to try medicine because I don’t want to feel different in a negative way. But I may be getting to a point where I just should try it. I wanted to know that I could overcome it by myself if that makes sense.

I did try the goal thing after I read this last night. I ended up walking all the way out of my backyard and to the alley behind my house! It was a very liberating feeling! 😊

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Great! Keep up the good work!

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Are you able to leave your house with a so called 'safe person'? Also I had a stint with agoraphobia for about 8 months. And the single best thing to do is exposure therapy. You have to MAKE yourself leave the house, it will be horrible at first. But overcome it you must push through it. I know a lot easier said than done, but that is what got me out of being agoraphobic. Best of luck too you! Also if you can get out possibly try therapy and or medicine if not already on some.

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I can leave my house with 2 “safe people.” Sometimes I do have a hard time doing that though. Thank you for your advice. When you were dealing with it, where did you go first to do your exposure therapy? I don’t want to just go somewhere super crowded. Where would you recommend?

I do have an appointment with a therapist in a week. I’m afraid to try medicine because I don’t want it to make me different in a bad way.

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I basically just drove past my imaginary safe zone little by little each day. Even with my 'safe person' just crossing the imaginary boundary would send me into a panic attack. So I would simply pull over NOT turn around and let it run its course. Key here is I think baby steps. Don't go all out the first few times. You have to work yourself up slowly and daily. Best tip or advice I can give is no matter how hard it is. Try your best to not turn away or flee from what you're feeling. Try not to automatically go home to your safe haven. Anxiety and panic feeds on those kind of actions.

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Thanks LoveyDovey. I’m on day #3 with no panic attacks. I’m even out of my comfort zone!

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Also, I’m going out of town for entire week with one of my safe people. Hopefully that will help! Do you have any tips once I’m out in public to help me?

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Wear some sunglasses. I find bright lights in the stores effect me in a negative way. I have agrophobia as well. I have good days and bad days. I will say medicine definitely takes the edge off and you should give it a try. Best wishes!

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Thank you so much! The sunglasses are definitely a big help!

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Glad they helped! Do you find the bright lights to be an issue for you as well?

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I sure do. I’ve always had a problem with them. I always hate going into shops or the grocery with the fluorescent lights. They just make me feel strange.

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The only way anxiety ( fear ) goes away is by facing the very thing that makes you afraid, it's a hard pill to swallow but true. Take some Magnesium to lessen your pain and be brave, change your day and your life and face the fear and go a little further every day.

Only you can do it.

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Thank you so much. I will try the magnesium and I’m going to try some exposure therapy this weekend. 😊

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Hi highwinds, you've gotten some good advice in how to deal with agoraphobia. But I'll still add my 2 cents in as well. :)

Agoraphobia, fear of the outdoors. Fear of going out of your comfort zone. So you said you fear going out of your comfort zone which is your home and yet you are still having full blown anxiety attacks almost everyday.

That's what made me start questioning the fear I felt. What was outside that wasn't already in me when I was indoors. My Mind....I thought my home provided the safety I needed but the fear was still there. I worked on my anxiety in general. Fear is fear whether indoors or out. It wasn't easy, because the mind is a powerful tool but it can be used for the good as well. I needed to erase 'fear' from my mind. I started with finding out everything I could about the mind/body connection and anxiety. From there I used meditation and deep breathing multiple times a day.

I did it for so long, so consistent that it finally came so automatically to me whenever even a thought would make an appearance. Deep breathing is what restored my balance. Deep breathing is what allowed me to take the small steps outside. Deep Breathing became my safety companion in the car, in the store and even at home. This technique along with acceptance of anxiety not being harmful is what will get you back to being you once more.

Starting with a change of your mindset and then taking small steps outdoors will lead you to your destination which is "Anxiety Free".. x

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Thank you Agora! I really took what you said to heart. I’ve found myself pushing the fear out of my mind and just taking those deep breaths. (:

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Hello Highwinds,

I actually have an Eco phobia that is somewhat transforming into what you have. I'm terrified of global warming and stuff which makes me scared to leave my house. Crowds make it worse and seeing other humans in general make it a lot worse for me as my faith in humanity goes down. Everybody's advice of baby steps is great, I myself are trying to make an appointment to see a therapist. Talking with your family probably will help some, but if you're like mine they don't quite understand what I'm going through. I got really good advice of over powering your mind. You have to learn to realize a thought is just simply that a thought. Stopping and realizing that everything is okay and you're safe now is a big challenge in my life as well, and I never truly feel safe. I hope your therapy is helping and going on holiday definitely helps as it can be distracting for the mind :)

Cheers! And best wishes

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