Anxiety and agoraphobia

I have had anxiety and panic attacks since my early 20's and I am now 48. I managed to keep them controlled without medication and have always worked since leaving school. However last year I had to leave my job as a medical secretary due to my anxiety getting worse. Since then I have developed feelings of agoraphobia and cannot go out unless my husband takes me in the car. I cannot go in large supermarkets and have to use the smaller shops if he drives me there. I feel very isolated and like a prisoner in my own home. Does anyone else have this fear of going outside or being in crowded places. Not sure what to do but I feel really depressed and the only time I can relax is if I have a drink which is about 3 times a week.

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  • Hi. luck.Welcome to the site, if you haven't been before. A lot of those here have suffered as you are now so any more replies will come from people who know. Agoraphobia (literally, fear of the market place) is so common in nervous illness and many suffer from it. It is one of the most frustrating and frightening of all the symptoms. What you are going through is so typical and one expects it in nervous illness. There is a lot I could say about it but I will just recommend a book to you. It is a compilation of the many books by Dr. Claire Weekes who specialised in treating agoraphobia and got the MBE for it. The book, "Essential help for your Nerves" is a best seller and you will see why. Her understanding of this rotten complaint is amazing.

    I understand she suffered herself. You can get it from Amazon or any good bookshop at around £10. Give it a go. It will be the best £10 you will ever spend. Very best wishes. jonathan.

  • Thanks Jonathan I will get a copy as soon as possible.

  • Sorry, I see you have been on the site before. Anyway, welcome again!! J.

  • hi, i am new to this site but can understand what you are going through. ive always been claustrophonic but a few years ago i think i became a bit agrophobic & started feeling anxious & panicky in my local supermarket & some surrounding areas. i was prescribed propranolol which i found quite helpful (it stops your heart racing so you can kinda bypass that bit of the panic attack! ) i think you need to try & make yourself venture out as often as possible (easier said than done). The longer you avoid going out the harder it becomes, this then creates a vicious circle where eventually you probably will avoid going out all together because of all the stress involved. I find it helpful to plan ahead. Build up your confidence by having someone you trust to go out with you (your husband sounds like he understands). Keep re=assuring yourself that nothing is going to happen - if you do feel panicky rehearse in your head what you can/will do eg: take deep breaths, get some fresh air. (i find getting hot doesnt help).Someone once told me that this is mind over matter - dont let this "thing" get the better of you - keep fighting & eventually you will emerge from this the stronger person. This wont happen overnight but try to remain positive (hard when your hormones are kicking in & flying all over the place). i am no where near to my young carefree days (where i could act spontaneosly - would go to anywhere unknown - no planning involved) however i am determined to beat this "thing" & i hope you will to x

  • ps forgot to say - well done for never taking medication - sounds like you are still very much in control and have just reached a blip so dont let this "thing" take over anymore - keep it at bay. Also dont know how much you drink but i dont think this helps (i also like a drink - quite alot!) x

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